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Lehman College: City University of New York
September 18, 2017

A Message from Lehman College President José Luis Cruz
The fall semester is in full swing. And while our work is playing out against the backdrop of climate upheaval and political uncertainty, I feel confident about what lies ahead and encourage us to savor the satisfaction of a campus astir. So before the new semester advances and gets even busier, I want to put the spotlight on some of our Lehman colleagues and update you on my activities over the past month.

Celebrating Excellence

It is always a pleasure to announce good news about notable achievements by our colleagues, students, and community members. Here are a few recent feats and signs of success worth sharing: Three of our seniors—Nancy Bonilla, Arlette Butcher, and Lynette Pascoe—each received a $10,000 scholarship from the Women’s Forum NY Educational Fund…Dr. Mary Phillips, assistant professor in the Department of Africana Studies, was selected to join the inaugural cohort of the Early Career Workshop at the New York Historical Society’s Center for Women’s History. Also, she was asked recently to serve on the editorial board for the Women’s Studies Quarterly and co-authored a review of the film Detroit in HuffPostDr. Marta Ghezzo was invited this summer to the University of Padua to present the Italian edition of her book Ear Training, which was published last December by Casa Ricordi in Milan…

Dr. Jason Behrstock, associate professor of Mathematics, received a grant from the National Science Foundation for a proposed study involving geometric group theory, random graphs, and isoperimetry…Dr. Deborah Shanley, interim dean of the School of Education, secured a grant from the NYS Education Department to develop programming partnerships between the Lehman Urban Transformative Education-Teacher Opportunity Corp program and My Brother’s Keeper...and Dr. Alison Behrman, assistant professor of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, received a grant from the National Institutes of Health for a proposed study titled “Rhythmic Entrainment in Bilingual Speakers with Dysarthria”…The American Psychological Foundation awarded a Bruce and Jane Walsh Grant to Dr. Mia Budescu and Dr. Anna Luerssen, both assistant professors in the Department of Psychology, for their proposed study “Message in a Bottle: Socialization patterns and adolescents’ goal pursuit during the transition out of high school,” and a grant to Dr. Amanda Sisselman-Borgia, assistant professor in the Department of Social Work, for a proposed study on micro-aggressions and homeless youth…

Lehman College’s men’s soccer coach Toma Gojcevic was featured in an August 2017 article in The Riverdale Press focusing on whether the Lightning would repeat as CUNYAC champs…Michael Deas, LMSW, founding director of Lehman’s Urban Male Leadership Program (UMLP), was selected as one of the 25 most influential leaders in the Bronx by City & State New YorkChris Garnett was named Coordinator of Student-Athlete Development; among his responsibilities will be implementing and supervising the college’s CHAMPS Life Skills Program…Ronald M. Bergmann, Lehman’s Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, was selected by the Center for Digital Education as a recipient of its Top 30 Award for his “efforts to improve education through the effective implementation of technology-rich solutions.”

Public Affairs and Community Engagement

As part of our efforts to raise the College’s profile and socialize our 90x30 challenge, in the past several weeks I have served as a panelist at a seminar for congressional staff in Austin, Texas, hosted by the Postsecondary National Policy Institute (PNPI) and spoke about institutional approaches to postsecondary data and improving student outcomes…addressed a group of Latino journalists at a conference convened in Anaheim, California by the Education Writers’ Association which focused on “Latino Education in the Trump Era”…discussed possible collaborations with Plinio Ayala, president and CEO of Per Scholas, a not-for-profit organization that provides tuition-free IT training to underserved communities…discussed our plans and resource needs with national figures, including: Bronx Borough President Rubén Diaz, Jr.; Dr. Danette Howard, Chief Strategy Office of the Lumina Foundation; a delegation of leaders from the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP); and several CUNY vice chancellors, associate vice chancellors, assistant vice chancellors, deans and program directors.

University and College Events

The start of a new academic year affords us an opportunity to establish new relationships and strengthen existing ones. To this end, earlier this month I was pleased to welcome our 17 new faculty members (9 of whom have already been teaching at Lehman as adjunct professors) at the New Faculty Orientation and offer greetings to the attendees of a Department Chair’s Retreat...encourage dozens of students to reach higher at the opening of the Prestigious Awards Day…exchange ideas with the new leadership of the Lehman chapters of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and National Society of Hispanic Engineers (NSHE)…reconnect with University colleagues at the year’s first Council of Presidents meeting…and attend meetings of our institution’s FP&B Committee, College Senate, and Lehman College Foundation Board.

Organizational Updates

During the next few months, we will be launching several searches for senior leadership positions on our campus: provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs and student success; vice president of Institutional Advancement; and deans for the School of Arts and Humanities, School of Education, and School of Continuing and Professional Studies. Additional details will be forthcoming.

Convocation Ceremony and Inauguration

The official inauguration of our third presidency and fall convocation ceremony will be held on September 27 at 3:30 PM in the Lovinger Theatre. I hope you will consider attending — it will be a time to reflect on the history of this noble institution, embrace the present as it stands, and envision the future that promises to be. To RSVP, please email events.rsvp@lehman.cuny.edu.

I trust you will have an excellent and rewarding semester!

José Luis Cruz
President, Lehman College
The City University of New York

Previous messages from President Cruz can be found here.