New York City College of Technology (City Tech) presents this 2017 Self-Study in support of decennial reaccreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Using the lens of the seven Middle States Standards of Excellence, the Middle States team has engaged in an iterative two-year process in which a cross-section of faculty, administrators, staff, and students have come together to consider how and how well the college fulfills its mission. Under the leadership of President Russell K. Hotzler, the college has made remarkable strides over the past decade in its transformation to a baccalaureate institution. City Tech’s future is deeply intertwined with that of New York City; it is a microcosm of the city’s diversity, breadth of enterprise, creative energy, and innovative spirit. The value of a City Tech degree to graduates in potential for upward economic mobility and professional success has been proven. This potential lends urgency to our goal of increasing retention and accelerating time-to-degree for more students.
Summaries of each standard are below; for the full text, please click the links to the right.
STANDARD I: MISSION AND GOALS
City Tech’s essential mission has not changed since its founding in 1946 as a new model of higher education—a two-year institution designed to prepare returning WWII veterans for participation in the burgeoning post-war economy. A reformulation of the Mission Statement, approved by the College Council in 2017, contains contemporary emphases: cutting edge professional and technological education undergirded by a strong general education foundation, a signature focus on experiential learning, an explicit commitment to inclusion, and responsiveness to the needs of the community we serve.
City Tech’s distinctive emphasis on applied skills…based upon a vibrant general education foundation…equips students with the problem-solving skills that make its graduates competitive…As a community City Tech nurtures an atmosphere of inclusion, respect, and open-mindedness in which all members can flourish.
The college operates within a matrix of interrelated goals: CUNY system-wide goals address broad measures of institutional effectiveness; Strategic Planning goals address campus-level priorities; Program Goals formulated at the department level define outcomes for specific degree programs; and achieving General Education Student Learning Outcomes is expected of every degree-seeking student. Goals at each level have a corresponding set of outcome measures. The goals articulated in Standard I are operationalized and assessed as described throughout the Self-Study in Standards II through VI.
As with any institution offering a broad array of programs to diverse constituencies, our burden is not so much mission definition—we know who we are and what we are here to accomplish—as it is to help diverse constituents understand that it is by serving them that City Tech realizes its mission. They are the college’s raison d’etre. City Tech will strive to communicate its mission more effectively to produce greater engagement and a stronger sense of belonging among its diverse constituents, most importantly students. Moreover, in fulfillment of its public mission, City Tech has an obligation to proactively seek new ways to serve our community. Increased internal communication on how mission and goals drive the work of individual units, how decision-making takes into consideration the impact on students, and new ways to solicit and receive feedback to encourage engagement among all constituencies have been identified as areas needing attention.
STANDARD II: ETHICS AND INTEGRITY
City Tech, as a public institution, operates within a framework of federal, New York State, New York City, and CUNY laws and regulations that guarantee protection of academic freedom, freedom of expression, and intellectual property rights. Academic integrity is an absolute expectation in all courses, scholarship, and research activity. CUNY’s HRPP program provides oversight and training to ensure that all research conducted by CUNY faculty and students complies with federal and state regulations and meets the highest ethical standards. The protection of human subjects is certified through a centralized CUNY IRB review process.
Respect for diversity is affirmed in the Mission Statement and integral to all we do. The Office of Student Life and Development makes diversity education a central goal of all its activities and learning outcomes assessment for co-curricular activities address intercultural competence, the ability to work in teams, and the development of leadership skills. The college strives to maintain a social climate that reflects shared norms of inclusion, community, and equity. Ethical awareness is an explicit General Education goal and ethical reasoning is taught across the curriculum.
The Office of Human Resources ensures full compliance with the letter and spirit of the law in all personnel matters. The promotion and tenure process for faculty entails extensive vetting of candidates’ qualifications and multiple levels of review. Standards are widely communicated through professional development workshops and multiple information channels. The appeals process is also clearly articulated. The majority of candidates for promotion do ultimately advance through the ranks.
The Standard II Working Group concluded that the college needs to do more to help students know their rights and understand how to communicate grievances effectively for appropriate and timely resolution. Students surveyed about the process for making service complaints and equity-related grievances known revealed widespread lack of understanding of the process. The “customer service” issue speaks to managerial effectiveness in offices that provide direct academic and non-academic services to students and suggests a strong need for staff training. As a public institution, appropriate policy and protections exist in abundance in all realms of institutional life. However, the institution should work to ensure that complaint and grievance process is made clear and transparent to all constituencies. A targeted communications strategy through which this information is presented consistently, authoritatively, and transparently, and is easily available to all in multiple media formats is needed.
STANDARD III: DESIGN AND DELIVERY OF THE STUDENT LEARNING EXPERIENCE
Standard III and Standard V are the chapters of the Self-Study that most dramatically reveal institutional transformation. Program-level goals reflect industry standards of professional practice and ensure the quality and relevance of professional curricula, while an ambitious redesign of general education that is aligned with CUNY Pathways ensures universal transferability of credits among CUNY institutions. The widespread adoption of high impact pedagogies and interdisciplinary perspectives has been supported by the implementation of a comprehensive program of General Education learning outcomes assessment that provides the building blocks for continuous academic improvement.
City Tech enrolls more STEM majors than any other CUNY college. The National Science Foundation ranks City Tech sixth nationally in the production of Black STEM associate degree recipients, 18th in Asian associate degree recipients, and 20th in male associate degree recipients. These rankings demonstrate the college’s effectiveness in fostering STEM success, particularly among underrepresented minority students. A rich array of scholarly, scientific, and pedagogical resources is available to advance faculty research and scholarship, a focus that has intensified as the college becomes a baccalaureate institution. Technology infrastructure includes specialized laboratories and equipment; faculty professional development on assessment, sponsored programs, and a wide range of pedagogical subjects is provided through the Faculty Commons.
The college plans to continue the strategic expansion of degree programs in response to business and industry needs. Changing professional contexts will require new curriculum directions such as inter-professional education in health and human services fields. Faculty scholarship, scientific research, and creative work must be supported through CUNY and external funding from public and private sources.
STANDARD IV: SUPPORT OF THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE
As an institution with an open admission policy at the associate level, City Tech faces continuing challenges to retention and graduation. CUNY’s new Momentum Campaign focuses on accelerating student progress toward their degrees. Programs that incorporate a “completion agenda,” such as ASAP and Early College High Schools, provide services that typically go beyond financial aid and provide more cohesive advisement, academic support, articulation and transfer guidance, and internship placements. Every effort is also made to minimize mathematics remediation, long a barrier to STEM success, through comprehensive redesign of the mathematics curriculum. The college strives to support students at critical junctures including college entry, entry to upper division programs, and graduation through such programs as the First Year Experience, academic advising, and the Professional Development Center. Prompt credit evaluation, transfer assistance, CUNY Pathways, and articulation agreements between community colleges and City Tech’s baccalaureate programs enhance the likelihood of success for incoming transfers. The Office of Student Life and Development develops and manages a rich program of student activities that are designed to complement the curriculum and to achieve specific learning outcomes. Students typically deal with the Offices of Admissions and Financial Aid, the Registrar, the New Student Center through the college entry process. These interactions are governed by CUNY policies concerning privacy of student records. A major focus on orientation for all entering students supports the goal of increasing retention, as students are supported in making appropriate choices of programs of study.
STANDARD V: EDUCATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS ASSESSMENT
Assessment of learning is an institutional function that has undergone a major transformation over the past decade, evolving in parallel with academic program improvements. Today, the college implements a comprehensive system of educational effectiveness assessment at institutional, program, and course levels. General Education was redesigned around desired Student Learning Outcomes, which are measured on a three-year cycle. A continuous improvement model ensures that assessment outcomes are fed back into academic program design and delivery to improve their effectiveness; courses and programs of study are modified to improve learning. An extensive array of student support programs and interventions also undergo systematic assessment. Assessment is led by faculty. Responsibility for conducting assessment is distributed across schools and departments and centrally managed by the Office of Assessment and Institutional Research (AIR) through a College Assessment Committee. An important goal is to expand Committee membership to include greater representation of the Office of Enrollment and Student Affairs and the Office of Finance and Administration. Communication of assessment and institutional research findings occurs regularly through a variety of media to a wide range of constituents, including an effective AIR website.
STANDARD VI: PLANNING, RESOURCES, AND INSTITUTIONAL IMPROVEMENT
All institutional planning, fiscal management, and resource allocation is performed to advance the college’s academic mission. Over the past decade these functions have served three primary institutional goals: (1) To increase the number, quality, and diversity of faculty; (2) To strengthen physical and technological infrastructure by addressing deferred maintenance and institutional growth; and (3) To ensure that academic resources are adequate to baccalaureate program requirements in new and rapidly evolving fields. Planning, finance, and resource allocation performance is benchmarked annually in the CUNY Performance Management Process (PMP), itself an outcomes-based continuous improvement system that measures institutional effectiveness in three domains: academic quality, student success, and fiscal and managerial effectiveness. As City Tech integrates non-academic units into the college’s increasingly comprehensive system of assessment, the congruence of PMP and City Tech assessment models will facilitate the incorporation of planning, fiscal management, and resource allocation under the college’s assessment umbrella. Infrastructure investment includes the construction of a new flagship academic building that will house science and health science departments and raise the profile of City Tech within the Brooklyn Tech Triangle. A major focus on addressing deferred maintenance has modernized learning environments, increased handicapped accessibility, and improved laboratory facilities. Human resources and technology infrastructure management have seen significant growth and are adequate to serve the needs of the academic program.
STANDARD VII: GOVERNANCE, LEADERSHIP, AND ADMINISTRATION
The college has an effective administrative leadership and governance structure that enables the college to advance its mission in a rapidly changing environment. As a constituent institution of The City University of New York, authority is vested in the president and derives from the CUNY Board of Trustees. As a public institution, City Tech observes the letter and spirit of federal, state, city, and CUNY laws, regulations, and policies. The college enjoys autonomy in developing its own governance structure, through which authority is vested in the College Council and its range of subcommittees. The work of Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Finance and Administration is systematically vetted through the College Council. The president and his cabinet deliberate regularly on high level administrative matters. The college’s three schools are represented there through their deans who are appointed by the president.
Over the period covered by this self-study, City Tech has fully addressed concerns raised in the last review. A broad segment of the faculty designed and implemented a general education plan that integrates the liberal arts into our career-focused programs. A similarly broad-based assessment of student learning supports both general education and the majors and is well integrated into decision-making. Taken together with its location in the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, as well as dramatic expansion of the faculty, curriculum, and physical plant, City Tech is situated to take full advantage of its potential as CUNY’s college of technology.
- Implement a comprehensive, cross-institutional plan for student retention and success. (Standard IV)
- Build on the academic continuous improvement model to strengthen overall institutional assessment and effectiveness (Standard V)
- Improve scope, documentation, and transparency in the complaint resolution process (Standard II)
- Refine our facilities and technology master plans to take advantage of new opportunities. (Standard VI and III)
- Nurture a shared sense of mission and identity that fosters pride in City Tech’s unique program offerings and that emphasizes ambition for excellence. (Standards I and VII)