March 8, 2023
President Anthony E. Munroe delivered the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) State of the College address on March 7 in Theatre 1 at the college’s 199 Chambers Street campus. The podium was brightened with floral arrangements and the tiered seats filled quickly with faculty, staff and students. The program opened with remarks by BMCC Student Government Association (SGA) President Carlene Nelson, who recounted a visit to SGA by President Munroe. “He came to meet with the SGA in our office,” she said. “You have to meet people where they are. That’s respect.”
When the president took the podium, he acknowledged that “meeting people where they are” is an underlying tenet of programs and initiatives at BMCC that assess student needs and goals, and create strategies to address them. He welcomed the full audience and recognized distinguished guests including Mr. Christopher Benjamin, who was in attendance representing the Jamaica Consul General Wilson, as well as Consul General Jeremiah Hyacinth of St. Lucia.
“What we do is not a job, it’s a calling,” said the President. “We are here for the students. We are their foundation, and we are here to provide a pathway for their success. Community colleges are the engine of educational opportunity in America and we are here to prepare our students for the next phase of their journey — whether that is directly into a career or a four-year college.”
From there, the president outlined institutional achievements and shared points of pride that exemplify that commitment to student success.
Those achievements relate to six main institutional priorities: increasing enrollment; improving alignment between academic programming, student demand and workforce needs; reducing equity gaps; expanding students’ access to academic and student supports; cultivating career preparation for credit and non-credit students, and partnering with corporate and philanthropic partners.
Enrollment programs support students’ matriculation and build retention
Enrollment highlights from the State of the College address included programs at BMCC that move students from non-credit to credit classroom settings, such as the CUNY Language Immersion Program (CLIP) at BMCC’s CUNY in The Heights campus and programs including CUNY Start and Math Start at the Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center (MEOC), which is administered by BMCC.
Among other facts, this was shared: Of students who completed those programs, 78% of CUNY Start and 85% of Math Start matriculated into BMCC in Spring 2023.
The President also shared that in Fall 2022, the retention rate for Black male students at BMCC was 61.2% — higher than the average retention rate for the entire college, which in turn was the highest it has been in five years, at 61.1%.
In fact, Black men showed a retention rate increase of 25%, and Hispanic men showed a 30% increase in retention this past year.
The retention rates are even higher in BMCC’s cohort programs: 67% for Hispanic men, and 72% for Black men.
Pathways to four-year colleges and careers are strengthened by new partnerships
As President Munroe explained, the hard work at BMCC to align academic programs with transfer opportunities and workforce entry is enhanced by partnerships including the BMCC Baruch College Business Academy, which provides a clear path for BMCC Business Management graduates to enter Baruch College.
To ensure that BMCC graduates transfer to CUNY colleges without loss of credit, pathways are being solidified by BMCC’s participation in the CUNY-wide Academic Momentum 2.0 project.
More detailed updates on that project will be presented in the Academic Momentum 2.0 Town Hall set for March 13 at 2 p.m. in Theatre 2 at 199 Chambers Street.
Strengthening transfer pathways to baccalaureate programs includes the A.A.S. program review.
BMCC’s intentional approach to career pathways also includes development of a Patient Navigator certificate program, which will integrate the college’s Medical Office Assistant training that leads to a nationally recognized credential.
Another example is a collaboration between the Computer Information Sciences (CIS) department and the BMCC Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development. Together, faculty and staff are working to ensure that students who complete the Cloud Computing program receive credit toward an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in CIS.
Addressing equity gaps: “At BMCC, there is no stigma associated with needing help.”
The Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) recently invited BMCC to join its efforts to advance diversity and inclusion on college campuses. BMCC’s programs that bolster equity are wide-ranging and include the Anti-Racist Pedagogy Project and the college’s Race, Equity and Inclusion (REI) committee.
In the past year, REI presented recommendations relating to many facets of the college, including those that reflect their work with BMCC Public Safety and the SGA to improve a sense of belonging on campus, and introducing a campus climate survey.
REI will present Social Justice Week April 24 through 28, sharing their work and inviting feedback from the college community.
Another program that works to reduce equity gaps is BMCC’s Conexiónes and Connections Title V program focused on academic and other support for Black and Hispanic students, as well as other lower-income students. In the past year, Conexiónes and Connections partnered with the President’s Fund for Excellence and Innovation-awarded program Gaining Insight and New Strategies (GAINS) to help students raise their GPA back up to a passing level.
Because equity is directly impacted by access to basic needs support, the BMCC Advocacy and Resource Center (ARC), Early Childhood Center, Office of Accessibility and Counseling Center assist students with housing and food insecurity, childcare needs and other compelling life issues that interrupt their success as students.
Funders who have joined these efforts include Amazon Go. More than 2,600 meals have been distributed to more than 400 students since Fall 2022.
“At BMCC, there is no stigma associated with needing help,” the President iterated. “We are here for our students and we will never waiver in that support.”
Reducing equity gaps means improving access to services and support structures that connect students with the academic support. Nearly 4,500 students attended tutoring sessions in Fall 2022, a 17% increase over the previous year.
Getting Our Students to the Finish Line, a student and faculty support services symposium, will be held March 29 and will provide information on these and many other equity-related programs at BMCC.
Paid internships help kickstart careers
A total of 746 students at BMCC held internships through programs at BMCC so far, this academic year. Partners including BNY provide workplace experience that opens doors for students building the foundation for their careers.
In addition, in Spring 2023, BMCC registered 49 continuing apprentices across three corporate and community partners: Zurich North America, Aon and TransRe.
Career preparation partners also include BNY Mellon, Google, Moody’s, Goldman Sachs, CITI, Morgan Stanley and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU).
The CUNY Inclusive Economy grant has enabled new hires to join the BMCC community and increase students’ access to paid opportunities related to their majors. These new hires will work with cohorts of 200 students from academic departments including CIS, Health Education, and Media Arts and Technology.
President Munroe acknowledged at the close of the State of the College address that while the points of pride are many at BMCC, there is still much work to do.
“Too many students are not retained, semester to semester,” the President said. “Too many students struggle with food and housing insecurity, and there are too few paid internships and apprenticeships for them to take advantage of. We must continue our best practices, modify operations, and continue growing, to meet our students’ needs.”
Funders and corporate partners are essential to the BMCC mission
As President Munroe shared points of pride, partnerships, initiatives as more, there was much acknowledgement of funding partners in both the corporate and non-profit sector who embrace BMCC’s institutional priorities of increasing equity, career access, academic excellence and more.
The tremendous generosity of funders who understand the compelling social and economic impact of the BMCC mission are many, and their relationships with BMCC are both new and go back decades.
These friends of the College and champions of BMCC students include Amazon Go, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, Blackstone, Bank of America, BNY and the BNY Mellon Foundation, the Carol and Milton Petrie Foundation, the Heckscher Foundation, Morehouse College, philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the Lincoln Foundation Fund, New York Life, State Farm, the New York Community Trust, Trinity Wall Street Philanthropies, the Robin Hood Foundation, the Pinkerton Foundation, the New York City Council and the Ichigo Foundation.
See full presentation (pdf) from the 2023 State of the College address.
BMCC President Anthony E. Munroe delivered the State of the College address on March 7 in Theatre 1 at the college’s 199 Chambers Street campus.
“What we do is not a job, it’s a calling,” said the President. “We are here for the students. We are their foundation, and we are here to provide a pathway for their success.”
That pathway to careers and higher degrees relates to the college’s six institutional priorities: increasing enrollment; improving alignment between academic programming, student demand and workforce needs; reducing equity gaps; expanding access to academic and student supports; cultivating career preparation for credit and non-credit students, and partnering with corporate and philanthropic partners