Accreditation Leads Town Hall Agenda

Acting President and Provost Katepalli (Sreeni) Sreenivasan opened with a long wish list of things to discuss at the latest Town Hall meeting, held in Pfizer Auditorium on February 21: student achievement, faculty recruitment, alumni involvement, the success of the online learning program, and the dynamic state of the incubators. However, he kept to a tight agenda, focusing on the status of the merger with NYU and the search for a new university president. Richard S. Thorsen, Vice President Emeritus and Senior Advisor to the President, and Dennis Dintino, Vice President of Finance and Business Affairs, were also on-hand to add their own insights.

Among the most exciting news was that a firm date has been set for the finalization of the merger. On January 1, 2014—barring any unforeseen circumstances—the merger of NYU and Poly will be complete—an outcome eagerly anticipated by the entire community.

The search for a president does not have such a concrete deadline. While the committee in charge of the matter is hard at work vetting the shortlist of four candidates, the outcome is still uncertain. “We will know, when we know,” Sreeni quipped good-naturedly, urging patience.

In the interim, we can expect a visit from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the body responsible for accreditation, in mid-March. While the process may seem nerve-wracking, Richard Thorsen took the stage to assure everyone that there was little to worry about. His advice: “Be honest, candid, relaxed and motivated to be helpful.”

To prepare for the visit, he strongly urged everyone to read the report that is available on MyPoly—or at least the brief summary of it. (The full report is several hundred pages long, he admitted to some laughter.) “Be ready to discuss Poly’s strong financial stability, its vibrant student life, and the accomplishments of our faculty,” Thorsen said. “We have done everything to ensure that the school will be passing the accreditation process with flying colors, but we should all be ready to do our part.”

Before Dintino finished up with the latest news on the i2e Campus Transformation—a process that is continuing apace, with expansion into the MetroTech Center and the renovation of Rogers Hall, among other projects—the Town Hall audience was treated to a NY1 clip on the importance of the Tech Triangle to Brooklyn. Several Poly students were interviewed at the Greenhouse, and our Chief of Staff, Elizabeth Lusskin, spoke to the reporter about Poly’s contributions to technology in the city. It was a fun and uplifting moment in a meeting full of weighty information. “Let’s complete the accreditation process and the merger,” Sreeni advised, “and then we can get to the real work—all the innovative, entrepreneurial things we want to focus on.”