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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.
Denise Lewis is a current student at The CUNY School of Professional Studies, enrolled since Spring 2010 in the Online Bachelor’s Degree in Business. As a single parent she raised three children, often working two jobs to support her family, while maintaining an excellent GPA. Each of her children currently attends or has graduated from college. Academic Advisor, Jaye-Anne Sartoretto recently had the chance to ask Denise a few questions about her goals and motivation for pursuing higher education, and here is what she shared with us:
Jaye-anne: What are you hoping to accomplish in the next five years?
Denise: What I intend to accomplish in the next five years is to be on my way to a successful Fashion Styling business. I have an Associate’s Degree in Fashion Buying and Merchandising from the Fashion Institute of Technology, and when I get my Bachelor’s Degree in Business it will give me the business foundation from which to build and establish a business. I have already started drafting a simple business plan from which I can build upon and add more detail to bring my business into fruition.
Jaye-anne: What or who inspires you and keeps you motivated?
Denise: I am basically self-motivated. I know what I have to do, and I plan out my assignments and do them. After not completing my degree when I was young and fresh out of high school, it has always been my goal to finish college. I was always inspired by:
- My grandmother, who was a West Indian woman who always instilled in her family that education is important;
- My mother, who although she did not go to college went to nursing school and became a Licensed Practical Nurse while raising five children;
- My oldest sister who has a Master’s Degree in Counseling and is a Study Skills College Counselor at the Fashion Institute of Technology;
- My daughter, who won a full scholarship to a private college (DePauw University in Indiana) and graduated, and who, by the way, is back in Graduate School studying accounting and plans to become a CPA;
- My other two children, who have some college and plan to return to get their degrees;
- And last but certainly not least, my four grandchildren, for whom I would like to be an example to show them that no matter what age you are, it is never too late to finish college and to instill in them that college is an important life goal to accomplish.
Jaye-anne: What challenges do you face as an online student? And how have you overcome those obstacles?
Denise: The challenges that I face as an online student are sometimes being tired; or if I am studying a subject that is a little challenging for me, such as mathematics, I have to find a tutor or someone to help me. I have overcome these challenges by just pushing along and doing the best that I can and asking for help from someone who is more knowledgeable in a subject that I am, or I ask the professor for more time to complete an assignment if I am having trouble with it. Most professors understand and grant the extension. Another challenge for me was dealing with the noise of my grandchildren (who only wanted to play) when I was studying. However, I overcame that challenge by purchasing a laptop and retreating to a quiet room to complete my assignments. There were also times that I stayed late at work to get my homework and studying done.
Jaye-Anne Sartoretto is an Admissions and Academic Advisor for The CUNY School of Professional Studies Online Baccalaureate Program. When asked to reflect on her work here at SPS, she said:
“As an advisor, I see my role as helping students integrate their academic path with career planning. Equally important is what transpires during the academic process. My goal as an advisor, is to encourage students to discover strengths, define interests and become more confident in what their capabilities are. But the environment for this to manifest needs to be an environment that is built on trust and support. It is most important to build a relationship with each student. Each student is different and has different needs. Therefore it is crucial to be sensitive to what those needs are and advise accordingly. As advisors we get to understand the vicissitudes our students overcame. That is why there is nothing more rewarding and praiseworthy then to watch my student graduate. I can only hope that I somehow made a difference in their lives.”
Having recently been laid off, my world is a different place. Gone are the days of consistently imposed structure, office camaraderie and, most notably, a steady paycheck. My coworkers and I got the bad news right before the holidays; the small graphic design and branding studio we worked for was having trouble bringing in new business and could no longer afford our salaries. After 5 years I cleaned out my desk and said goodbye to people who were like family.
While visiting my actual family in Seattle for the holidays, I got the ball rolling: I applied for unemployment, got a bit of freelance graphic design work, and I volunteered to help a friend with a great startup with which she had begun working as CEO. A good start to staying afloat, making new connections and keeping my skills sharp, but the idea of looking for full time work was sincerely intimidating. For over a year I watched my incredibly qualified, ivy-league educated boyfriend (as well as other friends) struggle to find steady work; how could I possibly expect to find a job?
Even though I had been productive in Seattle, upon returning to NYC I felt disillusioned and disheartened. Usually coming back from visiting my family is a chance to dive back into my life and routine, but this time it felt as though I had neither of those things. The blank slate of my life was staring me in the face, and it was terrifying. I know enough people who have been laid off that everyone understands what I’ve been going through, and with empathy they encourage me to see this time as an opportunity to explore my career and myself. Yes, of course, an opportunity – I was just having a hard time seeing it.
Who do you turn to at a time like this? Luckily my alma mater, CUNY School of Professional Studies, has an excellent Career Services office. Shannon Gallo, the Career Services Director, and I recently met to go over my career objectives and she had some very helpful suggestions. First we explored what type of company I want to work for, what type of work I really want to be doing, and how to approach my job search with those parameters in mind.
It turns out that I want to do more meaningful work. As a marketing and design professional I want to promote a company or product that’s doing some good in the world, or at the very least not actively harming it (see my previous post about fast food marketing). Some people think marketing in and of itself is not a meaningful pursuit, but I always say that even institutions such as non-profits, hospitals and schools need to be marketed. So we decided I would stay in my field but target companies whose values and mission statements align with my own.
Shannon told me about some great job search websites specifically for the non-profit sector such as Idealist.org, NYNP.biz and JustMeans.com. I was concerned that I haven’t worked at non-profit before and that I might lack important experience. Shannon pointed out how in my cover letters I could discuss relevant coursework from my BA in Communications & Culture, to show my interest in and knowledge of issues often dealt with by non-profits such as social and civic reform, the diverse cultures in New York City, and socioeconomic issues in general.
Shannon also gave me some very helpful job search tips, like keeping track of all the jobs I apply for in a spreadsheet and making PDFs of job postings so I can revisit them later if necessary. We discussed improving my LinkedIn profile, becoming more active on the website in groups, and requesting recommendations from people with whom I’m already connected (Shawn Abraham recently wrote a great post about using LinkedIn). We talked about creating a schedule for my days and weeks, making sure I get in enough time to look for paid work to balance out the volunteer work I’m doing, to get out of the house on a regular basis, and even to try and have fun occasionally.
After speaking with Shannon, I feel like the terrifyingly blank slate of my life could in fact be seen as an opportunity to re-imagine a more meaningful and fulfilling career path for myself. Knowing how to better describe myself as a qualified candidate, I now feel more confident applying for jobs that I might actually want. I’m also very thankful that I can send Shannon drafts of cover letters and resumes and she’ll give me honest, informed feedback.
It’s wonderful that as students and alumni of CUNY SPS we have such a great Career Services office. You don’t need to be laid off or out of work to take advantage of this resource. If you’re unhappy in your career path, wondering how to put your SPS degree to use or just curious about your options don’t hesitate to contact Shannon Gallo at: email@example.com, 212.817.7166. My only regret is that I wish I had done it sooner.
Rachel Smith is a marketing and design professional in New York City. She graduated from the SPS BA in Communications and Culture in 2009. Currently she is a founding member of the Alumni Relations Council and By Laws Task Force. Rachel loved the BA program which inspired her to work towards fostering community and collaboration among Alumni at SPS.