Guttman Community College, formerly known as the New Community College of CUNY, opened in the fall of 2012. It’s the first CUNY community college to open in more than 40 years, and it was renamed after the University received a $25 million gift from the Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation. The donation, the largest to a community college in New York history, was given to support the college and other community college initiatives to boost student retention and graduation rates.
Outstanding Teachers: BILL WILLIAMS jokes that what led him to collaborate with Sandra Clarkson was the constant refrain at cocktail parties: “Oh, you teach statistics? I hated statistics!”
Outstanding Teachers: KIMORA – SHE USES only one name – has taken on what may seem a quixotic mission: to encourage students who intend to become police, corrections or probation officers to be ethical – if not happy – in their work. She sets the same goal for the teenage prisoners with whom she works.
Outstanding Teachers: As a teenager on the brink of college, Jennifer Basil faced a big decision – theater or biology. At 17 she’d apprenticed at the New York State School of Performing Arts at the Circle Repertory Company in New York City. But at age 9 — “after watching everything on PBS about animals and fish” – she had written to the renowned Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory on Cape Cod, looking for work.
Outstanding Teachers: ANTHONY CARPI, professor of environmental toxicology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, hasn’t been teaching much since he was tapped to be the Interim Associate Provost for the Advancement of Research last year, but he finds other ways to work with students.
Outstanding Teachers: TOM OFFERS TO SELL HIS JACKET to Sally for $50. Simple, right? But what if Ellen offers Tom more after Sally says OK? What if Tom changes his mind? Does it matter that nothing is in writing? What if Tom lied about the jacket’s material?
MOST OF US gratefully remember a special teacher whose skill in the classroom transformed our learning experience, making complex or unfamiliar material accessible, relevant, and compelling, and igniting our curiosity. At The City University of New York, we are fortunate to have many faculty whose expertise and creativity have enriched student proficiency in demonstrable ways. I am delighted that this issue of Salute to Scholars recognizes some of the exceptional faculty whose teaching has garnered awards and acclaim. I commend all of our faculty for their efforts to improve student progress through innovative, dedicated instruction.
Outstanding Teachers: DARA BYRNE, an associate professor of communication and theatre arts at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says her “favorite place is in a class with freshmen, because I enjoy helping them see what the higher education environment can do for them.” And she teaches just the course – the one they don’t want to take.
AFTER BEING ACCEPTED to Kingsborough Community College in 2011, Mushfica Masud was depressed to receive a class schedule filled with remedial courses.
But two years later, Masud boasted a 4.0 GPA, made the dean’s list, and was recently awarded a scholarship for academic excellence.
THE UNIVERSITY is now in the book business with the launch of the CUNY Journalism Press. The academic press housed at the
Graduate School of Journalism will use a new publishing model to produce books related to the craft.
Outstanding Teachers: When she was just 4 years old, Queens College associate professor Susan Croll announced that she would be a medical researcher. As a youngster, she was fascinated by her father’s psychology lectures at SUNY Broome Community College and helped him grade the bubble exams, “but not the essay questions.” Now The Princeton Review has recognized this neuropsychologist for her own teaching abilities.
ARTIST and York College professor of painting Nina Buxenbaum grew up in a multiracial, politically active family in Brooklyn. Early on, her work centered on black collectible imagery — Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben and Mammy — that Buxenbaum found “disturbing.” Later, it became more personal as she developed her own identity as a biracial African-American woman.
Nearly Killed at 15 by a Bullet That Tore Through Her Brain, Vada Turns Experience Into Art
ANDREW SHIVA is the scion of a family intrinsically linked to the culture of America — and New York City. His grandfather started MCA Records, his mother was on Broadway, his father, a producer, was the founding general manager of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company and a trustee of the Public Theater, as is he — and that is only a sampling.
NEW YORKERs are famous for being unflappable, but in the fall of 2011 William Fritz was worried that the city had taken Hurricane Irene a little too much in stride. Like other climate concerned scientists, Fritz, a geologist at the College of Staten Island, considered Irene a precursor of more powerful and frequent storms in coming years. But where he saw a heads-up, others saw a worst-case scenario that wasn’t so bad.
AS A STUDENT during her undergraduate days, Elana Cooper struggled academically. Today she’s a first-year Ph.D. student at one of the top engineering schools in the country, and she is more surprised than anyone.
OLIVER HOUSER would be the first to admit that his childhood on the Upper West Side of Manhattan wasn’t exactly conventional. How else to explain the home videos of Houser at 6 years old, playing the part of Gwen Verdon, running around the family apartment belting out “Whatever Lola Wants” from the musical comedy “Damn Yankees.”
AS A COLLEGE PRESIDENT, Scott Evenbeck is far from alone when it comes to being “new on campus.” His school, its students, faculty and staff are all new as well, participants in a bold experiment in education. As the first community college to open in the city in 40 years, the aptly named and much-publicized New Community College will be under the microscope of educators and media for years to come. Nationwide, community colleges have been an abysmal failure at teaching and retaining the very students who need them. NCC aims to turn this around. Its curriculum is issue-based and uses the city as a learning laboratory. Students are vigorously supported by professors, peer mentors and student success advocates. It is not easy to drop a course.
FOR ALL THE YEARS he’s been an astronomer, Charles Liu has examined thousands upon thousands of galaxies — 80,000 alone in a recent project, some as far as 7 billion light-years from Earth. He’s measured how quickly galaxies form stars and determined their age and luminosity. But one galaxy has captivated him more than all the others: J152426.55+080907, or as it’s more commonly known, Flagellan.
Outstanding Teachers: TEAM GRANOLA’S GAME was preparing for Hurricane Rees, soon to whip through town with terrifying force. The object: Move around the board, gathering the essentials — food, fuel, medical supplies and hardware, plywood and tools — needed to survive the big blow.