April 12, 2013
Dear Members of the CUNY Community:
I write to let you know of my intention to step down as chancellor of The City University of New York early this summer.
Serving this exceptional university alongside so many extraordinary colleagues has been the greatest privilege of my professional life. I am deeply grateful to the trustees, members of the chancellery, presidents, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends, who, every day, work so diligently to support and fulfill CUNY’s historic mission. As the first CUNY graduate to lead the University (City College, Class of 1963), I take enormous pride in what we have accomplished, together, to ensure an unparalleled educational experience for every CUNY student.
Since I began as chancellor in 1999, we have focused on raising the academic profile of the University while maintaining our fundamental goals of access and opportunity. The results of our emphasis on high standards, academic rigor, and student preparation—including our strengthened partnership with the New York City Department of Education—have been record enrollments, increased graduation rates, and more and more high-achieving students coming to CUNY. These students have the benefit of more than 2,000 additional full-time faculty members hired over the last 14 years, whose talents have greatly enhanced our core academic areas.
With the help of the state, the University has also achieved a vital measure of fiscal stability through the CUNY Compact, the initiation of a robust fundraising campaign, and a predictable tuition policy. This enables students and their families to plan more efficiently for the future and gain access to available financial aid, and is a powerful sign of stakeholder investment in our public higher education system. At the same time, University-wide accountability measures have been established to ensure consistent review, progress, and efficiency.
Our priority has always been to provide strong academic opportunities for a wide range of students. That goal has led to the creation of new schools and colleges, including the William E. Macaulay Honors College, the CUNY School of Professional Studies, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Public Health, and the New Community College, the first in the city in more than 40 years. It was also the impetus behind our Decade of Science initiative to increase student proficiency in the STEM disciplines and enhance the University’s research capacity. Most recently, our Pathways to Degree Completion initiative has created a common curricular structure to streamline student transfer, strengthen the quality of general education, and ensure system-wide learning outcomes.
Today CUNY is a transformed institution, re-energized by the creative, dedicated work of professionals across our 24 colleges and professional schools. A CUNY degree is highly valued in the marketplace of careers and ideas. I am extremely proud of the essential role the University plays in the well-being of our city, state, and nation, as well as the continued contributions of our accomplished graduates. Going forward, I know that the University’s mission will only be invigorated by the innovative work and collective efforts of our remarkable CUNY community.
I am working closely with Chairperson Benno Schmidt and the Board of Trustees to ensure a smooth transition with the appointment of an interim chancellor later this spring.
Please accept my heartfelt gratitude for your support and partnership during my tenure as chancellor and your invaluable service to the University. It has been my honor to serve this incomparable institution with you.