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We are now accepting nominations for students to join the School of Professional Studies Governing Council. The Governing Council considers proposals for new courses, degrees, certificates and programs that will be offered by the School. Two students and two alternates are needed to serve on the Council for a one year term starting on July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014.
The role of the Council is to consider and approve new courses, certificates and degree programs that the school offers as well as advising the Dean of SPS on the administration, coordination, and development and termination of all of its programs and curricula. The Council meets seven or eight times a year, in the afternoons at the Graduate School and University Center. We estimate that the students elected to the Council will need to be able to commit 10 hours each month in which there is a meeting in preparation and participation. Attendance at the meeting is very important because that is when votes are taken.
In order to serve, you must be a degree candidate in the School of Professional Studies, plan on enrolling in the fall 2013 and spring 2014 semesters and currently be in good academic standing. Your interest, enthusiasm and unique student perspective are extremely valuable to the Council and we hope you will consider nominating yourself if you think would like to serve on the Council.
If you are interested in serving, please complete the Student Representative Self-Nomination form. It may be submitted by email to Dr. Zeita-Marion Lobley, our Director of Student Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org on or before Tuesday, April 16, 2013. Dr. Lobley can be reached at (646) 344-7248 if you have any questions. Students who express an interest in running will be provided with a page on the SPS website and an ePortfolio. Through the ePortfolio candidates will inform students of their candidacy and will campaign for election.
Nominees should plan to attend a brief orientation session with SPS staff, current student representatives and faculty serving on the Council on Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. This session will provide an overview of the role of the Governing Council, member roles and responsibilities, an overview of the election process and time for your questions. Elections will take place from Monday, April 29, 2013 through Thursday, May 9, 2013. Election results will be announced on May 11, 2013. Elected student representatives will be introduced to the other members of the Governing Council at the last Council meeting of the year, scheduled for Thursday, May 16, 2013.
Thank you and I look forward to working with you in the coming year.
Brian A. Peterson
Brian A. Peterson is the Associate Dean for Administration and Finance at the School of Professional Studies.
The following post was submitted by Crispin Goytia ‘09, Chair of the Alumni Advisory Council.
The CUNY School of Professional Studies Alumni Advisory Council was formed with the intention of bringing alumni together to make time to dedicate and “give back” to the school that gave us so much. Personally, it has been a blessing for me to be a part of this council because I can’t think of a better way to keep the legacy of SPS alive.
I was part of the first group of students enrolled in the online degree program and I have always thought of ourselves as “trailblazers” daring to take education to new and improved heights. I have many wonderful memories, but honestly my favorite was going on a nature walk in Inwood Park as part of the Nature and New York Course.
By being a member of the Advisory Council, we are able to partake in that vision each time we work together to develop ideas and programs that will forever shape the school and the populations it serves. Each time we meet, I am reminded that the Advisory Council feels like a family.
Giving of your time, even if it is just once a month can impact the life of a fellow student at CUNY SPS. I ask of all alumni both near and far to create an alumni action plan which can help people figure out how they can best give back to an institution that has given us so much.
Crispin is a graduate of the Online Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Culture Program, currently works in research, and plans to apply to one of the Master’s Degree programs here at SPS.
Maggie Keenan-Bolger (SPS ’10) and Rachel Sullivan (SPS ’10) are co-creators of The Birds and The Bees Unabridged, an original devised theater piece about female sexuality accompanied by a pre/post show art exhibit. Bringing together a diverse ensemble of 25 people, and over 15 visual artists, The Birds and The Bees…Unabridged uses theater and visual art to challenge the status quo and spark much needed conversations about women and trans sexuality.
For years, many women have not had the time or place to discuss and define their own notions of sexuality or to challenge current definitions. Using the experiences, ideas and opinions of the individuals in the ensemble, and the 2000+ people who participated in a nationwide survey, The Birds and The Bees Unabridged tackles issues of sex education, partner communication, the sexual body, sexual health, identity, and how sexuality changes over one’s lifespan. This project examines real opinions and stories…because the gentle explanation of the bees pollinating flowers will only go so far.
The Birds and The Bees Unabridged was developed through the process of devising as learned in the MA in Applied Theatre Program at SPS.
School of Professional Studies Students/Alums involved in the project include: Directors: Maggie Keenan Bolger (’10) and Rachel Sullivan (’10) Performers: Meggan Dodd (“11), Chelsea Hackett (’14), Carrie Ellman-Larsen (’11), Jess Levy (’11), Ernell McClennon (’10), Suzu McConnell-Wood (’11), Heather Nielsen (’12), and Liz Parker (’11).
Showtimes and Details:
Wednesday, March 27, 8pm
Thursday, March 28, 8pm
Friday, March 29, 8pm
Saturday, March 30, 2pm and 8pm
Speyer Hall at University Settlement: 184 Eldridge St. New York, NY
Tickets: Sliding Scale $10/$15/$25, based on what you can give
For tickets and information, visit www.thebirdsandthebeesunabridged.com
This article by Wendy Williams originally appeared on the blog Getting Smart on February 21, 2013.
I never get to meet most of my students in person, because I teach asynchronous online courses via Blackboard, for the City University of New York (CUNY). I was part of a cohort of Ph.D. students who began teaching after fully online programs were available. The online venue allowed us to keep researching and writing our dissertations, teaching asynchronously as time permitted. While teaching, I was working on my anthropological research, on Chinese Americans and their digital communication strategies in Brooklyn’s Chinatown. The focus of my research was the online relationships this group builds and maintains online, using everything from Skype to the Chinese social networking service QQ. My favorite part of doing my anthropological fieldwork was developing new relationships, especially with one particular family. I treasure the details my students give me about themselves, too, as a way to get to know them, albeit virtually.
The CUNY online program, part of the School of Professional Studies (SPS), is for degree completers. Students must transfer in with at least 24 credits, so they are all adults, with complicated lives and many responsibilities. The program began in 2006, offering an online major in Communication and Culture, and went on to offer degree programs in Psychology, Sociology, and Business; there are eight in all today, six bachelor’s and two master’s. Because my students are working adults and often parents, I think many are not focused on the social experience of college; they just want to learn and get their degrees. The big advantage of distance learning for them is that they do not need to travel to a classroom, and there are other perks.
Because class size is capped at 25, SPS classes are more like small seminars than MOOCs, and students thrive on the personal attention and feedback, from me and from each other. Most of their work is written, so students get a lot of much-needed practice in writing. Some are not native English speakers and get to sharpen their language skills as well. The self-pacing means they can tailor the time they spend on each assignment. With their remarkable diversity, typical of CUNY students, they bring a range of perspectives that enhances every class discussion. My colleagues and I spend lots of time thinking about ways to enrich the student’s online learning experience using open source tools — with Jing videos, a blog in WordPress, class discussions on Twitter, and other enhancements.
SPS has an extensive list of instructional design options to include in each course, and having at least some group work is one of those recommendations. Some of my students are resistant to group projects but later report that they found it quite beneficial, for the fresh viewpoints that different minds and learning styles brought to the project. They also get to interact with the rest of the school, and beyond, by producing ePortfolios. One former student, who was considering a new career, took my assignment to produce an academic ePortfolio and ran with it, producing a rich display of her schoolwork that was personal, polished, and creative – just the sort of thing to show to a potential employer or graduate school. It also allowed me to relate to her in a new way, after seeing that we liked the same kind of music.
My students may be more comfortable with the limitations our online program places on relationship building than I am. I share some of Sherry Turkle’s concern from Alone Together (and see her New York Times opinion piece) that people are so focused on text-based communication today that face to face communication can get devalued, along with the relationships it enables. I crave more chances to see light bulbs go off for students, with my own eyes, although I do get to witness it in other ways. I once suggested in an informal discussion forum that my students might be interested in a free lecture at the New York Public Library. I met one student after he graduated who told me that he did attend that lecture, and that it started him on a life-changing journey of discovery of the intellectual life of New York City.
CUNY’s online students benefit from these casual conversations, and so do I. There is room for growth in finding more ways to nurture their social interaction and competency in oral communication, even in a fully asynchronous online course. I use Blackboard Collaborate, Skype, or Google Hangouts for my office hours and to get small groups of students together, to facilitate their relationships with me and with each other. The informal learning that can happen in the social spaces within and outside of the course is an important goal. When students then graduate and move on, some to graduate school, they are taking with them this experience with how a student-centered, collaborative learning environment works online.
Wendy Williams is a media professional, educator, and cultural anthropologist. She is an online instructor for CUNY School of Professional Studies and lives in Brooklyn.
Dear SPS Students:
I hope you have enjoyed your winter holidays, and are looking forward to the challenges and rewards of the upcoming semester. Whether you are a new or returning student, I am happy to welcome you to the School of Professional Studies for the Spring 2013 term, and to thank you for choosing SPS. I am confident you will find your studies with us rigorous and engaging and the academic community here enriching and supportive. Please be sure to visit our community blog and “like” our Facebook page to get the latest news about our School, your professors, and your fellow students.
I sincerely hope your experience at SPS exceeds your expectations; please feel free to share with me any suggestions and ideas that might assist our efforts to provide you with the best education possible. Once again, on behalf of our faculty and staff, I wish you a successful and enjoyable semester.
Dean, School of Professional Studies
John Mogulescu is the Senior University Dean for Academic Affairs and the Dean of the CUNY School of Professional Studies, and his responsibilities involve him in many different aspects of the University’s academic life. In addition to SPS, Dean Mogulescu has overseen collaborative programs between CUNY and the NYC Public Schools, CUNY Prep Transitional High School, the CUNY Language Immersion Program, CUNY Start, and the Adult Literacy and GED Preparation Programs. Dean Mogulescu also supervises the University’s Workforce Development Initiative, special training initiatives for City and State workers, and programs for welfare recipients, in addition to Adult and Continuing Education at CUNY and its non-credit programs, which serve over 250,000 students per year.
Recently I read an FB status on a friend’s page that asked what a panic attack felt like and I smiled in sympathy. I wanted to reply and describe it, but I didn’t want to take up that much space. I recently experienced my first panic attack.
Now if you’ve been a reader for a while you are wondering, well why did you have a panic attack? Finding out you are the grandmother of a five day old infant can do that to you. Looking back, it’s a really funny story. It was about 8:30 pm on a Friday evening. I was puttering around my kitchen, wine glass in hand, when my eighteen year old son ‘S.’s seventeen year old girlfriend ‘A.’ called me up. We both said ‘hi’. Then she said, “S. said I should talk to you because you give really good advice. He said you gave him good advice about our dog a couple of weeks ago.”
“Sure,” I said, “I love dispensing advice, what’s up?”
A: “So we had this baby right, and I don’t know what to do.”
Me: “A baby what?”
A: “A baby!”
Me: “A puppy?”
A: “No a baby girl.”
Me: “Whose is it? Are you babysitting?”
A: “No, it’s our baby. Me and S. had a baby girl a few days ago.”
Me (sounding very stupid by now): “You and S had a baby girl a few days ago?”
A: “Yes, and I needed some advice from someone on what to do about it and S. wanted me to call you.” Here I think she said something else, but I couldn’t really hear her anymore.
Me: “Ok. Let me call you back. Just stay by the phone and give me a few minutes and I promise I’ll call you right back. In, like, a few minutes.”
Somewhere in the middle of that last sentence is when the panic set in and the attack began. My hand was shaking so hard I could hardly hold the phone. My heart felt like it would beat out of my chest, or be squeezed to a complete stop by the increasing tightness. My throat was closing up and I realized there were tears falling because I felt them scalding my face. Both my son T. and his dad J., my significant other, were staring at me with panicked looks on their faces. I hung up the phone and ran past them to the bathroom. J. followed me in and shut the door.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“S. had a baby girl!” I squeaked. I grabbed his shirt tightly with both hands and burst into loud crying. If he hadn’t been holding me so tightly I think I might have crashed to the floor, I could hardly breathe.
He let me cry for a while and when I finally began to wind down, he said, “You have a right to feel upset and cry, but you need to get it together and call those kids back. Can you imagine how scared they are right now? And they called you for help. Go call her back, and go get the baby if you need to, everything will be fine.” He was right of course and hearing him say it, I started to feel much better and calm down.
I washed my face and then as he walked out of the bathroom, my mother knocked on the door. He let her in and directed her to the bathroom. As soon as I saw her, I burst into tears again, having an ‘I-need-my-mommy-moment.’ And although that lasted all of about 90 seconds, it helped me get an immediate perspective on how it must feel to be a seventeen year old girl with an issue like this and no one to talk to. I told my mom what was going on and she said essentially the same thing J. had. I just felt all the hurt, anger, and disappointment drain out of me to be replaced by something like a steely resolve. I went back to the kitchen (and my wine!) and called A. back and arranged to pick them and the baby up the next morning.
She was with us for a few weeks until her parents got themselves situated. Now I am officially a grandmother to a beautiful baby girl named Charlie. Whew, I said it! I guess I’ll be writing lots of infant articles now, between her and my niece. I can’t wait to pick her up and meet up with my sister and niece to shop for baby girl dresses, shoes, hair bows and pink everything!
Cheryl is a student at CUNY School of Professional Studies and the mother of three boys. A former office manager, she currently writes a blog about her adventures in parenting called UrbanMommys.com. In her spare time she likes to check out fun new places and things to do with children for her readers.
In September, SPS announced that Linda Key (’12) received a prestigious Fulbright award. Applied Theatre students and alumni continue to break ground. At elementary schools in all five boroughs, Leah Page (’13), Liz Parker (’11), Rachel Evans (’13), Amy Sawyers (’13), Anneka Fagundes (’11), Shamilia McBean (’13), Brisa Munoz (’13), and Sara Hunter Orr (’13) deliver “Alice’s Story,” an interactive theatre piece about bullying. The piece was created by J’nelle Chelune (’11), Ria Cooper (’11), and Anneka Fagundes for the arts in education organization Making Books Sing, with the organization’s Director of Education. TIME for Kids magazine covered “Alice’s Story” in a recent October issue—in fact, the publication featured Rachel Evans and Liz Parker on its cover, in TIME’s iconic red frame.
In Chelsea this summer, second- and third-year students interviewed seniors at SAGE, the nation’s first Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender senior center. Led by visiting professor Tony Goode, our students wove the interviews into an original piece of theatre, and then performed the piece for SAGE and other centers. Chelsea Now covered the performance, acknowledging Carli Gaugh (’13), who had “channeled a SAGE member” and captured the spirit of the singular seniors.
The Applied Theatre program’s collaboration with SAGE began in 2011 as a thesis project. Sherry Teitelbaum (’11), Kevin Ray (’11), and Jenny Houseal (’11) led LGTBQ youth and members of SAGE in creating a theatre ensemble. Foreshadowing this summer’s work, the ensemble drew on its members’ stories to create a dynamic original piece of theatre. Now, the project, called Bridging the Gap, has won major funding to return to SAGE; Bridging the Gap’s second original piece, “The Quest for Love,” premiered Saturday, December 1 at The LGBTQ Center. Also working with seniors, Abigail Unger (’12) was recently hired as Recreation Coordinator for Project Find, a network of senior centers throughout the city.
Downtown at Judson Memorial Church, Wil Fisher (’11) and Michael Wilson (’11) produced The New Masculinities Festival, an evening of performances addressing what it means to be a man. See www.manquestion.org/festival or to watch the performance.
I am writing to tell you about a Red Cross volunteer day to Far Rockaway, Queens, which you’ve probably heard about. The story of my last stint at the shelter in Long Island was posted on the CUNY SPS Community Blog, and I thank them for their initiative. It may also be on the Red Cross blog soon.
This stretch of land, Far Rockaway, is a peninsula on the south end of Queens/Long Island, just south of JFK airport, which was right in Sandy’s way and still has widespread power outages and fuel shortages.
The New York Red Cross organized a volunteer effort to cover some of the most affected areas, which are basically the last pockets without power. There is an info-graphic that compares three recent major storms.
This was also an interesting day. We met up with our Red Cross (ARC) friend and headed down to Floyd Bennett airfield where the National Guard, FEMA, ARC, etc., have set up with fuel tanker trucks, trailers, mass kitchens from the Southern Baptists, and so on. Anne and I were with an ARC member and we set out ahead of the volunteer bus to find the location where we were to meet the food trucks, and to let folks in the area know there would be hot food.
The drive to Far Rockaway over the bridge from the airfield was an eye-opener. Even big trees had toppled and the storm’s winds had spread the sand from the beach from the waterfront up to a few hundred yards inland. Written on a boarded-up McD’s was: “Nothing here 2 take. U R 2 late.” Some commentary on night-time activity. Smashed car windows told the same story.
People in those neighborhoods were tending to their homes, generating piles of rubble that sanitation crews were picking up here and there. Some streets were closed to traffic entirely, because of downed trees, downed cables, trash, or rubble. Utility crews, said to come from all over the country, were all throughout the neighborhood, working on power lines and assessing damage. Some unfortunate neighborhoods will always be the last to have services restored.
Much of the dislocation comes from the associated effects of not having power—no heat, communications, spoiled food, trash piling up, lack of fuel, totaled cars everywhere… The area has been without power since the storm 18 days ago, when the ocean water, 4 to 6 feet deep, rushed in and destroyed any electrical circuit it met—in cars, in fuse boxes on houses, street lights, garages. Generators were around by buildings, work sites, and on main streets and corners. Lines of hundreds waited in long lines for fuel trucks, carrying gas cans to fill up their cans and generators, all overseen by police officers.
We found that a church close by had clothing donation and distribution going on, and found people charging their phones on generators. The food trucks arrived soon, run by volunteers from California, Virginia, and other places. People soon started queuing up for a hot meal ready to go, but that didn’t compare to when the next truck, carrying a load of clean-up kits, diapers, and over 900 comfort kits (containing a blanket, flash light, batteries, wipes, hand sanitizer, hand warmers, and more) arrived. Since we had walked the neighborhood, we easily found three apartment complexes that lacked generators and the kits found their way into the crowds in less than an hour. Here a word about the volunteers. They came from schools and companies all over town and formed instant teams for canvassing, food prep, handing out supplies, and did it all with a compassionate and positive attitude.
There were bright spots. Some houses had remained dry and people had taken in others who had no place to go. Sometimes we were told that things were fine, or that neighbors were helping each other by sharing a generator. In another back yard we found a guy with a beer and a hearty “who cares”-laugh barbecuing.
The whole effort will have gone on for a few more days after the first one on Saturday, which we were part of. I am thankful for getting a chance to help, and that leads me, with a little smile, to a good opportunity to mention that a small donation to the Red Cross is a very easy and helpful way to support disaster relief, not just here, but all over the country.
One more thought. After Katrina hit New Orleans it became public knowledge that in a situation like this people really need to be prepared to get by on their own for 72 hours. Please consider checking a preparedness web site to make a plan. They say hindsight is 20/20, but sucks nonetheless, if enjoyed from a raft.
Best, as always,
PS: As always, these views are my own and do not reflect the views or positions of any other party, directly, or otherwise.
Michael Spieth is a graduate of the Advanced Certificate in Project Management program at CUNY School of Professional Studies.
To all of the veterans, active troops, and military families in the SPS community, we thank you! Returning home and making higher education a goal is not always easy. We asked alum Armando Vega, and current student Enrique Diaz to share some of their thoughts on being student veterans.
I was in the U.S. Navy, and I served honorably for 4 years (1994 – 1998).
2. What CUNY SPS program did you receive a degree in, when, and how has that changed your life?
I earned an MA in Labor Studies. My desire is to work in Human Resources and the Labor Relations department. My dream is to one day become the HR manager and or director of a reputable corporation.
3. Were your experiences as a student affected by also being a veteran?
Not really because I returned to school much later in life, and my classmates where older working class adults. I try to keep my veteran status private for the most part.
4. What does Veterans Day mean to you?
Veterans Day is close to being the most important day of the year next to July 4th. It is a day of remembrance for the sacrifices made by the many brave men and women that has enabled this great nation to remain free from tyranny.
5. What advice do you have for newly returning veterans?
To be resilient, and realize that the civilian world is not very kind to returning veterans, and that finding employment is very difficult right now. Keep the faith and seek help from the Veterans Administration.
Any additional thoughts?
For me to attend CUNY and earn my Masters degree was a worthwhile accomplishment, and hopefully I can use it to advance in my career.
1. What branch of the United States Military did you serve, and for how many years were you enlisted?
I served 6 years as a Religious Program Specialist (RP) with the United States Navy and 4 years as an 0111 (Administrative Specialist) with the United States Marine Corps.
Currently enrolled in the Public Administration Certificate Program, once completed, June 2013, I plan on transferring to Brooklyn College for a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Once I have earned my degree in Political Science, I hope to use it to advance my career within City government.
3. Were your experiences as a student affected by also being a veteran?
My yearning for learning was nurtured while I was on active duty. As a veteran, I now have more time to pursue my desire to learn.
4. What does Veterans Day mean to you?
It’s a day of reflection. I think back to my time served, my friends and family who have served and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that I could live in a land where the only one holding me back is myself. All the opportunities are there for the taking.
5. What advice do you have for newly returning veterans?
Take advantage of any programs available to you. Use your GI Bill to further your education and make yourself more marketable. As sad as it is to say, being a veteran is simply not enough anymore to obtain a good paying job to sustain yourself and your family.