Spring 2008 Open Line

Hunter Looks to the Future

Science and Health Professions Building                       

Plans for Hunter's New Science and Health Professions Building are moving at a brisk pace.  The Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Brookdale campus has been distributed to the development community and CUNY has just extended the timetable for the responses to these requests.  The extension was made to accommodate the interested parties' request for additional time for questions, an additional tour of the site, and the publication of clarifications relating to the RFP requirements. Proposals are due on May 22, 2008.

High-level support for the project continues to grow.  We have received letters of support from the Greater New York Hospital Association as well as from every major hospital and research center in the Upper East Side science corridor. For more information on the Science and Health Professions Building, please go to www.hunter.cuny.edu/sciencebuilding.

In the next few weeks we plan to launch a "Support Hunter" website, designed to make it easy for you to let elected officials know how important this project is to the entire Hunter community.  We will keep you posted on details of the launch so you can add your support.

Middle States Accreditation

Hunter's institutional self-study in preparation for our 10-year review by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education is now in full swing.  Professors Philip Alcabes (Urban Public Health) and Sandra Clarkson (Mathematics and Statistics), along with Provost Vita Rabinowitz, are leading an effort that includes the participation of over 130 faculty members, administrators, staff members, and students.  Open meetings are being held throughout the spring 2008 semester, and the self-study will be on the agenda at some meetings of the college Senate.  We encourage each of you to use these meetings as a way to get involved and to contribute your ideas about the future of Hunter College.

You can also participate in the process by sending suggestions or opinions by e-mail to middlestates@hunter.cuny.edu.  More information can be found on our website at http://ww4.hunter.cuny.edu/middle-states.

Mellon Committee Update

On February 14, the Mellon Project Special Committee to Review the GER released its initial report to the Senate and the greater Hunter community. We urge you to read the report with care, to consider its findings, and to think about how you might contribute to the deliberations about how we move forward. It is available in the Provost's office, in the office of the Senate, and in electronic format at www.hunter.cuny.edu/mellonproject/.

The Committee has arranged for panel discussions and open forums on a variety of topics, and we strongly encourage you to attend as you are able.

Joint Doctoral Degrees and the School of Public Health

At its February 25th meeting, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved Hunter's proposal to confer joint doctoral degrees in Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Physics with the Graduate Center.  These joint degrees afford Hunter the opportunity to be acknowledged for the doctoral training that takes place at our campus.  They will also allow us to attract, support, and retain doctoral-level faculty and the strongest possible graduate students and to improve student achievement and success. Additionally, these changes will help Hunter compete for major federal research grants.

The Board also approved Hunter's proposal to offer a Doctor of Public Health (DPH) degree with the Graduate Center.  The DPH is the cornerstone of the proposed CUNY School of Public Health, which will be located at Hunter.  The first class of DPH students started in fall 2007.

Faculty Support Initiatives

In recognition of the Hunter faculty's many contributions to the college and commitment to excellence in teaching, research, and service, we are very pleased to announce two new pilot initiatives – the Presidential Faculty Tuition Benefit Program and the Summer Technology Initiative.

Presidential Faculty Tuition Benefit Program

Beginning this fall, full-time undergraduate students who are children of tenured faculty members can receive complete in-state tuition, thanks to the pilot Presidential Faculty Tuition Program. You are well aware of the wonderful opportunities a Hunter education offers.  I hope this program will serve as an added incentive for your children to make Hunter their college of choice. Additional information about this program will be announced shortly.

Summer Technology Initiative

We are excited to announce a new summer program that will help faculty members learn how to better incorporate technology in their classrooms. Participating faculty will receive help choosing the technologies that would best fit their courses and implementing and integrating that technology into their teaching. Please look out for an upcoming email detailing how you can participate.

In addition, two ongoing initiatives, Presidential Travel Awards and Laptop Subsidies, continue to be popular.

Presidential Travel Awards

The Presidential Travel Award Program supports faculty participation in art exhibits, film festivals and professional conferences where faculty present their work, chair panels, participate in workshops, interact with colleagues from around the world, and meet with present and future collaborators. Awards are also made to support data collection and other research-related activities.

Over $230,000 was distributed to 214 faculty members in the latest round of Presidential Travel Awards. Since the program was initiated in 2005-06, over $470,000 has been invested.  Congratulations to all awardees.

Laptop Subsidies

Eighty-two faculty members took advantage of the $550 subsidy we offered toward the purchase of personal laptops.  For those of you keeping score:  40 chose to purchase a Dell, and 42 chose Apple.

Hunter Looking Good

The 68th Street Campus

The Hunter campus is looking brighter. Approximately 20 classrooms in the West and North buildings have received paint jobs, and two additional stairwells in the North and Thomas Hunter buildings are being repaired.  Ceilings have been strengthened, lighting fixtures added, and carpets replaced with vinyl tile. The Departmental Annual Reports serve as the basis for determining the schedule for classroom and office renovations. Please keep this in mind when preparing your departmental reports.

The Loewe Theatre

The new heating and air conditioning system for the Loewe Theatre is now up and running, much to the excitement of the theatre department, which can now stage productions year round. New flexible risers and seating are in place and already configured for the Theatre's next performance. We are grateful to the Loewe Foundation, Hunter Board Member Harriet Gruber and Council Member Dan Garodnick for their support of this project.

Facility Upgrades

The long-awaited renovation of the pool is underway and should be completed in a few months.  Other facilities soon to be upgraded and expanded include the Senate Conference Room, the organic chemistry lab, the digital media facility, nuclear magnetic resonance, and the Animal Facility.  And we are all looking forward to the new phone system, which is scheduled to be in place by the summer.

Enhanced Classrooms

Built-in computer and video projection have been installed in almost 100 classrooms, and faculty who teach in these classrooms can now borrow laptops and portable document cameras as needed.  A list of these smart and enhanced classrooms, along with information about the laptop and portable document camera programs, can be found at the following link:


Supporting Students

Student Engagement

As part of our ongoing efforts to enhance the undergraduate experience at Hunter, we recently announced several opportunities to increase student engagement by supporting faculty work with students.  The Co-curricular Activity Initiative provides funding for student-faculty activities related to faculty courses or their scholarship (e.g., student-faculty lunches, gatherings at faculty homes, receptions, seminars, award ceremonies, film screenings, colloquia, field trips).  The Student Presentation Initiative provides funds to offset travel expenses for faculty-nominated students who will present their work at professional conferences they attend with Hunter faculty, or to organize a faculty/ student conference at Hunter.  The Student-Faculty Research Initiative supports students participating in faculty research, scholarship, and creative projects. 

To oversee the implementation of these initiatives, we are happy to welcome Linda L. Carlson back to the Hunter community as the new Acting Special Assistant to the President for Enrollment Management. Many of you will remember Linda as Hunter’s former Director of Advising and Counseling and the Chair of the Senate’s Select Committee on Academic Integrity.

Library Improvements

In response to student requests, a pilot program was instituted to have the Wexler Library open 24 hours for three nights during the fall exam period. Students embraced the extended hours, and the Libraries are already making plans to continue these extended hours for the spring semester exam period. Special thanks to Dean Louise Sherby and Circulation Desk Manager Harry Johnson for making this happen.

We are actively following up on the recommendations of the Library Task Force Report and have received a good response to our RFP for a library planner. We are looking forward to having the planner in place by early April.

In other library news, the search for a new Compact-funded position, Senior Director for Facilities and Technology in the Libraries, will begin shortly.  He or she will work closely with the Hunter community, the Libraries staff, and the Library Planner to further develop the recommendations of the President's Task Force on the Libraries.

Director of Graduate Admissions

To improve the graduate admissions process, we have created a new Office of Graduate Admissions and are pleased to announce that Milena Solo will serve as Director of Graduate Admissions.  Milena, who many of you know from her work as assistant director of admissions, is responsible for the general management of the Graduate Admissions Office, which processes graduate applications and manages the admissions processes for Hunter's Schools of Arts & Sciences, Education and Health Professions.  In addition, she will work with schools, departments and other units to facilitate student recruitment and play a key role in Hunter’s graduate enrollment management.  She will also be responsible for identifying technological needs, spearheading new initiatives, and collaborating with IT to improve and maintain the systems that support the graduate admissions processes and student recruitment efforts. 

Community Initiatives

Presidential HEO Awards

Five of Hunter’s finest employees were honored for their significant contributions to the life and productivity of the College. Renate Murray (Senate), Martin Dornbaum (Schools of Health Professions), Ed Pearlmutter (Facilities Management and Planning), Kristina Testa-Buzzee (Wellness Education), and Nadine Young (Registrar’s Office) were the recipients of the fourth annual HEO Awards.  Harry E. Johnson received a special award for his efforts in spearheading the extended-hours library program during finals week and for his 25 years of extraordinary service to the Hunter College community.  Congratulations to all the winners.

CUNY Alert

To ensure that all members of our community have immediate access to vital information about emergency situations, Hunter is taking part in the new CUNY Alert system. CUNY Alert will deliver voice or text messages about campus emergencies and weather-related closings. The first test of the CUNY Alert system took place on Tuesday, March 18, 2008. Those who signed up should have received a test message via email.

When you enroll, you select the best way to get messages: cell phone, home phone, IM, e-mail - or any combination of alerts you choose. You can sign up even if you are already a part of another emergency notification system. It's free, non-intrusive and the perfect way to keep on top of the events you need to know about. I encourage everyone at Hunter to take advantage of CUNY Alert by visiting http://www.cuny.edu/alert and subscribing to this new system.


As many of you know, CUNY has implemented the CUNY FIRST Project to provide new, University-wide policies, processes and information systems to streamline current practices and help the University become more efficient. This multi-year, multi-phase effort will modernize financial, human resource management and student administration systems.  The project is expected to be fully functional by 2012 and is being engineered to support the growth CUNY will experience in the next three decades. For more information, please visit http://first.cuny.edu.

Task Force on Sustainability

CUNY is committed to investing the resources necessary to construct, retrofit and maintain greener and more sustainable facilities. To assure a more sustainable CUNY and a sustainable New York, Executive Vice Chancellor Dobrin has created the CUNY Task Force on Sustainability. All 23 CUNY institutions are creating unique and measurable ten-year sustainability plans in order to reach CUNY's target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2017.

To meet these goals at Hunter we have created a Sustainability Task Force consisting of faculty, students and staff who are charged with creating Hunter's unique ten-year sustainability plan. For more information or if you would like to be a part of the greening of Hunter, please email green@hunter.cuny.edu.

Upcoming Events

Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute

The next Aspen at Roosevelt House Presidential Leadership discussion will take place on April 7, when Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will discuss issues surrounding the President, the Constitution, and the Court.  We encourage you to bring your students.  Please email Diana Robertson at diana.robertson@hunter.cuny.edu for more information.

We are also pleased to announce the recent inauguration of the Eleanor Roosevelt Faculty Seminar on Public Policy.  Each Thursday for the rest of the semester, scholars from across campus will convene to present and discuss their policy-related work.  We are fortunate to have Dr. Ellen Chesler, Distinguished Lecturer and Director of the Eleanor Roosevelt Initiative at Roosevelt House, lead the seminar.  For a schedule and to RSVP, please email Sindy Pierre-Noel at spierren@hunter.cuny.edu .

Distinguished Alumnus Comes to Hunter

Hunter College is pleased to present Platanos & Collard Greens, a critically-acclaimed play written by Hunter alumnus David Lamb (Class of 1987). Set at Hunter College, this thought-provoking romantic comedy addresses stereotypes, prejudices and urban myths that exist between African Americans and Latinos.

Please join us for a free performance on Thursday, April 17, 2008 at 7:30pm at The Kaye Playhouse. For tickets, contact Special Events at spevents@hunter.cuny.edu.

Distinguished Professor, Distinguished Writers

One reason the Village Voice named Hunter’s Creative Writing program "the best MFA in New York City" is the success of the Distinguished Writers Series, which brings to campus some of today’s best writers.  The series was started by the program’s director, Peter Carey, who was recently named a CUNY Distinguished Professor, and who has been receiving typical acclaim for his latest novel, His Illegal Self.  We recently welcomed Frank McCourt to the series. 

Famed poet Frank Bidart is coming to Hunter this spring as the Blair Writer in Residence. He will spend three days on campus, conduct a Master Class with current MFA in Poetry candidates, hold individual conferences with students, and give a public reading on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 7:30pm in the Faculty Dining Room. Author Russell Banks will join us on April 17, when he will read from his latest novel, The Reserve. All readings are free and open to the Hunter community. Please reserve your seat by calling 212-772-4007.

Distinguished Art

Currently on exhibit at the Leubsdorf Gallery through April 26 is a fascinating exhibition of rare Islamic art on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Many of the pieces have never before been on public display.  Under the guidance of Hunter’s own Ulku Bates, twelve Hunter art history graduate students and three doctoral students from the CUNY Graduate Center have curated the exhibition.

I hope you can find time to take part in these and other activities on campus.  And thank you again for making Hunter College such an exciting place.

Jennifer J. Raab

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