State of the University
This will be my last annual report before my retirement this summer as president of this great university, and it has been my privilege and honor to work with you during my tenure.
The 2019-2020 year was anything but normal. We began the year on a high note, with enrollment looking particularly promising after a summer and fall of higher-than-normal visits by prospective students and a very robust inquiry pool. The first Admitted Student Day on February 23, 2020, garnered the largest number of attendees in our history.
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Shortly thereafter, the pandemic caused everything to change, here and around the world. The University acted swiftly and decisively to safeguard our students and our community, canceling classes for the week of March 9, and then shortly thereafter announcing that classes would be held remotely. By March 17, residential students were notified that they would be required to vacate the residence halls (except for those with exceptional circumstances). The faculty stepped up, and with the assistance of Information Technology Services (ITS), quickly adapted to using Zoom, and the semester, including exams, ended remotely. Student support, including advising, counseling, and tutoring, continued virtually, as did other means of engagement. In addition to successfully completing the semester, during the spring the University began its planning for the upcoming academic year. Health and safety rules were adopted, density reduced in all spaces, including the residence halls, classrooms reconfigured, and testing protocols developed, enabling the University to reopen on August 24.
The University, because of its quick action in reducing expenses, managed to offset the revenue shortfalls and additional COVID-related expenses to finish the 2019-2020 year without a deficit. Moreover, enrollment for fall 2020 exceeded the approved lower budget for both undergraduate and graduate students. However, recognizing the uncertainty surrounding the remainder of this year and beyond, we continue to monitor and to plan for all contingencies. Set forth below is a brief summary of the past year.
In March 2020, as the coronavirus began its assault on the Northeast, the University acted rapidly and decisively, closing campus for the week of March 9, and then planning the transition from in-person to remote learning. The University thereafter notified the community that all courses would be held online immediately following spring break. Residential students were told to return to their homes by March 22, with the exception of those unable to travel home safely or with other circumstances that prevented them from leaving, approximately 100 students. The faculty did a terrific job in transitioning from in-person instruction to online instruction with the help of Information Technology Services, and Student Affairs and all other departments worked tirelessly to offer all services remotely. The University refunded residential room fees and unspent dining plans, amounting to approximately $12 million. Commencement was postponed until August, and then a ceremony was held remotely.
During the late spring and summer, all units of the University worked on plans and contingencies for the following year. I convened a Reopening Committee that met frequently to review issues and plan for the 2020-2021 academic year. The committee included Dean Kathleen Gallo of the Hofstra Northwell School of Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies, and Dean Lawrence Smith of the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, who worked with other experts at Northwell Health in guiding the testing protocols for the University. Provost Herman A. Berliner also established a committee that worked on scheduling courses and preparing spaces to house in-person classes in strict compliance with social distancing.
Based on the recommendations of those committees, I approved an earlier start date for the fall (August 24, 2020) to permit in-person undergraduate classes to end before Thanksgiving, with exams taken remotely shortly thereafter.
After the governor announced in late June that institutions of higher education could reopen in New York, subject to reopening plans complying with guidance, the University worked on and ultimately submitted its plan. The final decision to offer in-person classes was a difficult one that involved lengthy discussions and was made after the faculty had been fully briefed through a series of meetings with the provost and other administrators throughout the summer. In light of New York state’s low positivity rate at the time, the desire of students to return to campus, the benefits of in-person instruction, and the availability of testing and monitoring with the help of Northwell Health, the University decided to proceed with the August 24 reopening.
Facilities: A team of Hofstra engineers, engineering consultants, and building operators reviewed the ventilation in all Hofstra buildings. Hofstra also began enhancing air filtration by installing MERV- 13 air filters where feasible throughout campus. The University installed Plexiglas partitions to create additional separation, particularly in reception areas and other high-volume office or classroom areas. Ten outdoor tents were installed to provide additional space for students to eat lunch, study, and attend classes remotely. Outdoor wireless service was added in six on-campus areas to serve students working in the tents. Campus internet connections were reengineered and overall capacity more than doubled, with additional dedicated connectivity to global research networks and to major content providers such as Microsoft, Amazon Cloud, and Netflix.
Dining: The main dining area in the Mack Student Center was reduced in capacity from 226 to 88; buffets, salad bars, and self-serve coffee and condiment stations were eliminated; and take-out and grab-and-go options were increased with online ordering features, using only paper plates and plastic utensils in prewrapped packages.
Academics: Classes were designed to be offered in a flexible mix, including in-person, hybrid, and fully online, so that students who wished to do so could switch to all remote learning for the full semester or for a particular period. Modifications were made to classrooms to facilitate social distancing, which reduced average room capacity by as much as 70%. Classes were moved to larger spaces, using unconventional areas, including event and athletic spaces, to house classes and to maintain students’ existing schedules where feasible. Other modifications allowed students to learn remotely. Lecture-capturing technology was installed in an additional 100 classrooms. The number of portable lecture-capture devices and other portable technology for use by faculty in nontraditional spaces or on-location teaching sessions was also increased. A new advanced video studio dedicated to faculty lectures was completed.
Health and safety: In consultation with Northwell Health, testing protocols were adopted: Testing on arrival of all residential students and students from states under travel advisory was required and recommended for all commuting students. Throughout the semester, symptomatic testing has been available at Student Health Services, and mandatory surveillance testing of a random selection of residential and commuting students takes place weekly. As necessary, additional testing would take place to deal with outbreaks or trends. To have space for isolation and quarantine, the University also set aside six townhouses (with 175 bedrooms). Student Affairs helped provide these rooms with linens, health packs, and toiletries, as well as arranging for food delivery, support groups, and programming opportunities specific to students’ quarantine or isolation experience.
Wearing masks is required, as part of a zero-tolerance policy, in all campus buildings and outdoors where it is not possible to socially distance. New Health and Safety conduct provisions were adopted, and student ambassadors were trained to help create a community culture of responsibility and safety. Employees reported their testing results through the Human Resources Office.
We are fortunate that we had very low positivity rates from our on-campus testing of students. Surveillance testing took place weekly; in all, we administered 3,706 random surveillance tests with 33 positive results, a positivity rate below 1%. We also administered tests to our students upon arrival (also below 1% positivity) and finally to students who sought a test at Student Health Services. In the final week of the semester, we followed the NYS guidelines and offered exiting students a free test. More than 850 students came in for the test, and the positivity rate remained below 1%, lower than most of the state. In all, the University administered over 8,000 tests. Students also arranged for off-campus tests that were ultimately reported to the University. We provided daily updates about all testing on our Safe Start webpage and reported to NYS on the school report site.
The pandemic also caused serious financial issues for Hofstra and for all institutions of higher education. In the spring and summer, the University immediately began planning for a revised budget for the 2020- 2021 year. A series of scenarios were reviewed to address the range of possibilities when fall semester operations were uncertain. A revised budget was developed based on potential enrollment declines, reduced housing occupancy, and reduced revenues from rentals, investment earnings, and other auxiliary activities. In addition, increased expenses were needed for COVID-19 precautionary measures, including equipment, PPE, and testing.
The University announced that there would be no administrative raises in 2020-2021 and senior management reduced compensation in the 2019-2020 year. Following extensive discussions, the faculty agreed to forgo raises for the 2020-2021 year. Other unions also agreed to no raises this year or to otherwise reduce benefits. Personnel reductions and furloughs took place among administrators and staff, and others have been assigned reduced workweeks. Vice presidents and deans worked to further reduce expenses and, after consultation, made difficult decisions necessary to arrive at the target budget.
We are all deeply grateful to the faculty, administrators, and staff who acted in the best interest of all so that the University could continue to provide the excellent education that it is known for, during the pandemic and beyond. We understand the many sacrifices that the budget reductions entailed and are so proud of the collective efforts of all involved. The 2020-2021 year delivered great uncertainty, with no historical basis to predict student behavior and no way to know whether the virus will worsen and what the spring semester will bring. Although fall 2020 enrollment numbers came in above the revised budget, the numbers are still well below last year’s numbers and the course of the virus for the spring is still uncertain. In addition, the 2021-2022 first-year student numbers are impossible to predict, given the reduction in campus visits compared to prior years, the absence of test scores for many, travel restrictions imposed by New York state, and continued uncertainty about the virus and possible vaccines.
The expense reductions for 2020-2021 also benefited the 2019-2020 budget year, since some of these reductions began during the summer. In 2019-2020, the University spent approximately $12 million in refunding half of the spring housing costs as well as unused dining plan points when the residence halls were closed and students sent home, and the coronavirus relief bill covered only $3.1 million of that shortfall. Revenue was further reduced by the elimination of Hofstra Summer Camps, event rentals, and investment earnings as interest rates dropped to close to zero. However, Summer Session enrollment exceeded expectations. Unexpected additional expense savings came from operations and what most likely will be temporary reductions in healthcare expenses, all of which helped to offset the revenue losses. Despite the significant challenges along the way, the 2019-2020 year will close with a balanced budget.
As we approached the month of March this past year, the Office of Enrollment Management was cautiously optimistic about fall 2020 recruitment efforts and anticipated enrollments. All indicators were up: admission offers, campus visits, and deposits.
When the pandemic hit, Enrollment Management acted quickly to convert the scheduled admitted student events into virtual events, and continued to host virtual events throughout the spring and summer. Because of our ability to pivot quickly, and in many instances faster than our peers, Hofstra’s virtual events attracted students throughout the summer and kept them engaged.
The University was very concerned about what to expect in terms of first-year student enrollment in fall 2020, because of the unpredictability of the path of the virus. The University prepared for all eventualities, proposing a budget that significantly reduced the target number of new first-year students. As it turned out, the first-year class entering in fall 2020 exceeded our expectations and we enrolled 1,390 new first-year students, significantly lower than the original budget but well above the revised budget. In addition, we enrolled 176 new transfer students, which exceeded the revised budget but fell short of the original budget.
The first-year class is highly accomplished. The average GPA, the variable we find correlates most with success at Hofstra, is 3.73 (highest in our history), compared to 3.67 in 2019. The entering first-year class has an average SAT score of 1246, compared to 1249 last year. The average ACT of the class this year reports 27, flat with last year. Once again, 32% of the entering first-year class, in schools that ranked, graduated in the top 10% of their class.
As many students preferred to stay closer to home because of the pandemic, this year’s first-year class contained 27 more students from New York state than last year, constituting 62% of the class, compared to 55% in 2019. The first-year class remains quite diverse, with 41% of students self-reporting as students of color, compared to approximately 43% last year. We admitted 255 Honors College students, compared to 275 last year. Seventeen percent of the entering first-year class applied using our test-optional policy, compared to 19% last year. COVID-19 and the prevalence of the virus in the New York area in late spring affected recruitment efforts in farther away areas, and more students chose to delay enrollment or stay closer to home.
As anticipated, we enrolled fewer international undergraduate students than expected. We expect that it will take some time for the international student numbers to increase, particularly while travel bans and trade disputes continue with China, which has supplied the largest number of students in the past.
Transfers continue to be our most price-sensitive cohort, as well as the most local. The price-sensitive nature of this population and the dramatic change in our economy, combined with the impact of COVID-19 on college enrollment in general, caused enrollments to drop.
We are happy to report a successful graduate enrollment cycle. Fall 2020 new graduate student enrollment was 1,157 – well above the prior year. Many graduate programs came in above budget, including programs in the School of Health Professions and Human Services and Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (including the School of Education). Also important to note, the Zarb School of Business, even though suffering a dramatic loss of international students, met enrollment goals. Continuing graduate student enrollment was also better than expected and above the revised budget, enrolling 1,644, although down slightly from last year and from the original budget.
To attract new undergraduate students, the University has developed an undergraduate nursing program, which will start in September 2021. There is a clear demand for nurses with baccalaureate degrees, and we believe that this program will bring in a new pool of undergraduate applicants. A new doctoral program in nursing will begin in fall 2021, and a doctorate in physical therapy program is expected to attract new graduate applicants starting in September 2024.
RETENTION AND SATISFACTION
The one-year retention rate for the full-time, first-year entering class of 2019 was 82%, a slight decrease from last year’s 83%, but a success given the current volatility in higher education due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and significantly higher than the retention rate of 74% in 2001.
Hofstra’s standard assessment of student experiences was put on hold for spring 2020 to conduct surveys more in line with the issues our students were facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One such survey focused on remote learning and showed that most students were satisfied with their ability to access technology and instructors and noted that CUA advising deans and faculty advisors were responsive to emails.
Tying with the record high achieved by the prior year’s cohort, Hofstra’s fall 2014 full-time, first-year entering students have a six-year graduation rate of 65%. Fall 2016 entering students have a four-year graduation rate of 59%, a slight drop compared to the fall 2015 cohort’s four-year graduation rate of 60%; the fall 2015 cohort already has a five-year graduation rate of 68%, which is expected to increase to 70% by the six-year reporting period. This compares very favorably with the 56% (six-year) and 37% (four-year) graduation rates reported in 2001.
DEVELOPMENT AND ALUMNI AFFAIRS
At the beginning of the academic year, the University undertook a feasibility and planning study to assess its immediate priorities and prepare for a new multiyear fundraising endeavor. It was important for the University to obtain feedback and guidance of Board members, alumni, friends, and the community in this process and in setting expectations. At the same time, Hofstra continued its long-term commitment to engage its alumni and friends in order to raise critical support for student scholarships. This has been at the forefront of the University’s fundraising efforts for more than a decade.
As COVID-19 forced the shutdown of every institution in New York and beyond, it became apparent that emergency student assistance was essential. This area of student assistance, along with supporting our current and future nurses and physician assistants, became an immediate priority. As a result, the University embarked on an online effort, in early April, to raise critical support for a Student Emergency Assistance Fund. Through the generosity of many of Hofstra’s alumni and friends, more than $150,000 was raised within a three-week period. In addition, during that period the University had to pivot from its traditional Annual Gala to a virtual/online event. The Gala honored the Hofstra Northwell School of Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies – practitioners, advocates, and healthcare leaders on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a first of its kind event for Hofstra, more than $800,000 was raised in support of the school.
Although in-person activity had to cease, the Office for Alumni Affairs built a robust online program that allowed for significant engagement. More than 30 virtual events took place, including networking nights, happy hours, panels, and featured speakers. Alumni in the Black/Hispanic Alumni Association (BHAA), Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD), Radio, Dance, Herbert School, and our regional groups came together to listen, share, and network. In addition, our alumni group boards continued to meet, recruit new members, and elect new officers.
ACADEMIC INITIATIVES AND ENHANCEMENTS
It is a testament to the University and especially the faculty that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University was able to successfully transition from largely in-person classes to remote classes in less than a two-week period. The transition involved over 2,000 classes, and nearly all classes were able to transition due to the commitment of our community. Training workshops continued during the summer, and the combination of enhanced equipment, additional time, and assistance from ITS enabled the fall courses taught remotely to be significantly enhanced. The Office of the Provost benefited from the addition of S. Stavros Valenti, professor of psychology, who joined the office as vice provost for accreditation and assessment as of January 1, 2020.
The academic areas, under the leadership of their respective deans, have been active in developing new initiatives and further strengthening academic visibility. Key academic area accomplishments and initiatives include:
The Fred DeMatteis School of Engineering and Applied Science advanced to the top 15% of 220 non-PhD-granting engineering schools in the United States according to the 2021 U.S. News & World Report rankings released in September 2020. After several successful ABET visits, the school now boasts five accredited degree programs and is seeking three initial accreditations for its Bioengineering, Civil Engineering. and Industrial Engineering programs in 2020-2021.
The state-of-the-art Hofstra Cybersecurity Innovation and Research Center opened in November 2019 and serves as the linchpin for the new interdisciplinary MS in Cybersecurity program, overseen by both the DeMatteis School and the Zarb School.
The Maurice A. Deane School of Law continued its noteworthy initiatives during the pandemic. Its clinics and medical-legal partnership with Northwell Health met clients virtually and provided much- needed legal services. Hofstra Law also launched new innovative programs: an Advocacy Boot Camp to introduce first-year students to the courtroom world, and an online Summer Skills Institute to train students in legal technology, transactional law, and litigation. In fall 2020, the Law School enrolled its most selective class in three years and once again improved its LSAT admission credentials.
The School of Health Professions and Human Services (HPHS) continued to grow as a national leader in preparing students to meet the increasing demand for healthcare professionals. With its pulse on the needs of the healthcare workforce, HPHS launched two fully online graduate programs, a Master of Health Administration (MHA) and MSEd in Health Professions Education. The school also received approval from the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) to increase the Occupational Therapy graduate cohort by 29%. With the support of key partners, the school initiated three fellowships for HPHS graduate and undergraduate students: The Marques Colston Fellowship in Health, the Michael Blisko/Infinity Health Care Management Fellowship, and the Parker Jewish Institute MHA Fellowship. HPHS also launched The State of H.O.P.E. (Healthcare Opportunities and Policy Exchange), an event series led by Kemp Hannon, Hofstra Health Policy Fellow and former chair of the NYS Senate Health Committee.
In summer 2020, the Public Health faculty chaired subcommittees for the Communication and Education Committee as part of Hofstra’s Safe Start initiatives. Additionally, the University launched Hofstra Health Ambassadors, a new peer education program – led by Associate Professor of Health Professions Sharon Phillips – designed to engage students about safe practices during the pandemic.
Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, with its outstanding faculty, continued to build successfully on providing quality education to our students. Billboard magazine recognized Hofstra University’s Music Department and its BS in Music Business program in its 2020 roundup of the country’s “Best Music Business Schools.” Faculty across HCLAS were actively engaged in research, teaching, and service, with some receiving national and international recognition for their work. In 2019-2020, HCLAS students presented papers at over 25 regional, national, and international scholarly conferences and events. They published articles in scholarly journals and chapters in edited volumes, performed at concert halls and theaters, and exhibited works of art at galleries.
Faculty development workshops focused on diversity and inclusion were held, and the college was proud to co-sponsor many of the events connected with the Legacy 1619-2019 series exploring the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in British North America. One of the highlights of the past year was the quadrennial trip to New Hampshire for our students to observe the politicking preceding the 2020 New Hampshire presidential primary.
The School of Education continued to produce among the best-prepared and qualified teachers in the state as reflected by our graduates’ employment success. The school worked closely with the New York State Education Department to ensure that all our student teachers in the spring 2020 semester were able to complete their required student teaching hours with a combination of on-site and online teaching experiences. Our students continue to have exceptionally high results on NY State Teacher Certification Exams and the national assessment called the edTPA. Also receiving a boost in the U.S.News & World Report graduate school rankings, the school moved up to 133rd in the nation from 143rd last year.
Hofstra University Honors College (HUHC), now in its 20th year, continued to enrich the experiences of over 1,300 HUHC students who are drawn from all of Hofstra’s schools, colleges, and majors, including 40 NCAA Division I athletes. In fall 2020, HUHC flagship courses, called Culture and Expression, enrolled 255 first-year students, along with a small number of advanced students who joined HUHC on the strength of their GPA at Hofstra. This semester, over 590 students are pursuing enriched courses of study and working directly with faculty in regular Hofstra courses via the HUHC Honors Option program. HUHC is also offering special seminars focused on the 2020 presidential election, including Tracking the 2020 Election (Professor Andrea Libresco), Political Marketing (Professor Shawn Thelen), Political Ideologies (Professor David Green), and Health Policy and the 2020 Election (Professor Julius Wool). In addition, HUHC is continuing its partnership with the Center for Civic Engagement and the Liberty Partnerships Program to provide tutoring and mentoring for students at Hempstead High School and Barack Obama Elementary School.
Hofstra Northwell School of Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies continues to excel both in nursing and physician assistant studies. The graduate nursing program graduated an additional 55 nurse practitioners, nine registered nurse first assistants, and 19 sexual assault nurse examiners. The first two cohorts of nurse practitioners have achieved first-time board pass rates significantly higher than the national average at 93% in 2018, 98% in 2019, and 99% in 2020. The inaugural class in the MS in Cardiovascular Sciences and Perfusion Medicine program graduated on August 30, 2020, with 100% of the first class employed prior to graduation.
The Physician Assistant Studies Program PANCE (board) scores are well above the national average for last five years, with the five-year first-time taker average at 99%, combined with low attrition rates. The Class of 2018 had a 100% first-time taker pass rate.
The Hofstra Northwell School of Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies, under the leadership of Dean Kathleen Gallo, assumed oversight of Student Health Services and, with others at Northwell Health and at Hofstra, is responsible for the COVID-19 testing protocol developed for the fall. Hofstra University’s master’s in nursing was one of several programs to see a jump in the 2021 rankings released by U.S. News & World Report (Graduate School 2021 rankings). The five-year-old graduate nursing program, housed in the Hofstra Northwell School of Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies, has broken through to the top 100 programs of its kind in the country. Finally, after several years of work, planning for the new undergraduate nursing program is complete, with a fall 2021 start date.
The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University was named to Variety magazine’s 2020 list of top film schools around the globe, and Herbert School professors Russell Harbaugh and Geoff Tarson were recognized as top educators for their outstanding work in the school’s Film and Television Writing program. This is the fourth time in six years that the Herbert School has been singled out by Variety; in addition to this year’s honors, it was recognized in 2017 (Stellar Film Schools), 2016 (Best Showbiz Programs), and 2015 (110 Students to Watch). WRHU-88.7 FM, Radio Hofstra University, won its third National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Award as the 2019 College Radio Station of the Year. In addition, Dean Mark Lukasiewicz was named one of the nation’s top journalism educators for 2020 by Crain’s NewsPro magazine.
Nine student staffers of the monthly sketch comedy show Thursday Nite Live, produced at The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, won a national 2020 College Television Award for best variety show. Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon announced Hofstra as the winner during a livestream of the annual awards show on May 30. The honors are presented by the Television Academy Foundation, the charitable arm of the Television Academy, which produces the Emmy Awards each year.
The Herbert School announced new programs that include a BFA in Filmmaking, a BFA in Writing for the Screen, a fully online MA in Public Relations with a focus on crisis and reputation management, an Immersive Media interdisciplinary minor, and a revamped MA in Journalism program with concentrations in sports and entertainment journalism and investigative and community journalism.
As part of its commitment to community journalism, the Herbert School launched a multimedia student news outlet, The Long Island Advocate, which aims to serve the suburban communities surrounding Hofstra University with in-depth reporting, news, and information.
The Frank G. Zarb School of Business saw renovations completed in C.V. Starr Hall, including the Martin B. Greenberg Trading Room, all classrooms, and a state-of-the-art recording studio. The Zarb School of Business, jointly with the DeMatteis School of Engineering and Applied Science, inaugurated the Hofstra Cybersecurity Innovation and Research Center, with two new programs approved by the New York State Education Department: the MBA in Cybersecurity and the MS in Cybersecurity. Two new graduate certificate programs in marketing – Social Media Marketing and Marketing Research and Analytics – were offered for the first time, and our online MBA program launched a new generation of enhanced program courses. The school had a strong enrollment in the Advanced Business Leadership certificate program, a pathway to the MBA, with 40 enrollees in the second year of the program.
The school expanded its participation in Bloomberg Market Concepts (BMC) for all BBA and MBA students, leading to Bloomberg Experiential Learning Partner designation. The school also developed a new MS in Global Business Foundations, a new MS in Accounting Analytics program, a new certificate program in Advanced Business Leadership, and a revised MS in Marketing Research program that combines marketing research and analytics. The school earned AACSB five-year dual reaccreditation for both its business programs and its accounting programs. Twenty-three of our MBA students participated in co-ops with 19 of our corporate partners. In addition, the school had classroom- consulting projects with MSG, Marcum LLP, Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, New York Riptide, and Huntington Hospital. Zarb undergraduate students in Introduction to International Business participated in virtual global teams through X-Culture Project.
The Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell has been recognized among the top medical schools nationwide for medical research and primary care for five years in a row (U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021). During 2019-2020, the Zucker School of Medicine underwent a rigorous evaluation process and achieved the full eight-year accreditation term from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the national accrediting body for all U.S. and Canadian medical schools leading to the MD degree. As the COVID-19 pandemic reached the New York metropolitan area in the spring, medical students in their final year graduated a month early and had the option to begin temporary employment at Northwell Health hospitals to assist in the health crisis before beginning their residencies in July. Zucker graduates began their residencies in the summer within 19 different states and 23 specialty areas across the United States; 30 newly minted physicians began their careers at Northwell Health.
Together, faculty and students at the Zucker School of Medicine contributed to many areas of scientific/ clinical research and published 2,087 unique articles, book chapters, textbooks, and abstracts in 2019-2020. The school’s local community outreach included the Healthy Living Long Island initiative, an ongoing program in which medical students partner with Barack Obama Elementary School in Hempstead, NY, to educate youngsters about a healthy lifestyle. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, 39% of the student body took on clinical and nonclinical volunteer opportunities, to the aid of the healthcare system, patients, caretakers, and community. Medical student volunteers played a vital role in enrolling over 150 research subjects into clinical trials at the Feinstein Institutes to evaluate the efficacy of emerging COVID-19 therapies. In 2020, the Zucker School of Medicine celebrated its very first five-year reunion of the inaugural class of 29 physicians who graduated in 2015.
The Provost’s Office for Research and Sponsored Programs reported that in 2019-2020, the University was awarded 37 grants totaling $7 million. Numerous prestigious grants were awarded, including:
- Professor Jamie Mitus, Department of Counseling and Mental Health Professions, received a $1 million grant from the United States Department of Education (USDOE) for a five-year project to support the Rehabilitation Training Long-Term Training Program in Rehabilitation Counseling.
- Michael Hacker and Anthony Gordon, Center for STEM Research, received a $999,968 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a three-year project to support a professional development program to prepare high school technology and engineering teachers to teach Advanced Placement level computer science principles courses.
- Professor Kathleen Lynch, Department of Biology, received a $997,836 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a five-year research project to examine parental care to identify the biological basis of brood parasitic behavior in birds.
- Professor Saryn Goldberg, Department of Engineering, and Professor Amy Masnick, Department of Psychology, received a $225,040 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a three-year collaborative research project to train engineering students to ask better questions.
- Professor Jennifer Gundlach (Hofstra Law), in collaboration with Professor Jessica Santangelo (Department of Biology), Visiting Professor C. Benjie Louis (Hofstra Law), Nicole Lefton (Hofstra Law), and Cara Caporale (Hofstra Law), received a $125,000 grant from Access Lex Center for Legal Education Excellence for a two-year project to support a study of the impact of an integrated metacognition instruction model to improve bar passage.
- Laura Fetter, Scott Skodnek Business Development Center, received a $100,000 grant from Empire State Development to support the COVID-19 disaster relief technical assistance program.
Center for Entrepreneurship
Over the course of the 2019-2020 academic year, the Center for Entrepreneurship supported over 100 entrepreneurs building early-stage companies who were faced with the economic challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The center also provided entrepreneurial training to hundreds of students through the Hofstra-Digital Remedy Venture Challenge, Hofstra’s student-run record label, academic collaborations, consulting opportunities, and internships.
The Center for Entrepreneurship leveraged its over $2.4 million in multiyear grants to offer these opportunities. The center continued to launch new programs, including the Hofstra Veterans Venture Challenge to support brave men and women who protected our country, and the Small Business Recovery Program to provide financial counseling to businesses seeking loans.
The center quickly pivoted to virtual programming when the pandemic hit our country, region, and campus in March 2020. From March through August 2020, the center coordinated nearly 90 virtual events with over 2,700 participants on Zoom or YouTube, 425 mentor sessions, six pitch competitions, and internships for more than two dozen students, and it administered the ideaHUb incubator program virtually. Entrepreneurs supported by the center have received over $600,000 in prize money since the center was established in 2015.
The Center for Entrepreneurship integrates diversity, inclusion, and equity in everything it does. Several programs have a majority of women and diverse founder representation. This includes Ascend Long Island, which has a mission to support the growth and scaling up of minority business enterprises on Long Island in partnership with The National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University®.
With an emphasis on the economic development of underserved Nassau County communities, Ascend Long Island helps these entrepreneurs win contracts from larger companies and provides them with training using the model developed by the national Ascend Cities program. Ascend Long Island is funded by JPMorgan Chase and attracted new funding from the PSEGLI Foundation and the Long Island Community Foundation this year. Additionally, the Healthcare Entrepreneurship Community Challenge, a program funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, launched its third year and continues to support entrepreneurs who are advancing health equity in underserved communities in our region.
The Center for Entrepreneurship coordinated the eighth iteration of the University’s entrepreneurship competition for students, the Hofstra-Digital Remedy Venture Challenge, with $75,000 in prizes sponsored by Mike Seiman, Hofstra alumnus and member of the Hofstra Board of Trustees. The winners included:
- Makayla Farrell, a 2020 graduate from Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who founded Totally Tubular Tats, temporary tattoos for children with feeding tubes. Farrell also won first place in the MedTech and Wellbeing category of the New York State Business Plan Competition.
- Desireé Abdelkader, a graduate student from the Frank G. Zarb School of Business who is the founder of A Brand, a shoe design for people with congenital foot conditions.
- David Lazar, a Lawrence Herbert School of Communication student who created a social media community, Drive4Five, around the New York Islanders.
The center continued to support Unispan Records, a successful multidisciplinary program, and students collaborated on an R&B single release on worldwide streaming services and a music video for its third signed artist, Rian Wyld. Students continued to receive mentoring from significant figures in the music industry and participated in additional workshops, including one from Paramount Theatre music executives.
The Hofstra Veterans Venture Challenge, a new program with $100,000 in prizes primarily sponsored by Entrepreneur-in-Residence Kevin Hesselbirg, was announced on Fox Business AM in December 2019 and received over 100 applications from across the country. It is one of the most ambitious entrepreneurship programs for retired service members in the nation.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) continues to strive to create and support a diverse, inclusive, and equitable campus community through policy, education, training, and dialogue.
In response to student requests for a centralized campus reporting mechanism, ODI together with multiple departments worked during the past year to develop such a system. Online reporting was launched on September 1, 2020, and provides centralized reporting for non-emergency incidents, including those that violate conduct codes and campus policies such as sexual misconduct and behaviors that communicate bias or marginalization or create a hostile or unwelcoming learning and working environment. Online reporting provides students, faculty, staff, and administrators with an accessible, reliable method to report incidents of bias and discrimination inside and outside the classroom, as well as raise other important concerns that affect our campus community.
Virtual community forums for students, faculty, staff, and administrators were held in cooperation with ODI in response to the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery; national demonstrations; and the impacts on the Hofstra community. Race, racism, power, and privilege along with the disparate impact of COVID-19 were topics of note. The process of enhancing the Africana Studies program is underway with the creation of an Africana Studies Task Force in cooperation with Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Office of the Provost.
In an effort to respect how the members of our campus community identify and use pronouns, ODI, in collaboration with the Office of Intercultural Engagement and Inclusion (IEI) and Information Technology Services (ITS), created pronoun identifiers within the Hofstra portal profile for all campus community members. Using correct pronouns establishes a more secure and inclusive environment that allows everyone to be themselves and feel secure that their identities are respected.
ODI continues its training sessions across campus. All athletes, coaches, and staff engage in annual trainings and dialogues in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Training is scheduled as individual teams as well as large inclusive department forums. As campus leaders and Hofstra ambassadors, athletes and the Athletic Department are vital partners in diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Multiple faculty workshops to address microaggressions in the classroom are available to faculty. Goals of the workshop are awareness, identification, and strategies to avoid microaggressions, and constructive responses after microaggressions occur.
In partnership with Public Safety, the Public Safety Committee has been formed to create new and stronger bonds between Public Safety and students through discussion and collaboration in enhancing policies and procedures. This committee is composed of students, faculty, and administrators.
For much of the 2019-2020 academic year, University Relations partnered with a consulting firm, Ologie, to redesign and reconceive the University’s website. Using insights from higher education web experts, the University is converting to a new content management platform, Drupal, rethinking navigation and search engine optimization, the use of video and imagery, and creating new video content. Each page of the current website is being rewritten or eliminated, to allow for a more streamlined web experience. The new website is expected to launch the first week of January 2021. Additionally, we created a content syndication plan to educate potential students about the value of graduate degrees.
University Relations and the Hofstra Cultural Center hosted more than 40 programs through March, and when the University went remote in March, pivoted to an all-online, virtual schedule of events. Through the summer, thousands of people from around the world, many of whom had never attended a Hofstra program, were introduced to our faculty and our offerings. Alumni and potential students were also highly engaged in our virtual programming. University Relations and the Hofstra Cultural Center worked on outdoor movies and programming that fit within NYS guidelines for small, physically distanced events.
Video production became more important in 2020, working with Enrollment Management on virtual events and enhanced tours as well as our schools and colleges on redesigned accreditation visits.
University Relations highlighted the University’s coronavirus response in internal and external media, and our campus community was well informed about the many steps taken to enhance our health and safety. University Relations designed and executed the Safe Start campaign, with the advice and assistance of the Committee on Education and Communication. The Safe Start website was launched and has had more than 100,000 visits; more than 20 videos were made and distributed on social media; posters and other educational programs were implemented. The Health Ambassadors program, a peer health education initiative, was launched through the Department of Health Professions under the direction of Professor Sharon Phillips. A Blackboard educational module was distributed to several thousand students, thanks to the design of Corinne Kyriacou and Isma Chaudhry.
Hofstra University is among the nation’s best value schools and ranks highest among Long Island’s private universities in the latest U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges report for national universities. The 2021 rankings are based on 17 indicators of academic quality at 1,452 bachelor’s degree-granting institutions in the United States. Hofstra is ranked among the top 100 schools for best value and the nation’s best colleges for veterans, and the undergraduate business programs at the Frank G. Zarb School of Business are ranked among the top 30% of 511 schools. Among national universities, Hofstra moved up two spots from last year to #160 among 389 schools.
For the 12th consecutive year, Hofstra University was ranked as one of the Best Colleges to Work For by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The University ranked highly for Collaborative Governance, Compensation & Benefits, Supervisor/Department Chair Relationship, and Tenure Clarity & Process (Faculty Only).
Hofstra President Stuart Rabinowitz was honored for lifetime achievement by the Long Island Association (LIA) at its 2020 virtual gala on November 19, 2020. Founded in 1926, the LIA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that advocates for policies, programs, and projects to create jobs; spur private investment; reduce the federal, state, and local tax burden; improve access to and from New York City; and improve the overall business climate in the region. President Rabinowitz, a member of the board of the Long Island Association, was honored for his long service as co-chair of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, for his leadership in various government and nonprofit initiatives, and for his role in leading Hofstra University and the establishment and growth of new schools, colleges, and initiatives.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Herman A. Berliner was inducted into the Long Island Business News Hall of Fame on November 23, 2020, in recognition of his service and leadership in higher education nationally, for his role in expanding Hofstra University, and for his expertise as an economist.
Benjamin Rifkin, dean of Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (HCLAS) and professor of Russian, was honored with the ACTFL Wilga Rivers Award for Leadership in Foreign Language Education (Postsecondary) in a virtual ceremony on November 20, 2020. Recipients of the Wilga Rivers Award exemplify leadership and active participation in the activities of various world language organizations – including not only membership and holding office, but also work on committees, significant publications, conference presentations, and other organizational activities.
Members of the Hofstra University community were honored for excellence in news reporting and social media by the Fair Media Council at its 2020 Folio Awards ceremony. The Hofstra Chronicle, under the leadership of Editor-in-Chief Taylor Rose Clarke, won in the Enterprise category (student) for the October 2019 article “Sigma Alpha Mu Placed on Interim Suspension Following Hazing Allegations.”
The award for Best Use of Social Media by a Nonprofit went to the Office of University Relations for #HofGradXX, an annual campaign that celebrates graduating seniors and provides them with an opportunity to express their gratitude to those who helped make their Hofstra experience special.
WellSaid, a podcast produced by the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and WRHU, won two awards: one in the Health category for the September 2019 episode on ovarian cancer and again in the Housing category for the November 2019 episode “How Housing Affects Health.”
Melissa Connolly, vice president for University Relations and adjunct assistant professor of public relations, was awarded the Jack Rettaliata Lifetime Achievement Award from the Public Relations Professionals of Long Island (PRPLI) in June 2020.
Teachers of the Year:
Each spring, graduating students are invited to vote online for the faculty they feel are most deserving of recognition as distinguished teachers. The recipients for the 2019-2020 academic year are:
- Frank G. Zarb School of Business: Glen Vogel, Associate Professor, Accounting and Taxation
- Fred DeMatteis School of Engineering and Applied Science: Edward Segal, Assistant Professor, Engineering
- School of Health Professions and Human Services: Sharon Phillips, Associate Professor, Health Professions
- Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
- School of Education: Stephen J. Hernandez, Assistant Professor, Specialized Programs in Education
- School of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts: John Krapp, Associate Professor, Comparative Literature, Languages, and Linguistics
- Kalikow School of Government, Public Policy and International Affairs: Meena Bose, Professor, Political Science
- School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics: Behailu Mammo, Associate Professor, Mathematics
- The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication: Russell Harbaugh, Assistant Professor, Radio, TV, Film
- Maurice A. Deane School of Law: Kevin McElroy, Professor of Legal Writing
- Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
- First 100 Weeks: Robert Hill, Director, Structural Sciences; Associate Professor
- Second 100 Weeks: Dr. Gainosuke Sugiyama, Director, Minimally Invasive Surgery, Division of General Surgery; Associate Professor
Margaret Abraham, professor of sociology and senior vice provost for academic affairs, was installed as Hofstra University’s Harry H. Wachtel Distinguished Teaching Professor for the Study of Nonviolent Social Change on September 10, 2019. Sociology and Social Justice (SAGE, 2019), Professor Abraham’s newest edited book, offers sociological insights on topics ranging from social movements to cyberspace and is described by Mary Romero, ASA president and professor of justice studies and social inquiry, Arizona State University, as “a must read for anyone interested in using their teaching, research and action to build a more just society.”
J Bret Bennington, chair of the Department of Geology, Environment and Sustainability, was honored for excellence in stimulating interest in the earth sciences at the National Meeting of the Geological Society of America in Phoenix, AZ. The award is given annually by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT). Professor Bennington received the 2019 Neil Miner Award.
Executive Policymaking: The Role of the OMB in the Presidency, a 2020 book co-authored by Meena Bose, professor of political science, executive dean of the Public Policy and Public Service program, and executive director of the Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency, takes readers behind the scenes at the Office of Management and Budget, one of the federal government’s most powerful but least understood agencies, according to Professor Bose. The idea for the book, for which Professor Bose collaborated with Andrew Rudalevige, was born out of a Kalikow Center symposium in April 2019 on executive institutions and policymaking. One of the presentations was “Challenges and Opportunities for OMB Leadership in US Policymaking Today,” given by Jacob Lew, director of the OMB from 2010 to 2012 and 1998 to 2001.
Francesca Cassio, professor of music and the Sardani Harbans Kaur Chair in Sikh Musicology, was awarded the 2020 Outstanding Women’s Achievement Award from the Indo-American Forum of Long Island for “contributions in Music and Education, spirited leadership, dedication and service to the community.” Professor Cassio also recently published a book chapter, “Singing Dharam: The Sonic Transmission of Knowledge in the Sikh Path,” which appears in Explorations in Indic Traditions: BeaconsofDharma(edited by Michael Reading and Christopher Miller; Lexington Books, December 2019).
In May 2020, Arthur Dobrin, professor emeritus of management and entrepreneurship, published the novel Where We Started, a historical look at the United States from 1740 to 1864. The book was published by Nsemia, a Kenyan-Canadian publisher.
Ianthe Dunn-Murad, clinical program coordinator of the Long Island Doctor of Audiology (AuD) Consortium in the School of Health Professions and Human Services, was honored as a Media Outreach Champion by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Professor Dunn-Murad was one of four ASHA members and seven news outlets, including The Washington
Post and Consumer Reports, honored with media awards at ASHA’s national conference in late 2019 for their work in furthering awareness and public education of communication disorders and treatments.
Johanna Franklin, associate professor of mathematics, co-edited Algorithmic Randomness – Progress and Prospects (Cambridge University Press), a collection published as part of the Association for Symbolic Logic’s Lecture Notes in Logic Series that serves researchers, teachers, and students in the field of logic. In addition to co-editing the volume, one of the surveys in the book is by Professor Franklin, and she co-wrote an introductory survey on the history of the field with her co-editor, Christopher P. Porter, Drake University.
Brian Galli, assistant professor of engineering and graduate program director, Master of Science in Engineering Management, co-authored R&D Management in the Knowledge Era – Challenges of Emerging Technologies (Springer, 2019).
Drama Professor and HCLAS Associate Dean Jean Dobie Giebel celebrated the world premiere of her play Chasing the River at Manhattan’s Chain Theatre in February 2020. Directed by Ella Jane New, Chasing the River was a finalist for the ATHE Excellence in Playwriting Award and has been optioned for television. Professor Giebel collaborated with several former students on Chasing the River, including Caroline Orlando ’19.
Adjunct Professor of Music Tammy Hensrud performed in concert at the Viennese-inspired Café Sabarsky in the Neue Galerie in Manhattan on November 14, 2019.
Stephen Lawrence, professor of physics and astronomy, is one of an elite group of scientists in North America to be recognized as a 2020 Fellow of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). This new accolade honors AAS members for noteworthy service to the organization, original research and publication, innovative contributions to astronomical techniques or instrumentation, and significant contributions to education and public outreach.
Julia Markus, professor of English, director of undergraduate creative writing, and a core faculty member in the MFA in Creative Writing program, was an invited speaker at Byron’s Don Juan: A Romantic Bicentennial Symposium, held at DePaul University and The Chicago History Museum on October 19, 2019. She spoke on Lady Byron’s reaction to the poet’s characterization of her in the poem. Professor Markus is the author of the biography Lady Byron and Her Daughters. Presented by The Byron Society of America and The Keats-Shelley Association, the symposium brought together scholars from Australia, Greece, and North America to explore the origin of Byron’s poem and its cultural value in the 21st century. Alice Levine, Hofstra professor emerita of English, delivered a keynote address at the symposium. Professor Levine’s research focuses on 18th- and 19th-century English Romanticism, especially the work of Lord Byron.
Dennis W. Mazzocco, professor of radio, television, film, was re-elected to the Directors Guild of America’s national board as an alternate, marking his eighth consecutive term since 2005. Elections were held during the DGA biennial convention in Los Angeles. He was also appointed by the national board to the 2019 DGA Network Negotiations Committee, which bargains exclusively over working conditions and compensation affecting all DGA network employees in news, sports, operations, and local stations. It is his sixth consecutive appointment to the committee.
Martha McPhee, professor of English and a core faculty member in the MFA in Creative Writing program, published her fifth novel, An Elegant Woman, on June 2, 2020. The novel has received wide acclaim from The Los Angeles Times and a callout in The New York Times’Book Review Summer Reading feature, under the heading Historical Fiction. It also received a starred review from Booklist and praise from Kirkus Reviews, EW, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, and many other publications.
Rebecca Natow, assistant professor of educational leadership and policy studies, was named a 2020 Richard P. Nathan Public Policy Fellow by the Rockefeller Institute of Government. She is one of six researchers who will work on public policy issues in primary and postsecondary education, sustainability, substance abuse, and local government finance and management. Earlier in 2020, a research project led by Professor Natow was selected for funding by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) and Arnold Ventures. Professor Natow will work with Vikash Reddy, senior director of policy research at the Campaign for College Opportunity, on a multi-case study of five states’ experiences with federal policies on state authorization for higher education.
Andrea Nerlich, associate professor of counseling and mental health professions, was named Rehabilitation Educator of the Year (2020) by the National Council on Rehabilitation Education. The award recognizes Professor Nerlich, graduate director of the rehabilitation counseling programs in the School of Health Professions and Human Services, for her commitment to the profession through training and mentoring students. She was nominated for the honor by professionals and students in the field, including former student Allison Levine, who graduated from Hofstra with an MSEd in 2012.
Benita Sampedro Vizcaya, professor of Spanish colonial studies in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, gave the keynote address at the Second Annual Day of Learning on Global Cultures at Middlebury College on November 1, 2019. Her lecture was titled “Gendering Domestic Service: Houseboys in Spanish Settlers’ Homes in Central West Africa.” She also delivered the inaugural address at the opening reception of the exhibition The Farewells: Photographs by Alberto Marti, at the University Galleries in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters at Florida Atlantic University on November 4, 2019, in representation of the Galician regional government and the Council of Galician Culture in the United States.
Professor of Psychology William Sanderson and a group of his doctoral students created a website that provides therapeutic advice to help people cope with pandemic-related psychological distress. The name of the website is “Coping with Fear and Sadness During a Pandemic: Don’t Give in to or Fight Your Feelings, Learn to Manage Them.” Professor Sanderson is director of the Anxiety and Depression Treatment Program at the Joan and Arnold Saltzman Community Services Center. The doctoral students who collaborated with him on the site are Vinushini Arunagiri, Allison Funk, Karen Ginsburg, Jacqueline K. Krychiw, Anne R. Limowski, Olenka S. Olesnycky, and Zoe Stout.
Professor of Public Health Anthony Santella offered a free webinar series for children and teens that aims to increase their understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic, with information covering the virus’s origins, signs and symptoms, minimizing risk, and the importance of physical distancing, among other topics. Professor Santella and alumni from the Master of Public Health (MPH) program were selected in early 2020 to participate in a national leadership program, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that aims to address important public health issues and improve outcomes. They comprise the Nassau County Public Health Leadership Collaborative, one of 10 teams chosen to participate in the National Leadership Academy for the Public’s Health (NLAPH) program.
In September 2019, Professor Santella was a plenary speaker and panel chair at the World Workshop on Oral Health and Disease in AIDS, an annual international conference that brings together clinicians and scientists from more than 30 countries with the aim of improving health for people with AIDS.
Holly Seirup, dean of the School of Health Professions and Human Services and professor of counseling and educational leadership, was named to Long Island Business News’ list of the Top 50 Women in Business for 2019. The honor recognizes the region’s top female professionals for their business acumen, mentorship, and community engagement.
Associate Professor of Psychology Keith Shafritz received a sub award of $6,007 (year one of a two-year project) in support his Veterans Health Administration-funded project, “Predicting Suicidal Behavior in Veterans with Bipolar Disorder Using Behavioral and Neuroimaging Based Impulsivity Phenotypes.”
Steven D. Smith, professor of classics and comparative literature, has been named a 2020 recipient of the Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit for outstanding publications in the field of classical studies for his 2019 book, Greek Epigram and Byzantine Culture: Gender, Desire, and Denial in the Age of Justinian.
Eustace Thompson, professor of specialized programs in education, was honored as a 2020 Nassau BOCES Education Partner. The Nassau BOCES Education Partner Awards program pays tribute to outstanding community and business leaders, civil servants, government officials, nonprofit executives and volunteers, organizations, school administrators and staff, students, teachers, and Nassau BOCES employees.
The National Philanthropic Trust awarded Phyllis Zagano, senior research associate-in-residence and adjunct professor of religion, a $150,000 grant so she may continue her research into the history of Catholic women deacons. Earlier in 2020, Professor Zagano published the book Women: Icons of Christ, a review of the sacramental ministry of women throughout Christian history and a response to current Catholic disciplinary objections to restoring women to the ordained diaconate.
Miguel-Angel Zapata, professor of romance languages and literatures and director of the MFA in Creative Writing program, saw the publication of a new book, A Tree Crossing the City, in February 2020 by Nueva York Poetry Press in a bilingual version. The translator was his former student Gwen Osterwald ’17, ’19, whose thesis was a translation project of six Spanish and Latin American female poets.
Allie Richardson ’20 was awarded a Fulbright Study/Research Grant to conduct research on late medieval Germany at the University of Trier in 2021. Richardson, who lives in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA, had a dual major in history and German.
Joseph Mancuso ’21, a current senior biochemistry major, was named Hofstra University’s first Goldwater Scholar. Mancuso was mentored by Chemistry faculty Ron D’Amelia and Scott Lefurgy. Considered the preeminent award for undergraduate students studying the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics, this year’s 396 Goldwater Scholars were selected from over 5,000 sophomores and juniors nominated nationwide.
A team of Hofstra students had an impressive showing at the 80th Annual Putnam Exam, the most prestigious and challenging mathematics test in the United States and Canada. The four Hofstra students emerged in the top 22% of teams that took the exam, and two of them received scores of 16 and 15. The average score for the grueling six-hour, 12-problem test is typically 0 or 1. The Hofstra team – top scorers Brandon Crofts ’20 and Daniel Dimijian ’22, and Joseph Ronzetti ’22, and Briana Schmidt ’20 – placed 107th out of 570 institutions. A total of 4,229 students took the test.
Michael Lai ’20, a two-time entrepreneurship competition winner, was accepted to the 2020 class of the Clinton Global Initiative University, a prestigious yearlong program in leadership development hosted by the Clinton Foundation. Lai, who is enrolled in Hofstra’s BS-MD program, was chosen based on his entrepreneurial and leadership skills, as demonstrated by his work as co-founder of Cress Health, an online peer support network for recovering addicts.
The Division of Student Affairs was recognized for its support of students and programming several times in fall 2020. The Center for Career Design and Development’s Career Closet program won the Long Island Council of Student Personnel Administrators (LICSPA) Civic and Service Learning Program Award in November 2019 and has provided over 1,000 students with professional attire. For the division’s efforts in supporting the firest-generation student experience, Hofstra was named a First Gen Forward Institution by NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. Hofstra is part of a cohort of 80 schools nationwide, and one of only three colleges in New York state to be recognized. Hofstra’s Student Counseling Services acquired membership in the New York and New Jersey Association of Directors of Training (NYNJADOT) Psychology Externship Consortium. Consortium membership contributed to the successful recruitment of seven (7) psychology externs for placement at Student Counseling Services for the 2020-2021 year.
Academic and career support from the Division of Student Affairs saw strong growth. Due to the success of the Center for Academic Excellence’s partnership with faculty in fall 2019, 58% of students who were at risk of failing a course at the midterm reporting worked with the center and faculty and earned a C or better. The center also conducted over 1,080 individual tutoring appointments and saw over 1,400 visits to their group tutoring sessions. The Center for Career Design and Development saw an increase in student engagement across the board: 25% more student appointments, 15% increase in program attendance, and 800+ students engaged through their classroom visits coordinated with faculty. Fall 2019’s four career fairs welcomed over 236 companies to Hofstra’s campus.
In spring 2020, the Division of Student Affairs team quickly adjusted their services to best support the health and safety of our students. The team spent the summer creating processes that ensured a socially distant and safe arrival process for students returning in fall 2020. One hundred and seventy-five on- campus Quarantine and Isolation Housing spaces were created, with provisions of linens, health packs, and toiletries, as well as food delivery, support groups, and programming opportunities specific to students’ quarantine or isolation experience. Student Counseling Services created telehealth programs that allowed continued student access to individual therapy and consultation support as well as group support meetings for emergent community bereavement and expressed racial justice concerns. Through the Dean of Students Office, the Student Emergency Assistance Fund (SEAF) organization and management supported over 200 students in need due to COVID-19 related hardships.
Academic support continued during the spring semester with the Center for Academic Excellence seeing a nearly 100% increase in referrals from faculty to help support students in their transition to virtual learning. More than 50 peer tutors shifted to virtual tutoring services within two weeks. Students registered with Student Access Services earned a semester GPA of 3.0 or higher, which is an increase from 81% to 90%. The Center for University Advising continued to meet with students virtually and helped guide decisions about remote learning for fall 2020. Advising appointments increased 24% during the spring semester. Through strategic outreach and synchronous and asynchronous offerings, the Center for Career Design and Development saw a 239% increase in electronic document review.
The Division of Student Affairs continued to successfully host traditional programs in a new way. On April 26, 2020, Hofstra’s Division of Student Affairs hosted a virtual edition of its annual Student Leadership Awards ceremony. Typically an in-person event, the electronic platform Streamyard was adopted and the event was livestreamed to both the Hofstra Student Life Facebook page and the Hofstra University YouTube channel. An estimated 2,800 people have watched the event, with the peak during the livestream hitting 182 viewers. The Senior Class Toast was also held virtually, welcoming the event’s largest attendance of over 5,000 and the event being viewed by over 9,000 unique viewers. Addresses were given to the class by President Rabinowitz, Vice President Houston Dougharty, Dean Gabriel St. Legér, and student leaders.
In response to the national civil unrest, Intercultural Engagement and Inclusion successfully facilitated two-day programs called Black Hofstra Matters and Allyship 101 for Non-Black Folks. Student Affairs facilitated authentic conversations around racial injustice for over 400 Hofstra students, faculty, administrators, and staff. International Student Affairs hosted its first virtual orientation, supporting international students all over the world with academic preparedness and cultural competencies.
ENHANCED CAMPUS FACILITIES
During much of the summer, the University concentrated on preparations for the fall reopening, including modifications to classrooms, enhancements to ventilation, and installation of Plexiglas and other barriers where appropriate. In addition, the renovation of C.V. Starr Hall continued, with the completion of renovations to classrooms, computer labs, and lecture halls. These renovations included the addition of new classroom technologies such as advanced lecture capture and the creation of a new digital recording studio. The project also upgraded C.V. Starr Hall’s public spaces, restrooms, and roof.
The University completed a three-year phased capital project to accommodate the full relocation of the Physician Assistant (PA) Studies program from Monroe Lecture Center to Gallon Wing. The project provides new PA faculty offices, renovated classrooms, additional practice exam rooms, a new student conference room, and locker room space within Gallon Wing.
A major capital renovation project to update Weller Hall began in early spring 2020. The project includes an extensive interior redesign of the building’s four floors, and a complete upgrade to the building’s infrastructure. These renovations serve to transform the original Weller Hall administrative building into a student-focused facility to accommodate our INTO international students, and additionally provides the University’s Center for Career Design and Development with a new and updated space in a more appropriate central campus location. Weller Hall is expected to fully open in November, and building occupants will start to relocate to their new offices after the fall semester concludes.
The University continued plans to construct a new 75,000 GSF Science and Innovation Center to provide for the undergraduate nursing program, which will begin in fall 2021, and to enhance the teaching program of the DeMatteis School of Engineering and Applied Science. This new building will be located on Hofstra’s East Campus, immediately adjacent to the recently completed Business School Building. The building design will enhance learning and instruction, and encourage creativity in research. An adaptable building design will provide space for a simulation nursing training center, simulated patient exam rooms, multi-use classrooms, engineering and computer science labs, and faculty workspace. The University has completed a full environmental review for the proposed building and received site plan approval from the Town of Hempstead; architectural and engineering design is in progress. We anticipate project construction work to commence in spring 2021, and the new building should be complete by end of year 2022.
Hofstra continues its efforts to enhance sustainability initiatives on campus and in our community. The University continues its environmental commitment to build LEED-certified buildings, with both the School of Medicine and the recently completed School of Business buildings receiving official LEED certification status. Planning for LEED design and certification of the proposed new Science and Innovation Center building is underway. Over the past three years, the University has successfully increased our total campus power purchases generated from clean, renewable, off-site energy sources from 10% to 50%.
The 2019-2020 academic year was successful in many ways for the Hofstra Athletics program as the Pride continued to build champions in the classroom, in the community, in competition, and in life, despite the cancellation of winter championships and most of the spring season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Academically, 2019-2020 was a record-setting year for the Pride, with student-athletes compiling a record 3.49 grade point average for the entire year. All 21 Hofstra programs achieved a grade point average above 3.0 for the year, which was also a department record. In addition, the Pride set records with 85 student-athletes named to the Provost’s List and 355 to the Dean’s List during the academic year.
The Pride saw two student-athletes – Laura Masciullo (volleyball) and Kristin Hallam (softball) – earn CoSIDA Academic All-America accolades, becoming the 26th and 27th Academic All-Americans in school history. Four other student-athletes earned CoSIDA Academic All-District Team in their respective sports, and numerous others earned recognition from the coaches associations of their respective sports. More than 500 student-athletes were named to the Colonial Athletic Association Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll in 2019-2020, while nearly 300 student-athletes earned Hofstra Athletic Director Scholars recognition each semester.
Hofstra Athletics also set a department record for its work in the community, completing 3,343 hours of service. The Pride took part in many service events, including Shake-A-Rake, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, and Lido Beach Clean-Up, and volunteering at the Mary Brennan INN and with the NYU Winthrop Hospital Child Life Program.
On the field, the men’s basketball and women’s soccer teams won Colonial Athletic Association titles. Men’s Basketball, which defeated UCLA on the road in one of the biggest victories in program history, won its first-ever CAA championship and first conference title in 19 years. The women’s soccer championship was the Pride’s third consecutive, and the team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championship for the second year in a row. The wrestling team had an undefeated EIWA season, had two wrestlers qualify for the NCAA Championship, and had a third earn a first alternate spot.
Individually, Alex Masai won the CAA Cross Country Championship for the second consecutive year and then became the first Pride runner to win the NCAA Northeast Regional and advance to the NCAA
Cross Country Championship. Masai went on to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Track Championship in the 5000m, posting the third fastest time in the nation.
Six student-athletes – Masai, Alyssa Parrella (women’s lacrosse), Ryan Tierney (men’s lacrosse), Desure Buie (men’s basketball), Sabrina Bryan (women’s soccer), and Lucy Porter (women’s soccer) – picked up All-America honors. In addition, five student-athletes and one coach (Simon Riddiough) earned top honors from the CAA, and 25 were named to All-CAA Teams.
Hofstra Athletics posted a 69% increase in sponsorship commitments and a 5% increase in ticket sales from the prior fiscal year. Our athletic development team raised more than $1.2 million, with 990 unique donors, by the end of the fundraising campaign in March. There was a great deal of alumni engagement during the last several months as our programs conducted 76 Zoom calls, engaging more than 900 athletic alumni with more than 100 hours of conversation. Media reach through men’s basketball had a 411% increase in ad value with $164.7 million in ad value and a 416% increase in potential reach with 17.9 billion people.
The commitment to our student-athletes in life outside of athletics was reinforced with the formation of the Pride Leadership Academy, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and the Zoom Alumni Mentoring Network for juniors and seniors. Additionally, 90% of our student-athletes work with professionals in the Center for Career Design and Development.
Building on an online course development concept established in collaboration with the Office of the Provost in early 2019, faculty in the Zarb School of Business collaborated with instructional designers, specialized software, and media developers to create innovative and engaging online courses for the Online MBA and Executive MBA programs, all accessible with computers and mobile devices alike. This approach, which is being replicated in other schools, supports a University-wide branding and program- specific look and feel for all courses, while maintaining each faculty member’s unique pedagogical approach. Most importantly, it allows faculty to focus on content, and shifts the technical and design burdens of creating premier online courses to ITS. This year, this new partnership has produced 26 newly designed courses, with more online course development planned for the coming year in the online Master of Arts in Public Relations, Master of Public Health, Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology, Master of Science in Cybersecurity, and Master of Science in Engineering Management programs.
ITS continued work on modernization of the systems that support the University’s two core revenue drivers – Admission, and Development/Alumni Affairs. The Slate admission system, which was implemented through early and mid-2019, has now been fully integrated into the rest of the University’s systems of record, which is critical for the clean flow of new student information from the admission process into our academic records, which follow a student through their entire academic career.
In October 2019, ITS and Development/Alumni Affairs kicked off a project to replace a two-decade old database with a modern and fundraising-centered constituent relationship management (CRM) system. The system is in the final phases of testing now and is expected to be complete by November 2020.
ITS continues to carefully examine and refine our operations with the goal of reducing cost and duplication of services, while furthering the secure, creative, and innovative use of technology throughout the University. Central to this effort has been the merger of all service points into a single, unified service desk centrally located in Axinn Library East adjacent to Hammer Lab. Bringing together these service points results in simpler and quicker support interactions, improved hours of operation, and a deeper level of technical expertise available to every member of the community – at a lower overall cost to the University.
Charging a single team with engagement of the community also enables us to track and monitor key performance indicators and use them for future planning. Satisfaction, time to resolution, quality of communication, depth of our technical ability, and the numbers and patterns of help requests are all now measured and tracked. This information feeds back into technology planning, in turn allowing us to use data to discern improvement opportunities and make infrastructure and service investments where they are most needed.
Underpinning all that we do is the mandate for a secure data environment and mitigation of technology- related institutional risks. In partnership with Internal Audit, ITS has engaged a technology and security consulting firm to conduct an external review of our information security practices. This review, which will be based on the industry-standard people, process, and technology model, acknowledges these three fundamental elements of a modern information security program and assesses the individuals who manage data, the security aspects of the processes they follow, and the technology in use to safeguard our digital assets.
ENHANCED FINANCIAL CONDITION
Despite the significant financial challenges faced as a result of the pandemic, the University will again finish the 2019-2020 year with positive budget results, providing funding for capital improvements and future operations. The entire University community came together to identify expense reduction and grant opportunities to offset the significant revenue shortfalls and added COVID-related expenses.
At August 31, 2019, Long Term Investments, which include Endowment and Other Long-Term Investments made in connection with postretirement benefits were valued at $712.5 million, an increase of approximately $50.4 million, or 7.6 %, and an increase of $612 million, or 609%, since 2002. In 2020, the growth reflects new gifts and investment returns of 10.8%.
The University continues to enjoy an A rating from Standard & Poor’s and an A2 rating from Moody’s.
This remains a challenging time for private institutions of higher learning in the United States and around the world. The path of the virus is uncertain and vaccines are not yet available, and it is impossible to predict the timing and effectiveness of the vaccines in process, or the timeline for production and distribution, or the percentage of the population who will be willing to be vaccinated, at least initially.
Moving forward, we will continue to implement new recruitment initiatives and work to redeploy scholarship dollars to recruit the best possible class at the desired enrollment number.
With the foresight of the Board of Trustees, we continue to invest in the sciences, technology, and health care, which are growth areas that provide expanding career opportunities and continue to be attractive disciplines to our students. And the beginning of the undergraduate nursing program with the first class entering in fall 2021 represents an important investment in Hofstra’s future, enabling the University to recruit a new pool of students in an area of high demand. We offer diverse programs, including schools of engineering, business, law, and medicine (and are one of only three schools in the metropolitan area to do so). We have an enviable location close to New York City but far enough away for students to enjoy a large and beautiful campus with quads and outdoor spaces. Our geographic diversity differentiates us from many of our local competitors and will help us as the number of high school graduates in New York and the Northeast continues to decline over this decade. While not minimizing the challenges ahead, we are confident that we will be able to move forward successfully as we continue to increase fundraising, develop new programs and enhance existing ones, and augment recruitment and retention.