Follow us

#cunybmi    #iambmi

CUNY BMI Best Practices


As a CUNY-wide initiative, CUNY BMI’s mission is to increase, encourage, and support the inclusion and educational success of students from groups that are severely underrepresented in higher education, in particular African, African American/Black, Caribbean and Latino/Hispanic males.


CUNY BMI’s vision is to create model projects throughout the University that are intended to provide additional layers of academic and social support for students from populations that are severely underrepresented in higher education, particularly African, African American/Black, Caribbean and Latino/Hispanic males. It is expected that BMI program activity will be institutionalized and absorbed into academic departments and student affairs offices throughout the University for the benefit of students from underrepresented populations including African, African American/Black, Caribbean, and Latino/Hispanic males and, ultimately, all CUNY students.


  • Increase the enrollment and matriculation of underrepresented students.
  • Increase retention of underrepresented students.
  • Improve the overall grade point average of underrepresented students.
  • Increase the graduation rate of underrepresented students.
9 recommendations

After hearings before the Higher Education Committee of the New York City Council chaired by the Honorable Charles Barron, the University was awarded funding from the New York City Council and began to implement some of the aforementioned recommendations. Through the initial grant, fifteen (15) demonstration projects were funded designed to improve the enrollment and/or graduation rates of students from underrepresented groups, particularly black males. Funding was also allocated to increase opportunities for individuals without a high school diploma to enroll in GED courses oriented towards college preparation; to provide support for formerly incarcerated individuals to enroll in college; and to survey workforce development opportunities in New York City’s construction industry. The second grant was used to support the continuation of most of the initial projects; to extend the initiative to all CUNY colleges and to the Graduate Center; to expand a research project begun at John Jay College of Criminal Justice to other CUNY colleges; and to implement a community health survey at the Hunter School of Social Work. Though targeted towards black males, these projects do not discriminate based on race or gender and will serve as models for improving educational outcomes of all students. All programs and activities of the Black Male Initiative are open to all academically eligible students, faculty and staff, without regard to race, gender, national origin or other characteristic. Now, in its tenth year, the CUNY BMI program continues to grow and build on the successes of the past nine years

Shawn Best, Interim University Director, CUNY Black Male Initiative

Shawn Best is the Interim University Director of the Black Male Initiative at the City University of New York (CUNY BMI). Best previously served as the second University Associate Director for CUNY BMI from September 2014 until April 2018, and as a Project Coordinator for the Black Male Initiative at Hunter College from January 2012 until September 2014. As the Associate Director, he co-developed and implemented the site visit structure, a re-branding overhaul and a best practices model for 31 CUNY BMI projects serving over 3,000 students CUNY wide. He also managed and provided technical assistance to approximately 100 administrators/faculty members throughout CUNY system who run BMI projects. He comes to the Central Office with over 20 years of experience working in Residence Life, Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, Athletics and Admissions. Read More

Best received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Vermont in May, 2000. He received his Master of Arts degree in Higher Education Administration from New York University in May, 2004. Best’s passions lie in helping college students experience holistic success and receive mentorship. In particular, Best’s journey to his current career was paved with mentorship from some of the top African American male college administrators in the country including Douglas Samuels and Allen McFarlane. At New York University, Best worked with Allen McFarlane to co-found ‘Brothers For Success’, a student affairs support program for primarily black male students, that was funded by the New York Times.

Best also enjoys performing as a musician in and around New York City as well as personal training, writing and speaking at colleges around the country to inspire staff, faculty and students to ‘Be Your Best’ through his company, Best Solutions NYC. He also co-founded Wright Best Consulting Group in 2017, loves to blog, and has written a book called ‘Change Your Perspective’ that is available on Amazon and Kindle. With over 20 years of higher education experience, Shawn is an excellent communicator and creative problem solver with a unique skill of finding the best solutions to organizational problems. Once deployed, Best has an assertive commitment to follow through on implementation and accountability. With nationally recognized leadership skills by the Association of College Personnel Administrators (ACPA) as the Northeast Regional Chair of the Housing Committee, he works well within diverse communities that embrace positive change. Best is near completion of his doctoral degree in Organization Leadership at Northeastern University with plans to complete in 2018 with graduation in 2019.

McDonald-Ian James, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Liaison, CUNY Black Male Initiative

Dr. Ian James is the Executive Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. In this capacity he serves as the liaison to the CUNY Black Male Initiative. In addition, as a member of the Vice Chancellor’s senior staff, he is directly involved with setting university policy and advocating for university-wide policies and practices that support student access and persistence. Read More

Dr. James’ career in higher education spans nearly 15 years. Dr. James has served as Executive Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs for almost 10 years. Prior to his current position, he worked in the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs’ Office of Student Advocacy and Referral providing guidance to students in matters concerning University regulations, policies and procedures.

Dr. James served as an intern in the United Nations Southern Caucus for NGOs Sustainable Development and worked as a congressional intern in the office of the Honorable Major Owens, United States Representative.

Dr. James holds an Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership from Delaware Valley University. Dr. James holds an M.S. in International Relations from The City College of New York/CUNY and a B.A. in Psychology and Political Science from the CUNY Baccalaureate Program. He holds advanced certificates in Immigration Law from the School of Professional Studies/CUNY, the Harvard Institute of Education Management and the American College Personnel Association Management Institute. Dr. James has been a member of and continues to serve on the boards of several professional associations as well as university committees.

Dr. James’ email address is:

Ian James Mcdonald

Yuleisy Michel Audain is an alumnus of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, originally from San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. In the spring of 2016, she received her B.A. in English with a minor in both Film Studies and Theater Arts at John Jay College. During her time at John Jay, she worked with the Lloyd Sealy Library as The Lab technician, a Peer Advocate with the Urban Male Initiative, aiding young mentees to understand their strengths and resources they have available at John Jay. Yuleisy has been an intern at Resonance Ensemble and also completed an internship at the Broadway League in the Education and Engagement department, which creates and supports Broadway industry education and community engagement programs for live theater. Read More

She is a member of the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honors Society. She worked with John Jay’s office of Video Production Services as an intern, working in the development of shows like Criminal Justice Matters and directing short informational videos about the services offered at John Jay College. Yuleisy became the Marketing and Communications assistant at Urban Male Initiative and she supervised the Peer Advocates Mentoring Programs. Yuleisy is now the Research Associate for the Black Male Initiative helping to increase, encourage, and support the inclusion and educational success of students from groups that are severely underrepresented in higher education, in particular African, African American/Black, Caribbean and Latino/Hispanic males throughout the City University of New York

Yuleisy is a fierce advocate for education and the arts, ultimately trying will become a film director/producer and develop her own production company, where she would like to help underrepresented students become more involved and accessible in the arts/film

Yuleisy Michel Audain

Christopher Rosa – Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Dr. Christopher Rosa was appointed Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, effective July 1st.

Interim Vice Chancellor Rosa served as the University’s Assistant Dean for Student Affairs for eight years. Prior to serving as Assistant Dean, Dr. Rosa was the Central Office’s Director of Student Affairs, where he was responsible for administrative leadership of key student service areas including Student Activities, Mental Health and Wellness Services, International Student and Scholars Services, Veterans Services, Child Care, Women’s Centers, and Career Services. This year, he celebrates his 30th year of service to CUNY—first as a student leader, later as a member of its faculty, and in more recent years as an administrative leader. Read More

Dr. Rosa joined the CUNY Office of Student Affairs in July 2004 after 11 years of student affairs experience at his alma mater, Queens College. While at Queens, Interim Vice Chancellor Rosa served as Director of Services for Students with Disabilities and Director of the College’s Student Support Services Program, following time spent as the College’s 504/ADA Compliance Officer, Affirmative Action Officer, and Student Disciplinary Officer. While Dr. Rosa has diverse, broadly-based student development experience, he is best known at CUNY for his nationally-recognized work on behalf of inclusive higher education opportunities for students with disabilities—he has secured more than $12 million in external funding to support efforts in this area. These include the highly acclaimed CUNY LEADS program, which transitions CUNY graduates with disabilities to competitive employment at more than twice the national average, and more recently, the establishment of model inclusive higher education programs for students with intellectual disabilities at CUNY, through funding from the U.S. Department of Education.

A published disability studies scholar, Interim Vice Chancellor Rosa serves in national leadership roles for organizations that promote access and wellness for Americans with Disabilities, including Chair of the Executive Committee for the U.S. President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, and presently as the Vice Chair of the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Board of Directors.

Christopher Rosa

The CUNY BMI Advisory Board members assist CUNY BMI in developing the future direction of the program, provide and/or garner resources for the program, and serve as ambassadors for the program. CUNY BMI Advisory Board members serve a 2-year term with the possibility of serving more than one term and help procure financial resources to assist 30+ CUNY BMI projects.  Here are some of the goals for CUNY BMI over the next two years, to which the CUNY BMI Advisory Board will hold us accountable:

  • To increase the number of students participating in CUNY BMI from 3,000 to 25,000 .
  • To expand the CUNY BMI network to include the greater Black Male Achievement community across the country.
  • To expand our fundraising efforts to procure grants and sponsorships that would allow us increase its budget from $2.5M to $5M annually.
  • To make CUNY BMI the most expansive and successful men of color student development program within CUNY and throughout the nation.

Here are the active CUNY BMI Advisor Board Members:

Dorian Burton, Ed.L.D.

Dorian Burton, Ed.L.D., is currently the Assistant Executive Director and Chief Program Officer at the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust in Chapel Hill, NC, a foundation that supports the education advancement at all levels with programs and activities that hold exceptional value. He was formerly the Co-­‐Director of The TandemED Initiative for Black Male Achievement and Community Improvement at Harvard University Law School’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, and was the Wasserman Foundation Fellow in the Doctor of Education Leadership Program at Harvard. Prior to Harvard, Dr. Burton worked as an independent consultant with various non-­‐profits and school districts between Harlem, NY; Houston, TX; and Newark, NJ. In his role as a consultant, Burton worked to provide strategic support to Newark Public School principals in the launch of their Renew School Turnaround initiative. In addition, he worked in a special projects role to develop external partnerships for the Harlem Children’s Zone College Success Office. Read More

Dr. Burton started his professional career working for the National Football League and also served as the founding Program Director of the Education Pioneers Houston Office, the Houston Director of Stand for Children, and the Chief Strategy Officer for TandemED. In addition to his doctorate degree from Harvard, Burton holds a Master’s degree in higher education from the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University and a Bachelor’s Degree in sociology from Pennsylvania State University, where he also was a member of the varsity football team.

During Dr. Burton’s tenure at Harvard as a Wasserman Family Fellow, he was selected to the Dean’s Committee on equity and diversity, served as a Teaching Fellow for Lani Guinier at Harvard Law School and was awarded the International Marshall Memorial Fellowship from the German Marshall Fund. Additionally, Dr. Burton was a Gordon Ambach Fellow with the National Governors Association Education Division and The North Carolina Department       of Public Instruction, as well as a non Resident Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University.

Dr. Burton currently resides in Durham, NC. He is deeply driven by his faith, and is the proud son of two wonderful scholarly parents, the father of four great children, and brother to three older sisters who serve as his inspiration, comic relief, and confidants.

Online: In 2014 Dr. Burton was selected to the Boston Business Journal’s 40 under 40.” He has his own blog on Huffington Post and tweets frequently @Dorian_Burton. He has also been published in the Boston Globe.

Shawn Dove

Shawn Dove defines the movement for black male achievement as America’s unfinished business, recalling a long history of discrimination faced by Black men and boys. As Manager of Open Society Foundation’s Campaign for Black Male Achievement, he addressed the exclusion of Black men and boys from economic, social, educational, and political life in the United States, elevating and connecting catalytic leaders and organizations to champion Black men and boys as assets in our nation and communities. To create a pipeline of catalytic leaders, he launched the Black Male Achievement Fellowship. In less than a year, his Institute for Black Male Achievement recruited more than 1,600 leaders from 1,400 organizations nationwide. In 2013, Shawn hosted the Innovation and Impact Forum for Black Male Achievement, gathering more than 250 leaders across sectors in New York under the theme “What Winning Looks Like: Investing in What Works.” Shawn transitioned the program from OSF to a freestanding entity in 2015 and is now the Chief Executive Officer of the Campaign for Black Male Achievement. His mantra for the movement is, “there is no cavalry coming to save the day for Black men and boys in America – we are the iconic leaders that we have been waiting for.” Read More

Shawn also served as one of the founding directors of New York City’s Beacon School movement in the early 1990s while working with the Harlem Children’s Zone. As creative communities director for the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts he led a national initiative that partnered community schools of the arts and public housing

In 2006, Shawn founded Proud Poppa, a publication for African American fathers and is a co-founder of Harlem Men Stand Up, an empowerment project that holds quarterly summits in Harlem. He was a Charles H. Revson Fellow at Columbia University in 1993 and received a BA in English from Wesleyan University.

Corey Fernandes

Corey Fernandes began his career at the Municipal Credit Union (MCU) as a Loan Originator in the Mortgage Department. Helping prospective homeowners address issues like credit repair on their way to realizing the “American Dream.” As Vice President of Business Development & Member Relations, Fernandes now spearheads the credit union’s community outreach campaign, where he continues to develop new ways to help lift communities up.

As part of their community outreach efforts, Fernandes and MCU have displayed a strong commitment to the youth of New York. In partnership with the Department of Education, the City University of New York, and the Daily News, MCU sponsored the “Build a Better School Contest,” where students created three-minute videos highlighting a particular need in their school. From a pool of 61 schools, MCU awarded four finalists $5,000 each. The grand-prize winner, School by the Sea in Far Rockaway, Queens, was awarded $10,000 – which was matched by the United Federation of Teachers – to rebuild classrooms destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. Plans are currently underway to make the contest an annual event. Read More

Fernandes has also collaborated with the New York Police Department to distribute 1,400 turkeys on Thanksgiving to families in need. MCU also paid a visit to the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge, where Fernandes and his team prepared dinner for it patients.

In collaboration with government, labor and media partners, Fernandes has also helped organize “Youth Empowerment Day”—a full slate of activities for hundreds of students from all five boroughs featuring panel discussions and radio and television personalities as guest speakers. The event also includes a dance contest for students—and teachers.

Joshua Humbert

With more than a decade of experience in major gift fundraising, millennial strategies and Founder of the EnVest Foundation, Joshua Humbert brings an exceptional understanding of the core principles of development to the conversation of philanthropy. He serves as the Vice President of Philanthropic Strategies & Major Gifts for the National Urban League, a historic civil rights and direct services organization. He is responsible for overseeing the organizations advancement of Major Gifts and partnerships to help ensure that each year over 2.8 million people are served across 88 Urban League affiliates in 35 states, in over 300 urban communities. Joshua is apart of a Movement that works hard everyday to improve the lives of minorities and under-served constituents with services free of charge. This equates to an enterprise wide $350 million revenue budget and $1.06 Billion economic impact. Read More


Prior to joining the League, Joshua served as Director of Development at Spelman College, where he helped deliver the largest HBCU capital campaign of $157 million. In addition, Joshua played a pivotal role at the University of Maryland’s first billion-dollar campaign where he served as their National Director of Emerging Markets. He has held responsibilities such as Regional Director of Development for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington DC, where he was responsible for managing a $4M dollar development budget, overseeing the fundraising priorities and serving as the development liaison to their 35 member regional board of directors.

Joshua received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Norfolk State University, a Certified Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP), and holds a Master’s Degree in Philanthropic Studies, from The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. Joshua is dedicated to advancing and deepening the understanding of philanthropy in the lives of working-wealth professionals. He has a specific focus on the role private philanthropy plays in developing civil society, economic empowerment and closing the inequality gap.

Joshua Humbert