October 25, 2016


To the John Jay College Community:

I am writing to share some personal news: I recently informed Chancellor Milliken of my decision to step down as President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice effective August 1, 2017. 

As you can imagine, this was a very difficult decision.  I simply love John Jay.  I will miss serving as your President.  But this is the right time for me to begin my next professional chapter. I have been President of John Jay College for twelve exhilarating and fulfilling years.  These twelve years represent the pinnacle of my career.  Now, I am eager to take on new challenges, in particularly to undertake new writing and research projects.  One compelling reason for my decision is my desire to contribute to the national discourse on crime and justice.  For those of us who are eager to see fundamental reform in the criminal justice system, this is a particularly challenging and exciting chapter in the nation’s history.  The air crackles with urgent demands to reduce mass incarceration, reform policing, examine new roles for prosecutors and judges, bring data analytics to our understanding of the justice system, broaden our menu of options for responding to crime, and pursue racial justice and social justice as we enforce our laws.  I am very eager to be more involved in these discussions at the national and local level. 

I will leave the presidency at John Jay with a deep sense of satisfaction.  Working closely with gifted colleagues and an extraordinary college community, and with the indispensable support of the University, we have transformed John Jay.  We are now a senior college in CUNY, with a dozen liberal arts degrees, and an enviable track record of academic excellence.  Working with our community college colleagues, we have created the CUNY Justice Academy, which now boasts nearly 9,000 students who would otherwise not have access to criminal justice studies.  Our fellowship programs – the Vera, Pinkerton, Tow, Siegel, Art and Justice, and Moelis fellowships --provide a rich mix of rigorous academic and experiential learning opportunities to our students. Our PRISM program has been recognized as a national leader by President Obama.  Our Pre-Law Institute has helped hundreds of John Jay students attend law school. We are now ranked #3 nationally as “best for vets.”  We are ranked #4 in the Northeast for “best bang for the buck.”  The list of our accomplishments is long, but the bottom line is clear: by all measures of student success, John Jay has emerged as a leader, within CUNY and nationally.

Our faculty have also excelled.  One metric is particularly gratifying for me.  When I came to John Jay a dozen years ago, I expressed the hope that our college would be known as a strong research institution.  This hope has been realized in grand style.  This past year, our faculty raised nearly $25 million in research funding, a new record that placed us fourth within CUNY.  The Chronicle of Higher Education recently ranked John Jay as seventh nationally among all colleges in terms of increases in research funding over the past decade.  Our faculty have designed new majors that sizzle with intellectual excitement.  Our general education courses, which explore issues of justice, are nationally recognized as unique and engaging. Each year, our faculty publish approximately two dozen books, hundreds of scholarly articles, and dozens of poems, plays and pieces of art.  We are fortunate to have such creative and dedicated faculty.  When we add to this list of assets the dedication of our staff, the strong engagement of our alumni, and our spectacular Foundation Board which is on track to raise $75 million by 2020 to support our students and faculty, we realize we are fortunate indeed.

The future for John Jay is very bright, even in this era of challenging budgets.  In this past enrollment season, we saw noteworthy increases in the numbers of first year students and graduate students.  Our summer and winter enrollment increased, bucking the trend among other senior colleges.   John Jay Online is on track to expand our reach globally and provide flexibility to John Jay students locally.  The John Jay international program is growing, as is our portfolio of professional studies.  We have earned a reputation as a laboratory for educational innovation.  We have raised funds for new pipeline programs in cybercrime, community policing and corrections.  We are the pioneer senior college to host a Single Stop program (to provide financial benefits to needy students) and the ACE program (to accelerate degree completion).  Students always rank our services highly.  With our first integrated strategic plan slated for release later this year, our discussions about shared governance moving forward, and our sincere commitment to principles of transparency and accountability, our community is strong. 

Perhaps most importantly, we have reaffirmed the power of our mission of “educating for justice.”  No other college in the world can claim this mission.  Our commitment to justice permeates our campus and gives us a strong sense of purpose and identity.  The John Jay community is inspirational.  Our mission of preparing the next generation of thinkers and reformers has never been more important. 

In the next chapter of my professional life, I will have two institutional affiliations, with New York City and CUNY remaining as my base.  First, I have accepted a designation as Senior Fellow at the Program in Criminal Justice at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.  I will be working with my colleague Bruce Western, the faculty chair of the Program in Criminal Justice, to launch a three-year Executive Session exploring new responses to crime that reflect a social justice framework.  We hope this initiative, which we expect to launch in 2017, will influence the next generation of thinking about criminal justice in our country.   Second, I am grateful that Chancellor Milliken will recommend to the CUNY Board of Trustees that I be appointed as University Professor at the CUNY Graduate Center.  This appointment will allow me to teach in our doctoral program in criminal justice, undertake various writing and research projects and involve CUNY scholars and students in the work of the Harvard Executive Session.  I am very excited about these new opportunities. 

When the fall semester begins, although my office will not be in Haaren Hall, my heart will always be with you on the John Jay campus.  John Jay is home.  As I reflect on the past twelve years, I am simply grateful -- to the John Jay faculty, staff, students and alumni; to the talented John Jay leadership team; to Chancellors Goldstein and Milliken and the CUNY Board of Trustees; to my colleagues across CUNY; to Jules Kroll and our Foundation Board of Trustees, and the many friends of John Jay here and around the world.  Thank you for allowing me to serve as the President of this unique and invaluable institution. 



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Jeremy Travis