President's Spring 2009 Message

To the students, faculty and staff of York College, welcome to the spring 2009 semester!

I am pleased to see everyone back safely and embracing the promise of a new semester. As we march through the 2008-2009 academic year I continue to focus on the top six stated goals wherein we pledged to:

  1. Increase the number and ratio of veteran faculty teaching General Education courses;
  2. Increase the number and ratio of full time faculty teaching all courses;
  3. Increase significantly, the outcomes in General Education as measured by the percentage of students receiving a C or better in Math and English;
  4. Increase the outcomes of ESL and SEEK students on the ACT exam;
  5. Increase the percentage of students taking and passing the CUNY Proficiency Examination to bring York into closer alignment with CUNY senior colleges;
  6. Improve retention at all levels and increase student satisfaction overall.

I am pleased to report that we are seeing fruits born of these efforts. When we hired (or made permanent), over 40 faculty members last fall to make these goals feasible, we expected quantifiable outcomes and we are starting to see them. I am also pleased to report that many in the College Community are engaged in our Gen Ed Faculty Inquiry Groups and our outcomes assessment committee is expanding its reach; and the follow-up on syllabi standardization in the Gen Ed courses is complete. And I invite everyone to join me in congratulating our faculty and students who have conducted and presented research on and or off campus or who have published during the past year.


The sciences are thriving at York as demonstrated by several professors from various departments:

Dr. Gerald McNeil (Biology) recently joined the Genomics Education Partnership, which includes over 50 undergraduate institutions across the country joining forces in teaching undergraduates how to conduct a team-based research project in the cutting-edge area of genomics. York had three students participate last spring (Crystal Dol, Joanna Haye-Coradin, and Justina Chinwong) who presented their results last May at the College and will be authors on an upcoming manuscript. Our involvement also resulted in Dr. McNeil being an author on a Science paper describing the success of this method of teaching. This past semester our student, David Bartlett, completed a project which is going to be presented to the College and Dr. McNeil’s Bioinformatics course this semester. The semester will also see five additional students (Adeola Adebayo, Christopher Wilson, Shreida Rahaman, Sarasi Paramananda, and Eunice Georges), participating and should present their results this spring. Some of their work will be posted on the GEP website and will be available to the public showing the outstanding work that is being done by York’s undergraduates. Upon completion of their work, they also will be authors on an upcoming publication.

Dr. Louis Levinger (Biology) reports that his student, Christopher Wilson, a Biotech major, is the co-author on a MS, which was recently submitted for publication. The student is supported on Dr. Levinger’s AREA (R15) award and the project concerns the Flexible Arm tRNase Z. Recent alumna, Salk Scholar Angela Hopkinson, who also worked in Dr. Levinger’s lab, and is now a PhD student in Microbiology at the University of Michigan School of Medicine, is also a co-author.

Dr. Margaret MacNeil (Biology) along with Cheryl Purrier, who graduated from York in 2007, presented “The Organization of the Inner Nuclear Layer of the Cat Retina,” at the Society for Neuroscience conference in Washington, DC last November. I am delighted to know that Ms. Purrier, an outstanding student while here at York, will be entering medical school this fall.

Department of Earth and Physical Science:

Dr. Gregory Boutis (Physics) reports that a number of his students made presentations at various locations. All his students who participated are listed as Physics & Math (double) majors at York.
Nicholas Hunt-Walker
Title: The Radio and Mid-Infrared Star Formation Rates of Compact Emission Line Galaxies in the COSMOS Field
Location of Presentation: American Museum of Natural History - Kaufmann Theater
Advisor: Timothy Paglione (York College/ Dept. of Earth and Physical Sciences)

Research Performed at York College

Victor Udinwe
Title: "Applying Spherical Harmonics to Model Yeast Cells"
Location of Presentation: Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
Location of Presentation: Dept. of Earth and Physical Sciences, York College Physics Colloquium                                                   
Research Performed at Vanderbilt University

Odingo Mitchell
Title: Connecting Air Pollution Parameters to Optically Measured Parameters to Assess Air Quality Monitoring Capabilities
Location of Presentation: York College Physics Symposium
Research Performed at City College
Odingo Mitchell
Title: Development of 13C - 1H double-resonance solid state NMR probe with a mechanism that allows for mechanical deformation of biological samples
Location of Presentation:  Tampa Florida (LSAMP Bridge to Doctorate Program)
Advisor: Greg Boutis
Research Performed at York College

Thompson Ukpebor
Title: Thunderstorm NowCasting
Location of Presentation:  City College
Research Performed at City College

Title: A Plot Study For the Use of Infra-Red Photography for Snow Properties Characterization: Camera Settings, Sensitivity and Software Development.  
Location of Presentation:  El Paso Texas
Research Performed at City College

Odingo Mitchell
Title: Development of 13C - 1H double-resonance solid state NMR probe with a mechanism that allows for mechanical deformation of biological samples
Location of Presentation:  National Society of Black Physicists Conference February 9, 2009
Advisor: Greg Boutis
Research Performed at York College

Last fall Drs. Nazrul I. Khandaker and Stanley Schleifer (Earth & Physical Sciences) conducted the following topical session (No.158) at the 2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM. Title of the Session:

Disseminating Hands-on Geological Knowledge and Creating a Greater Awareness for the Environment: Emphasis on the Involvement of Undergraduates and K–12 Students (Posters). They also report that their students have been actively engaged in research and presentations as well as represented by the following students:

Jahmillah Khabir: Point Source Determination of Pollutants in the Coastal Sand, Tobago, supported by Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Award.

Charren Cabaroy: Geochemical Investigations of the Chert-Bearing Units Associated with the New Scotland and Kalkberg Limestones (New York).

Andrew Singh: Sedimentology of the Beach Placer Deposit (Montauk Point, New York).

Jessica Rampersad: Mineralogy of the Coastal Sand Obtained from the Twin Island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Dr. Mande Holford (Chemistry), along with two (York) students, Pamela Lebron and Rashia Burrell, attended the 16th General Meeting of the Caribbean Academy of Sciences in St. George, Grenada. Professor Holford presented on her research on using local biodiversity (venomous marine snails) as potential drug development targets while  Pamela Lebron, a Chemistry major mentored by Dr. Ruel Desamero, presented her research on determining the Pka of the SH group using vibrational methods.


     We are pleased that the York College Marketing team for the CUNYfirst (Fully Integrated Resources and Services Tool) Marketing Competition edged out Baruch College for first place. Congratulations to Marketing professor, Dr. Paul Salisbury and the creative and hard-working students, Aisha Niang, Jonathan Hubbard, Thelma Suarez and Vimmy Seajatan.
    CUNYfirst is meant to modernize systems for finance, budget, human resources, purchasing and students and is developing a marketing plan for the new CUNY management systems. The judges were “blown away” by the quality of the York team’s research. Baruch had two teams of students in the competition to York’s one team but York’s team triumphed.  It was the (York) group’s first foray into marketing competition and they have made us proud.


    The Aviation Institute continues to soar and in January Aviation Director Michel Hodge took a group of eight students to Washington, DC for the Transportation Research Board Conference. They visited the Capitol Building and were escorted by Congressman Gregory Meeks to witness a number of bill signings in Congress. There are a number of other conferences and visitors planned, as well, including the upcoming visit of Susan M. Baer, the author of “One Woman’s Journey in the Aviation World.”

We will keep you posted.
Congratulations to all our achievers!