CUNY to Open First New College in Four Decades This Fall; Receives Significant Grant — Nearly $1 million from Gates Foundation Will Support Launch of the Bold New Endeavor

June 19, 2012 | The University

The New Community College — the first new college at The City University of New York in four decades — was created as a new model for community college education, committed to dramatically increasing student learning and success, while enabling students to earn a degree and graduate in a timely manner. Known as the NCC, its efforts to dramatically impact postsecondary education were recognized today with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This award is part of a portfolio of grants aimed at boosting breakthrough learning models in postsecondary education, and supporting a range of innovators who are fundamentally redesigning how students learn, how they are supported in that process, and how the postsecondary business model enables today’s busy students to earn quality, affordable credentials.

The NCC has been awarded nearly $1 million in funding from the Gates Foundation to document the launch of the college and evaluate the effectiveness of its programs and operating principles over a two-year period. The foundation also supported the planning and start-up of the college, with grants totaling $1.1 million.

“This grant will be critical in telling the NCC story and helping us understand the student impact and cost effectiveness of our programs,” said Founding President Scott E. Evenbeck. “If successful, we will make a tangible and enduring contribution to New York City and become a model for improving community college education nationwide.”

Evenbeck, who joined the college in January 2011, noted that the CUNY and NCC planning teams had done an outstanding job in identifying high impact practices and creating a new model that would support student achievement. “It has been exciting over the last year and a half building the college and bringing to life the Chancellor’s vision and the ideas of so many talented educators across CUNY who planned the college,” Evenbeck said.

An estimated 60 percent of community college enrollees must take remedial courses before they can begin taking credit-bearing classes, and only 22 percent of entering students emerge with a degree within three years

The NCC’s initial target for the first entering students is for 35 percent to graduate within three years.

While some its operating principles have been tried at other institutions, NCC is the first college designed to implement such a group of comprehensive innovations on an institution-wide basis. Its distinctive approach includes:

· A three-week Summer Bridge Program, required for all new students, to help them prepare them for college, explore their strengths and challenges as learners, as well as teach them strategies for success.
· The Peer Mentoring Program, employing students in a wide array of roles, from participation in the Summer Bridge Program and first-year learning communities to leading workshops and study sessions and providing one-on-one tutoring.
· A common first-year curriculum that provides twice the normal time for math, along with a signature City Seminar, focusing on a complex set of issues relating to New York City.
· An experiential learning model, specifically designed to link classroom learning to practical career experiences through partnerships with external organizations and businesses.

With support from the Gates Foundation grant, the NCC’s Center for College Effectiveness will play a key role in coordinating the two-year research and assessment project. The grant also will provide funding for the Peer Mentoring Program, as well as collaborative efforts with outside experts, such as the Community College Research Center and MDRC, in designing an independent external evaluation.

In addition, the grant will to develop an analytics “community of practice” partnership with Indiana University to explore with students the types of information needed to promote habits and behaviors that optimize student success and relevant metrics for assessing the effectiveness of various interventions. The funding will enable the college to continue its careful recording of NCC planning and implementation work, producing case studies, white papers and other documentary efforts for multiple audiences and stakeholders.

Located at 50 West 40th St., in Midtown Manhattan, the New Community College will initially enroll 300 students in September. Eventually, enrollment is projected to grow to about 5,000 students when the college moves to its permanent home on West 59th Street in Manhattan.

The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847 as The Free Academy, the University has 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the CUNY School of Public Health. The University serves over 271,000 degree-credit students and 269,808 adult, continuing and professional education students. College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program, is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 300 high schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The University offers online baccalaureate degrees through the School of Professional Studies and an individualized baccalaureate through the CUNY Baccalaureate Degree. More than 1 million visitors and 2 million page views are served each month by www.cuny.edu, the University’s website.