Queens College’s Interim President Gets Started

BY JOE MARVILLI
Staff Writer

With the new semester starting soon, Queens College’s interim president, Evangelos Gizis is settling in to his new role.

The former Queens College provost was selected to take over as president in fall of 2013, with his new role being declared concurrently with the announcement of previous president Dr. James Muyskens’ departure. The interim president sat down with the Queens Tribune to talk about his job and how he plans to keep the school’s momentum going through the spring.

 Evangelos Gizis has taken over as Queens College’s interim president following the departure of Dr. James Muyskens. Photo by Joe Marvilli

Evangelos Gizis has taken over as Queens College’s interim president following the departure of Dr. James Muyskens. Photo by Joe Marvilli

Gizis, who emigrated from Greece to attend graduate school at Oregon State University, found his way to Queens College in 1986, taking the position of vice president for college affairs, planning and information systems. During his time there, he chaired the committee for the college’s first five-year plan.

“What I liked at Queens College was the diversity that existed, the motivated students and the very distinguished faculty,” he said.

While he left in 1996, Gizis returned in 2001 as the interim provost, a position that became permanent in 2003. While he retired in 2009, he is still involved with CUNY, working part-time as a senior advisor in the Central Office.

Gizis said his experience and familiarity with Queens College will help him hit the ground running for the upcoming term.

“I’m familiar with most of the things that happen here, which is quite important when someone comes for one semester. There is no time for a learning curve. People know me so they know what to expect,” he said. “The most important thing is that we will not lose momentum in the important things that are happening.”

To prepare for his new position, Gizis met with Muyskens so he could get up to speed on the current issues, events and projects at the school. Gizis, who worked with Muyskens from 2002 to 2009, said the former president was willing to offer advice and lend a hand if needed.

“He told me that he’s available if I had any questions,” Gizis said. “We had an excellent relationship with President Muyskens.”

For the spring semester, Gizis said his main goals are to have successful student enrollment, to recruit faculty members who are interested in both research and the classroom and to gain more alumni support, particularly for scholarships.

“Our tuition is very low in comparison to the tuition of other institutions. But still, there are some of our students who have difficulty,” Gizis said.

Queens College will look to revise some of its graduate programs, by working on a Master’s Degree in media and tinkering with its course selections in sociology and education. The school is also preparing for its yearly evaluation of its academic programs, to see where there can be improvements.

The CUNY Board of Trustees plans to appoint a new president for Queens College before this year’s fall semester. Until then, Gizis said he hopes to keep the college moving forward.

“What I hope to get is the satisfaction at the end that I leave the college in as good shape or a little better shape than it was when I started on Jan. 1,” he said. “That will be the greatest satisfaction.”

Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, jmarvilli@queenstribune.com, or @Joey788.