Behind the Scenes of CSI’s St. George Campus
By: Carlos Glick
As a majority of students take classes at the CSI Willowbrook campus, it is important to take a look at what the CSI St. George Campus has to offer, being just steps away from the Staten Island Ferry.
I sat down with Mario D’Alessandro, the founder and Director of the St. George Campus, to learn more about what our extended campus is about.
CSI St. George was created to make it easier for degree-seeking Staten Island residents from the North and South Shores that depend upon public transportation, as well as those that commute from Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and others from underserved populations, to attend classes, and offer greater options and opportunities for recent Staten Island high school graduates.
CSI St. George also helps to foster goals of the 30,000 Degrees initiative, a collaborative effort among the borough’s three colleges, CSI, Wagner College, and St. John’s University, to encourage more Staten Island residents to pursue a college degree.
The plan to create this extension of the college came about from the St. George Demand Study, an analysis of how to meet these goals and address our space needs, which the College produced in early 2015.
The study determined that developing an extension of the College will “increase the impact that CSI [and] CUNY makes on the citizens of the borough and its business community and will raise the educational horizons and quality of life of its most disadvantaged residents.” D’Alessandro’s position as a director translates into the overall responsibility, leadership, and direction for the CSI St. George facility and the CSI St. George Student Services Center.
He performs a wide variety of tasks to ensure the effective and efficient operation of all all services, including providing leadership in directing support services to all students, faculty, and staff.
He works closely with the coordinators and directors on the main CSI Willowbrook campus to provide responsive high-quality services, and work to develop programming, both academic and co-curricular, and to enrich the lives of our students.
D’Alessandro is also an advisor and meets regularly with students one-on-one. He also works to develop good community relations with our neighbors in the North Shore. He works very closely with our Academic Coordinator, Rev. Dr. Katie Cumiskey, to develop the course offerings each term and create scheduling options that meet our students’ needs.
D’Alessandro’s experience at CSI St. George is extremely positive and incredibly rewarding. According to the Director, “it has been exciting to develop something new, something that never existed and yet is wholly CSI, and work with my colleagues, academic departments, and the College’s Senior Administration, in particular Jennifer Borrero, Vice President of Student Affairs & Alumni Engagement, who was my direct supervisor throughout the development and opening of CSI St. George, to provide increased access to a College of Staten Island education.”
He had the opportunity to hire some incredible staff, our Student Services Specialists Crystal Deosaran & Christine Cohen, and work with others from Information Technology, primarily our IT Associate Julio Valerio, and the Center for Student Accessibility, primarily Assistant Director Danielle Lopez and Accommodations Specialist Nora Shvartsberg, individuals that share a commitment to our students and the mission and goals of CSI St. George.
CSI St. George offers courses from most academic departments at the College that satisfy General Education, Pre-Major, and major requirements for many undergraduate degree programs.
The campus also offers some graduate courses, and will host CSI’s newly-developed doctoral program in Community-Based Leadership. With offerings from the Departments of English, Math, History, World Sociology/Anthropology, Computer Science, Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, World Languages & Literatures, Biology, Geology, and more– it is possible to complete an entire Associate in Arts in Liberal Arts (AA) Degree all at CSI St. George.
St. George also has many offerings from the School of Business, including new offerings in Fall 2020 from the departments of Management and Marketing. The campus also offers courses in the Summer & Winter.
Most importantly, ALL College of Staten Island students are welcome to take classes, as well as access services and attend events, at this location. We are an extension of the CSI Campus, making all of us a family!