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A Faculty Commons Quarterly Volume 6

Fall 2014


Volume 6 | Fall 2014


N EW YOR K CIT Y COLLEGE OF T ECH NOLOG Y of the City University of New York

Russell K. Hotzler President

A Center for Teaching, Learning, Scholarship and Service

Bonne August Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Julia Jordan, Director Avril Miller, College Assistant

Faculty Commons

Miguel Cairol Vice President for Administration and Finance Marcela Katz Armoza Vice President for Enrollment and Student Affairs

Assessment and Institutional Research Tammie Cumming, Director Kimberly Johnson, Institutional Research Specialist Yi Chen, Institutional Analyst Olga Batyr, Survey Services Liaison Albert Li, Research Assistant Office of Sponsored Programs Barbara Burke, Director Patty Barba Gorkhover, Associate Director Eleanor Bergonzo, Assistant Director

Gilen Chan Special Counsel/Legal Affairs Designee Stephen M. Soiffer Special Assistant to the President/ Institutional Advancement

Grants Outreach Coordinator 2014-2015 Professor Soyeon Cho

Pamela Brown Associate Provost

US Department of Education Title V A Living Laboratory Charlie Edwards, Project Manager

Karl Botchway Dean, School of Arts and Sciences Kevin Hom Dean, School of Technology and Design David Smith Interim Dean, School of Professional Studies Carol Sonnenblick Dean, Division of Continuing Education

Design Team Professor Anita Giraldo, Artistic Director Kevin Rajaram, Web Master Maen Caka, Web Developer Raciel Guzman, Mandy Mei Marlon Palmer, Dorian Valentine, Designers Curator Professor Sandra Cheng Photographer Walter Sol Jr.

Professional Development Advisory Council (PDAC)


Daniel Alter Isaac Barjis Ian Beilin

Sanjoy Chakraborty Gwen Cohen-Brown Susan Davide

Louise Hoffman Paul King Darya Krym

Djafar Mynbaev Susan Phillip Marcia Powell

Shauna Vey Gail Williams Farrukh Zia

Esteban Beita Nadia Benakli Lucas Bernard Karen Bonsignore Candido Cabo

Lynda Dias Mary Sue Donsky Aida Egues Boris Gelman Pa Her

Xiangdong Li Janet Liou-Mark Karen Lundstrem Zory Marantz John McCullough

Estela Rojas Walied Samarrai Rebecca Shapiro Kimberly Strickler Ryoya Terao

Pamela Brown, Chair


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Fall 14

Interstices Landscape of Possibilities


Fostering Authentic Research in STEM


Undergraduate Research Thrives in a Culture of Mentoring


Vision for a 21st Century Library


The OpenLab As a Research Community


NANO The Making of An Academic Journal


NIH Bridges to the Baccalaureate


Introducing Soyeon Cho




Bonne August

“As we venture down the pathway of this young century, these two indispensable academic pillars— teaching and research —seamlessly integrated and equally valued, will become more and more critical to the viability and the sustainability of the institution.” Reginald Blake Physics

Pamela Brown

Reginald Blake and Justin Vazquez-Poritz Interviewed by Julia Jordan

Maura Smale, Anne Leonard, and Monica Berger

Jill Belli, Charlie Edwards, M. Genevieve Hitchings Jonas Reitz, Jody R. Rosen, and Jenna Spevack

Sean Scanlan

Liana Tsenova

Barbara Burke


Monique Ferrell

Cover Maura Smale Chief Librarian Photograph by Walter Sol Jr.

Back Cover Stefa 3-D Design Sculpture and Photograph by Meryl Taradash

E d itors, Barbara Burke and Julia Jordan | Desig ner, Dorian Valentine | Pr i nt i ng, Digital Imaging Cente r at Cit y Tech NUCLEUS: A FACULTY COMMONS QUARTERLY

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Interstices Landscape of Possibilities Bonne August


heard—or more likely read—the word “interstices.” Certainly, it is a word that rarely arises in everyday conversation. But once discovered, it has always seemed to me to be an intriguing, and even appealing word. From the Latin, intersistere, “to stand in the middle of”, interstices literally are crevices, or the narrow spaces between things. Rather than thinking of however, my favored connotations have always tended toward found spaces, the places in between, discovery, even possibility. Instead of enforcing separation, interstices serve—in my imagining—to enable connection. Perhaps this is because of my training in the reading of poetry, where blank spaces on the page do not represent the absence of meaning, but carry echoes, enable and enrich associations, and create unexpected meaning.

individuals and groups to create spaces, also by its nature generates interstices, where new connections can spark energy. This way of thinking, natural to those who work with words or images, may seem alien or even dangerous to those whose training emphasizes procedural thinking. However, although academic


thinking lives in the interstices, the found spaces between disciplines, carrying the possibility of holding both or several in its embrace. Thus, given the freedom to explore and discover what lies between our disciplines, our thinking can be newly creative.

of learning precisely and sometimes to enclose them within formidable and well-defended walls, the crevices between them need not be crevasses. In the future, academic work will be grounded and draw on disciplinary


From this perspective, some of the potential gaps described in this issue— between professor and student, writer and editor, the library as conservatory and the library as advocate of open access—become found spaces, places to create something new and more meaningful. When professors become mentors and invite students into their spaces as apprentices, aides, or eventually as fellow researchers, they enable growth and transformation. Through the intense communication crisscrossing the space between writer and editor, an article or story mutates and gains in precision or power. The library, with its foothold in its physical collection and the systematic organization of knowledge, reaches out with digital arms to connect us to the universe of discourse. Similarly, City Tech’s OpenLab, with its invitation to


systems and procedures, but will not

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Fostering Authentic Research in STEM Pamela Brown


hich seems more engaging to you, verifying the results of someone else’s experiment or coming up with your own strategy to discover information to solve problems with real world relevance? The opportunity to work collaboratively to solve problems where multiple approaches are possible, something that working professionals are likely to do, can be transformative. Having your students develop the strategy for solving problems will help them develop their professional identities as well. In order to promote this approach in laboratory courses, the Resources for Evidence-based Laboratory Experience Development (REED) solicitation, was implemented under the auspices of the City Tech Undergraduate Research Committee with funding from the

professors Alberto Martinez, Diana Samaroo, Jay Deiner, and Suresh Tewani to create an authentic research section of General Chemistry II, CHEM 1210, offered in Fall 2013 as an honors section. An outgrowth of Professor Samaroo’s work as a Title V Living Lab Fellow in Spring 2012, this chemistry lab has since been offered as both an honors and a regular section through Spring and Fall 2014.

research module, chemistry students collect water samples from the East River near the Brooklyn Bridge and develop their own research questions. Examples include, “How does temperature affect the conductivity and dissolved oxygen content?” and “How do the pH, nitrates, nitrites, and iron levels of East River water compare to distilled water?” The faculty team presented their results last

April at a CUNY workshop sponsored by Vice Chancellor for Research Gillian Small, “Research in the Classroom: Integrating Authentic Research into the Undergraduate Curriculum.”

design issues related to environmental concerns. They will then make the product and evaluate its performance in order to develop recommendations for improvement.

REED funding was also awarded to Biological Sciences professors Jeremy Seto and Davida Smyth to incorporate four new labs into an experimental section of General Biology I, BIO 1101, in Fall 2014. Students conduct analytical tests to identify biomolecules, relating them to standard nutritional tables found on food items. They also formulate an appropriate experimental protocol complete with controls to perform biochemical tests on a mock urine sample to test for signs of diabetes. In the second series of experiments students employ DNA technology to solve a forensics problem.

Learning can be deeper when students engage with software, instrumentation and equipment to solve important problems. This strategy provides students with an opportunity to be creative, to build, and to experiment. You can learn more about these projects at the semi-annual Honors and Emerging Scholars poster session where participating students present their work. The Undergraduate Research Committee will continue to support further adoption of authentic research/ guided inquiry in the classroom, and hopes to expand this approach beyond laboratory courses. I hope you consider becoming involved.

In Fall 2014, Professors Gaffar Gailani, Andy Zhang, and Masato Nakamura received REED funding to add designing and fabricating customdesigned orthopedic implants (CDOI) to Advanced Solid Modeling, IND 2304. The course uses a problem-based learning strategy. Additional REED projects to be launched in Spring 2015 include Professor Ossama Elhadary’s Network Fundamentals, CST 2307 sections, in which students will develop questions related to networking challenges and create unique protocols to solve. They will then test their protocols by using simulation labs. Professors Angran Xiao and Andy Zhang will introduce a thermoforming project into Plastic Product Manufacturing, MECH 4720. Groups of students will choose a unique product to design. Each group will conduct research needs,



Correction: December 30, 2014 An earlier version of this article mistak-

tion that was implemented by the City Tech

Affairs Student Success grant. --eds.



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Undergraduate Research Thrives in a Culture of Mentoring Julia Jordan, Director of Faculty Commons, interviews Justin Vazquez-Poritz, Director of the Emerging Scholars Program and Reginald Blake, Director of the Black Male Initiative and Chair of the Undergraduate Research Coordination Committee.

students, but it also has the added reward of shaping, molding, and nurturing the next generation of scientists and researchers.

to assist with research projects; it also creates and sustains an institutional culture that promotes excellence and makes inquiry, curiosity, and discovery contagious.

JJ: How might it be important to faculty? JJ: How might it be important to students?

Julia Jordan: Why is undergraduate research important to you? Justin Vazquez-Poritz: We live in a society in which fast answers are sometimes valued more than reliable answers. I am a slow thinker, and that is an attribute that I value highly. The wonderful thing about research is that it often pays to spend more time pondering the possible solutions. This comes with a price that one needs patience and perseverance. These are traits that can be learned and practiced by students participating in authentic research experiences. We have all experienced times when others have assumed that we know less than we really do. Research is one of the great equalizers. If you discover something, then your discovery stands on its own—independent of your origins. Besides the thrill of searching for something new, a research project can add an immutable dimension to one’s own sense of identity. Reginald Blake: Undergraduate research is important to me for two primary reasons: one, it affords me the opportunity to mentor students, and two, it is an ideal, proven vehicle for transformation (individual and institutional). I gain great satisfaction and joy from mentoring through research because it allows for the symbiotic exchange between my mentees and me. It permits me to not only give back and share knowledge, skills, experience, and wisdom with



RB: For the faculty, undergraduate research not only provides the satisfaction of mentoring students, but it also helps in the classroom by providing more inquisitive students with enhanced critical thinking skills. robust, engaged, dynamic, invigorating, high impact learning environment.

For some faculty, undergraduate research may well be the trigger and the impetus needed to reengage in research and to revive careers. For faculty who are conducting research, undergraduate research provides an eager cohort of students

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JVP: The Emerging Scholars program is primarily meant to offer students a and to provide a stepping stone for students to embark on a longer-term research agenda. And we have such a vast variety of research being done at City Tech—from particle physics and galactic formation to robotics, from disease diagnosis through dental hygiene practice to composition of gluten-free cakes. The driving force behind our undergraduate research programs are the passion and devotion of our faculty members to their work. To be a successful researcher, one must have passion and the way to teach passion is through example. The more to the research being done at City Tech, the more they will be inspired to be a part of it in the long term. JJ: From your own experience in working with students, how has research exposure impacted them? JVP: A few years ago, I mentored a pair of students who were motivated but did not have clear career goals. Our research project provided me with the opportunity to spend quite a bit of time advising them on their career options. One student is now planning to pursue his PhD in physics with the dream of someday creating an institute for students to learn physics in his homeland of Sri Lanka. The other student is pursuing a Master’s degree



in math and science education so that he can teach children in the Bronx. JJ: Is there a particular example from your own experience that has had a transforming impact? RB: experience came from a full NASA scholarship I received as a Masters student, and my academic success then was buoyed by great mentoring. Were it not for that scholarship and for the mentoring I received, I seriously doubt I would be where I am today. JJ: Who shares your vision of undergraduate research? JVP: We are fortunate at City Tech to have an administration that is extremely supportive of the undergraduate research programs. Associate Provost Pamela Brown has been instrumental in enabling the Emerging Scholars program to expand to a record number of 120 students. Synergy is growing amongst various programs that share a number of joint activities such as workshops, research mixers, and the

annual graduate school fair. New this fall are two exciting additions: the Research Scholars program includes a series of guest speakers from other institutions who discuss what drives them to do research and share personal challenges that they have overcome, and the Research Scholars Symposium in which students present their work as a complement to the semi-annual Honors and Emerging Scholars poster session. JJ: How does undergraduate research align with scholarship and institutional goals? JVP: The Emerging Scholars program offers students a stipend to devote time to do research with a faculty mentor. Through Emerging Scholars, LSAMP, SENCER, and related programs such as BMI, Noyce Scholars, and CUNY Service Corps students are positioned to apply for research focused internships beyond City Tech.

enhanced, and the institution can now pivot towards a balance of teaching and research opportunities for its students. As we venture down the pathway of this young century, these two indispensable academic pillars—teaching and research—seamlessly integrated and equally valued, will become more and more critical to the viability and the sustainability of the institution. In my view, there is a positive feedback loop between teaching and research. Teaching catalyzes research, and research, in turn, is the air that teaching breathes. Since teaching and research are so intricately interconnected, and since the rewards of undergraduate research are so varied and numerous, it behooves faculty to actively participate in undergraduate research especially in an institutional environment that supports it by providing an active faculty mentoring process. Both students and faculty gain from the formalized effort.

RB: For the institution, undergraduate research is the rising tide that raises all the boats. Everybody wins. Students’ academic lives and scholarship are


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Vision For a 21st Century Library The Impact of Networked Technologies on Scholarly Practice Maura Smale, Anne Leonard, and Monica Berger


am honored to have been appointed Chief Librarian and Department Chair at the Ursula C. Schwerin Library this fall, and to continue to have the opportunity to work with and for my

Tech students. I’m lucky to begin in my role

would like to share some highlights of our vision for the future of the library.

The Physical Library As enrollment at City Tech has increased dramatically in recent years, we have been delighted to see many more students coming to the library to access information and do their academic work. Earlier this fall we undertook several headcounts to gather more information on students using our spaces, and were surprised to learn that on a typical weekday there are anywhere from 250 to 500 students in the library! For our students the physical library is an important part of their academic landscape, especially since we are a commuter institution in a large urban area where students may not have access to spaces that are appropriate for their academic work outside of the college campus. We have begun to examine possibilities for small renovations in the library that would offer additional spaces for students to use for individual and group study. In the future, we hope to be able to add dedicated space for faculty use and collaboration, too.

Information and Instructional Technologies All academic libraries—City Tech included—are increasingly reliant on information technologies to offer resources and services to the college



community. These technologies are integral to all aspects of the library: from research assistance via instruction and reference; to offering access to academic content via print and electronic books, articles, and other sources; to spaces and tools that are used for their academic work. We are in the process of hiring several technology support specialists in the library, additional staff members who will enable us to keep up with our expanding technology needs. With our additional staff in place we plan to enable students to use and experiment with technologies that they may not have access to otherwise. Laptop, netbook, or tablet computers available to lend to students may ease crowding on library desktop computers and offer opportunities for students to work on their assignments in all areas of the library. Smartboards and display screens may be added to group study rooms to facilitate group work by students and allow for presentation practice space. We hope to encourage thoughtful experimentation with technologies for instructional and scholarly use.

Information Literacy and Research Instruction For many years library faculty have offered information literacy and research instruction in all sections of ENG 1101 English Composition I, as well as in other courses. While this program is still going strong—indeed, we’ve worked with 140+ sections of ENG 1101 this fall!—in recent years we have continued to expand our information literacy and instruction efforts. We now offer three sections of our threecredit course LIB 1201 Research & Documentation for the Information Age, and several degree programs require

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it of their students. Library faculty are also partnering with faculty in other departments at the college to create interdisciplinary courses that combine a focus on informationbased research with other disciplinary LIB 2205/ARCH 2205 Learning Places: Understanding the City, was proposed this fall by professor Jason Montgomery of the Architectural Technology department and myself. My colleagues and I look forward to exploring additional partnerships with faculty to strengthen our students’ information literacy in the context of learning.

Scholarly Communications Library faculty have developed a strong interest and expertise in the changing scholarly communications landscape and we plan to continue this work. Academic libraries must stay informed about developments in both scholarly and pedagogical publishing, evaluating information. With the increase in both open access publishing and open educational resources, much academic, research-based content is available at no cost on the open internet as well as in academic libraries via purchased or subscribed books, articles, and other sources. Our library has much to contribute information we can help locate resources which may not appear in traditional search engines. We can also offer guidance on curating and creating open educational resources, which can overcome many of the myriad encounter with traditionally-published, to predict the ways that access to

information will change in the future, but library faculty are well-placed to advocate for more usable search tools and increased access to high-quality information both in the library and on the internet.

Changing Scholarly Practice and Student Learning The landscape of academic research and practice is rapidly evolving. How has the increase in digital and networked technologies affected our scholarly work? The push toward openness in technology, research, and publication has become nearly impossible to ignore in recent years. What do all of these “open” terms mean? Open source refers to technologies, including hardware and software, that are released without restrictive regulations and thus allow

graduation. The general public will have more access to vital information that can impact their lives: particularly

Altmetrics are an emerging set of methods to measure scholarly impact. While traditional journal impact factor

even changed the nature of scholarly conferences, as informal publication in the form of blogging and tweeting has

they don’t accurately measure the full

New models of peer review are also beginning to emerge, models that take into account the process of research and

scholarship that fall outside traditional formats, interdisciplinary scholarship, or scholarship in the popular sphere. Social networking technologies have

product: the publication. These models can be transparent and dynamic, taking advantage of the distributed expertise of a disciplinary community

code or physical structure. The open source movement is passionate about sharing the improvements that result from work on these projects, which are then re-released and made available to others to continue to improve on. Open access typically indicates a scholarly publication that is available free of charge to be read, shared, and distributed to all. And open educational resources take open access to curricular materials, that is, textbooks, readings, and course slides, assignments, and exams. Open source technologies have grown dramatically—many websites, including our own OpenLab, run on the freely available WordPress platform, for example. Online technologies have made it easier for everyone in academia to make their work open and available. This facilitates both collaboration and discovery in a broader community, and is especially powerful when the work we do is interdisciplinary since it allows us to break out of our disciplinary silos. For us at City Tech and CUNY the opportunities for impact beyond the traditional scholarly community are especially powerful, as we are a publicly-funded university. Students will have more access to the research they need for their coursework and after



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and beyond. An early example of open peer review was for Planned Obsolescence by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Director of Scholarly Communication at the Modern Language Association. Published by NYU Press, the book went through both traditional peer review as well as open peer review, which produced a much richer body of comments for Fitzpatrick to consider as she revised the book for publication. This book as well as the many highquality, reputable peer-reviewed open access journals help dispel the myth that open access and peer review are incompatible; indeed, every indication is that these new models produce stronger scholarship. The differences in and nuances of scholarly communications across a range of disciplines is increasing, and City Tech library faculty are working to increase our understanding of these issues. This is especially relevant at our college of technology, with our diverse faculty teaching and researching in with experience in academia, research, and industry. Library faculty keep up with developments in traditional and alternative measures of scholarly impact and the expanding conceptions of peer review, and look forward to continuing to work with the City Tech community as research and scholarship continue to evolve in the future. —Maura Smale

City Tech Library as a Partner in Research, Scholarship, and Student Learning How can the library collaborate with and support faculty in other departments as they pursue new forms of research and scholarship? Every semester, the library runs workshops for faculty, staff, and students. This semester’s topics included Adobe’s Photoshop image creation and editing software, using the New York Times scholarship and publication. In addition to our workshop schedule, the library



offers faculty workshops by request on topics ranging from using Google Scholar to copyright and fair use in the digital teaching environment. As members of the CUNY community, City Tech faculty have access to a wealth of research resources beyond our curriculum-focused library collection. The City Tech library supports faculty research in various ways. Anyone with a CUNY ID card can request circulating books from other CUNY libraries through the library catalog using CLICS. Interlibrary Loan allows faculty and students to borrow books and articles that we do not have in our print or electronic collections. The library also participates in consortia that facilitate access to research collections. Academic Libraries of Brooklyn (ALB) is a consortium of eight academic libraries in Brooklyn. Use of an ALB card (available at the library’s Circulation Desk) permits cardholders to borrow up to two books at a time from other member libraries. Our library is a member of the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO), which facilitates referral to other member libraries to consult a

can provide support to researchers interested in working with open information in their own research. Through the library, users can learn to navigate the tools and platforms that provide for a broader level of access and engagement with information both within and outside of the college. Each semester we offer a series of workshops designed to introduce and advance our community’s understanding of tools and information that are available on multiple platforms, and explore ways that their own work might be shared. Authors’ rights, copyright and licensing, and the disciplines are all topics we’ve featured in the past. We are also available to collaborate with classroom faculty who are interested in learning about ways that emerging modes of participation shape scholarship in the digital landscape, and how these tools might be used in their work. —Anne Leonard

City Tech As Open Access Leader: Our History and Future We’ve come a long way since the library

own library or at a public library; faculty can ask a reference librarian for a METRO referral card. Another resource sharing initiative opens research collections at private universities to scholars. The libraries of NYU and Columbia University have partnered with New York Public Library to offer Library cardholders doing serious research who can demonstrate that they have exhausted the resources of the NYPL. This service, called Manhattan Research Library Initiative (MaRLI), grants on-site access to participating library collections and also allows researchers to borrow books from these libraries. Our librarians have also been vocal advocates for open access in scholarship and instruction, as Monica Berger discusses in her section. Library faculty

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and scholarly communications! As the library’s institutional memory in these efforts, I thought it would to try to date our earliest efforts. I found a 2005 presentation I gave to City Tech classroom faculty entitled: “Program: Faster! Real Time Scholarly Communications in the 21st Century: Listservs, Blogs, Wikis, RSS, Open Access Journals, Eprints and Recent Research Innovations.” All of the entities listed above are still in the picture but here’s what’s exciting: what was theoretical is now actual. City Tech library and classroom faculty are using these tools. The most exciting development is that CUNY will soon be rolling out its institutional repository, a home for freely disseminating, preserving, and creating our scholarly

output. Presenting the case for an institutional repository, Maura Smale and our colleague Professor Jill Cirasella (Associate Librarian for Public Services and Scholarly Communications, CUNY Graduate Center) presented to CUNY’s provosts as well as the University Faculty Senate. In November 2011, the Faculty Senate passed a resolution in support of the creation of an institutional repository for the university. Once a planning taskforce was formed, Maura Smale and I both contributed to the planning. CUNY is now in the process of hiring a scholarly communications librarian who will play a major role in the rollout of the institutional repository to strengthen both scholarship and student learning. To encourage the growth of open access, the library issued a statement in support of open access in 2012, which can be seen on its website. This statement helps us be more mindful of the choices we make before and after we publish our scholarship: we make a concerted effort to publish in open access journals and, if the journal is not open access, self-deposit our work in library subject repositories.

Last year, the roundtable partnered with JustPublics@365, an initiative at the Graduate Center, to provide a series of seminars. I had the opportunity to present on predatory publishing to a large audience of classroom faculty and administrators. An outgrowth of this presentation is that I was invited to speak at other CUNY campuses and published a short piece in an ebook created by JustPublics@365.

Thomas Tradler, and Holly Carley have published open access versions of their textbooks. Professor Robert Leston, English, has published in the groundbreaking multimodal journal Kairos, using video as a means of scholarship. NANO, a journal of American Studies and new media, founded and edited by professor Sean Scanlan, is another example of open access publishing.

Did you know that City Tech librarians are editors and technology managers for an open access journal? Urban Library Journal runs on the Public Knowledge Project’s sophisticated Open Journal Systems platform. Professors Junior Tidal and Bronwen Densmore are Urban Library Journal’s newest editors.

These are exciting times for new scholarship and the open access movement. The CUNY institutional repository will be a solid starting point for growing a culture of open access and new modes of scholarly communications. Library faculty see great potential for partnership and collaboration with faculty across the college. —Monica Berger

Open access publishing activity at City Tech isn’t limited just to the library. Our colleagues in the Mathematics department, Professors Henry Africk,

Open Access Week is a major international event and our library was of doing programming in CUNY. Since 2009, we’ve been presenting and providing workshops on Open Access open access scholarship, to knowing your rights as a scholarly author, and to how to create open educational resources (OERs). Our library faculty have presented on open access, OERs and the Open Journals System (a platform for publishing open access journals) at the annual CUNY IT Conference over the last few years. We’ve also held leadership roles in CUNY. Professor Smale has co-chaired the Library Association of CUNY (LACUNY)’s Scholarly Communications Roundtable and she moderates the Academic Commons’ blog and group for open access.



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The OpenLab As a Research Community Building for City Tech’s Future Jill Belli, Charlie Edwards, M. Genevieve Hitchings, Jonas Reitz, Jody R. Rosen, and Jenna Spevack —The OpenLab Team

Since its launch in Fall 2011, the OpenLab has made enormous strides, thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of the City Tech community. In only three years, the OpenLab has become a vibrant hub of scholarly activity that, at this writing, has over 11,000 registered members. We’re excited to share the progress of this project, the vision for future developments. Built by a City Tech-based team using the open source software WordPress and BuddyPress, it provides a space where members can connect with one another in an academic social network, create in courses, projects, and clubs, and share their work with others at City Tech and beyond. It puts sophisticated multimedia publishing within reach of any member and provides tools for sharing, and document editing. While its design encourages openness, it also privacy options that enable members to control how their content is presented.

The OpenLab home page (



What is the OpenLab? A state-of-the-art open source platform that is a central element of the US Department of Education Title V initiative, “A Living Laboratory: Revitalizing General Education 21st-Century College of Technology” (20102015). OpenLab enables participants to share work between courses, across the college, and with the world; it provides a space where faculty and students can work together, experiment, and innovate; its goals are to support teaching and learning at City Tech and enhance the intellectual and social life of our community by enabling members to connect across the college.

The OpenLab in Action The OpenLab has seen rapid and enthusiastic adoption. As a visit to the Courses section shows, hundreds of classes use the OpenLab each year in disciplines across all three schools, from Dental Hygiene to Entertainment Technology, English to Hospitality Management, Human Services to Mathematics. Members also use the OpenLab extensively for Projects, including student research and collaborative class projects, college committees, grant-funded initiatives, and departmental working groups. Students are taking advantage of the Clubs functionality, which provides

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or informal groups around common academic and social interests. Portfolios are also extensively used, with almost 2,500 Portfolios currently presented publicly on the OpenLab; these include both student ePortfolios and teaching and professional portfolios for faculty and staff.

A course on the OpenLab

Concepts and Code A robust technical architecture and strong theoretical conception power all this activity. The OpenLab draws on and contributes to interconnected scholarly discourses and efforts. In adopting the WordPress and BuddyPress platforms, City Tech joins a worldwide laboratory focused on the design and development of free and open source software (FOSS), whose code is freely made available for use, adaptation, and sharing. We also join a group of educators and technologists dedicated to opening up education through the use of FOSS and a commitment to correspondingly openpedagogical practices. CUNY is at the forefront of these efforts, with the OpenLab fast becoming a leader in this space, creating innovative models—both conceptually and in its code—for the use of open technologies in education. Relatedly, the OpenLab’s

architecture enables its members to experiment with new and increasingly important modes of scholarly communication.

By making it easy to draft and share work online, the OpenLab promotes scholarship as a public activity, one not restricted as a paywalled product but shared as a public good.

Connection: Strengthens the college community by providing a space for students, faculty, and staff to interact beyond the physical campus, something especially important at a commuter college. Collaboration: Supports and enhances major college-wide initiatives and other grant— funded projects by enabling team collaboration and public dissemination. Skill-Building: Teaches transferable skills: WordPress is used by millions of sites worldwide, so students in design, communications, and technical disciplines gain experience on a large, mission-critical project through internships or coursework. Innovation: Positions City Tech at the forefront of development in educational technology with

attract further funding.

The OpenLab offers many possibilities for enhancing your work. You can: Share pedagogical strategies with your colleagues – many departments have set up working groups to exchange ideas and resources. Showcase your research work online in a Project or Portfolio. Use the OpenLab as a collaboration and dissemination space for your departmental or grantfunded initiative. Consider how your City Tech club, event, or publication, presence on the OpenLab. Write about your experiences using the OpenLab. Members are increasingly publishing about their work with this innovative platform.

Bringing Benefits

Looking Forward

The OpenLab’s conceptual framework offers opportunities for collaboration, participation, and co-creation that are unachievable with closed, proprietary software solutions. As such, it encourages not only working differently but also thinking differently about the kind of work we want to do.

As the project moves forward, the team will continue to work with colleagues across the college to encourage and support new uses of the OpenLab. We are also working on a major site redesign that will provide the OpenLab with a fresh look and feel and, in response to student requests, improve support for mobile devices. We see the future of the OpenLab moving beyond City Tech, and are actively seeking partnerships and funding opportunities to package the OpenLab for public release and share it with other institutions eager to build into their communities what the OpenLab has to offer.

Visibility: Makes our work— in courses, research, clubs, and projects of all kinds—visible to fellow students and colleagues, and other stakeholders, such as the local community, potential employers, students’ families, funders, donors, partners at other institutions, and alumni.

The OpenLab and You


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NANO The Making of an Academic Journal and Its Editor Sean Scanlan



hen I started NANO: New American Notes Online, I did not have in mind the goal of changing the nature of peer review or of making an intervention into publishing and promotion. Although some academics would say that editors of peer-reviewed journals help produce the very coin by which scholars purchase their futures, I became an editor completely by accident, with no myself backed into a corner (no funding, no publisher, no content) that, little by little, I realized that I had to create a new way out of old publishing traps. I had to invent the type of editorship I wanted to have, and through some mistakes and some successes, I became part of



a movement to improve the conditions of peer review and all the manifold processes and quirks surrounding it. But I am getting ahead of myself. On or about March 1, 2003, two scholars approached me with a simple question: “Have you ever thought about editing a journal, Sean?� I replied that I had not, but I would not be opposed to the idea. David Banash and Anthony Enns had been editing the Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies (http://www.uiowa. edu/~ijcs/) for about three years and had successfully transformed an inhouse vanity publication for graduate students into a peer-reviewed academic journal with a formidable editorial board and quality articles from known scholars. I had never edited anything

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beyond my own writing. I had never written for my school newspaper. And besides working for three months on a small English language newspaper in Sapporo, Japan, I had never been part of a team that worked on producing a collection. I agreed to help because I was casting about for something that might be useful for my writing toolshed, which, as a graduate student, I was forever trying to stock with new implements that would set me apart from my Iowa peers. I agreed to their offer to edit a special issue that was close to my research subject, one that would comprise the center of my dissertation: nostalgia and homesickness. The process at the IJCS was that I worked with a faculty

member, and, as a team, we would write the Call-for-Papers, read all submissions, decide which to accept, and how to assemble the special issue. Luckily, we did not have to design the journal’s look or select fonts or create a style guideline. The submission intake process and the printing process (and funding) were already in place. So, my co-editor, Tom Lutz, and I simply had to step onto a ready-made path. Soon after the IJCS special issue on Nostalgia (http://www.uiowa. edu/~ijcs/nostalgia/nost.htm) came out, I went to hear a talk by the editor of American Literary History, Gordon Hutner. I was astounded to hear that the journal was not one hundred years old, but was relatively new. In fact, Hutner said that he started it because he was frustrated that one of his articles had languished for a while with some unnamed journal. He said what many inventors have said: “I can do better than that.” Suddenly it hit me: I had an article that was also languishing, and had some experience editing. Maybe I could do better. At the end of his talk he said something that became the catalyst that really got things going. Hutner said that very soon digital academic journals will be just as vetted and respected as print journals. A few short months later I had assembled a small editorial board, I had a digital platform, a logo, and a name: NANO: New American Notes Online. I was ready. Of course, I was not ready. I needed submissions, content, images, funding, publishing and programming skills I could not foresee needing. I had barely begun; I saw no clear path at all. First, I needed to set my journal apart from long-established journals that had budgets, prestige, famous editorial board members, and a long line of submitters who dreamed of getting their articles accepted. My idea was to follow the connotation of the journal’s name and accept shorter articles, around 3,500 words. Next, I wanted to provide quick turn-around by having a large, active editorial board. Third,

sound in order to support an author’s argument. Additionally, I wanted the journal to be open source and open access: I wanted scholars to access the journal regardless of institutional support





We knew that this stability and the college’s imprimatur would guarantee a secure future. The journal’s ethos of experimenting with new publishing technologies and promoting new ideas that need to see the light of day

that NANO ( is an excellent match for City Tech because our agendas align in terms of community, academics, and a willingness to experiment.

“Academic interviews... create the idea that scholars are public intellectuals who should get the chance to say what they want in a conversation, not couched in footnotes.” NANO recently published Issue 5: Digital Humanities—Public Humanities, the largest issue so far. Together with my editorial team, which consists of professors Rebecca Devers and Ruth Garcia of the English department , the idea emerged that guest editorial teams may help distribute the workload and also increase the number of submissions. Indeed the quality and experience has elevated NANO. Issue 6 focuses on the topic of Cartography and Narrative. While the seven articles that

comprise Issue 5 was big for us, Issue 6 is nearly twice as large. It will have two introductions and eleven articles— the size of many book collections. Of particular note is that two journals are publishing on this special theme: NANO is handling the multimedia articles while the veteran print journal Cartographic Journal is curating the textbased articles. As NANO moves forward, we are looking to build a City Tech-based advisory board, to include our students by creating two internships, and to partner with the library. We are also invested in academic interviews, as they are accessible and they create the idea that scholars are public intellectuals who should get the chance to say what they want in a conversation, not couched in footnotes. One additional idea in the works is a round table in which several experts will discuss this winter and will feature the topic of online/computer gaming culture. Journals are changing, whether people want them to or not. As predicted, digital journals are, indeed, continuing their march to equality, even though many still love the feel of a bound journal they can put on their shelf. Fields of inquiry are changing too, often requiring more sophisticated means of displaying information. And peer review is changing as well. While some advocate for post-publishing review, I have found that most junior scholars want their articles to appear as edited, polished, exemplary; they want their writing to exude an Emersonian gemwriting is peer review. My dream is that the bottle-neck of peer-review and publishing is revolutionized by my slightly starry-eyed idea: upon graduation, once a new scholar receives his or her graduate degree, that person is automatically signed up to be a peer reviewer at one journal; the solution is to include more scholars who must become part of the process of enhancing intellectual life by systematizing inclusion, not rejection.


Volume 6 | Fall 2014


NIH Awards a $1.2 Million Grant Bridges to the Baccalaureate Liana Tsenova


tudents who want to pursue careers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences may qualify to participate in a brand new program Bridges to the Baccalaureate at City Tech in partnership with Brooklyn College, funded through a $1.2M grant from the National Institutes of Health. associate degree will be selected annually as Bridges Scholars. Selective student cohorts will participate in paid mentored research activities here and an eight-week summer bridge research experience at Brooklyn College. While from a coordinated array of academic



enhancement and support services, including personalized advising and mentoring by faculty members and peer leaders. Bridges scholars will be assured a place as biology, chemistry or psychology majors upon transfer to Brooklyn College. Anticipated outcomes include increased retention rates for students in the School of Arts and Sciences, timely progress toward degree completion, and an increased number of underrepresented students who transfer successfully to Brooklyn College to gain their Bachelor’s degree. Professor Liana Tsenova of Biological Sciences is the principal investigator (PI); Associate

Volume 6 | Fall 2014

Provost Pamela Brown and Dr. Louise Hainline of Brooklyn College are CoPIs. The Bridges team includes seven faculty members at City Tech as key personnel: Professors Jean Hillstrom and Pa Her of Social Science, Janet LiouMark of Mathematics, Armando Solis, Tatiana Voza and Nathan Astrof of Biological Sciences, and Diana Samaroo of Chemistry.

The development of this proposal was a joint effort from all members of the City Tech team and a testament to the profound dedication of this group of educators. We are thrilled about the launch of the program.

Introducing Soyeon Cho 2014–2015 Grants Outreach Coordinator Barbara Burke

Professor Soyeon Cho of the Health and Human Services department is the Faculty Outreach Coordinator in

stress, and disparities in the behavioral health service use among older adults in culturally diverse populations.

the 2014-2015 academic year. Professor Cho received a bachelor’s degree in Educational Psychology from Seoul Women’s University (Seoul, Korea), Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology from Ewha Women’s University (Seoul, Korea), and her PhD in Human Development and Family Studies (specialized in aging) from Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests focus on positive adaptation of chronic conditions and

Through her research, she has two resilient/buffering factors for the immigrant older adults with chronic conditions. The second goal is to decrease the gap in utilizing mental and behavioral services among immigrant older adults. For 2014-2015 academic year, she was awarded with PSC-CUNY grant on Racial/Ethnic and Geographic Disparities in Mental Health Care. She is currently assisting interim Dean David

of community engagement for the School of Professional Studies. Professor Cho is available to help faculty identify funding sources and develop grant proposals to support their research and educational innovations. Her position as a faculty liaison requires collegiality, resourcefulness, and leadership and we look forward to working with Soyeon Cho as she uses these skills to advance scholarship and teaching through grants at City Tech.


Volume 6 | Fall 2014



my childhood slid into the water today

just like that

heralding a desire to travel abroad but instead busted in on time mortar steel and brick laughing at them along the way that can in an instant shame you into submission and it is shameful standing powerless against a fullthroated gust of wind that cannot be seen but who without mercy delivers your neighbors’ roofs and corpses to your feet your business seen and unknown to the public world the petulant and running footsteps of your childhood across a shouldalwaysbethere boardwalk are a mockery now as you stand out of doors and out of body and it is stark sitting standing staring into the pitch as black night

the dark alwaysmoving

harness of water tugging at your strength and courage the fork-in-the-road moment that asks you who you are demanding that you bear and move bravely toward the distant but audible call of a human heart crying pleading to be rescued by an even stronger human heart what will you tell yourself in the morning sun it was the wind rolling over rain over the unhinged buildings cinderblocks amusement park rides not the descending retreating lettinggo of someone who used to be somebody else’s child cold morning that adds insult to injury what is there but shame because in truth surviving isn’t enough you want before this back your things back your home on its foundation a parade of runners lined up around the corner untroubled and ready to burst forth trains and busses lying about being on or close to schedule you want this want not to be the breaking news or to have to explain to men in Washington suits that you are worthy of their politics a vote cast to make this nightmare a never was for this is too much it is too big is why we rush into our parents’ beds as children someone has to make the bad things go away make them a never was a ridiculous phantasm conjured up by id and ego that has even freud laughing from his grave instead there is a broken knowing that maybe our parents should not have coddled us so

should have instead made us

remain in our beds lights out made to lay still subject to the whims of our boogeymen and our courage

Monique Ferrell 18


Volume 6 | Fall 2014


Jill Belli is Assistant Professor of English and OpenLab Co-Director. She researches utopian studies, positive psychology/happiness studies, composition/rhetoric, and digital humanities. Belli teaches courses in composition, and utopian studies). Monica Berger is Associate Professor and City Tech specialist in electronic resources and technical services. Her scholarly work is focused on popular music and scholarly communications. Reginald Blake is Associate Professor in the Physics department. His areas of research encompass the application of satellite and ground-based remote sensing to the study of urban climate, hydro-climate, hydrology, hurricanes, and air pollution. Charlie Edwards is Program Manager of City Tech’s “Living Lab” initiative. She is also a graduate student in the English PhD and Interactive Technology and Pedagogy . Monique Ferrell is Professor of English at City Tech and also the 2014-2015 Scholar on Campus. She teaches composition, literature, and gender studies courses. “Gilt” appears in her forthcoming poetry collection, Attraversiamo (NYQ Books, 2015). M. Genevieve Hitchings is Assistant Professor in the department of Communication Design. She has experience in brand development, interactive creative planning and graphic design. She has been responsible for project management, art direction, design and illustration in the development of a wide range of multi-media projects.

Jody R. Rosen is Assistant Professor in the department of English and Co-Director of the OpenLab. She teaches English Composition—often in learning communities— as well as Fiction, Women Writers, and other literature courses. Her scholarship focuses on Modernism, narrative theory, gender and sexuality studies, as well as the intersections of technology, pedagogy, and community. Sean Scanlan is Assistant Professor in the English department where he teaches Composition, American Literature, Transnational Literature, and Literature into Film. His area of expertise is New York City literature and culture with an emphasis on homesickness and ethics. He is the founder and editor of NANO: New American Notes Online, a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary humanities journal. Maura Smale is Chief Librarian and department Chair in the Ursula C. Schwerin Library. Her background is in information literacy and library instruction, and her research interests include students’ academic culture, game-based learning, and new models of scholarly communications. Jenna Spevack is OpenLab Co-Director and Associate Professor of Creative Media in the Communication Design department. As an artist and educator her work focuses on issues of sustainable ecology and human interaction and explores alternative models of experience and exchange. Meryl Taradash is Adjunct Professor in the department of Communication Design. The artist utilizes light and sculpture. She teaches 3-Dimensional design and drawing classes.

Anne Leonard is the coordinator of Information Literacy and Library Instruction in the library department at City Tech and holds the rank of Associate Professor. Her academic interests include critical information literacy and the professional status of academic librarians.

Liana Tsenova is Associate Professor in the Biological Sciences department. Her area of expertise is Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases. Currently she serves as the Interim Program Director of the Bachelor of Science in Radiological Sciences program.

Jonas Reitz is Associate Professor in the Mathematics department. His research interests lie in set theory, studying the foundations of mathematics and the sizes of

Justin Vazquez-Poritz is Associate Professor in the Physics department and the Director of Undergraduate Research. His areas of expertise are black holes and string theory and he has taught almost all of the physics courses.

grant, A Living Laboratory: Revitalizing General Education for a 21st Century College of Technology.


Volume 6 | Fall 2014




Volume 6 | Fall 2014

Nucleus Volume 6 Fall 2014  

Nucleus Volume 6 – A Faculty Commons Quarterly

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