By Samip Delhiwala
Published: October 4th, 2017
Brooklyn College President Michelle Anderson held the Fall 2017 Stated Meeting of the Faculty on Tuesday at 12:30pm in the Gold Room on the 6th floor of the Student Center.
With the aid of a PowerPoint presentation, Anderson discussed seven main points as part of her agenda for the afternoon: new faculty members and senior administrators, last year’s budget and its impact, this year’s budget, fall enrollment, faculty diversity, the “We Stand Against Hate” series, and the new BC Strategic Plan, which Anderson and many others have been working extensively on the past few months.
After discussing this year’s new budget cuts and a push for more faculty diversity within departments at BC, Anderson called upon Dr. Tammy Lewis, a sociology professor and Special Assistant to the President for Strategic Planning, to elaborate on the new strategic plan, towards the end of the presentation.
“Too often, after working so hard on these plans, they end up sitting on the shelf for five years,” Anderson said, before Lewis spoke about the plan. “This is not like that. We will review it and have benchmarks on what we will accomplish every year, especially with the allocation of resources.”
“I want you to be involved in the process, and we must hold ourselves accountable to get there,” she added.
Lewis then discussed her involvement in the strategic plan drafting. After Anderson conducted her listening tours, she appointed five committees that were tasked with coming up with strategic plan goals. These committees, along with faculty, administration, and students, gave material to Lewis, who took this material and synced it with the work the City University of New York (CUNY) has been doing at the broader level in terms of putting together strategic framework.
She is currently working on looking at the goals that everyone has collectively come up with and amending them by changing the wording and adding or removing goals. She will be collecting student and faculty thoughts until Nov. 20, when the revised goals will be posted online with accompanying draft strategic actions. Comments on the strategic actions will be allowed until Dec. 13.
Lewis praised BC students for being so involved in drafting the goals.
“I’ve met with a few organizations and individuals, like the Magner Center, alums, academic departments, department chairs, and program directors, but I was amazed by the student governments,” she said. “I met with the evening student government last week, and after discussing the plan with me they sat for another three hours and drafted up a three-page document of concerns and suggestions for me. The students have been heavily involved.”
Lewis also stressed sharing the progress of developing the strategic plan with the BC community.
“When we hit a benchmark, we want to announce and celebrate it,” she said. “As a community, we can see that we are moving towards reaching those goals.”
According to the timeline sheet handed out to all attendees of the meeting, there is another Town Hall meeting planned on Dec. 5 at 12:30pm in the Maroon Room on the 6th floor of the Student Center. It is geared towards the entire campus community to voice its suggestions, concerns, or comments on the BC Strategic Plan Draft Goals.
In February of 2018, a complete draft of the plan will be posted online. A Town Hall meeting is also scheduled for Feb. 15. The final draft is scheduled to be ready in March, and sometime afterwards, BC plans to submit the final 2018-2023 strategic plan to CUNY for review and approval.
“I think it’s great that [Anderson and Lewis] are being so proactive about the plan and gathering ideas from everyone,” English professor James Davis said. “Like they said, it won’t be sitting on the shelf.”
Anderson also discussed her “We Stand Against Hate” program, a series of 25 panels and seminars from last semester that focused on topics such as immigration, surveillance, and the First Amendment.
“They were a huge success last semester, and we hope to continue the program this semester,” Anderson said. “People really enjoyed attending them, as they were challenging, engaging, and interesting.”
She hopes to include events this semester about the Trump administration rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy, as well as sessions about cultural narratives, gun control, the future of policing, and countering anti-Semitism and other forms of hate. For the near future, Anderson also would like to have events about immigration and national security, the importance of a robust and free press, and campus free speech.
Anderson closed the presentation with a brief summary of what she generally wants Brooklyn College to achieve, before inviting the faculty for lunch in the penthouse.
“We want this institution to be more accessible to both students and faculty, and we want them to feel welcome,” she said. “This should be a place that is warm, welcoming, and open, and a place of critical discourse and learning.”