Q&A: Garrie W. Moore

Retiring Students' Advocate Recalls Rewards, Achievements

Garrie W. Moore

Having substantially improved essential services for students, Garrie W. Moore, University vice chancellor for student development, has announced his retirement, effective Sept. 30. Moore and his wife, LaVonne, will pursue "a spiritual calling" - helping North Carolina high school students and dropouts who "need extra help preparing for the next phase of life," he said. Before joining the University three years ago, Moore taught in East Carolina University's School of Allied Health in Greenville, N.C., after serving as its vice chancellor for student life. He holds a doctorate in adult education and served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during the Vietnam War. "Vice Chancellor Moore has garnered the trust and respect of students across the University,'' said Chancellor Matthew Goldstein. "He has been their strongest advocate, and we are deeply indebted to him."

Here are edited excerpts:

Q: How does CUNY help returning veterans?

Vice Chancellor Moore: There are 27,000 veterans at CUNY and we expect 10,000 more. We have a veterans' resource office on every campus where they can meet with counselors, get advice and obtain resources to assist with mental health problems, domestic issues, academics and employment concerns. Veterans who are called back to active duty are encouraged to return when their service is completed, and our distance learning programs let them use laptops to continue course work while in the service.

Q: What is CUNY's approach to health counseling?

A: We established counseling centers at every campus to address all student health issues, not just mental health, but also wellness. Many students do not have family physicians, so we provide access and referrals and offer reasonably priced health insurance. We developed a medical withdrawal policy so students who are having difficulty coping in or out of the classroom can withdraw from school in order to obtain the help they need and re-enter without penalty.

Q: You believe in leadership training.

A: We're not just educating students in the classroom; we're educating them to become future leaders. The Leadership Academy engages our students in service learning activities, leadership seminars and national leadership programs. We developed an official cocurricular transcript that documents their cocurricular activities, which they can provide to an employer or graduate school along with their academic transcript.

Q: What does the Office of Student Advocacy and Referral do?

A: It gives students the chance to contact a professional when they are having difficulty, for example with a faculty or staff member, or problems at home. It can be an ombudsman on the student's behalf.

Q: You take a comprehensive approach to fostering students' well-being.

A: A great university should address its students holistically: their physical and mental health and family issues, not just their academic and intellectual concerns. Because many students work, we provide child-care centers on most campuses. And we established centers where women - and men - in abusive domestic situations can get help.

Q: Tell us about the Black Male Initiative, which helps African-American men graduate.

A: The initiative addresses the need to increase the number and success of black males in higher education. But there is a diverse group, including women and men of all races. They are taught leadership skills, coping skills and are provided with counselors and advisers. It's successful and is impacting the entire CUNY community.

Q: What about career services?

A: We have career centers throughout the University where they can receive help with curriculum and career planning from the freshman year onward.

Q: How is CUNY meeting the needs of its students with disabilities?

A: While 8,000 students have self-identified as disabled, there are probably many more. We have a Disability Support Service Office on every campus, and Dr. Chris Rosa, our director of disability support, received a $7 million grant to address the needs of these students.

Q: What is your greatest satisfaction?

A: Meeting and working with people from so many different countries and backgrounds and interacting with talented students who are deeply committed to their education. I'm proud of our accomplishments with health care generally and mental health in particular. I'm also proud of my talented staff and the wonderful administration that is so focused on student success and well-being. There is no other place where you can gain the rewards that come from working at CUNY.