President Charts Expansion for John Jay College of Criminal Justice

December 11, 2006 | John Jay College of Criminal Justice

John Jay College of Criminal Justice
The City University of New York
899 Tenth Avenue
New York, NY 10019
Contact: Doreen Vinas, 212-237-8645

Jeremy Travis, President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, has announced a package of major new initiatives that will transform John Jay to full senior college status within The City University of New York. In an address today before the Citizens Crime Commission, the president said that the college will phase out associate degree programs at the College over the next four years while creating partnerships with CUNY’s two-year community colleges to expand their associate degree offerings in criminal justice. At the same time, John Jay will raise standards for the four-year degree, the president said.

President Travis also discussed John Jay College’s commitment to the citizens of New York City through such initiatives as new centers on crime prevention, terrorism, and race, crime and justice.

The complete text of the president’s address follows:

Speech before the Citizens Crime Commission
Jeremy Travis
President, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

I am grateful for the opportunity to speak to you this morning. The Citizens Crime Commission has a long history of providing a forum for discussion and debate about the pressing crime issues facing New York City. I am honored to be included among the many notable speakers who have spoken from this forum – most recently, Robert Mueller, Director of the FBI; Sir Ian Blair, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police; New York Congressman Peter King; and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.

I am particularly pleased to be counted among the first speakers since Richard Aborn became your president. Richard has been a good friend and ally on many policy initiatives over the 15 years that we have known each other. The Commission is lucky to have him at the helm to build upon the legacy of another friend and colleague, Tom Reppetto.

Throughout its history, the Commission has frequently made a critical difference in the development of crime policies in New York City. In my own professional experience, the event that stands out most clearly was the issuance of a report by the Commission in 1990 calling for the hiring of an additional 5,000 police officers in the NYPD. As many in this room will recall, 1990 was a scary time. The crack epidemic was raging; the homicide rate was rising without an end in sight; the New York Post pleaded to the Mayor, “Dave, Do Something!” Police Commissioner Lee Brown had convened a small group, including Ray Kelly, Mike Farrell, and a dozen others including me, to come up with a staffing plan for the department. The report by Citizens Crime Commission came out first, recommending the addition of 5,000 police officers. The Police Department report came out shortly thereafter, recommending over 4,000 additional officers. With this support from the corporate sector, the City garnered the political alliances necessary to support the Safe City, Safe Streets plan of Mayor Dinkins, adding well over 4,000 officers to the force.

As the saying goes, the rest is history. With these additional police officers on board, the NYPD has led the nation in reducing crime, promoting positive community relations, and most recently developing highly innovative anti-terrorism capabilities. At a critical time in the City’s history, the Citizens Crime Commission provided an invaluable public service.

I am proud to talk to you this morning about the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. John Jay is a unique and valuable asset to the criminal justice and law enforcement community of New York City. The history of the College and the evolution of professional public safety services in New York City are deeply intertwined. Since John Jay was founded in 1964, thousands of our graduates have served as police officers, fire fighters, and corrections officers. Our alumni serve the City as policy analysts, lawyers, judges and elected officials. Our faculty work on research projects on a range of topics, including terrorism, child abuse, domestic violence, drug markets, human trafficking, prisoner reentry, use of force, and gun violence, that lie close to the central concerns of the agencies represented in this room.

When it was founded more than 40 years ago, John Jay College embodied a simple yet powerful idea, namely that police officers would benefit – both as citizens and as law enforcement personnel – if they received a liberal arts education. Today, after decades of remarkable growth, John Jay has made good on that promise to provide high quality education for students who are animated by the challenges of crime, safety and justice. Our campus is now home to over 14,000 students, including 12,000 undergraduates and 2,000 graduate students in our two doctoral and six master’s programs. Our students now pursue an impressive array of professions, far beyond policing, including forensic science, law practice, fire protection, social work, teaching, forensic psychology, and corrections. Our students are leaders in the political and civic fabric of our city.

Today’s students are in some ways quite different from John Jay’s first class of 1,000 police officers, most of whom were white men. Today’s students are 60% women, 40% Hispanic, and 25% African-American. About a quarter are born in another country; half speak a language other than English at home. Like the first John Jay students, most are the first in their families to attend college. For more than four decades, John Jay has upheld the proud tradition of the City University of New York, by providing high quality educational opportunities to eager, ambitious, and talented young people who otherwise could not afford to attend college.

If we look around at the leaders in today’s public safety and public service sectors of the City, we see John Jay graduates in key leadership positions. Allow me to name just a few. Dick Condon, Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City school system. Tony Simonetti, former First Deputy Commissioner of the NYPD. Marty Horn, Commissioner of Corrections and Probation. Both top uniform personnel in the Fire Department – Chief of Department Sal Cassano and Chief of Operations Patrick McNally. Peter Pizzola, Director of the Police Department’s Crime Laboratory. Brian Gimlet, the new Chief Security Officer of the New York Stock Exchange. Mike McCann, former Security Director of the United Nations. Teresa Coaxum, Deputy State Director for Senator Schumer. Ceny Taveras, Counsel to Lieutenant Governor-Elect David Patterson. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. City Council Member Miguel Martinez, Chair of the Fire and Criminal Justice Services Committee. City Council Member Larry Seabrook, Chair of the Civil Rights Committee. Joseph J. Maltese, Civil Court Judge in Richmond County. Larry Cunningham, of the Bronx District Attorney’s Office. And I am sure I have overlooked some in this room!

We are proud to count these leaders as John Jay alumni. They represent the more than 30,000 men and women who have graduated from John Jay over our history. They reflect John Jay’s commitment to the City, to produce, in the words of our recruitment material, tomorrow’s “scholars, leaders and heroes.”

We now stand at the beginning of a new chapter in the remarkable story of this remarkable institution. As the challenges of crime, public safety, and justice have become more complex – including now the urgent threat of terrorist activity, the globalization of crime, and the role of policing in emerging democracies – educational institutions such as John Jay College need to become more sophisticated, more demanding, and more firmly grounded in strong academic disciplines.

This morning, I am pleased to announce that we have launched a major transformation of John Jay College that will prepare the next generation of “scholars, leaders and heroes” to meet these challenges.

The first building block of this transformation is to become a senior college within the City University of New York. John Jay is now a comprehensive college, meaning that we offer both baccalaureate and associate degrees at the undergraduate level. Right now, students who do not meet the baccalaureate admissions standards of John Jay can be admitted as associate degree students. Over one half of our freshman class – and about one quarter of all our undergraduates – are registered in our associate degree programs.

When we looked at our admissions trends over the past several years, we discovered an interesting pattern. The growth in our student body has been phenomenal, indeed the strongest growth in the CUNY system. But our greatest growth – about ten percent a year — was among freshmen admitted as associate degree students. We are, of course, delighted to see that so many students want to come to John Jay. We are one of the “hot schools” in the region, and the interest in criminal justice topics has never been higher, due in part to the interest in security issues after 9-11 and in part to the popularity of television shows such as Law and Order and CSI. But we realized we had to make a choice – either find ways to expand, to serve students at both the associate and baccalaureate levels, or embrace the mission of becoming a baccalaureate institution, while finding another way to meet the strong demand for criminal justice education at the associate degree level.

At a historic meeting last May, our College Council, which is made up of faculty, staff and students, voted – by a vote of 38 to zero, with five abstentions – to eliminate our associate degree programs over the next four years. To accommodate those students who would otherwise come to John Jay, we will create a network of educational partnerships with the community colleges of the City University of New York. Through these partnerships, students who do not meet our baccalaureate admissions standards will start their education at the community college level. If they complete their associate degree and achieve a certain grade point average, they will be eligible to transfer to John Jay to continue their education and work toward a baccalaureate degree.

Last month, we selected the first four community colleges for the Educational Partnership Initiative. We will work with Queensborough Community College and Borough of Manhattan Community College to develop a joint degree program in forensic science. We will work with LaGuardia Community College and Bronx Community College to develop a program in criminal justice. Next spring we hope to forge similar partnerships with the remaining two CUNY community colleges — Kingsborough and Hostos – and other CUNY colleges including York College, College of Staten Island, and Medgar Evers College. We expect to secure approval of these new joint degree programs next year, advertise them to prospective students the following year, and admit our first classes under the Educational Partnership Initiative in Fall 2009.

These partnerships represent a major expansion of the City’s educational offerings in criminal justice, forensic science, and related fields. We will be drawing upon the University’s rich network of community colleges – which are among the best in the country – to bring thousands of new students into rigorous educational programs that are designed jointly by the faculty of John Jay College and the faculty of the CUNY community colleges.

This initiative also allows John Jay to focus our recruitment efforts on students who are ready for a demanding college experience. The challenge is clear – over the next four years, we must replace the approximately 3,000 students who will be diverted into the community colleges. To accomplish this mission, we will launch a new marketing and recruitment drive, throughout the region and across the nation, to compete with the best public and private colleges for highly prepared students who are ready to pursue a rigorous baccalaureate education.

At the end of this period of transformation, John Jay will stand as one of the top tier colleges in the City University. Our Chancellor, Matthew Goldstein, who is leading the historic renaissance of the City University of New York, envisions CUNY as an “integrated university,” providing a range of educational options throughout the City, drawing upon the strengths of all CUNY institutions, to serve students at any level of preparation for higher education. Our new approach to criminal justice education is consistent with that vision and Chancellor Goldstein has been an enthusiastic supporter of this new direction for John Jay.

The second building block of the John Jay transformation is a significant investment in new faculty and a simultaneous expansion of the range of majors at the College. In order for John Jay to achieve educational excellence, we must bring our faculty resources in line with the other senior colleges of CUNY – and we must provide a richer array of educational offerings that are consistent with a first rate institution.

We are very fortunate that Chancellor Goldstein has made a commitment to this vision of academic excellence at John Jay. With his indispensable support, we have taken the first steps toward implementation of a four-year investment plan that will bring over one hundred new full-time, tenure-track faculty to John Jay College, about a thirty-percent increase. This investment will enrich the educational experience at John Jay. There will be more full-time professors in the classroom, bringing their record of scholarship into daily discussions. Students will have access to more professors to help them choose courses, consider majors, or pursue careers, law school or graduate studies. John Jay will have more faculty supervising student research, overseeing laboratory experiments, and developing new curriculum.

This historic faculty hiring program will also allow John Jay to offer – for the first time since the fiscal crisis in the mid-1970’s – a full range of liberal arts majors. Right now, students at John Jay can only pursue majors related to criminal justice. This is about to change. Now, under the leadership of our Provost, Mike Steinman, and our Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Jane Bowers, the John Jay faculty are developing majors in subjects such as English, History, Urban Studies, Anthropology, African American Studies, Economics and Philosophy. These majors – and others like them that will emerge over the next few years — will be different from the same major offered at another college – different because they are offered at a college with a unique criminal justice mission. Our English major, for example, will offer a concentration in Law and Literature. Our Economics major will provide courses on the economics of crime, corporate and white collar crime, and forensic accounting. Our History major will explore the connection between culture, conflict and the rule of law. These new faculty will also allow us to strengthen and expand our masters degree programs, providing new options for professional advancement and intellectual growth for our students.

In short, over the next four years, with the addition of these new faculty, John Jay College will become a more vibrant, challenging, student-centered institution, exploring issues of justice through a variety of disciplinary lenses. We will become a college without peer throughout the world.

As we undertake this transformation of the College, we will remain true to our historic mission. We will keep our commitment to work closely with you, our colleagues in the City’s criminal justice system. We are particularly interested in finding new ways to provide educational opportunities for your employees. For the past few years, John Jay has offered credit-bearing courses in terrorism, leadership, and policing a diverse society for several hundred police officers. More recently, we have worked with the Fire Department to offer credit-bearing courses on Randalls Island. We are in discussions with the Corrections Department to find new ways to offer courses to their personnel. We recognize that these agencies are committed to upgrading the educational qualifications of their personnel, including requiring baccalaureate degrees for promotion, and John Jay is eager to support that worthy goal.

We also take very seriously our obligation, as a public educational institution, to bring together scholars, practitioners and policy makers who are grappling with the tough issues facing our society. For example, in the wake of the attacks of September 11th, the College created a Center on Terrorism, represented today by the Center Director, Prof. Chuck Strozier. This Center provides frequent seminars on cutting edge scholarship on terrorism and is overseeing an important study on law enforcement responses to terrorism in a half dozen countries around the globe. Last year, we created a Center on Crime Prevention and Control, headed up by Prof. David Kennedy, which is working on new approaches to gang violence and drug markets throughout the State and across the country. Our Prisoner Reentry Institute, under the leadership of Debbie Mukamal, is working with City and State agencies on the difficult challenges of reducing the rate of recidivism – and enhancing the chances of reintegration – for individuals leaving prison. Our Center on Race, Crime and Justice, led by Prof. Delores Jones Brown, provides a forum for analyzing the intersection of race and gender with the issues of crime and justice.

Two recent initiatives underscore our commitment to providing value to the City’s residents and businesses. Last month, we launched the Leadership Academy on Corporate Security, under the direction of Paul DeMatteis, former Director of Global Security at Prudential Financial. This Academy will provide executive development courses to corporate security officers, individuals who are the unsung heroes in our defense against crime and terrorism. And last year, we launched the Lewis and Jack Rudin Partnership, an initiative that for me captures the essence of the new John Jay. With generous support from Jack Rudin, John Jay graduate students and faculty members work on research topics identified by our partners – Ray Kelly at the NYPD, Bob Morgenthau in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Marty Horn at Corrections, John Feinblatt and Chauncey Parker in the Mayor’s and Governor’s offices, and Judith Kaye in the New York State Courts. Topics of Partnership projects have included identity theft, discharge planning, cost-effectiveness of prevention programs, domestic violence, and measuring the impact of drug enforcement efforts. Through this partnership, we can bring our greatest assets – our students and our faculty – to assist the leaders of the agencies that serve the City.

When John Jay celebrates its fiftieth anniversary in 2014, it will be a transformed educational institution. We will have joined the upper tier of CUNY colleges, with a unique profile as an international leader in educating for justice. We will have expanded our reach throughout the City, with thousands of students studying criminal justice in associate degree programs, administered by CUNY’s community colleges. We will have hired over a hundred new faculty members — committed to excellence in research and teaching and bringing new ideas and energy into the classroom. We will offer a range of exciting new majors that will prepare a new generation of scholars, leaders and heroes. Our alumni will continue to provide invaluable service to the City, State, and nation, and will increasingly engage in the global challenges of transnational crime, terrorism, human rights, and international justice.

It is perhaps fitting that later this month we will complete the demolition of a garage that now stands on Eleventh Avenue between 58th and 59th Streets, behind the main building of John Jay College. Over the next three years, a new building will be constructed on this site, including a 13-story tower overlooking the Hudson River with classrooms, faculty offices, a moot court room, a conference center, forensic labs, and rooms for student services. Connecting this new tower and our current building will be an urban campus, five stories above street level, about the size of Bryant Park, complete with grass, trees, outdoor cafes and meeting places for students, faculty and staff to gather. We are literally building the new John Jay – the new physical plant and the new academic architecture that will enable us to educate the next generation of leaders in the pursuit of justice.

I invite you to join us in the next chapter of the John Jay story. Please send us your employees for their continuing education; offer internships to our students and hire them upon graduation; come to the College for our seminars and lectures; engage our faculty in thinking about the cutting edge issues you are facing. Only with your continued support will this remarkable institution meet its full potential.

Thank you.