Original Release January 27, 2020
Welcome back to a new semester and a new decade. We have eight new faculty starting this semester. We will send more information about them soon, but they are in Nursing, Social Sciences, Humanities, Game Design, Latin American Studies, and English. It is always a privilege to be able to describe to them the warm, passionate, dedicated environment and faculty that is Hostos. We have some concrete goals for 2020. In 2011, President Obama made a pledge that colleges will increase the number of students who graduate by 50% by the year 2020. Last year, we had a 91% increase in the number of students (1375 students) who graduated in 2019 compared with 2011. We can definitely reach 100% for this year with everyone’s help. Our goal is to graduate at least 1442 this year to make it 100%. We need to make sure each student is registered in the correct classes, let them know many can use their Pell to take summer classes, and we need to connect them to the resources and support services on campus to keep them persisting and succeeding. We are using the Caiman Clues as one way to get information to students that is relevant and specific to each week of the semester. As a campus, we need to work to build student engagement and help students make connections with us and with each other. There are lots of ways to do that in the classroom.
Last semester, President Gomez sent out a list of student success policies and we are keeping metrics on these because we know the importance of these indices on student’s success. These include, using the degree maps when advising students so they take classes in the correct order and don’t have unwanted delays because they haven’t met pre-requisites and having our Liberal Arts students take the First Year Seminar course ideally in their first semester but definitely within their first year so they have the college-readiness skills at the beginning of their college career. Another student success policy is to make sure all students complete their English and Math gateway classes in the first year. National research, as well as our own, demonstrates that students who earn English and Math credits in their first year are much more likely to graduate and very few students who put off these classes ever actually take them. And just a reminder, our English faculty have done away with all non-credit developmental English classes. All students now have a way to earn credit for English 110 while addressing their various developmental needs.
We are in full swing of Middle States. Our liaison who is a Vice President for Middle States, Dr. Hilda Plumey, will be visiting us on March 13th to provide feedback on the design of our self-study. She will be meeting with the co-chairs of the committees as well as President Gomez. Thank you all for your work and engagement in the process so far. Even though we are in a good place, we still have a lot of work to do over the next year.
There have been a couple of transitions this winter. First, Felix Cardona will be on leave this semester and then returning to the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences so he can go back to teaching. He has missed the direct contact with students. Rather than put someone in the position as an interim, we will begin a search immediately. I have asked Professors Olen Dias, Francisco Fernandez, and Nelson Nunez-Rodriguez to support our office as Faculty Fellows. They were each able to give me a few hours each week. Most of Felix’s work revolved around STEM initiatives so having faculty from the STEM areas will be very helpful. Dean Mester will take over the curriculum work. Another transition is with the Writing Center. Professor Matt Moses has stepped down so he can dedicate more of his time on the FYS and Capstone work he has been doing. Professor Tram Nguyen has agreed to step in as the Writing Center Director.
I look forward to the new semester and our work in supporting student success. Thank you for all you do for our students, your colleagues, and this college. I enjoy coming to work every day.
Provost and Vice President