December 20, 2012
To the Baruch College Community:
I am pleased to report an important update concerning the case involving Chris Koutsoutis, the former administrative director of three Executive Master’s programs in the Zicklin School of Business. Mr. Koutsoutis, who was found through our internal investigation to have made unauthorized grade changes for a handful of students, pleaded guilty yesterday to eleven counts of forgery and ten counts of falsifying business records, and is expected to be sentenced on February 6, 2013. Mr. Koutsoutis took advantage of the Baruch community and did not reveal that he had previously been convicted of a felony. We are pleased that justice has been served.
We are deeply grateful to the Manhattan District Attorney and the leadership of The City University of New York for the swift and collaborative manner in which they took the information we provided from our internal investigation to bring appropriate charges against Mr. Koutsoutis. In his public statement yesterday, District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. said, “I would like to thank the administration at Baruch College for its assistance with the investigation into this defendant, who threatened the academic integrity of their institution.” (Read full press release.)
When we first discovered the grading irregularities, we acted immediately to address the situation, removing Mr. Koutsoutis from his position as administrator and launching an investigation with CUNY’s Legal Affairs Office. With their support and based on the results of the investigation, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office was able to pursue the appropriate charges against Mr. Koutsoutis and the judicial process has now run its course.
Even before the conclusion of the DA’s investigation, Baruch’s leadership instituted important strategic changes to the structure, procedures, and management of the three Executive Master’s programs to protect their integrity as well as our students’ educational experience.
In creating a corrective plan of action, the College sought input and guidance from a panel of distinguished, interdisciplinary faculty as well as from external experts. The specific changes we have instituted in the Zicklin Executive programs include the following:
- A new administrative structure in which the Administrative Director and three Academic Directors report directly to the Executive Director, who is now a tenured faculty member, thereby ensuring that participating faculty set and carry out the policies and goals of each program;
- A regular review and rotation of the directors of the individual programs to encourage fresh perspectives and innovative ideas on curricula;
- A mechanism in the registrar and bursar offices for reporting and recording grades and fees that follows the protocols of the regular degree programs to prevent grading improprieties; and
- A reevaluation of the programs’ academic calendar to ensure that the Executive programs continue to offer a leading-edge educational experience and high value for students.
We remain extremely proud of Baruch’s longstanding reputation for the rigor, quality and ethical standards of its programs, as well as the achievements of our graduates. With transparency and input from the Baruch community, we are confident that the corrective actions we have taken will ensure the highest ethical, academic and management standards for which both Baruch and CUNY are well known.
Mitchel B. Wallerstein
President, Baruch College
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