Awards, Grants for Programs, CUNY Research



The CUNY Office of Research has been awarded a $1.3 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to continue a highly successful program to advance scientific achievement by CUNY students and faculty. It’s the third, three-year grant for the program, called Promoting Scientific Success at CUNY, since it began in 2012.
The program has two components, one that supports promising junior faculty members in the sciences or engineering and the other to advance undergraduates interested in pursuing research careers.
The first, the CUNY Junior Faculty Research Award in Science and Engineering Program (JFRASE), provides $50,000 awards to four early-career faculty members per year. Twenty-four science or engineering faculty members have received the grants in the six years of the program thus far, and the awards have been major boosts to their careers. All told, the 24 faculty members have gone on to receive more than $24 million in new research funding and publish 208 peer-reviewed research articles.

The other part of the program, the CUNY Summer Undergraduate Research Program, provides 20 students each summer with research experiences at CUNY’s Advanced Science Research Center. Four students are assigned to each of the ASRC’s five disciplines – nanoscience, photonics, structural biology, neuroscience and environmental science – and receive $6,000 stipends along with free housing.



The City University of New York is expanding its promising Accelerate, Complete and Engage (ACE) program to Lehman College, thanks to a $1.1 million grant from the Robin Hood Foundation. ACE, launched at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Fall 2015, also with initial seed funding from Robin Hood, aims to double four-year baccalaureate graduation rates. The program at Lehman will begin in Fall 2019 and serve 125 first-time, full-time freshmen, and 125 full-time transfer students who enter with an associate degree. CUNY aims to further expand ACE to its other senior colleges.
“With the generous support of Robin Hood, more CUNY students will have the benefit of an innovative program of proven efficacy that will enable them to finish their bachelor’s degrees in four years,” said Interim Chancellor Vita C. Rabinowitz. “The ACE program, based on CUNY’s successful ASAP program that has more than doubled timely graduation rates in associate degree programs, is another example of CUNY’s commitment to its students’ success and its impact in public higher education.”
Both programs help mitigate obstacles that often prevent a student from graduating in a timely manner, if at all, by providing students with academic, social and financial supports. ASAP was conceived and launched with the goal of helping students obtain an associate degree in no more than three years with the support of the State and City of New York. ACE was conceived to support baccalaureate students in the same manner, helping them graduate in no more than five years.
“Half of the students that attend Lehman come from families that make less than $30,000 a year. These students don’t have access to the ‘extras’ that so many people take for granted, the hidden advantages that make succeeding in college easier,” said Lehman College President José Luis Cruz. “But an education is the way to upward mobility for these students, so we’re thrilled that Robin Hood is making it possible for more students to succeed.”



The City University of New York colleges secured nearly $6 million in federal grant funds in 2018 that benefit schools’ Early Childhood Centers (ECCs) and the student-parents who rely on their services.
“Early Childhood Centers provide services that are indispensable to thousands of CUNY student-parents who would otherwise find it far more difficult to continue pursuing their educational goals,” said Interim Chancellor Vita C. Rabinowitz. “This additional funding enables more New Yorkers to stay in college and build a better future for themselves and their young families.”
The U.S. Department of Education awards the grants through its Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program to support on-campus child care services primarily serving the needs of low-income students. CUNY colleges have been awarded funds since the grant program began in 1999, but the $5,976,180 secured in 2018 marks a high point in both the amount of funding obtained for the child care centers and the number of CUNY schools to benefit.
New four-year awards were given to six CUNY schools, bringing to nine the number of University colleges that receive program funds. Newly awarded colleges include Brooklyn College, Baruch College, Bronx Community College, LaGuardia Community College, Kingsborough Community College and Lehman College. Medgar Evers College, New York City College of Technology and Borough of Manhattan Community College received four-year awards in 2017. Among other benefits, the funds will help add services, subsidize child enrollments and extend their hours of operation, benefiting adult learners who take evening classes.
There are 16 Early Childhood Centers that serve 17 CUNY campuses, providing daytime, evening and weekend child care and Pre-K for All, as well as mental health support services for parents and subsidies for parents who qualify. The centers are available to all CUNY students, and serve about 1,600 children annually. Experienced and certified educators conduct the programs, and all University child care programs are licensed and evaluated by New York City Department of Health.



CUNY researchers have secured a $550,000 award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to analyze the factors that may promote or hinder community-college-to-senior-college transfer among students with interests in the humanities. The award marks the next step in CUNY’s ongoing push to diagnose and repair leaks in the pipeline between community college and bachelor’s degrees.

Investigators Alexandra Logue, Chet Jordan and Colin Chellman will focus on students at Guttman Community College during the first year of the three-year grant period; they will widen their lens in the second and third years to examine all seven of CUNY’s community colleges, said principal investigator Logue, a research professor at the Center for Advanced Study in Education at CUNY’s Graduate Center.

It has been understood for decades that the pathway from an associate degree program to one in which students work toward a bachelor’s degree is fraught with obstacles. More than 30 percent of U.S. students begin their post-secondary studies at a community college. And while more than eight in 10 of those students say their goal is to earn a bachelor’s degree, only 17 percent will have attained one after six years. At CUNY, that number stands at 11 percent.
The Mellon Foundation award will complement a four-year, $1.4 million grant for transfer research from the Institute of Education Sciences of the federal Department of Education, which Logue and Chellman secured in August in partnership with MDRC, a highly regarded social research organization. That study, titled “A Leaky Pipeline: Community College Students and Pathways to the Bachelor’s Degree,” seeks to pinpoint specific stages in the transfer pipeline at which students hit snags, along with an analysis of the supports that could enable them to avert the drop-off and make a successful transition.

“Together, the two grants will allow us to collect significant amounts of new information that will benefit countless transfer students and aspiring transfer students,” said Logue.



The City University of New York will play a major role in the implementation of Cyber NYC, a $30 million initiative announced by the New York City Economic Development Corp. (NYCEDC) to transform New York into a worldwide hub for cybersecurity innovation. CUNY, part of a consortium of academic institutions that also includes Columbia, NYU and Cornell Tech, will take the lead in designing a multifaceted applied cybersecurity learning initiative, pairing academic and industry leaders and exposing students to a vital and rapidly emerging field that will count an estimated 3.5 million unfilled jobs by 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures.

The effort will include the development of industry-informed curricula and new instructional vehicles for their delivery; a Tech-in-Residence program that will pair students with top leaders from the tech sector, providing the tools to apply academic lessons to real-life industry needs; a citywide forum that brings academic and industry leaders together for a two-way conversation and the creation of a regional cybersecurity conference; and the development of a graduate program in Cybersecurity Studies at the Grove School of Engineering/City College of New York.

The first component of CUNY’s involvement will focus on the development of specialized educational units called stackable credentials. The courses, to be developed in partnership with NYU Tandon School of Engineering, will be self-standing modules that can provide continuing education for professionals and, potentially, be combined to form credit-bearing credentials toward a certification or degree. The courses’ scaled delivery, across multiple universities via global learning platform edX, will enable industry professionals in finance, health care, retail and media to keep abreast of rapidly changing cybersecurity hazards and practices.

LaGuardia Community College will partner with software development school Fullstack Academy to lead an intensive cybersecurity boot camp. LaGuardia and its faculty will host a six-week preparatory course for adults who have limited exposure to information technology (IT), teaching the basics of industry software and terminology in preparation for the boot camp.