The CUNY Graduate School Of Journalism Receives $20 Million Gift From Craig Newmark, Founder Of Craigslist And Craig Newmark Philanthropies

A new $20 million gift to The City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism from craigslist founder Craig Newmark will enhance its mission of graduating skilled journalists, diversifying the voices in the media and encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship.

In honor of this truly historic gift, the CUNY Board of Trustees has approved the renaming of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism as the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York.

“Craig Newmark’s extraordinary generosity ensures that our still-young school will have the resources and flexibility it needs to remain at the forefront of journalism education,” said Sarah Bartlett, dean of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

This transformational gift, made through Newmark’s foundation, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, will enable the School to recruit additional faculty, continue to develop innovative programs, and pursue activities that support greater trust in journalism, among other vital functions.

“At a time of rapid, digital innovation, eroding public trust in news, and increased governmental oversight, it is imperative that we build a sustainable future for journalism,” said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies. “The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism is committed to producing skilled, ethically minded, and diverse journalists.”

As the only publicly supported graduate journalism school in the Northeast, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism provides one of the best values in advanced journalism education in the U.S. With affordable tuition and extensive scholarship support, the School attracts talented students from a vast array of backgrounds and experiences, ensuring that the next generation of journalists is inclusive and diverse.

“We are thrilled and honored by this extraordinary gift to the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism,” said CUNY Board of Trustees Chairperson William C. Thompson, Jr. “It is an important and timely investment, not only in the university, our city and the nation, but in the future of our democracy. At a time of profound challenges to the vital role of a vigorous free press, it has never been more important to support reliable, high-quality reporting – and to ensure that the next generation of journalists has the skills and values to earn the public’s trust and reflects the communities it serves.”


Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza Announce Plan to Improve Diversity at Specialized High Schools

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza joined parents, educators, advocates, students and community leaders and announced a new plan to make admissions to New York City’s eight testing Specialized High Schools fairer and improve diversity. Only 10 percent of specialized high school students are Black or Latino, despite making up 70 percent of the City’s overall student population. The two-part plan includes:

Expanding Discovery program to help more disadvantage students receive an offer: The Discovery program is designed to increase enrollment of low-income students at Specialized High Schools. We will immediately expand the program to 20 percent of seats at each SHS and adjust the eligibility criteria to target students attending high-poverty schools. This would be a two-year expansion, beginning with admissions for September 2019. Based on modeling of current offer patterns, an estimated 16 percent of offers would go to black and Latino students, compared to 9 percent currently.

Eliminating the use of the single-admissions test over three years: The elimination of the Specialized High Schools Admissions test would require State legislation. By the end of the elimination, the SHS would reserve seats for top performers at each New York City middle school. When the law is passed, the test would be phased out over a three-year period. Based on modeling of current offer patterns, 45 percent of offers would go to black and Latino students, compared to 9 percent currently; 62 percent of offers would go to female students, compared to 44 percent currently; and four times more offers would go to Bronx residents.

“There are talented students all across the five boroughs, but for far too long our specialized high schools have failed to reflect the diversity of our city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We cannot let this injustice continue. By giving a wider, more diverse pool of our best students an equal shot at admissions, we will make these schools stronger and our City fairer.”

“As a lifelong educator, a man of color, and a parent of children of color, I’m proud to work with our Mayor to foster true equity and excellence at our specialized high schools,” said Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “With the partnership of the State Legislature, we’re going to live up to what our public schools and what New York City are truly about – opportunity for all. This is what’s right for our kids, our families, and our City.”

Currently, the student population at the eight SHS is not representative of the New York City high school population. Black and Latino students comprise 9 percent of SHS offers, but 68 percent of all New York City high school students. Female students comprise 44 percent of SHS offers, but 48 percent of all New York City high school students. In 2016, 21 middle schools – or 4 percent of all New York City middle schools – comprised about 50 percent of SHS offers. The incoming freshman class at Stuyvesant High School only has 10 African-American students in a class of more than 900.

"New York State has one of the most segregated school systems in the nation. Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza have put forth a bold plan to address segregation and support greater equity at New York City's specialized high schools," said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa. "The top priority for the Board of Regents is to increase equity for all of New York’s children. By breaking down barriers to entry for black and Latino students and enhancing the Discovery Program to further support students, we are showing our confidence in them and providing a better education for all students."

"Students learn from each other's diverse experiences," said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. "I am confident that this plan will have a positive educational impact for talented students across New York City, and help them on the path to a brighter future. I look forward to working with Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza as they roll out this plan and fight for its success in Albany."

“Our prestigious Specialized High Schools are not accessible to the vast number of New York City’s top performing students, partially due to socio-economic disparities and acceptance based solely on a single test, the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT),” noted Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, a graduate of a specialized high school. “As a result, these specialized High Schools are not reflective of New York’s diverse population. These students are further harmed because they are not exposed to the college opportunities these Specialized High Schools offer. Furthermore, a diverse student body benefits all students attending the school. The Mayor’s decision to expand the Discovery Program and address the SHSAT will ensure that our best High Schools mirror the rich diversity of our city making our New York both fairer and more competitive” said Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte.


Seven CUNY Graduates Win Big Apple Awards Honoring Exceptional Teaching in NYC Public Schools

Seven alumni of The City University of New York have won 2018 Big Apple Awards, a recognition of their exceptional skills as New York City public-school educators. The winners, announced by the New York City Department of Education, represent four colleges – Brooklyn College, City College, Hunter College and Queens College – and the CUNY Graduate Center. CUNY is well represented among the winners, with nearly half of the 17 awards coming from the University.

The seven teachers who won were selected from a pool of more than 6,500 nominations, representing schools in all five boroughs. All will serve as Big Apple Fellows during the 2018-19 school year.

“This impressive showing by CUNY alumni among the Big Apple Award winners highlights the University’s critical role in educating teachers for New York City’s public schools,” Interim Chancellor Vita C. Rabinowitz said. “With 16,000 students enrolled in our teacher-education programs, CUNY is the largest pipeline of educators for the largest public-school system in the nation, and our innovative programs reflect the University’s commitment to New Yorkers.

“We are honored and delighted to have played a role in these exceptional teachers’ education and career accomplishments, which enrich young New Yorkers’ lives year after year,” Ashleigh Thompson, University Dean for Education, said. “Congratulations to all of this year’s Big Apple Award winners.”

As Big Apple Fellows for the coming academic year, the award-winning teachers will serve on the NYC Schools Chancellor’s Teacher Advisory Group and meet monthly for career development sessions, giving them the opportunity to broaden their expertise in the classroom.

This year’s CUNY alumni Big Apple Award winners are:

Nina Berman is an Early Childhood Education teacher at the LYFE Program at Pathways to Graduation Downtown Brooklyn, and earned two degrees at Brooklyn College, a B.A. and a Graduate School Counseling Program MSED.

Damen Davis is a sixth-grade English Language Arts teacher and lead ESL teacher for the sixth grade at I.S. X303 Leadership & Community Service in the Bronx. He earned his Master’s of Education at Hunter College.

Sandra Fajgier is a Pre-Kindergarten teacher at Magnet School of Math, Science and Design Technology in Brooklyn and graduated from Brooklyn College.

Stephanie Flete is a teacher of fourth-grade Mathematics at Urban Scholars Community School in the Bronx and earned her B.S. at City College.

Jae Lee is a High School Foreign Language-Korean teacher at Bayside High School, in Queens and earned an M.Phil in Linguistics at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Ryuma Tanaka is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at I.S. 145 Joseph Pulitzer in Queens and earned his M.A. in TESOL at Hunter College.

Alberto Toro is a Middle School Instrumental Music teacher at I.S. 007 Elias Bernstein in Staten Island and earned his M.A. in Jazz Performance and Composition at Queens College.


At 16, Clington Ehidom entered York College, now he has his choice of Med Schools

Clinton Ehidom

Clinton Ehidom has come a long way in the four years since he was an ambitious but underachieving freshman at York College.

Ehidom had emigrated to the Bronx from Nigeria when he was 12 and full of promise. He’d had a strong primary education in his home country, did well enough to skip a grade and arrived here hoping to become a doctor one day. His performance in high school, though, didn’t match his aspiration. He says he was an indifferent student at Fredrick Douglass Academy III in the Bronx and graduated with a C+ average.

But something clicked when Ehidom began college at York. And now, about to turn 20, he’ll graduate as a biology major with a perfect science GPA and his dreams fully intact: He’s been accepted by six medical schools and counting.

“I knew I had to change my mindset,” Ehidom says of his entry to college at 16, and he credits York with sparking his transformation. “The more experiences I had at York College, the more I knew I was right in my decision to come here. It’s having this close collaboration with professors and small class sizes. The community feel at York College also sets it apart. The students are amazing.”

Ehidom lives in the Bronx with his father and two younger siblings, both of whom also are aspiring physicians. His mother remains in Nigeria, pursuing a doctorate in public administration. It was from that family background that Ehidom found his way forward. He became a dedicated student and looked for ways to make himself a strong contender for medical school when the time came.

“He came in with a pretty clear plan about what he wanted to do,” recalled Andrew Criss, York’s premedical adviser, who met Ehidom in his freshman year. “He was in my anatomy and physiology course and, as usual, he got an A. I also worked closely with him as he took over the presidency of the premed club during fall of 2016.”

After his sophomore year, Ehidom participated in a coveted six-week summer program at Yale School of Medicine that prepares students from underrepresented groups to successfully apply to medical school. Among other experiences, he shadowed a physician to get a fuller understanding of a doctor’s daily work and life.

Meanwhile, at York, Ehidom met Francisco Villegas, an associate professor of behavioral science who studies Alzheimer’s disease, and asked to volunteer in his lab. “Students have to give me all they have,” Villegas says. “They have to put in the hours or they don’t come back.”

Ehidom proved to be just that kind of passionate student and soon he was helping Villegas design a study testing whether a procedure known as deep brain stimulation improved the performance of rats in tasks requiring sustained attention. Villegas says Ehidom was a hands-on presence during the first round of the experiment. “Clinton is motivated and focused,” he said. “He never gives up.”

Criss adds, “Everybody raves about him, saying ‘He’s the best student I’ve ever had.’ He goes out of his way to help other students” – mentoring, tutoring in biology and chemistry, and even organizing study groups for the entire anatomy and physiology lab.

“He’s younger than his classmates, which makes his maturity and work ethic even more impressive,” Criss says. “You know he’s going on to great things.”

Ehidom’s dedication has paid off in medical school acceptance letters. So far, he’s gotten good news from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, SUNY Downstate College of Medicine, Stony Brook University School of Medicine and the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Ehidom says he’s leaning toward cardiothoracic surgery as a specialty but acknowledges that may change as his medical education progresses. Meanwhile, he looks back at his four years of undergraduate study with modesty, along with gratitude for the support of teachers like Jong-Ill Lee in chemistry and Margaret MacNeil in biology. “I got a lot of help from professors and that is why I came this far,” he says.


CUNY’S Aggressive Career Development push sparks Student-Tech Firm Meetup at Brooklyn Navy Yard

The City University of New York’s aggressive commitment to career development has already placed thousands of students in paid internships, some leading to post graduation jobs. In the public sector alone, the University arranges internships for 600 students in 18 city agencies. This goes a long way toward solving the city’s need for talent, while ensuring a diverse work force.

Meetups – such as the one at the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s massive new hub for technology and food-production companies – are a key means of introducing students who may not have firm ideas about career paths to entrepreneurs who are powering New York City’s economy today and will shape it in the coming decades.

“CUNY Career Meetups is our response to build our students’ networks by visiting over 50 firms this year in a variety of industries, meeting staff and CUNY alumni, and getting the inside view into careers and opportunities,” said Chancellor James B. Milliken. “Touring state-of-the-art facilities in manufacturing tech at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, understanding civic tech at Sidewalk Labs, learning about postproduction film and TV editing at Technicolor, and touring the city’s center for anti-terrorism and emergency management is what will inform and widen the experiences of our students. And importantly, it is the easiest way for NYC firms of any size and in any industry to get to know our talented students, and to open the door to hiring our graduates.”

Social capital and networks are what open the doors to hiring, Chancellor Milliken said, “Through our meetups, we will help tens of thousands of CUNY students build the networks and professional connections they need to navigate their careers and be prepared for the ever-changing future of work.”

Over the next academic year, CUNY will be launching meetups in these 10 areas: allied health care, art/creative media, business operations, finance, hospitality and marketing, human services, industry and construction, life sciences, public sector, and technology, with several already under way. For example, a recent public-sector meetup occurred at the city’s Office of Emergency Management in Brooklyn. A meetup at Technicolor Post Works in SoHo, which supplies editorial and finishing services for film and television, brought together firms that operate in that sector. And students got to explore finance at Point72, an investment firm.

The CUNY Tech Meetup at the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s new 16-story, 1 million-square-foot Building 77, like the others, invites students from all 24 CUNY campuses. It starts at 5 p.m. at Building 77 at the corner of Vanderbilt and Flushing Avenues. Students will begin three tours of the facility starting at 5:15. At 7 p.m. there will be a panel discussion with tech entrepreneurs.

For their part, the entrepreneurs hope to spot upcoming and often hard-to-find talent that they can help develop through paid internships and, after graduation, even jobs.

“The two CUNY interns we had last summer were sharp and bright and willing to wear the many hats of a startup culture,” said Nick Molinski, co-founder and chief technology officer of the startup Acculis.

This semester he was able to offer one of them a part-time job, working on software that gives building contractors 3D information on their smart phones and pads to augment the 2D blueprints they traditionally have used to guide construction. “We’re very happy with these CUNY students,” he said.

CUNY’s Continuing Education and Workforce Development unit arranges the meetups as a part of the University’s Career Success Initiative. The initiative helps students learn essential workplace skills that will prepare them for internships and jobs, as well as to find academic majors that will provide the academic back background they will need.

Its signature program is #CUNYCodes. This is an industry-focused, co-curricular program, which for the past three years has given students advanced training in software development that aligns with local industry’s needs for entry-level talent. Over 10 weeks, the students build apps under the guidance of savvy industry mentors and then pitch their creations to an audience that includes tech businesspeople. #CUNYCodes is expected to expand to multiple campuses in fall 2018.

Stuart Smith, a 2017 College of Staten Island graduate, was in #CUNYCodes’ initial group in 2014. While he was a student, CUNY helped him secure an internship at New York City Small Business Services. “The main thing there was I learned to work in a professional environment, how to interact with co-workers and how to ask questions and to get help, ”Smith said. As a result, when he interviewed for the software engineering job he now holds at JPMorgan Chase, he had solid experiences to discuss.

Smith is a firm believer in #CUNYCodes, where he now volunteers as a mentor. “We developed a mobile app to facilitate sales or trades of textbooks among students,” he said. His key takeaways were not only the nuts and bolts of conceiving and coding an app, but also how to work in teams, which is how he now works at JPMorgan.

CUNY’s Continuing Education and Workforce Development unit has two other meetups this month. One is in film, TV and media on April 24 at Harbor, a SoHo, N.Y., full-service production and postproduction studio. The other is on April 26 in trading and investing at a location to be decided. Also, it will be hosting its next #CUNYCodes Demo Night on May 2 at Fiterman Hall, Borough of Manhattan Community College.

The hackathon is co-sponsored by IBM and Google. Students are mentored by experts from those and other leading tech companies in New York. To assist with the “Hack Gotham” theme, CUNY Startups has also enlisted the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics, whose staffers will teach a workshop in using open data from the city that can inspire ideas for apps that could make life better for New Yorkers.