The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded Queensborough Community College, a College of The City University of New York (CUNY), a National Leadership Grant for $495,000 to demonstrate Culture and Literacy through Art for the 21st Century (CALTA21), a model initiative designed to engage and empower adult immigrant English language learners and their families. Queensborough Community College’s award is among ten out of a total of eighty-eight applications in the demonstration category, selected to receive funding. The projects selected were identified as examples that would have a national impact in the museum field and serve as models to museums nationally. This important grant is also supported by matching funds from the college, university and the collaborating partners.
Queensborough Community College—in collaboration with the Rubin Museum of Art; the Katonah Museum of Art; El Museo del Barrio; Queens College’s Godwin-Ternbach Museum; Visual Thinking Strategies©; The Literacy Assistance Center; and CUNY”S Office of Academic Affairs Language and Literacy Programs— will build and support museum–community college partnerships to improve the ability to engage and serve adult English language learners and their families. Through the collaborative implementation of CALTA21, these partnerships will open pathways for some of the country’s newest residents to language skills, cultural capital, higher education, and workforce development, while simultaneously helping each institution expand its reach and maintain its relevance in increasingly diverse communities.
“We are extremely honored that the IMLS has recognized QCC’s leadership role in offering an innovative approach to literacy for adult immigrants,” said Dr. Diane B. Call, Interim President of Queensborough Community College. “As a community college located in the most diverse county in the nation, we have a unique perspective on the needs of foreign born students of all ages.”
“It is a great honor to receive a National Leadership Grant award that recognizes CALTA21’s potential to produce systemic change within the museum community. This project will impact museums’ capacities to diversify their audiences by establishing nationwide museum and community college collaborations and by providing a replicable model initiative to engage and empower adult immigrants and their families in a meaningful and permanent way,” said Patricia Lannes, CALTA21 Project Director.
“This dynamic collaboration between museums, institutions and Queensborough Community College is a terrific partnership, and these critical funds will go a long way towards strengthening the educational role of museums in our area, in a way that can be replicated across the country,” said U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Queens/L.I.) “Improving curriculums and implementing new programs will expand the educational reach of the college and these facilities, and ensure that museums and the outstanding learning experiences they provide are accessible to all.”
“National Leadership grantees help advance the museums, libraries, and archives field,” said IMLS Director Susan Hildreth. “We look forward to much exciting work from this round of awards, including projects that will support learning and 21st century skills relevant to a new generation of digital natives, enhanced access and ability to interact with digital content, and providing innovative services for existing and new types of library and museum users. We believe that each of these grants will advance the museum, library, and archive professions through new research and the creation and dissemination of innovative tools, models, and activities that can be shared broadly.”
“Thanks to this award, Queensborough Community College will provide its English language learners with visual literacy and other 21st century skills that will assist them in transitioning to the workforce and to post-secondary education,” said Dr. Margot Edlin, Assistant Professor, Faculty Fellow for Academic Affairs.
Kitty Bateman, Associate Professor of Basic Educational Skills, Director of the QCC Literacy Program and Co-Principal Investigator from QCC, says that, “The heart of Queensborough is the value it places on the art of teaching. Our program has always placed an important emphasis on the relationship between learning and cultural institutions in the New York City area. This opportunity gives us a chance to partner with other institutions nationwide to create immersive, language-rich cultural experiences for the adult immigrant learner and its family.”
Queensborough Community College, established in 1960, is located on a lush 37-acre campus in Bayside, New York. The College offers a rich liberal arts and science curriculum as well as career and pre-professional courses. Comprising one of the most diverse populations of any college in the U.S., nearly 15,000 students pursue Associate degrees or Certificate programs and another 10,000 students of all ages attend continuing education programs. The College boasts Dual/Joint Degree programs in Nursing, Biotechnology, Criminal Justice and Education with its sister CUNY institutions— Hunter College, York College, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Queens College, respectively. Over half of the faculty holds doctorates, compared with 21% of faculty in other community colleges nationwide.
In the fall of 2009, Queensborough launched the Freshman Academies for all first-time full-time students. While other colleges have similar programs, Queensborough is the only community college to launch the initiative institution-wide.
Queensborough has the distinction of being awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Challenge Grant in the amount of $500,000 and was recently named one of 12 colleges nationwide to lead the American Association of Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) project—funded by Met Life—to support and expand effective student success strategies at community colleges. The College’s prized cultural beacons, The Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives; QCC Art Gallery; and Queensborough Performing Arts Center (QPAC) continue to bring renowned world-class exhibits, fine art and performances to the entire community and beyond. Please visit our website at www.qcc.cuny.edu.
About the Institute of Museum and Library Services:
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit www.imls.gov.