Page 1

CUNYMatters •

“The experiment is to be tried… whether the children of the people, the children of the whole people, can be educated; and whether an institution of learning, of the highest grade, can be successfully controlled by the popular will, not by the privileged few, but by the privileged many.” — Founding Principal Horace Webster The Free Academy


Critical Challenges Ahead M

FALL 2010


The University plans proactive steps to manage financial strains and maintain hard-fought academic gains.

ILLIONS OF DOLLARS in state budget cuts, reductions in state Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) awards and a murky economy pose critical challenges to the University this fall as rising enrollments continue to set records and a revitalized CUNY soars as an attractive higher education destination for students.

With the state budget enacted for Fiscal Year (FY)2011, the University has sustained up to $205 million in cuts since FY2009, forcing budget tightening across the campuses and further straining resources needed to match enrollments that are rising again this year. As per Gov. David Paterson’s vetoes of all legislative restorations, all TAP awards are reduced by $75; TAP will no longer be available to graduate students. Effective Spring 2011, students will have to accumulate credits at a faster pace in order to remain eligible. CUNY officials worked with the New York State Education Department to soften some of the new restrictions and are continuing to seek ways to ameliorate the impact. At the same time, a $200 increase in the maximum federal Pell Grant award for 20102011 is available for eligible students.


HANCELLOR MATTHEW GOLDSTEIN said at the Aug. 30 meeting of the Board of Trustees’ Committee on Fiscal Affairs that the University would take proactive steps to manage the financial strains wrought by the state cuts, in order to maintain CUNY's hard-fought academic gains, programs and services, and to protect students. “It will get worse before it gets better,” Chancellor Goldstein said of the fiscal situation. He asserted tuition increases might be in the offing. “We are going to have to make some decisions on the revenue side,” said the chancellor, who has advocated for small, annual tuition increases as part of the CUNY Compact, a public-private financing model aimed at creating a predictable funding stream for the University. “This is the opening salvo for a serious discussion about what we face today in terms of our resources to manage the University, and create the necessary investment vehicles for us to continue to feed the University,” he added. “We cannot stay where we are because the students are the ones that are going to suffer here.” The budget enacted by the Legislature for FY2011 provides CUNY senior colleges with $1.86 billion, and includes $84.4 million in operating budget reductions: $63.6 million in reduced state support and $20 million to be achieved from workforce actions, according to Associate Vice Chancellor for Budget and Finance Matthew Sapienza, who made a presentation at the committee meeting detailing the cuts and their impact. The “acute strain” wrought by the reductions means “colleges will not be able to make planned investments, including critical hires that are needed to keep pace with growing enrollments,” his report said. The community colleges, which have seen a 43 percent enrollment surge since 1999, will sustain a $20 million loss to their oper-

ating budgets in 2011. This follows a $14 million mid-year combined state-city cut, including $7 million from college base budgets. As a result, the FY2011 community college allocation model is funded at only 90 percent, compared to the FY2010 allocation which covered 99 percent of proposed expenditures. State base aid per Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) student will continue to decline at the community colleges; for FY2011 it has been lowered by $285 to $2,260, and since 2009 has come down by $415, Sapienza noted. Another concern: The community colleges’ $186.8 million in state support includes $32.8 million in federal stimulus funds, which are non-recurring.


HILE FEELING THE PINCH, CUNY’s community colleges are seeing much of this fall’s nearly 1 percent enrollment growth, according to early reports. Preliminary figures show University enrollment increasing from 260,000 to 262,000, compared with last year’s record 6 percent jump. This includes increases in CUNY’s online programs; the Online Baccal-aureate program had 902 students enrolled as of Sept. 1, up from 729 last fall, and the Online M.S. in Business, launched last fall with 35 students, had 86 new students enrolled so far with a total of 143 in the program. The early figures also show the senior colleges becoming more competitive. Mean SAT scores of admitted students at the toptier senior colleges have increased by up to 53 points, to as high as 1216 this year. Retention is stronger, too; more CUNY students than last year are choosing to stay in their colleges rather than transfer, the early figures show. As student applications flooded in last spring, the chancellor instituted a wait list for the first time in CUNY history, slowing admissions and redirecting wait-listed students to other programs, as a way to preserve academic quality amid tightening resources. “If we admitted all of these students they would not get an experience that was real,” he said. Two-thirds of the 5,000 students on the wait list, approximately 3,300, were admitted to community colleges from the list this fall. Some 1,700 remaining students took up the University's new offer of low-cost remedial classes — including the new CUNY Start skills immersion program and CUNY CLIP language immersion, to prepare for entry to community colleges in January 2011. Other budget cuts taking effect include the city’s reduction for the Vallone Scholarships program at CUNY, from $9.5 million to $6 million; the state budget's reduction of some $750,000 from CUNY Child Care centers and its elimination of the CUNY LEADS program for disabled students. The state and city budgets contain virtually no new funding for CUNY capital projects, Sapienza reported to the fiscal affairs committee.

“At the end of the day,” the chancellor said, “we must increase revenue. Action is going to have to be taken in some way to sustain us.”

Recognizing Faculty Achievement Banerjee




The CUNY Energy Institute, directed by professor Sanjoy Banerjee, has gotten its biggest boost so far — grants totaling more than $4.5 million from the U.S. department of Energy for two groundbreaking research projects to develop large-scale electrical storage methods: a low-cost, grid-scale battery and a new breed of large-scale capacitor.






HE UNIVERSITY’S renowned faculty members continually win professional achievement awards from prestigious organizations as well as research grants from an array of government agencies, farsighted foundations and leading corporations. The eight professors pictured at left are just a few of the most recent honorees. Brief summaries of many ongoing faculty research projects — which include exploring new ways to improve public health, energy conservation and teaching — start here and continue inside.

City College has received $1,379,505 from the National Institutes of Health for the “MBRS SCORE Program at CCNY,” directed by professor Karen Hubbard of the biology department. Stephen Burghardt and Willie Tolliver of Hunter College have been awarded $950,000 from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services for “Research & Training Institute for Professional Development in Human Services (IPDHS).” The Ford Foundation has awarded a $135,000 grant to Stephen Handelman of John Jay College of Criminal Justice for “The Center on Media, Crime and Justice.”

Continued on page 3 ®





‘Citizen CUNY’ Offers Voter Info and Much More Roosevelt House Reborn As Public Policy Institute University Scientists Star At Planetary Conference


Supreme Praise for CUNY Power


N JUNE, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor addressed graduates at Hostos Community College, her mother’s alma mater, saying that a Hostos education “gave me and my brother a powerful example of the value of education and of family. My family is a testament to the contributions that community colleges make to our society.” Looking to the future, she told graduates, “You will breathe life into the dreams of the next generation. ... Together we’re going to make this a better world.” As a new academic year begins, Justice Sotomayor’s words are a timely reminder of just how powerful a college education is. A rigorous education transforms lives and can transform our collective future. More and more students understand the power of a CUNY education. In fact, our record enrollments are projected to climb even higher this fall. Our students know that studying with the University’s worldclass faculty in innovative academic programs can make all the difference to their personal and professional advancement. Serving a projected 267,000 degreeseeking students is not without its challenges, however. This year, CUNY sustained $84 million in state budget cuts to its senior colleges, which have experienced more than $205 million in reductions since 2009, while adding thousands more students. At our community colleges, where enrollment has increased by more than 20 percent since 2005, base aid per full-time equivalent (FTE) student has been cut by $285, resulting in an operating budget loss of about $20 million. In addition, the state did not reach any resolution on the proposed Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act, which recommended a number of tuition and regulatory adjustments, including differential tuition rates by campus and program. The University is not alone in trying to manage the perilous combination of declining state budgets and increasing enrollments. Like public colleges and universities across the country, CUNY is deeply committed to its historic mission of access and quality but faces difficult questions about maintaining that mission in tough economic times. That’s why this fall the University will host a national summit of seasoned public higher education leaders to discuss the pressing issues we share: shrinking state support for operating budgets and financial aid programs; growing dependence on tuition, paid by students of limited means; and increased pressure to

BOARDOFTRUSTEES The City University of New York

develop other funding opportunities. This is clearly a time for bold new approaches to postsecondary education. That kind of enterprising approach is exemplified by the continuing development of our new community college in Manhattan. The college will open in 2012 as an innovative model for improving student performance and graduation rates. The University recently appointed Scott Evenbeck, professor of psychology and dean of University College at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, as the college’s founding president. Evenbeck will lead the implementation of the college’s design, which includes fulltime enrollment in the first year, a common first-year curriculum, intensive advisement, a limited number of majors, and a professional studies component. And to further the University’s efforts to reinvigorate community-college education — the fastestgrowing segment of higher education — Eduardo Martí, who has served with great distinction as president of Queensborough Community College, has been appointed CUNY’s vice chancellor for community colleges. Over the coming year, the University will also celebrate two significant milestones: the 40th anniversary of Medgar Evers College and the 10th anniversary of Macaulay Honors College. Having grown from an enrollment of 1,000 students in 1970 to more than 7,000 students today, and boasting an acclaimed faculty and a host of new degree programs and facilities, Medgar Evers will fete the college’s rich history and its graduates’ promising futures. Macaulay will also salute the achievements of its graduates as it marks 10 years of building a creative curriculum that offers students an individual academic program and global learning opportunities. Two of the seven CUNY colleges in which Macaulay students enroll are joined by new leaders this fall: President Lisa Staiano-Coico at City College and President Mitchel Wallerstein at Baruch College. We welcome them to a community of educators passionately engaged in shaping graduates ready to “make this a better world.”

CUNYMatters Matthew Goldstein

Benno Schmidt

Philip Alfonso Berry



Vice Chairperson

Jay Hershenson

Valerie L. Beal

Peter Pantaleo

Secretary of the Board of Trustees and Senior Vice Chancellor for University Relations

Wellington Z. Chen

Kathleen M. Pesile

Rita DiMartino

Carol Robles-Román

Freida Foster-Tolbert

Charles A. Shorter

University Director for Communications and Marketing Barbara Shea Managing Editor Rich Sheinaus Director of Graphic Design

Joseph J. Lhota

Solomon A. Sutton


Hugo M. Morales

Jeffrey Wiesenfeld

Cory Provost

Sandi E. Cooper

Chairperson, Chairperson, University Student Senate University Faculty Senate

2 CUNY MATTERS — Fall 2010

Michael Arena

Charles DeCicco, Ruth Landa and Neill S. Rosenfeld Miriam Smith Issue Designer André Beckles Photographer Articles in this and previous issues are available at Letters or suggestions for future stories may be sent to the Editor by e-mail to Changes of address should be made through your campus personnel office.

‘Citizen CUNY’ Offers


ROM DISTRIBUTION of registration forms to demonstrations of new voting machines, the University's CUNY Votes initiative is revving up as fall elections near, registering new voters on CUNY campuses at a pace exceeding that of any New York City government agency. Expansive as it is, the voter drive is but one of the many helpful, informative, money-saving benefits and services offered to “CUNY Citizens” — students, faculty, staff and alumni. These benefits include an eMall, special city cultural discounts, tax preparation seminars, counseling and childcare services, continuing education for all ages, and access to libraries, athletic events and performances. As CUNY continues to stake its place as an academic destination, more New Yorkers recognize the University's logo, take note of its student and faculty successes and are aware of its improved reputation. What they may not be aware of is the full extent of the CUNY community, that they and their family members may be a part of it, or that they, too, have access to services simply by virtue of a CUNY connection. “Citizen CUNY,” a new communications initiative, kicks off this fall to keep the community informed of these benefits of CUNY “citizenship.” Updated information on services and programs will be delivered to students, faculty, staff and alumni, along with more permanent or seasonal information, through a branded Citizen CUNY intranet kept fresh with new and rotating content. Messages, advisories and video announcements will be targeted to discrete user communities. The intranet, available via the existing

CUNY portal login, will be the University community’s primary source for applications and services — including class registration, office services and job listings — as well as for access to the array of other benefits available to citizens of CUNY. The many other University benefits promoted by the Citizen CUNY intranet include day care, parenting workshops and health resource referrals, job banks and career counseling, veterans’ services, financial aid advice, psychological counseling, discounts at New York City cultural institutions, information on accessing University libraries and their services, and more. “An educated, vibrant and active citizenry is essential to the future of New York City and state,” said Chancellor Matthew Goldstein. “Nowhere in the world will you find a more diverse and talented population numbering in the hundreds of thousands that share a common strength: their membership as ‘citizens’ of the largest urban public university community in the nation. Their purchasing power as tax-paying consumers contributes mightily to the economic base. They are at the core of meeting constantly changing workforce needs and at the heart of innovations to help improve the quality of life here in the world’s capital. They invariably support family members while pursuing their educational goals, multiplying the impact of CUNY and its constituent colleges and professional schools on their individual and collective lives. Citizen CUNY is about how a great university connects and uplifts people and helps to positively transform their lives.” CUNY Votes exemplifies the University's long-standing commitment to

Innovative Model Community


lanning for the University’s new community college, opening in 2012, has kicked into high gear with the hiring of a founding president, six core faculty members and a registrar, the leasing of classroom space near Manhattan’s Bryant Park and the appointment of a vice chancellor charged with enhancing associate-degree education across the city. Work on the University’s seventh community college began in fall 2007, when Chancellor Matthew Goldstein envisaged a differently structured school that would significantly increase graduation rates. The evolving plan captured the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Josiah Macy Jr., Foundation and the Carnegie Corp., as well as Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose Gateway to the Middle CUNY's new community college will open in this building at 50 W. 40th St

Class plan specifically endorsed the University’s new model for community college education. The University’s drive takes place against


Voter Information and Much More

Continued from page 1

Sarah Berger, associate professor of psychology at the College of Staten Island, has won a Fulbright scholarship to conduct research at Israel’s Haifa University on how locomotor development in infancy affects other types of development taking place at the same time. Sadie C. Bragg, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at Borough of Manhattan Community College, has received the Mathematics Excellence Award from the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges.

At York College, student Basirat Subair tries a ballot-scanner with guidance from Board of Elections representative Preston Baker.

promoting voter participation. Coordinators at CUNY campuses organize voter registration and awareness activities throughout the year, but this year’s statewide elections give impetus to the drive. With more than 267,000 degree-seeking students, 260,000 adult and continuing education registrations and 35,000 faculty and staff, the University

community constitutes a potentially significant voting presence. Scores of events at all campuses are planned to encourage participation in the electoral process. Special Facebook and Twitter social media sites have been created to build an online community to encourage students to register and vote, said Senior

Vice Chancellor for University Relations Jay Hershenson. “The ‘CUNY Votes’ initiative will encourage students to go to the polls on Election Day — and to wear their CUNY college colors proudly and prominently when they vote, fostering greater voter participation throughout the CUNY community and New York City.”

College Is Now on the Midtown Launchpad a national backdrop where community colleges are both overwhelmed by demand for training and retraining and by lagging graduation rates that fail to prepare enough students with associate degrees to meet the country’s needs. President Obama has set major goals for increasing community college capacity and graduation rates. “The new community college employs an innovative model for improving student performance and graduation rates,” Chancellor Goldstein said. “Over the next year, the new college’s team will flesh out the concept developed during more than two years of intensive work by faculty and staff from 15 of CUNY’s undergraduate and graduate institutions and the central administration. Excitement is building.” The appointment of Queensborough Community College president Eduardo Martí as the first vice chancellor for community colleges will further “invigorate community-college education, the fastestgrowing segment of higher education,” the chancellor said. The new college will be headed by Founding President Scott E. Evenbeck, a psychology professor and founding dean of University College at Indiana UniversityPurdue University at Indianapolis. Since 1997, University College has served all beginning students in 18 undergraduate schools in that urban public university system, from orientation through entry into a degree program. Evenbeck, who was chosen

in a national search, officially takes office in January. CUNY leased the former Katharine Gibbs School at 50 W. 40th St. for the new community college. Already built for classroom use, it needs little renovation. The 10year lease gives the University time to build a permanent home for the new college that will replace an old building at John Jay College of Criminal Justice on the northeast corner of Ninth Avenue and 59th Street. The new college will start with 500 students from the general entering student population; reflecting its experimental role, it will grow to only 3,000 students. Since many community college students need remedial help, the new college builds in developmental coursework for those who need it while immediately starting academic work. The program features full-time enrollment for at least the first year; a common first-year curriculum that provides twice the normal time for math; a professional studies component with worksite experience; and just 10 to 12 majors in fields with available jobs and pathways toward bachelor’s degrees. The signature City Seminar will plumb “the complex physical, social, environmental and political realities of New York,” said John Mogulescu, senior University dean for academic affairs and dean of the School of Professional Studies who, along with Tracy Meade, director of the New Community College Initiative, led the two-year planning

effort to create the school. The new college arose when Mogulescu suggested piloting a differently structured community college. “Before I could even begin describing … [it] in any detail, the chancellor interrupted and said he was not really interested in a pilot program, but was interested in creating a new community college,” Mogulescu said. And whether a new model, like nothing presently at CUNY, would deliver better results.” Part of the model is requiring full-time study during the first year. That appears to pay off in higher graduation rates — and proof is as close as the University’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) initiative. Some 1,000 students at CUNY’s six community colleges now enroll in ASAP, which was created for students who do not need significant remedial work. (Many students entering the new community college are likely to need remedial help, some of which will be offered in the summer before enrollment.) When ASAP started in 2007, Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Goldstein set the ambitious goal of graduating at least half the students within three years — more than three times the national average for urban community colleges. By last June, 53 percent had earned an associate degree and, by September, the rate was expected to rise to 56 percent. Also as of June, 64 percent of ASAP graduates had transferred into CUNY four-year colleges.

Hunter College has received a $962,850 grant from PHS/NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences for the “Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) Program: Minority Biomedical Research Support program (MBRS),” directed by Victoria Luine of the psychology department. The New York State Department of Labor has awarded grants totaling $440,804 to LaGuardia and Kingsborough Community Colleges, as well as New York City College of Technology, for an “Emerging and Transitional Worker Training Program” under the direction of Michele Valdez and Naikyemi Odedefaa of LaGuardia, which is the lead institution on the project. David Kennedy of John Jay College of Criminal Justice has received two grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation: $500,000 for “Reduce Violent Crime in Kennedy the City of Chicago through the Design and Implementation of a Collaborative, Focused-Deterrence Project” and $125,000 for “The National Network for Safe Communities: A National Security Strategy to Reduce Violence, Eliminate Overt Drug Markets and Promote Racial Reconciliation.” LaGuardia Community College received $2,122,505 from the Goldman Sachs Foundation for the “Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative,” directed by Jane E. Schulman, vice president for continuing education. In addition, LaGuardia received $820,000 from the New York City Department of Small Business Services for a “Health Sector Center” Schulman under the direction of Schulman and Shannon Bryant, director of finance and budget/ACE. Professor Thomas Weiss of the Graduate School and University Center has received two grants from the Government of the Netherlands: $661,470 for “Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect” and $180,448 for the “United Nations Intellectual History Project, Phase II.” Dean of Arts and Sciences Pamela Brown of New York City College of Technology has received a grant of $199,717 for the “Metropolitan Mentors Network (MMNet): Growing an Urban STEM Talent Pool Across NYC.”

York College has received $3 million in grant support from the United States Department of Education for the “York Master’s Degree Programs for Talented African-American Students,” led by Dawn Hewitt, director of sponsored programs and research. “New York State Spinal Cord Injury Research Program,” directed by Maria Knikou of the College of Staten Island’s department of physical therapy, has received grant support totaling $347,699 from the New York State Department of Health. Kingsborough Community College has received a $600,000 grant from the Coney Continued on next page ®

CUNY MATTERS — Fall 2010 3

GRANTS&HONORS Continued from page 3 Island Development Corporation for the “Coney Island Hospitality Project,” directed by professor Stuart Schulman of the department of tourism and hospitality. The Robin Hood Foundation has awarded a grant of $225,000 for “The New York City Justice Corps,” under the direction of Deborah Mukamal of John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Prisoner Reentry Institute. Gary Mallon of Hunter College’s School of Social Work has received a $275,000 grant from HHS/Admin-istration for Children and Families for a “National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning.” The National Institutes of Health awarded $157,000 to assistant professor of chemistry Maria Contel of Brooklyn College for research on “Organogold PhosphorusContaining Compounds as Antitumor Agents.”

Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs Frederick Schaffer, right, with professor Katie Gentile, left, and task force student member Elischia Fludd.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has awarded $1,100,218 for “Characterization and Study of Granular Activated Carbon,” directed by professor Teresa Bandosz of City College’s department of chemistry. Professor Peter N. Lipke, chair of the Brooklyn College biology department, has received a $353,250 grant from the National Institutes of Health for research on “Amyloid-like Interactions in Yeast Cell Adhesion.” Jeffrey Parsons of Hunter College’s psychology Lipke department recently received two grants: $653,415 from PHS/NIH/National Institute of Mental Health for a research project on “Compulsive Behaviors, Mental Health and HIV Risk” and $474,159 from PHS/NIH/National Institute of Drug Abuse for “Risk Reduction Intervention for Highly Vulnerable Emerging Adult Males.”

The Department of Homeland Security has awarded $596,657 to Demis Glasford and Bethany Brown of John Jay College of Criminal Justice for a project that aims to develop a “Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, Support Homeland Security (HS)-Related Projects, Develop HSRelated Curricula in HS-Related STEM areas, and Assist Students from Underrepresented Groups in the Transition from Undergraduate to Graduate Training.” Rachel Singer of Kingsborough Community College has received two grants, $305,000 and $200,000, from the Robin Hood Foundation for “Opening Doors Learning Singer Communities.” City College has received $300,000 from the Office of Naval Research for “Exploring Techniques for Improving Retrievals of Bio-Optical Properties of Coastal Waters,” under the direction of Samir Ahmed, the Herbert Kayser Professor of Electrical Engineering; associate professor Alex Gilerson; associate professor Barry Gross; and professor Fred Moshary.

“Acrobatic Exercises and Spinal Stimulation after Spinal Cord Injury,” directed by the College of Staten Island’s Zaghloul Ahmed of the department of physical therapy, and Andrzej Wieraszko, of the biology department and the Center for Developmental Neuroscience, has received $152,399 in grant support from the New York State Department of Health. Assistant professor Michele Vittadello of Medgar Evers College has received an award of $150,072 from Continued on page 8 ®

4 CUNY MATTERS — Fall 2010

Students Help Create A Key University Policy


ONCERNED OVER national statistics that one in four college women, one in 33 men and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime — student activists Elischia Fludd and Jerin Alam two years ago decided that CUNY needed a University-wide plan to prevent sexual violence and help victims of such assaults. Their efforts helped bring about the policy approved June 28 by the CUNY Board of Trustees — to the cheers of those who had worked for it. The plan includes new and comprehensive guidelines for students and counselors, establishes disciplinary procedures, creates on-campus advocates for victims, provides education and training for faculty and staff, and ensures assistance for students in obtaining medical care and counseling, among other initiatives. In approving the new policy, the Trustees noted that in order to maintain a safe environment “it is critical to provide an appropriate prevention-education program and have trained professionals to provide vital supportive services.” Chancellor Matthew Goldstein said: “We want all victims of sexual assault, stalking and domestic and intimate partner violence to know that the University has professionals and law-enforcement officers who are trained in the field to assist student victims in obtaining help, including immediate medical care, counseling and other essential services.” When Fludd, a John Jay College of Criminal Justice member of Students Active for Ending Rape, and Alam, president of the Women’s Rights Coalition at Hunter College, joined forces two years ago to present a proposal to Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs Frederick Schaffer they discovered he was in the process of reviewing University policies and was coming to the same conclusion. “The students played a significant role in getting me to look at the need for such a policy,” he said. “Since we are not essentially residential campuses, we don’t appear to have many incidents.” A task force assembled by Schaffer — composed of students, faculty, representa-


OF THE NEW POLICY • PROVIDING CLEAR AND CONCISE GUIDELINES for students to follow in the event that they or others they know have been the victim of a sexual assault, domestic/intimate partner violence or stalking. • ASSISTING VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT or abuse in obtaining necessary medical care and counseling, whether on or off campus. • PROVIDING THE MOST INFORMED and up-to-date education and information to its students about how to identify situations that involve sexual assault, domestic and intimate partner violence, or stalking, and ways to prevent these forms of violence. • EDUCATING AND TRAINING ALL FACULTY and staff members — including counselors, public safety officers and student affairs staff and faculty — to assist victims of sexual assault, domestic/intimate partner violence or stalking. • ENSURING THAT DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES are followed in the event that the alleged perpetrator is a CUNY student or employee. tives of the University Faculty Senate and the University Student Senate, counselors, lawyers, Women’s Center leaders, Student Affairs staff and others — worked for two years to construct a plan that would assist and protect student victims. Professor Katie Gentile, director of the Women’s Center at John Jay College, whose research deals with on-campus sexual violence nationally, was a leading member of the task force. “A handful of super-active students have been agitating for a while for the need for such a policy and they worked on the task force,” said Gentile. “It was needed in order to develop and implement standardized procedures for dealing with the issues and training people who help students who are victims of such violence. The stalking of students at commuter colleges sometimes follows them from home. I see students who are victims of rape and other sexual violence and who are being stalked.” Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Peter Jordan, who will monitor com-

pliance, sent copies of the new policy in June to the chief Student Affairs officers and legal designees at each college and asked them to incorporate it into their college’s publications, especially catalogues, and to post it on their websites and include it in student orientation sessions this fall. “This is an issue of campus safety,” he said. “Not only women are in danger, there can be male victims as well. Offcampus incidents will be considered. Although we have no jurisdiction, we can support students through counseling. We have developed behavioral intervention. Teams are functioning at most campuses. The idea is that we educate students not just for the safety of that student but for the community as well.” Procedures for reporting incidents of sexual assault and other forms of violence will include different points of oncampus contact for students, faculty and staff — including the Public Safety Department, the Women’s/Men’s Centers and Counseling Departments and/or the Dean of Student Development/Student Affairs. Each provides different forms of assistance and together address many of the needs of survivors of such violence. Students who have been victims of such assault are urged to contact law-enforcement personnel immediately and to seek immediate medical attention. They will also be provided an on-campus advocate to help them handle the various aspects of their follow-up ordeal. Both Elischia Fludd and Jerin Alam have graduated but don’t think their work is finished. Alam is co-chair of the National Young Feminist Task Force of the National Organization for Women and is active in Bring in the Bystander, which works on involving the whole community in preventing assault. Fludd, a forensic psychology major, who started at BMCC, is working at a shelter for victims of domestic violence, and formerly worked in crisis counseling at North Bronx Central Hospital. She plans to enroll at the University for Peace in Costa Rica for a master’s in Gender and Peace Building.

NOTED&QUOTED CUNY Prep’s Innovative Director is Moving On

Projects Taking Shape to Aid Haiti’s Recovery



HOUGH LAST JANUARY’S EARTHQUAKE in Haiti has largely faded from the headlines, 1.3 million Haitians remain displaced, living in some 1,300 tent camps. And for the University’s campuses, the catastrophe is still front and center. CUNY Colleges have offered more than $200,000 in tuition waivers, scholarships and emergency assistance to students from Haiti and now discussions are underway to establish long-term assistance in rebuilding the impoverished Caribbean nation. Kingsborough Community College President Regina Peruggi and University Dean for Health and Human Services Bill Ebenstein have been meeting with faculty, alumni and students involved in Haiti projects to discuss ways to engage CUNY. A proposed Haiti Volunteer Corps would provide opportunities for teams of faculty, students and staff to work on various relief projects in Haiti. Meanwhile, colleges have developed a number of ongoing academic programs. • City College is sponsoring two Haitian students in its M.S. program in Sustainability in the Urban Environment and is considering a certificate program in construction management to train technicians to help rebuild Haiti’s infrastructure. • Jean Pierre-Louis, who received a master’s in public health from Brooklyn College, founded a nonprofit that provides health ser-

The School of Nursing in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, currently consists of two tents. vices including mental health counseling and physical therapy to children and their families through schools in Haiti’s rural areas. • Hunter College School of Nursing is exploring ways CUNY could assist Haiti’s public university with curriculum and faculty development. • New York City College of Technology professor Jean Claude has discussed the development of a program to train Haitians to work in hotel and hospitality management. In addition, CUNY’s Citizenship Now! volunteers and staff, directed by Baruch College professor Allan Wernick, have helped more than 1,000 Haitians living in New York City to apply for Temporary Protective Status (TPS) and other immigration benefits.

Brooklyn College Celebrates New Rooms with a View dad carried in a big plastic tub. A mom, toting a desk lamp, stopped to talk to a resident adviser. A student checked out a bunk bed. It would have been a typical move-in day for any other campus residence, but not for this one. “It’s a historic day for Brooklyn College as it opens its first residence hall,” said Milga Morales, vice president for student affairs, who greeted parents and students in the lobby with pizza and cold drinks. “It is definitely a communitybuilding enterprise and poses wonderful opportunities for the enhancement of our already diversified student life on campus,” Morales added, noting that Brooklyn College volunteers and Student Center staff have been actively involved in the opening of the hall. The Residence Hall contains 115 individual apartments — a mixture of studios and two-bedroom units with private and shared bedrooms, kitchenettes, cable and Wi-Fi — that can accommodate about 250 students. Freshman Eric Sowin was accepted to Columbia University and the University of Chicago, but chose Brooklyn College. “The Residence Hall was a part of my decision — that and the campus. It’s so beautiful.”


BMCC Scores Another Math Win


ATHEMATICS isn’t typically thought of as a competitive sport. But try telling that to the members of BMCC’s Math Team. For the second straight year, the team has placed first in the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges Northeast Region Student Math League competition. In addition, team member XianZhen Zhu, above, finished first in the individual competition and an impressive second in this year’s CUNY Math Challenge, outpacing a field of two- and four-year colleges.

ERRICK GRIFFITH, founding director and principal of CUNY Prep Transitional High School, is leaving to become executive director of Director Griffith Groundwork, a social service agency in Brooklyn. Griffith led CUNY Prep for seven years, building it into one of the city’s most successful programs that helps dropouts back onto an academic track. “We offer a second chance for otherwise talented young people who, for a variety of reasons, left school….” Griffith said. “CUNY Prep gives them time to consider the reasons they left school and plan a new course for themselves.”

Trustee Schmidt Honored for ‘Academic Renaissance’ UNY BOARD OF TRUSTEES Chairman Benno Schmidt has won the prestigious Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to Liberal Arts Education from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. The council cited the distinguished, nationally prominent educator for leading an “academic renaissance” at CUNY. Chancellor Matthew Goldstein praised Schmidt for his leadership in developing three University Master Plans and his work “for the advancement of a robust liberal arts education for all Trustee Schmidt students.”


Daniel Kim, a former Marine who recently completed two tours of duty in Iraq, said: “I looked at all the CUNY schools and felt that Brooklyn College was the best for me. I want to study anthropology and pre-med ….” It was also a perfect fit for Alkistis Karatzis, a transfer student from Greece who heard about the jazz program and will study classical piano at the Conservatory of Music. “So not only do I have the benefit of a great program, but I also get to stay in a residence with great views,” she said, gesturing toward the tall windows revealing the distant Empire State Building.

CCNY Student Solar Project Shares International Spotlight M

ORE THAN 100 City College students are expected to work as Team New York on constructing a “Solar Roof Pod” in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathalon. The mission of the 20 final international teams is to design, build and operate the most affordable, attractive, effective and energy-efficient solar-powered house. The project designed by Team New York students from CCNY’s Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture and the Grove School of Engineering will take advantage of the rooftops of buildings in New York and other large cities. “The Solar Decathlon is a great project to educate and train the next generation of professionals in the emerging and needed fields of sustainable buildings and renewable energy,” said Jorge Gonzalez, a mechanical engineering professor and one of the team’s advisers. Completed structures will be displayed on the National Mall in Washington for the final round of the competition in fall 2011.

CUNY MATTERS — Fall 2010 5


HE STATELY Manhattan townhouse that incubated Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal — the home that also witnessed the tragedy of his paralyzing bout with polio and the triumph of his election as president — is being reborn this fall as Hunter College’s new Public Policy Institute. With high-powered visiting scholars teaming up with an interdisciplinary faculty, graduate students and undergraduates, the institute intends to deepen scholarship about how government, nongovernmental organizations and individuals can shape governmental policies. The first public policy students begin studying there this fall, while those pursuing human rights will start in the spring. They can choose either an undergraduate minor or a certificate program in each field. The institute enhances the various strands of public policy initiatives, including master’s-level programs, at a actively number of colleges within the University. directed plan for This is the third incarnation for the brick-and-limestone economic recovery.” townhouse on East 65th Street. From 1908 until 1942, Until he took office in March, it was the New York City residence of Franklin and the townhouse incubated his brain Eleanor Roosevelt, arguably the most influential trust’s plans for economic recovery, the public couple to lead the nation. And from 1942 until 1992, it policy initiatives known as the New Deal. was Hunter College’s interfaith center for students — Franklin and Eleanor returned only sporadically during the nation’s first collegiate meeting place for students of the more than 12 years they lived in the White House. different religions, ethnicities and interests. Actually, Eleanor took a small apartment in Greenwich Village as a As New York City’s landmarks commissioner before Sara gave them get-away until 1941, when she returned to 49 E. 65th St. to becoming Hunter’s president in 2001, Jennifer Raab knew half the townhouse, for care for her ailing mother-in-law. Sara died at their Hyde about “this amazing house with an incredible legacy as she lived in the other half — and Park estate two weeks before her 87th birthday and three home of one of the most important presidents and first felt free to walk through connections on months before the United States entered World War II. ladies. It had been closed and was in dilapidated, rundown several floors. She had easy access to her By the following spring, Eleanor had emptied the condition.” Restoring the home and using it to study the grandchildren, but, Eleanor wrote, “You were never townhouses and moved into a new apartment at 29 “public issues that were part of the Roosevelt legacy” was quite sure when she would appear, day or night.” Washington Square West. The building went on the market one of her top priorities and Chancellor Matthew Goldstein The living arrangements strained relations between for $60,000. gave his full support. mother- and daughter-in-law. Eleanor recalled telling Four months later, Hunter president George N. Shuster Raab sought public and private funds both to enhance Franklin that she “did not like to live in a house which was asked FDR if he would sell the building for what became the building and to devise a scholarly program for it. As part not in any way mine, one that I had done nothing about and the Sara Delano Roosevelt Interfaith House, the nation’s of that effort, CUNY secured a state allocation. As Iris which did not represent the way I first collegiate interreligious Weinshall, the University’s vice chancellor for facilities wanted to live.” center. Roosevelt was so excited planning, construction and management, put it, “We spent The houses at 47 (Sara) and 49 that he lowered the price to every nickel.” She added that renowned architect James (Franklin and Eleanor) E. 65th St., $50,000 (about $669,000 in Following is a sampling of upcoming events scheduled at Polshek “grasped the essence of the between Madison and today’s money) and kicked in Roosevelt House. For details, and for others, go to historic nature of the building, but Park Avenues, share a $1,000 himself. Shuster raised added in the modern elements and stately façade and a the rest through Catholic, Jewish amenities that make this a single entrance. Inside, and Protestant individuals and BOOK DISCUSSIONS building that can be used in the steps lead to separate groups. NOV. 2: Hazel Rowley, Franklin and Eleanor: An Extra21st century.” doors of the mirrorThe Roosevelts had early ties ordinary Marriage (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, November, 2010) The thought of locating a image houses. to Hunter. The New Deal helped Dec. 16: Edmund Morris, Colonel Roosevelt (Random public policy institute in the This was Franklin’s finance construction of Hunter’s House, 2010), the final book in his biographical trilogy building grew naturally from the New York City base, Bronx campus in the 1930s and Date to Be Announced: Mark Lachs, M.D., Treat Me, Not interests of its original residents. birthplace of some of the North Building on Park My Age: How to Stay Healthy and Get Good Care as You or No president save Lincoln faced their six children and Avenue, which Franklin a Loved One Ages (2010)” Cosponsored with the Brookdale a greater challenge than Franklin scene of illness, defeat dedicated in 1940. (Roosevelt’s Center for Healthy Aging and Longevity. Delano Roosevelt. Elected four programs also built Brooklyn FDR with his mother, Sarah, left, and wife, and victory. times, he experimented with LECTURES AND PANEL DISCUSSIONS In 1912, Franklin, College.) For more than 40 years, Eleanor, in 1920, when he was Democratic policies that transformed Oct. 13: Election Insurrection: What to Expect in the then a state senator Eleanor often visited Hunter, nominee for vice president. government as he battled the Great Midterm Elections — 2010 from Dutchess then a women’s college, usually Depression and World War II. His Moderator: Dan Abrams. County, and Eleanor recovered informally, and invited students lasting innovations are as diverse as Social Security, federal Cosponsored with The Common Good. from typhoid fever in the house. into her home. At the dedication bank-deposit insurance and electrification of rural areas. Oct. 26: Conversations in Human Rights and International Franklin returned after his failed of Interfaith House in November No first lady has been as influential as Eleanor Roosevelt. 1920 run for vice president. In Justice: An Evening with Luis Moreno Ocampo, first chief 1943, Eleanor said that Franklin She traveled the country and the world, serving as Franklin’s 1921, in a third-floor room prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. saw it as “the finest memorial” to eyes and ears, wrote a daily newspaper column read by Moderator: Jonathan Fanton. overlooking the rear garden, he his mother. millions from 1935 to 1962 and chaired the panel that in recuperated from polio, which Interfaith House became home ONGOING EXHIBITION 1948 drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights paralyzed his legs. to some 120 extracurricular “Picturing Policy: Reimagining Policy in the New Deal” for the nascent United Nations. Its early sessions — with But at 49 he also engineered his organizations, including religious curated by Rickie Solinger, uses WPA-era photographs to her as a U.S. delegate — took place at Hunter’s Bronx return to public life, starting with groups like Hillel and the illustrate how New Deal programs improved ordinary campus (now Lehman College). a riveting speech nominating Al Newman Club, as well as Americans’ lives. No president’s mother did more for civil rights than Sara Smith for president at the 1924 sororities and clubs like the Delano Roosevelt, who in 1924 — when racial separation Democratic convention at Toussaint L’Ouverture Society for was widespread — hosted a luncheon at the house that Madison Square Garden. He won the Study of African-American Eleanor had organized for the National Council of Women. two terms as New York governor, History and Culture. (Hunter There Sara befriended Mary McLeod Bethune, daughter of in 1928 and 1930. And early in College admitted its first black slaves; she later raised funds for the traditionally black the morning of Nov. 9, 1932, he students in 1873, just a few years school that Bethune founded, Bethune-Cookman College. accepted President Herbert after it opened.) The house Hoover’s concession telegram remained popular, but by 1992 after crushing him in an electoral disrepair forced Hunter to close it. landslide. Hunter College and the Gilder Later that day in his drawing Lehrman Institute of American room, Roosevelt thanked a History published a rich history national radio audience for “this of the house, Roosevelt House at the six-story townhouse as a gift to her Dorothea Lange WPA-era photo of Unemployment great vote of confidence and their Hunter College by Deborah S. only child, Franklin, and his bride and distant cousin, Benefits line in San Francisco. approval of a well conceived and Gardner. Eleanor, in 1908, three years after their marriage.

R's presidency D F f o ts n e m sh li comp Extraordinary ac tute, i t s n I cy ic Poli l b u P e’s use. g o e l l o H C velt unter e H s t a o Ro udents t d s e e t r i a insp nov e r y l new n i ened p o just TT

w e N y l r a l o h c S A Fall Events at Roosevelt House

Sara built

6 CUNY MATTERS — Fall 2010

l a e D w

Hunter College president Jennifer Raab inspects the refurbished Roosevelt House library, shown in bottom photo filled with Hunter students during the 1950s; at left, the stately townhouse exterior today and in 1910.

Restoring Roosevelt House was complicated because its exterior and parts of the interior were landmarked. “Elements could be cleaned, but had to go back into the house,” which was gutted, vice chancellor Weinshall said. Another reason was that it was landlocked, hemmed in by other buildings and backyards, making it impossible to use heavy construction equipment. And because the house fronts on a through street that doesn’t allow parking, the University could not store material or a dumpster on the roadway. So shovelful by shovelful, workers carried dirt and debris out the front door and around the corner, where trucks could briefly park on hightraffic Park Avenue. There was a great deal of dirt,

1910 1950s

for architect James Polshek had designed a ground-floor, 115seat auditorium that extends into what had been the backyard. With the graceful banisters now once again agleam, Hunter’s Public Policy Institute began its work in mid-2010, when two visiting scholars took up residence in apartments carved out of former servants’ quarters on the sixth floor. John McDonough, the inaugural Joan H. Tisch Distinguished Fellow in Public Health, played a key role in shaping health-care reform both in Massachusetts and nationally as Sen. Ted Kennedy’s senior health care adviser. At Roosevelt House, he has taught a health policy class to 40 master’s students in public health and nursing and conducted an interdisciplinary seminar for faculty from nursing, public health and social work programs, as well as the CUNY Graduate Center. “We’re also organizing public engagement that connects the legacy of FDR with health reform, and we’re thinking about the new federal law and the opportunities it presents,” he said. Jonathan Fanton, the inaugural Franklin Delano Roosevelt Visiting Fellow, was president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and is a board member of Human Rights Watch. Besides helping to develop Hunter’s human rights program, he has invited speakers to meet with faculty and students, including two U.N. war crimes prosecutors, a presidential special envoy to Sudan, the cochair of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, a U.N. assistant secretary-general focusing on the emerging concept of a “responsibility to protect” communities from genocide and war crimes, and the U.N.’s special advisor for the prevention of genocide. Fanton said his guests invariably want to tour Roosevelt House, for “every room has a piece of history that’s inspiring, which I hope will call forth all who work here to think about the high ideals that the Roosevelts set for us and for the world.”

CUNY MATTERS — Fall 2010


GRANTS&HONORS CUNY assistant professor Michael Hickerson, left, directed a team of student researchers in Moorea. Below they prepare to set off on a snorkeling hunt. At bottom, it's back to the lab for the trio: from left, Chris Ludvik, J.T. Boehm and Francois Desinor.

Continued from page 4 the U.S. Air Force for “Bottom-Up Reconstruction of Molecular Components of Natural Photosynthesis in a Photoelectrochemical System for Hydrogen Generation.”

The U.S. Department of Energy/Steelworkers Charitable and Educational Organization has awarded $1,458,375 to Steven Markowitz of Queens College for “Medical Surveillance of Former Department of Energy Workers.” Paul Jean-Pierre of Queensborough Community College received a $120,000 grant from Single Stop Markowitz USA Inc., for “Single Stop.” William Fritz and Dean Balsamini of the College of Staten Island received $232,720 from The Research Foundation/SUNY/Small Business Administration for a “Small Business Development Center.” Fritz has also received $198,748 in grant support from the National Science Foundation for “STEM Talent Expansion via Applied Mathematics (STEAM).” The National Institutes of Health has awarded $298,796 in grant support to Distinguished Professor of Psychology Anthony Sclafani of Brooklyn College for research on “Carbohydrate Appetite, Fat Appetite and Obesity.”

Lehman College has received $7,662,612 from the U.S. Department of Education for a “Teacher Quality Partnership Mathematics Achievement with Teacher of High-Need Urban Population,” under the direction of Deborah Eldridge, dean of the education division. The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development has awarded two grants to dean Carolyn Beck and Suzanne Hurley of Medgar Evers College: $146,073 for an “In School Youth Program” and $101,250 for an “Out-of-School Time Program.” John Tarbell, chair and Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering at City College, has been awarded $376,127 from the National Institutes of Health for “Hemodynamic Forces Affect Endothelial Cell Phenotype in Arterial Disease.”

Clarence Stanley, executive director of Lehman College’s Small Business Development Center, has received a $305,000 grant from the State University of New York: Research Foundation for a “New York State Small Business Development Center.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $300,000 to Veronica Udeogalanya, distinguished lecturer in ecoUdeogalanya nomics and finance at Medgar Evers College, for “Empowering Youth to Excel and Succeed.”

City College has received $366,258 from the National Institutes of Health for research into “Lesion and Activity Dependent Corticospinal Tract Plasticity,” directed by John Martin of CCNY’s Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. PHS/NIH/National Institute of Drug Abuse has awarded Vanya Quinones-Jenab of Hunter College’s department of psychology $244,197 for “Minority Institution Drug Abuse Research Program: Administrative Core.” A project titled “InSchool Youth,” directed by Janice Kydd of LaGuardia Community College, has received $118,369 in grant support from the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development.

8 CUNY MATTERS — Fall 2010

Immersed In an

Exotic Lab


OR TWO YEARS NOW, international teams of scientists have been combing the land and waters of the French Polynesian island of Moorea, working to create the world’s first complete DNA inventory of a complex tropical ecosystem. The biologists and ecologists have climbed the island’s jagged mountains, hiked its tropical forests and dived to its abundant coral reefs, accumulating samples of every species of plant, animal and fungi on the 1.2 millionyear-old volcanic island. But when CUNY assistant professor of for “invasive” or “colonial” species — those biology Michael Hickerson and three of his that are not native to Moorea and presumstudents from Queens College and the ably arrived at some point in history in the Graduate Center spent two weeks on ballast water of cargo boats. “Many very Moorea this summer, they did their hunting small creatures, including larvae, can be very in some less-than-exotic places. Searching difficult if not impossible to identify at the for sea creatures, they spent days underwater species level,” Hickerson says. “But we can near manmade habitats — wood docks and use the DNA biocodes to identify them and pilings, stone sea walls and, as Hickerson put measure the exact level of biodiversity. Most it, “sneakily snorkeling” under expensive important, we can use it to detect invasive hotel bungalows suspended over the water. species that may have gone undetected.” “We spent several hours underwater with The data could be critical to investigatour knives and bags in hand, scraping off ing how climate and oceanographic changes ascidians, sponges and bryozoans -- as well are altering the food chain and the species as a giant oyster that we think had 20 or 30 pool itself. Hickerson and his team are species living on its shell,” Hickerson, a focusing on banded pipefish, a species comcomputational biologist, wrote one day in monly found in Moorea’s abundant coral his blog on the University’s Decade of Science website. But the mother lode may have Why Moorea? been what he and his team found • It’s considered a natural laboratory, a complex clinging to tires tied to docks and ecosystem ready-made for biological and ecological study. used as bumpers for boats. Unlike • Moorea was formed by volcanoes 1.2 million years ago fixed structures, the tires rise and and has high mountains, lush forests and a wellfall with the tide and their treads developed coral reef and lagoon system. become encrusted with countless • The biocode project is centered species, while the inside scoops up at a well-equipped lab, called everything from butterfly fish to the Gump Research Station, peanut worms to sea cucumbers to run by the University of a candy cane-patterned coral-bandCalifornia, Berkeley. ed shrimp. Even a small octopus. Moorea Hickerson and his team — reef. By colGraduate Center student J.T. Boehm and lecting DNA Queens College undergraduates Francois biocodes from Desinor and Chris Ludvik — were part of what they find an ongoing international effort called the in the gut of the Moorea Biocode Project that is using a fish and comparing technique known as DNA “barcoding” to it to biocode database identify species and perhaps even discover already collected, the some new ones. The process involves taking researchers hope to obtain much more samples of all non-microbial life found on accurate estimates of the species’ diet. And and around the island and extracting mitothat would allow ecologists to obtain somechondrial DNA, which varies significantly thing they have long sought: a full picture between species. of what they call “food web architecture.” The project began in 2008, and thus far After each excursion during their trip, more than 100 evolutionary biologists and the CUNY researchers returned to the ecologists from many institutions have Moorea lab to record their catch and pretaken part. pare each species for DNA extraction and Hickerson and his CUNY team is sequencing. focused especially on building the database

“All told, we processed nearly 400 different species,” Hickerson said upon his return to New York, “and we suspect that several of them are non-native.” The sequencing will be done closer to home — at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. Grad student Boehm brought the samples with him in his luggage and delivered them personally to the DNA lab at the Smithsonian. All of this leads to the core of Hickerson’s expertise. He is developing computational tools to help understand how Moorea — or any other island with a complex ecosystem — becomes occupied by all its species, whether native or invasive. A moving volcanic hotspot formed all the Society Islands, nearby Tahiti emerging some 600,000 years later than Moorea. Thus, says Hickerson, “We can use all the biocode data to reconstruct how species from Moorea colonized Tahiti.” But the implications go far beyond these islands in the South Pacific. “Ultimately, the aim is to collect this type of genetic data from every species on the planet,” Hickerson said. “This will be extremely useful for all sorts of applications, ranging from the identification of species to the discovery of new ones — from estimating levels of biodiFor versity to reconstructing more photos and evolutionary history, and Michael Hickerson’s blog, go to understanding the decadeofscience. dynamics of species invasions.”


Spotting the Bozos of Science By Gary Schmidgall


HEY LAUGHED at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers,” said famed astrophysicist Carl Sagan. But then he added, “They also laughed at Bozo the Clown.” His is one of the choice epigraphs with which Massimo Pigliucci begins each chapter of Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk (University of Chicago Press), a spirited attempt to “map the complex territory dividing science from pseudoscience.” Pigliucci is a Lehman College professor of philosophy also trained in biology and the author of several books (most pertinently, Making Sense of Evolution, with Jonathan Kaplan), and he addresses a serious problem, especially in this age of that splendid playpen for bozos called the Web, because scientific bozos can do a lot of harm when they get the last laugh. AIDS denialism, for example, has cost countless lives in sub-Saharan Africa. We begin on an aptly somber note, with Pigliucci quoting the fierce proponent of Darwin, Thomas Huxley, on our moral duty to “give up pretending to believe that for which there is no evidence.” Distinguishing sense from nonsense is not an easy or lighthearted task, but Pigliucci’s expository style is ingratiating; he is often slyly witty about the arrogance of scientists and pseuds alike; and he is generous with deft layman-friendly explanations of some of the necessary analytical jargon. His farewell sentences are: “But never, ever forget to turn on your baloney detector. Most of the time you will need to set it at least to yellow alert.” Pigliucci sums up in his final pages: “What all scientific inquiry has in common . . . are the fundamental aspects of being an investigation of nature, based on the construction of verifiable theories and hypotheses. These three elements, naturalism, theory, and empiricism, are what make science different from any other human activity.” All pseudoscience fails on at least one of these three tests. Intelligent Design introduces supernaturalism, while the “theory” of astrology is “hopelessly flawed” because constellations do not exist. Early on, Pigliucci declines to rate the latest cosmological bright idea, string theory (with not four but 11 dimensions), as scientific because it cannot be empirically verified. Pigliucci cites Yogi Berra on verification: “You can observe a lot by just watching.” Chapters are devoted to the tussles between “hard” or ahistorical sciences (like physics and chemistry) or “soft” historical sciences (like paleontology or astronomy). “Almost” sciences like the search for extraterrestial intelligence and evolutionary pscyhology are also discussed. Among the telltale signs of pseudocience are: anachronistic thinking, glorification of mysteries, appeal to myths, cavalier treatment of evidence, explanation by scenario (“storytelling”), and — my favorite! — extreme resistance to revising one’s positions. One logical fallacy prominent among ufologists

and creationists particularly frosts Pigliucci: the “tendency to shift the burden of proof from the person making the extraordinary claim… to the person who simply asks for the evidence.” If he had to pick one logical fallacy “we could magically erase from the repertoire of humankind, this would be the one.” Another chapter chides our media for how “positively dangerous” it is for our media to allow celebrities with no scientific background to spout off on scientific matters. Richard Gere on crystal therapy, say, or Tom Cruise scorning psychiatry. Pigliucci does praise John Stewart’s “Evolution, Schmevolution” coverage of the evolution trial in Dover, Pa., in 2005 for getting “the science of evolution and intelligent-design proponents exactly right.” A fascinating chapter on “Science in the Courtroom” is devoted to the trial and the judge’s brilliant decision. Another full chapter is devoted to the global warming wars, with Pigliucci gaily deconstructing the “science” of The Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjørn Lomborg, a noted

proponent of the “no big deal” response to warming. To Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth Pigliucci is kinder, but he adds that Gore gives his readers “very little useful information to go on.” In his eighth chapter, Pigliucci shifts into pure intellectual-history mode with an astonishingly compact summary of the interrelations of science and philosophy, starting with Bertrand Russell’s pithy remark: “Science is what you know. Philosophy is what you don’t know.” He begins with the preSocratics, who were the first to accept conclusions that went against common sense (a smart move, Pigliucci thinks). Then appear Socrates, Plato and Aristotle (the first scientist, says Pigliucci). In the next chapter he moves on to Bacon, Descartes, Galileo and Newton, who collectively had the effect of finally leaving science “well on its way to a complete separation from both religion and philosophy for the first time in human history.”

The last two chapters return to “The Science Wars,” the first asking, “Do we trust science too much?” Pigliucci begins by pointing to the insult-word “scientism,” which he says “encapsulates the intellectual arrogance of some scientists who think that, given enough time and especially financial resources, science will be able to answer whatever meaningful questions we may wish to pose.” Those afflicted with “scientism” can be a pain, thinking they have what Pigliucci calls “a God’s-eye view of things.” Then he cites some famous scientific banana peel moments: Einstein opining that “There is not the slightest indication that energy will ever be obtainable from the atom.” Also Lord William Kelvin’s prediction, “X-rays will prove to be a hoax” and the British Astronomer Royal saying in 1956, “This talk of space travel is utter bilge.” But Pigliucci says the Piltdown Man hoax, a famous scientific screwup, should be taught as a shining hour in biology. Scientists caught the problem, and this shows “how the nature of science is not that of a steady linear progression toward the Truth, but rather a tortuous road, often characterized by dead ends and Uturns.” Scientists, Pigliucci concludes, should not be entirely trusted because they are “not always successful in being detached, rational agents interested only in the pursuit of truth.” The next chapter asks, alternatively, “Do we trust science too little?” Here Pigliucci rousingly sallies forth against “the postmodernist assault on science.” He recounts the wicked practical joke of physicist Alan Sokal, who wrote a gibberish-filled article attacking science and got it accepted by a prestigious postmodern journal, “Social Text.” And with undisguised glee he ridicules the controversial Berkeley philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend, who cheekily called for a “formal separation between science and state.” Pigliucci saves the most important question for last: “Who’s your expert?” He summarizes recent research on expertise, how to acquire it and judge it, then draws from Alvin Goldman a list of five questions to ask about a would-be expert: How do his arguments and those of rivals compare? Do other experts agree with him? What is the evidence for his expertise? What biases might he bring to the subject? And what is his track record? (For more on experts and other topics this book raises, visit the author’s blog: Pigliucci’s big final point about doing science is that it requires getting used to being wrong: “every scientific theory ever proposed in the past has eventually been proven wrong and has given way to new theories.” The chief virtue of genuine science is its “ability of selfevaluation, self-criticism, and self-correction.” Progress in science is just “one partially wrong theory after another.”

CUNY Matters welcomes information about new books that have been written or edited by faculty and members of the University community. Contact

Protecting Human Guinea Pigs In The Professional Guinea Pig: Big Pharma and the Risky World of Human Subjects (Duke University Press), Roberto L. Abadie, a visiting scholar in the healthsciences program at the CUNY Graduate Center, examines experiences of healthy volunteers who earn a living continually serving as the first humans on whom new drugs are tested. Abadie contends that hazards presented by continuous participation, such as exposure to potentially dangerous drug interactions, are discounted or ignored by research subjects in need of money and by a pharmaceutical industry dependent on them. He argues for the need to reform policies regulating participation of paid subjects in so-called Phase 1 trials.

Imagine If He’d Tweeted In 1927, a 25-year-old Air Mail pilot from rural Minnesota stunned the world by making the first nonstop transatlantic flight. Charles Lindbergh’s flight from New York to Paris ushered in America’s age of commercial aviation. In The Flight of the Century (Oxford University Press), Thomas Kessner explains how what was essentially a publicity stunt became a turning point in history. Kessner, a Distinguished Professor of History at the CUNY Graduate Center, vividly recreates the flight and explains the euphoric reaction to it at a time when the world desperately needed a hero to restore a sense of optimism and innocence after World War I. Kessner also shows how new forms of mass media made Lindbergh into the most famous international celebrity of his time.

Where’s the Nutrition? How did our children end up having nachos, pizza and soda for lunch? Taking us on an eye-opening journey into the nation's school kitchens, Hunter College sociology professor Janet Poppendieck explores the politics of food provision from perspectives of history, policy, nutrition, environmental sustainability, taste and more — in Free for All: Fixing School Food in America (University of California Press). Explaining how we got into the absurd situation in which nutritionally regulated meals compete with fast food items and snack foods loaded with sugar, salt and fat, she concludes with a sweeping vision for change.

Flights of Hubris In The Icarus Syndrome (HarperCollins), Peter Beinart — an associate professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism — tells a story about the seductions of success. He describes Washington on the eve of three wars — World War I, Vietnam and Iraq — three moments when American leaders decided they could remake the world in their image. Yet each time, a war conceived in arrogance brought untold tragedy.

CUNY MATTERS — Fall 2010 9

Topics from Martian meteorites to planet formation were discussed at a recent international science conclave organized by two Kingsborough Community College geologists, whose research keeps their eyes on the sky and on Earth.



HEY FLASH across the sky, shooting stars that have fired the imagination ever since there were people. Meteorites, rocks that fall from the heavens — messengers of the gods, portents of good fortune or cataclysms to come, depending on the culture. But in reality, they’re so much more — the very stuff the Solar System is made of. “You can’t have life until you have a planet, so to hold a meteorite — something that was around before there was a planet

Weisberg, left, and Connolly examine a significant meteorite chunk.

— is totally awesome,” says Harold C. Connolly Jr., one of two petrologists, or geologists who specialize in rocks, at Kingsborough Community College’s Department of Physical Sciences. Colleague Michael K. Weisberg says cradling the most primitive type of meteorite, a chondrite, “is like holding the sun, minus the gasses, and they also have organics, which are the building blocks of life.” Each meteorite tells an extraterrestrial story, and many emerged in July at the 73rd annual meeting of the Meteoritical Society in Manhattan, which Connolly and Weisberg organized under the auspices of

10 CUNY MATTERS —Fall 2010

the City University of New York and the American Museum of Natural History. The meeting drew some 500 scientists from around the world. Presentations delved into Martian meteorites, planet formation, the origin of organic molecules on meteoroids, the structure of craters and the relation between asteroids and meteors, among other topics. Sean Solomon of the Carnegie Institution of Washington delivered the keynote lecture. As principal investigator of Messenger, NASA’s current mission to Mercury, he described how the first craft to visit the innermost planet since the 1970s whipped

by Mercury three times since its launch in August 2004; it goes into orbit in March 2011. Messenger has already detected ion emissions from Mercury’s atmosphere, expanded knowledge about the planet’s magnetic field and proved that, at least in the past, Mercury had volcanic activity. *** Connolly and Weisberg, colleagues for 30 years, work not only with meteorites found on Earth, but also with materials plucked from the cosmos. Weisberg was on the international team that analyzed dust from NASA’s Stardust Mission; launched in 1999, Stardust

returned with samples of the comet Wild 2 in 2006. “We’ve had particles to study in our laboratories for four years. It turns out that a lot of the particles in the comet are similar to what we find in chondrites, including the chondrules and calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions,” Weisberg says. In other words, the dust and rock formed near our sun, traveled to the deep freeze beyond Neptune, and then mated with ice to become comets. This was a stunning finding, since scientists had thought that the dust and rocks of comets came from other stars and predated our own solar system. (Stardust did retrieve

HARD ROCK Definitions


Internet Security Tips From Our Top Expert

Asteroids are big rocks, up to almost 600 miles across, found mainly between Mars and Jupiter • meteoroids are smaller rocks in space • meteors are meteoroids that plunge through Earth’s atmosphere, which produces a very thin melt layer on their outside • meteorites are meteors that hit Earth’s surface • Chondrites are the most primitive meteorites • Unless altered by later heating or reaction with fluids, they usually contain a mixture of chondrules (rounded rock droplets that melted and quickly cooled), calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions (among the solar system’s earliest solids) and other components, including pre-solar mineral grains produced by other stars in the universe) • Chondrules and calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions were the first rocks formed in the protoplanetary disk (also known as the solar nebula), the gas-dust cloud that condensed to form the sun and planets.


ARL CAMMARATA, the University’s chief information security officer, recently spoke with CUNY Matters about Internet security.

Q: Can you offer some general advice about how people at CUNY can protect themselves from electronic threats or risks from the Internet?

CARL CAMMARATA: There are six things we advise: Never share your user ID and password with anyone. Don’t disclose personal information to someone you don’t know. Don't be tricked into disclosing personal information. Always keep a copy of your data on backup, separate from your main computer. Keep your software and virus protection upto-date. And never circumvent any security warnings or disable security programs. Q: How can we protect our computers from being damaged or hijacked by malicious code? A: Always keep your software and antivirus programs up-to-date, and only install software that you have legitimately purchased and that is authorized to be installed on your computer. Never install software that is provided in a manner which avoided the purchase requirements. Those software programs often contain malicious code that will attempt to steal personal information.

Icy Solution for Two Puzzles? HE FIRST MYSTERY is where our moon came from. The second is how Earth got its water. Those mysteries may well share a single solution, according to CUNY doctoral candidate John Wolbeck. Working with associate professor Harold C. Connolly Jr., of Kingsborough Community College and the Graduate Center, Wolbeck advanced his hypothesis at this summer’s Meteoritical Society meeting. But first, some background: When Earth was a mere 45 or 50 million years old, more than 4.5 billion years ago, it’s believed to have collided with a Mars-sized object, ejecting massive amounts of rock into space -- which eventually formed the moon. This explains why the rocks that Apollo astronauts brought back from the moon some 40 years ago so closely match those on Earth. But a conundrum troubled Wolbeck, a licensed professional engineer and an associate professor and interim chair of the Department of Science, Engineering and Architecture at SUNY’s Orange County Community College. “An object the size of Mars would have had its own unique signature, so lunar rocks should not be identical to Earth’s,” he says. So here’s his hypothesis: If what hit Earth was half ice, then heat from the collision would have vaporized the water into superhot steam. The solar wind would have blown away most of the vapor, removing the impactor’s unique signature. The collision also would have liquefied the rock and iron at the impactor’s core, with the rock becoming part of Earth’s geology and the heavier iron sinking to become part of Earth’s iron core.


“This hypothesis allows the impact theory to work and explains why the moon is so similar,” Wolbeck says. It also explains the source of Earth’s water. Since he has not yet begun to write a dissertation that would back his hypothesis with hard calculations, Wolbeck has a long way to go. But scientists at the Meteoritical Society meeting took notice. “When scientists hear the idea, they’re skeptical at first,” Wolbeck says. “But as they walk away, they say, ‘It might be right and I hope it’s right, because it’s so cool.’ ” Wolbeck, here balancing a lunar globe, has developed a "cool" hypothesis.

Q: What about downloading or clicking on links sent by a friend?

A: While a link may come from a friend whom you trust, your friend may have gotten it from someone else. You have to Carl Cammarata be careful about clicking on that link because it may direct you to a website that will attempt to install malicious code onto your computer.

Q: What do faculty and staff have to do to keep their CUNY computers up-to-date? A: Nothing if your central IT department has procedures to keep your computer continually updated. However, if your computer is maintained by a department and not by the central IT you should consult with the department to find out if there is something that you must do.

Q: What should students do to keep their personal computers up-to-date? A: As with any end user or home user, including myself, students should continually follow the software update process that comes with their computers. Always keep your software update processes enabled, and make sure your software is updated regularly.

Q: Are there risks associated with social networking sites that are frequently used by students? A: Yes. From time to time, flaws emerge that may expose your personal information. So there is a small risk that some information may be compromised. There are also risks related to the information another person sees on your page. That individual might be able to use the information to guess your passwords or private information.

Q: Can e-mail be dangerous? A: Yes, depending on how we use it. For example, we’ve all received e-mail purporting to be from someone we know that didn't contain a message from that person. This technique, called phishing, attempts to get you to reply to an e-mail and disclose personal information. Don't respond to such e-mail. You will never receive an e-mail from your bank or financial institution asking for personal information. So if you have any doubts, contact your bank directly. Never give away personal information via e-mail.

Q: How are spam filters used in e-mail? A: Spam filters reduce the risks associated with phishing attempts and other e-mail that you didn’t request. In some cases, however, spam filters will quarantine e-mail from legitimate sources. Be sure to flag such e-mail as not being spam and add it to your email system whitelist.

Q: Would the University or a CUNY college ever send an e-mail asking for personal data from a student, faculty or staff member?

A: No. CUNY has strict policies that prohibit University officials from asking for personal some mineral grains from other stars, which of rock and dust about 1,900 feet in diameter.” It would orbit RQ36 for a year, test were identified by their unusual isotopes.) ways of deflecting Also, looking it from a possible beyond Earth, Given similar rocks on the Earth impact with Earth Connolly joined a in 2170, then science team that and the moon, the most common extend a robotic is competing with arm and scoop up two other groups hypothesis is that the moon sheared off a pristine sample for a $650 million of its surface to prize — a NASA when a Mars-sized ‘planetesimal’ hit the return to Earth in mission. If selectyoung Earth. 2022. ed, their OSIRISFor extraterresREx probe would trial petrologists like Connolly and visit asteroid 1999 RQ36, which NASA’s Weisberg, that’s the real prize. Goddard Space Flight Center calls “a chunk

information via e-mail, such as your Social Security number, date of birth, financial account information, etc. If you receive such a request, do not respond to it via e-mail. Instead, call the college or the appropriate office to verify the legitimacy of the request.

Q: What is the key to protecting personal information over the Internet? A: Don’t give it away! If you receive such a request, call or visit the appropriate office or financial institution, or contact it by regular mail.

Q: Does CUNY provide resources for people who want to learn more about safeguarding themselves online? A: Yes. The website contains CUNY’s IT security policies and procedures as well as user advisories on how to protect yourself from e-mail scams and phishing. We also have a 30-minute IT security-awareness video that we encourage everyone to view. In addition, CUNY provides free Symantec antivirus protection for Windows and Mac devices for faculty, staff and students. They can be downloaded off the CUNY portal. Just sign on using your user ID and password, go to the e-mall, and click on software for a selection of products.

CUNY MATTERS — Fall 2010 11

OCTOBER monday






PODCAST How did the arrival of jazz change 1920s America? Go to podcasts


BMCC The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 3 p.m. $14; “10 Club” members, $25 Brooklyn College Tom Chapin 2 p.m. $6





(Oct. 3rd and 4th) Queensborough Community College S’Wonderful: The New Gershwin Musical 3 p.m. $35


Queensborough Community College Camp Siegfried 7 p.m. Free

Queensborough Community College The Capitol Steps 3 p.m. $30-$39


John Jay College Peek a Boo! Storytime With Barnes & Noble 10:30 a.m. Free


Brooklyn College A Midsummer Night's Dream 3 p.m. $27 advance; $30 at door

Queensborough Community College Teatro Lirico D’Europa’s Madama Butterfly 3 p.m. $35-$42





Baruch College Emanuel Saxe Distinguished Lecture in Accounting 5:30 p.m. Free

College 31 Brooklyn The Klezmer

Hunter College Sidney Bechet Society Jazz Concert 7:15 p.m. $35; students, $15

CUNYMatters Office of University Relations 535 East 80th St. New York, NY 10075


Queensborough Community College Fateless 1 p.m. Free

John Jay College John Jay’s Got Talent! 7 p.m. Free




College of Staten Island “Wording the Image/ Imaging the Word” The Prints of Pat Steir, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Lynne Allen and Lesley Dill Through Nov.7 Free



Hunter College Lolli-Pops Concert: The Orchestra – A Happy Family Oct. 15: 11 a.m. (school performance), Oct. 16: 10:30 a.m. & noon Oct. 17: 1 and 2:30 p.m. $12, $40

John Jay College Skrip Orkestra 7:30 p.m. $20; CUNY students free with ID



PODCAST Reimagining Alexis de Tocquevlle’s famous 19th Century journey to America. Go to podcasts

Lehman College Salsa Palooza 8 p.m. $40-$55



Borough of Manhattan Community College SteveSongs 1:30 p.m. $14; “10 Club” members, $25

John Jay College First Throws Playwright Salon 7 p.m. Free

Queensborough Community College A Tale of the Kindertransport 1 p.m. Free

Conservatory Band 2 p.m. $27



City College Infinity of Nations: Art, History and the National Museum of the American Indian 1 p.m. Free


City College Life Before the Pilgrims: A Peruvian Tells the History of “La Florida” 6 p.m. Free

Baruch College Can We Use Corporate Governance to Combat Climate Change? 6 p.m. $15, $35; free for Baruch alumni, students, staff, faculty

For more events, visit and click‘events’






Baruch College Boardroom Secrets 12:30 p.m. Free


Queensborough Community College Like Father, Like Son 3 p.m. $35, $40

Non-Profit Org U.S. Postage PAID Permit # 153 New Haven, CT



Details of events can change without notice, so always call in advance. For additional calendar listings, go to


City College Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination 6 p.m. Free




Queens College 35th Anniversary Season Queens College Evening Readings 7 p.m. Free


Queensborough Community College Sister Rose's Passion 1 p.m. Free






Monday, Oct. 4 Professor Marco Tedesco City College

NY U C e Th

afe C e c Scien


Brooklyn College Tito Puente Jr. Orchestra 8 p.m. $37

Monitoring Glacial Meltdown and the Impact of Global Warming

Monday, Nov. 1 Professor Margaret Bull Kovera John Jay College Judge and Jury: The Psychology of the Courtroom

6-7 p.m. at Kouzan Restaurant 685 Amsterdam Ave. (93/94 St.) There is a $10 cover charge, which includes one drink. Following the presentation, Kouzan offers a 10 percent discount on dinner for all attendees who wish to stay.

CUNY Matters Fall 2010  

Fall 2010 Issue