||Vol. 3 No. 8 September 29, 2008
CCNY’s Fall 2008 Enrollment Hits 32-Year Peak
Regents Authorize CCNY to Award PhD Degrees
City College’s student population burgeoned to over 15,000 this fall, breaking all enrollment figures since 1976. The latest numbers also mark a whopping 50% increase in the CCNY student body since 1999, when enrollment hovered around 10,000. “Students are voting with their feet. They are coming to City College and staying at City College in record numbers because they are looking for an affordable, first-class education,” said CCNY President Dr. Gregory H. Williams. Celia P. Lloyd, Assistant VP for Enrollment Management, attributed the increased enrollment to improved retention. “Retention is the main factor since new student enrollment has been pretty constant over the last year,” Ms. Lloyd said. For instance, 1,775 new freshman students entered the College in fall 2007 compared to 1,758 this semester. Yet, total enrollment as of September 7 was 15,507, compared to 14,236 the previous year. Retention initiatives include reaching out and encouraging undeclared majors to choose a major. “Studies show that the earlier a student makes a commitment to a college, the greater their chances of remaining at the institution,” Ms. Lloyd said. In addition, students at risk of dropping out are encouraged to re-register, while recent dropouts in good standing are allowed to return.
The State Board of Regents has authorized CCNY to award Ph.D. and M.Phil. degrees in five engineering disciplines through The Grove School of Engineering. In addition, the College will now award these degrees in four science disciplines jointly with the CUNY Graduate Center. The changes are effective September 1. “The significance of these changes, which will allow us to become a Ph.D.-granting institution, cannot be underestimated,” said CCNY President Dr. Gregory H. Williams. “They will positively impact everything from recruiting and retaining outstanding students and first-class faculty to obtaining external support for our growing research activities.” “Being classified as a Ph.D.-granting institution will bring us greater visibility and more recognition,” added Dr. Zeev Dagan, CCNY Senior Vice President and Provost. CCNY has offered doctoral education in engineering since 1963 under the auspices of the CUNY Graduate Center. While CCNY has provided all faculty and facilities for the program, including office space, computing equipment, scientific equipment and research laboratories, it was not recognized as a Ph.D.-granting institution, Provost Dagan noted. There are currently 202 candidates for Ph.D.’s in engineering at CCNY. The Division of Science has 136 Ph.D. candidates. More on this story.
New Scholarships Target Top NYC High School Grads
Casting its net wide for the brightest public school students in the five boroughs, CCNY has established a new scholarship program that guarantees recipients up to $24,000 in support for four years. The first class of CCNY New Era Scholars will enter The City College in fall 2009. Up to 100 entering freshmen, with a minimum combined SAT score of 1150 or the equivalent on the ACT and an 85 high school average, will receive awards annually. Sponsored by one of CCNY’s most distinguished alumni couples, Yvette and Larry Gralla, who graduated in 1953 and 1951, respectively, the scholarships will include stipends of $6,000 a year renewable for up to four years. For New Era Scholars admitted to CCNY’s Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education the period will be five years. Students must maintain full time enrollment and a minimum 3.0 G.P.A. to remain eligible. Scholarships will be offered to graduating seniors from ten top public high schools across New York. CCNY President Dr. Gregory H. Williams called the scholarship program an important step toward bringing more high-quality students to the College. More on this story.
NSF Awards CCNY $5 Million for New Research Center
CCNY has received $5 million over five years from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish a new, interdisciplinary research center that will investigate new applications for nanostructures and nanomaterials in sensors and energy systems. Known as CENSES (Center for Exploitation of Nanostructures in Sensors and Energy Systems), the center will also investigate emerging technologies and novel characterization techniques for nanostructures and nanomaterials. Dr. Daniel L. Akins, Distinguished Service Professor of Chemistry, will serve as the center’s Director and Principal Investigator. Serving as co-Principal Investigators will be: Dr. Maria C. Tamargo, Professor of Chemistry; Dr. Alex Couzis, Herbert G. Kayser Professor of Chemical Engineering, and Dr. Swapan K. Gayen, Professor of Physics. “CENSES will focus its efforts on addressing several of the major challenges facing the nation and the world, including sustainable energy technologies and monitoring of health, the environment and national security threats,” said Professor Akins. “Our objective is to become a national resource center for these areas and to collaborate on research and development efforts with a variety of potential partners.” More on this story.
CWE Adds Daytime Foreign Language Instruction
CCNY’s Center for Worker Education has formed the Downtown Institute for Foreign Languages (DI) to offer daytime instruction for non-matriculating students in seven languages. Students will be able to take classes in Arabic (contemporary classical), Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish during the early morning and lunch-time hours this fall. CWE hopes DI will be especially appealing to those who work in the financial district/Wall Street community. “DI is also offering onsite instruction to organizations interested in providing this benefit to their employees,” Dean Mercado said. “We have a first-class facility and it did not have many activities during the morning hours and lunch time. I also considered our downtown location and the fact that one of our goals is to contribute in developing the downtown area.” Courses are taught by university-level professors from CWE and City College. There are two sessions for the fall semester: September 8 through October 16 and October 27 through December 5. In addition to foreign language courses, DI will provide business writing courses and ESL classes for those who want to improve their verbal and written skills. More on this story.
CCNY 4th in Fundraising Among NY Metro Colleges
City College’s fundraising efforts in 2007 netted $45.6 million, ranking it fourth on “Crain’s New York Business’” list of top universities in the metropolitan area and number one among public institutions. Columbia University, New York University and Rockefeller University topped the Crain’s list. CCNY President Dr. Gregory H. Williams lauded generous alumni as well as foundations and corporations that believe in the College’s mission of access and excellence for their support. “City College is fortunate to have one of the most highly accomplished alumni groups in the world, most of whom remember with gratitude what was in many cases a great, free, or almost free education,” President Williams said. “The majority could not have paid to go to college and feel that CCNY was their path to success in life. They now want to give that opportunity to others.” Rachelle Butler, Vice President, Development and Institutional Advancement, said CCNY has raised between $45 and $55 million in each of the last two years. She noted that the $26 million gift from Andrew Grove, ’60, in 2005 and additional gifts of approximately $10 million from Michael Ross, ’39, the New York Life Foundation and the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom had inspired others to step forward.
Career Fair Attracts Leading Corporate, Federal Employers
Lured by CCNY’s reputation as a fertile recruiting ground, several top corporations will participate in CCNY’s fall Science, Engineering and Technology Career Fair, 12 noon to 4 p.m. Thursday, October 2, in The Great Hall. Automotive giants Honda and Toyota and Pall Corp., a global leader in filtration, separation and purification solutions, are among the first-time participants. In addition, Microsoft will be returning to recruit students for full-time and internship opportunities. Over 65 companies and local, state and federal agencies will take part in the fair. “Many top organizations recognize that City College is an outstanding source for high-quality candidates,” said Rhea Christian, Associate Director, Placement, Recruiting and External Relations, in CCNY’s Career Center. “Our diverse student population and the fact that City College students are very competitive in the marketplace are also big pluses.” Ms. Christian noted that recent graduates had accepted positions with Goldman Sachs, Con Edison, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Current CCNY students and recent alumni are welcome to participate. For more information about the fair, call (212) 650-5327 or visit the Career Center in NAC 1/116.
Paul Thomson Receives NIH Research Service Award
Paul F. Thomson, ’04, a fifth-year graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in organic chemistry at CCNY, has been awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Pre-doctoral Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The award, given by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), provides a stipend of $20,772 per year plus an annual institutional allowance of $4,200. The award to Mr. Thomson will support his investigations into chemical carcinogenesis – understanding the events that lead to formation of tumors after DNA damage. He is working under the guidance of Dr. Mahesh Lakshman, CCNY Professor of Chemistry. Mr. Thomson, a native of Jamaica now residing in Brooklyn, who has a B.S. in biochemistry and premedical studies from CCNY, has been a member of Professor Lakshman’s lab since 2001, initially as an undergraduate. Named for a former NIGMS director, the Kirschstein Award seeks to improve the diversity of the health-related workforce by supporting training of pre-doctoral students from underrepresented groups. Its goal is to help ensure that highly trained, productive and creative scientists will be available in adequate numbers and in appropriate research areas and fields to meet the United States’ health research needs. More on this story.
Yuliya Vengrenyuk Wins Poster Prize for Imaging
Yuliya Vengrenyuk, a Ph.D. candidate in biomedical engineering, received first prize for her poster, “Micro-CT Based Analysis of a New Paradigm for Vulnerable Plaque Rupture,” at the 6th International Conference on Medical Innovations, held last May in Vienna. The Mimics Innovation Award, which carries a $4,000 prize, is funded by Materialise, a medical imaging company based in Belgium. Working with co-authors Professors Sheldon Weinbaum and Luis Cardoso, Ms. Vengrenyuk built a three-dimensional model of a vulnerable plaque based on 3-D images obtained from a tissue sample. “With the model we can calculate stresses and predict the stability of a lesion and the likelihood of a rupture,” she said. “We can take a real lesion and predict the level of stress due to micro-calcifications in the fibrous cap. The effect depends on their shape and proximity to one another. That’s what makes them really dangerous.” Noting that a ruptured plaque caused the death of NBC Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert, Ms. Vengrenyuk pointed out that better diagnostic techniques might be able to prevent such tragedies. “The problem is predicting which plaque is really dangerous,” she said. “Not all of them will rupture.” The team’s findings were also published as a paper in a special edition of the journal “Molecular and Cellular Biomechanics.”
4 Freshmen Receive Lois Pope Unsung Hero Scholarships
Freshmen Don-Andre Jackson, Leana Leon, Ivana Martos and Gabrielle Moronta, all aspiring physicians in the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at CCNY, are this year’s recipients of the prestigious Lois Pope Annual LIFE Unsung Hero Scholarship Awards. The awards, which each carry a $25,000 stipend, are given to incoming Sophie Davis freshmen who have demonstrated academic excellence and selfless community service in high school. Mr. Jackson graduated from New Rochelle High School with a 95 G.P.A. and was listed in “Who’s Who Among American High School Students.” Ms. Leon was inducted into the National Honor Society at Tottenville High School on Staten Island, where she graduated with a 98 G.P.A. Ms. Martos won many academic honors and other recognitions at Aquinas High School in the Bronx where she graduated with a G.P.A. above 95. Ms. Moronta, who was born in Washington Heights, grew up in Long Island, where she attended Valley Stream Central High School. She graduated with a near perfect G.P.A. and was named a National Scholar, among other honors. All four Pope Scholars volunteered in their respective communities. More on this story.
Perseverance Pays Off for Immigrant Med Students
Saila Moni and Kristina Bababekova, fifth-year students in the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, have received top awards for academic excellence. Ms. Moni is a 2008 recipient of CUNY’s prestigious Belle Zeller Scholarship, named for the founding president of the Professional Staff Congress. In addition, Ms. Moni and Ms. Bababekova received City College’s Benjamin and Beulah Massey Scholarship, presented to outstanding Sophie Davis students who immigrated to the United States. Ms. Moni is from Bangladesh, Ms. Bababekova from Uzbekistan. The award is given by the Massey family, whose patriarch, Benjamin, was a CCNY alumnus. “I feel blessed and proud that my efforts are being recognized,” said Ms. Moni, who came to the United States at age 10. The Queens resident and volunteer at Elmhurst Hospital has maintained a perfect 4.0 G.P.A. in the demanding Sophie Davis Program. Ms. Bababekova said her award was tremendous inspiration for her to continue working hard. The Flushing resident was 14 when she arrived here, speaking no English. “It took a lot of sleepless nights and effort to learn,” she noted. Her perseverance has paid off with numerous honors, and a 3.96 G.P.A.
Powell Fellows Attend Secretaries Of State Roundtable
30 Colin Powell Leadership Scholars and Fellows traveled to Washington earlier this month for a roundtable discussion among five former Secretaries of State on the next President’s likely foreign policy agenda. Gen. Colin L. Powell (USA) ret., ’58, Madeleine K. Albright, James A. Baker, III, Warren Christopher, and Henry Kissinger were the featured participants at the event, which was co-sponsored by the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies. Entitled “The Next President and U.S. Foreign Policy: Guiding Principles and Global Challenges,” the discussion was broadcast and moderated by CNN’s Frank Sesno and Christiane Amanpour. Prior to the meeting, the students, led by Powell Center Director Dr. Vincent Boudreau, met with General Powell. Tiffany O’Neal, a Colin Powell Fellow and New York Life Scholar who was part of the CCNY delegation, called it a great experience. “It was very informative, insightful, entertaining and very relevant with the elections coming up to hear these great minds discuss major foreign policy issues.”
CCNY Students Help Simplify Patient-Care Literature
For immigrants still learning English, comprehending patient-care literature from the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) is about to get easier, thanks to two City College students. This is the outcome of a summer research project conducted by Elaine Cheng and Shumon Dhar, both in their fourth year at CCNY’s Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, under the auspices of the 2008 Mayor’s Health Literacy Fellowship Program. Ms. Cheng, Mr. Dhar and a third Fellow, Raman Singhal of SUNY Downstate Medical Center, reviewed HHC patient education documents to ensure that they were written in easily understood “plain language.” In addition, they organized focus groups of adult ESL (English as a Second Language) students matching the profile of the public hospital patient population to evaluate the documents. The focus groups offered several suggestions on how to make the health literature more comprehensible for a demographic that largely reads at a fifth grade level, said Ms. Cheng, who resides in Queens. “They often found the vocabulary to be difficult and the images used were ambiguous.” The team presented its findings to the Mayor’s Office of Adult Education, which administers the Health Literacy Fellowship Program, and to HHC. More on this story.
Chemistry Professor David Gosser Receives Teaching Award
CCNY Chemistry Professor David K. Gosser Jr. was named a co-recipient of the 2008 James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Teaching of Chemistry. The Award, given annually by the Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society, recognizes Professor Gosser and two collaborators for developing the Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) Workshop model for teaching chemistry. Professor Gosser will share the award for the research and development of PLTL with Dr. Jack A. Kampmeier, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at The University of Rochester, and Dr. Pratihba Varma-Nelson, Professor of Chemistry and Executive Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Indiana University – Purdue University, Indianapolis. “It’s great to have this recognition for something I have been focused on for over 15 years,” Professor Gosser said. “This is a unique program that was developed at CCNY and is now used at colleges and universities around the country.” The PLTL project is a national partnership of faculty, learning specialists and peer leaders to help students build conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills in their science and math courses. Currently, 1,500 - 2,000 peer leaders are engaged on more than 150 college and university campuses to facilitate workshops for more than 20,000 students per year. More on this story.
Adjunct Hasanthika Sirisena, M.F.A. ’06, Wins $25G Writing Prize
Hasanthika Sirisena, an Adjunct Lecturer in English at CCNY and budding fiction writer, is a 2008 winner of the Rona Jaffe Foundation’s prestigious Writers’ Award for Excellence. The 2006 alumna of CCNY’s M.F.A. program in creative writing was one of six recipients of this year’s prize, the only national literary award exclusively for upcoming women writers. It provides a $25,000 stipend. Ms. Sirisena was honored September 18 at the Jaffe Foundation’s 14th annual awards ceremony in Manhattan. Established by the late novelist Rona Jaffe, the award identifies and supports women writers with talent and promise in the early stages of their careers. Ms. Sirisena said she was deeply honored to receive the award. “I have long respected the work of the recipients, past and present, and I am thrilled to be included among them,” she said. “I often find writing to be an isolating endeavor and I am deeply grateful to the Rona Jaffe Foundation for not only helping me to further my career as a writer but also for providing me the opportunity to meet and connect with other women at the same stage in their careers.” More on this story.
Professor Kaku Keynotes Singapore Conference on Future
Dr. Michio Kaku, Henry Semat Chair Professor of Theoretical Physics at CCNY, has been invited to deliver the keynote address at “Futuropolis 2058,” a landmark conference on building sustainable cities, October 21 – 22 in Singapore. Professor Kaku, who, when he isn’t working at his “day job” of trying to complete Einstein’s “Theory of Everything," has interviewed over 300 top scientists, including many Nobel Laureates, in order to paint a scientifically accurate picture of what the world will be like in 2020. Among his predictions are the widespread availability of microprocessors costing a penny that will make “seamless information available anytime, everywhere. Cars will be able to drive themselves, and we’ll access the Internet through our eyeglasses or wristwatches. In the future, the computer will disappear; chips will be everywhere and nowhere.” In addition, he foresees “human body shops where we’ll be able to order new organs produced from our own cells, and even change our genes.” While he sees the development of mega cities as a key trend, he notes that they will have to address issues such as pollution, food shortages, poverty and global warming. “Technology can’t solve all the problems, but it will be one of the tools needed to bring about a just society,” he adds.
Mitchell Schaffler Joins Grove School Biomedical Faculty
Dr. Mitchell B. Schaffler has been appointed Wallace Coulter and Presidential Professor of Biomedical Engineering at The Grove School of Engineering. In addition, Professor Schaffler will serve as director of the New York Center for Biomedical Engineering (NYCBE), a research consortium among CCNY and six prominent New York City hospitals, medical schools and research centers. Dr. Schaffler joins the Grove School Faculty from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he had been Professor of Orthopedics, Functional Morphology and Anatomy and Director of Orthopedic Research since 1998. He will continue to teach at Mount Sinai as an adjunct professor. His research interest areas include: biomechanics of skeletal tissues; skeletal fragility and age-related changes in skeletal tissues; skeletal biology; osteoporosis; osteoarthritis; functional morphology, and stereology and quantitative methods in morphology. “With this appointment, we have now added senior-level professors in each of our six departments over the past year,” said Dr. Joseph Barba, Dean of The Grove School. “Appointments of this caliber will help us attract major research funding and recruit promising students, and play a key role in achieving our goal of becoming one of America’s leading engineering schools.” More on this story.
Alumnus Leonard Kleinrock, ’57, Receives Science Medal
CCNY Alumnus and Internet pioneer Dr. Leonard Kleinrock, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), will receive the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest scientific honor, from President Bush at a White House ceremony today. Professor Kleinrock, who received a B.E.E. from CCNY in 1957, is being honored for “fundamental contributions to the mathematical theory of modern data networks, for the functional specification of packet switching which is the foundation of Internet Technology, for mentoring generations of students and for leading the commercialization of technologies that have transformed the world,” according to a citation from the National Science Foundation, which administers the award. A member of the UCLA faculty since 1963, Dr. Kleinrock was responsible not only for packet switching, the technology underpinning the Internet, but for also developing the mathematical theory of data networks. In 1969, his host computer at UCLA became the first node in what was then known as ARPANET, but later evolved into the Internet. He wrote the first paper and published the first book on the topic and directed the transmission of the first message to pass over the Internet.
Author Frank McCourt to Deliver Rudin Lecture October 28
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt will deliver the Fall 2008 Samuel Rudin Distinguished Visiting Scholar Lecture at City College, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 28, in The Great Hall. His address, “If You Want to Know Yourself, Go Teach,” is free and open to the CCNY community. Mr. McCourt, who was born in 1930 in Brooklyn to Irish immigrant parents, grew up in Limerick, Ireland, and returned to America in 1949. For 30 years he taught in New York City high schools. “Angela’s Ashes,” his memoir of growing up poor in Limerick, has sold over four million copies. It won for Mr. McCourt the National Book Critics Circle Award (1996), the Pulitzer Prize for Biography (1997), the “Los Angeles Times” Book Award and the ABBY Award. In 2006, Mr. McCourt won the prestigious Ellis Island Family Heritage Award for Exemplary Service in the Field of the Arts and the United Federation of Teachers’ John Dewey Award for Excellence in Education. His other books include best sellers “’Tis, Teacher Man,” and “Angela and the Baby Jesus.” He lives with his wife, Ellen, in New York and Connecticut. To RSVP call the CCNY special events hotline, (212) 650-6145, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CWE Hosts Distinguished Professors Lecture Series
Several of CCNY’s most prominent professors and lecturers are heading to the Center for Worker Education on Monday nights for the first Distinguished Professors, Distinguished Lecturers and Endowed Chairs Lecture Series. The series aims to expose CUNY students and the Lower Manhattan community to some of City College’s best minds. It runs through December 15 and is free and open to the public. “This endeavor will allow us to truly share the great talent and assets of City College across divisions and CUNY campuses, while serving the community as a whole,” said Division of Worker Education Dean Juan Carlos Mercado. Presentations begin at 6 pm at CWE, located on the 7th Floor at 25 Broadway in Lower Manhattan. Future lecture dates and speakers follow: October 6, Carmen Boullosa, Distinguished Lecturer in Foreign Language and Literature; October 20, Marshall Berman, Distinguished Professor of Political Science; October 27, Sheldon Weinbaum, Distinguished Research Professor of Biomedical Engineering; November 3, Raquel Chang-Rodriguez, Distinguished Professor of Foreign Languages and Literature; November 10, Gilbert Baumslag, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science; November 17, Joyce R. Coppin, Distinguished Lecturer in Leadership and Special Education; November 24, Alexander Couzis, Herbert G. Kayser Professor of Chemical Engineering; December 1, Michael Sorkin, Distinguished Professor and Director of the Graduate Urban Design Program; December 8, William Rossow, Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering; December 15, Robert Paaswell, Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering and Director, University Transportation Research Center for Region 2. More on this story.
Photo Exhibit at CWE Celebrates Mallorcan Capital
“Palma Digit Art,” 35 enhanced images of the historic and magical capital of the Spanish island of Mallorca, is on display at CCNY’s Center for Worker Education (CWE) as part of its Hispanic Heritage Month festivities through October 31. The exhibit was created by Mallorcan artist José Luis Gil Miró. It features digital photographs complemented with creative touches that highlight the history, romanticism and magical places of the artist’s home town. Viewing hours are 11 a.m. -7 p.m., Monday- Friday. Admission is free and the exhibit is open to the public. CWE is located at 25 Broadway, 7th Floor. The exhibit is sponsored by the Ministries of Education, Trade, Industry and Energy of the Balearic Islands Government, the Balearic Studies Institute and the American boutique hotel group Scott’s Hotels, which owns two small hotels on Mallorca. More on this story.
From the President
Just about a month into the school year, I am proud to see all of you as excited as I am about where we are and where we’re going.
Right now we have more than 15,000 students on campus – more, and better prepared – that we have had since 1976! In the most recent “US News & World Report” rankings, we are in the top tier among our peers in terms of academic reputation, and we are the most diverse college in the nation where Hispanics are the largest group. We have more full-time faculty than we have had since the fiscal crisis/retrenchment of 1994.
We are poised to offer doctoral programs in engineering and the sciences, and the half-billion dollar investment by the state in science, engineering and architecture on our South Campus is moving full steam ahead. Finally, our capital campaign has, to date, brought in nearly $300 million. “Crain’s New York Business” ranks City College fourth, behind Columbia University, New York University and Rockefeller University, in fundraising success in New York City.
No one can tell with certainty how the financial challenges facing the nation, state and city will play out, and there will certainly be some consequences for all public institutions. But I believe that the College and University are right now in a strong position to weather this storm over the coming year, both because we made prudent spending decisions, and because of the remarkable increase in our enrollment.
You need look no farther than the stories of student and faculty success in this newsletter to see why I am looking forward to an outstanding year at CCNY.
Gregory H. Williams
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