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A Faculty Commons Quarterly Volume 3 - Issue 1

September 2011

NEW YORK CI T Y COLLEGE OF T ECH NOLO GY of the City University of New York

Faculty Commons

Russell K. Hotzler President

A Center for Teaching, Learning, Scholarship and Service

Bonne August Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Julia Jordan, Acting Director Avril Miller, College Assistant Kevin Rajaram, College Assistant

Miguel Cairol Vice President for Administration and Finance

Assessment and Institutional Research Tammie Cumming, Director Raymond Moncada, Institutional Analyst Rachel Tsang, Assessment Analyst Olga Batyr, Research Aide Albert Li, College Assistant

Gilen Chan Special Counsel/Legal Designee and Affirmative Action Officer

Grants Office Barbara Burke, Director Patty Barba Gorkhover, Associate Director Eleanor Bergonzo, Grants Specialist

Marcela Katz Armoza Vice President for Enrollment and Student Affairs Stephen M. Soiffer Special Assistant to the President/ Institutional Advancement Karl Botchway Interim Dean, School of Arts and Sciences Barbara Grumet Dean, School of Professional Studies

Grants Outreach Coordinator 2011-2012 Professor Pa Her Design Team Professor Anita Giraldo, Artistic Director Professor Reneta Lansiquot, Web Master Antoine Christian, Keiko Nakayama, Designers Curator Professor Lei Cai

Sonja Jackson Dean, Curriculum and Instruction

Editors Barbara Burke and Julia Jordan Designer Crystal Huang

Carol Sonnenblick Dean, Division of Continuing Education

Photographer Crystal Huang

Professional Development Advisory Council (PDAC) Norbert Aneke Isaac Barjis Sidi Berri Karen Bonsignore Juanita But Sanjoy Chakraborty Lynda Dias Joycelyn Dillon 2

September 2011

Mary Sue Donsky Maria Giuliani Nien-Tzu Gonzalez Karen Goodlad Joel Greenstein George Guida Laina Karthikeyan Neil Katz

Roman Kezerashvili Mohammed Kouar Zongmin Li Karen Lundstrem Djafar Mynbaev Mark Noonan Susan Phillip Charles Porter

Marcia Powell Estela Rojas Walied Samarrai David Smith Sigurd Stegmaier Shauna Vey Debbie Waksbaum Denise Whethers

Gail Williams Darrow Wood Adrianne Wortzel Farrukh Zia

Sonja Jackson, Chair

Nucleus: A Faculty Commons Quarterly Volume 3 – Issue 1


City Tech: A Living Lab in Action?


Bonne August

Leaders at City Tech and NSF


Pamela Brown and Karl Botchway

NSF Grants Advance Physics Research


Andrea Ferroglia, Giovanni Ossola, and Justin Vazquez-Poritz talk with Barbara Burke

Living Lab: Redesigning General Education for a 21st Century College of Technology


Maura Smale and the Title V Steering Committee

Introducing Charlie Edwards


Interview with Julia Jordan

Outcomes-Based Assessment

the character,


its frame being a

Reginald Blake, AE Dreyfuss, Reneta Lansiquot, Janet Liou-Mark, Viviana Vladutescu

City Tech Wins Second NSF Advanced Technological Education Grant

written structure as 18

Barbara Burke

Introducing Pa Her

believe that


Tammie Cumming

Two-Year NSF Award for Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences

“ The Chinese


Barbara Burke

PSC CUNY Grant Awardees


Fall Calendar Highlights


well as a painting, is the source of

visual art. Lei Cai

PSC CUNY Grant Awardee Cover art: COMMUNICATION NO.9 Lei Cai, ADGA


Digital Imaging Center at City Tech

Nucleus: A Faculty Commons Quarterly Volume 3 – Issue 1

September 2011 3

City Tech: A Living Lab in Action? At the heart of this issue of Nucleus, a compelling two-page invitation unfolds. Amid a multi-part presentation of components of City Tech’s Title V project, it announces, “Welcome to the Living Lab in Action,“ and leads into a joint musing from the 2011 Seminar participants about general education, learning, and City Tech. The Living Lab, of course, is not only the name of the Title V project but also represents a vision of City Tech itself, if not yet fully in reality, then certainly in possibility. As a student in the City Tech of possibility, as in the lab:

The Living Lab, of course, is not only the name of the Title V project but also represents a vision of City Tech itself, if not yet fully in reality, then certainly in possibility.

You start with questions. You collaborate with a team and have a role and responsibilities. You analyze evidence. You keep a record of your work and reflect on it. The OpenLab is your lab notebook. Through your observations of the concrete, you deepen and complicate your understanding of theory. Your understanding of theory makes possible real world applications. You know there is more than one way to solve a problem. And often more than one right answer. You expect change. You make room for serendipity. You get to make mistakes and see their consequences. You get to try again. And again. You work to connect the disparate pieces that you experience into a meaningful, protean whole. As the eighteen First Year Living Lab Seminar Fellows create their spaces on the OpenLab, the learning platform that will enable students to undertake and represent their learning in multiple, challenging, and illuminating ways, these faculty members are beginning a process that will inform and transform teaching and learning at City Tech. Students will not be merely the consumers or objects of this work, but active partners in its development. As students progress through their education here, they will benefit from greatly expanded opportunities for undergraduate research under the direction of City Tech faculty members. Undergraduate Research has grown vigorously at the college in the past few years, and has been the catalyst for many students’ decisions to continue their education beyond City Tech in graduate and professional programs. To guide what I hope will be its continued expansion, I have asked Dr. Selwyn Williams, an assistant professor in the Biological Sciences Department, to serve as Director of Undergraduate Research. He will work with faculty committees from all three schools, as well as the Honors Scholars Program and BMI, to coordinate existing opportunities, create new ones, and implement a set of supports for students to undertake increasingly demanding research experiences at the college and at other institutions. Like the NSF-award-winning physicists profiled in this issue (or the widely diverse group of PSC-CUNY grant awardees), they will “see opportunities giving rise to more opportunities.”

Bonne August, Provost 4

September 2011

Nucleus: A Faculty Commons Quarterly Volume 3 – Issue 1

Leading Roles at City Tech and NSF

Karl Botchway, Interim Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, has been studying the politics of economic development in Africa for the past three decades. Dean Botchway received his MA and PhD in Political Science and International Relations from the New School for Social Research and has taught at area institutions including SUNY Stony Brook, Sarah Lawrence College, and Kean University before joining City Tech in 2001. He was Chair of the African American Studies Department before assuming the role of Interim Dean. He is the author of Understanding ‘Development’ Intervention in Northern Ghana: The Need to Consider Political and Social Forces Necessary for Transformation, Edwin Mellen Press, 2005, and many other articles on the politics of development in Africa. His accomplishments as department chair include facilitating the creation of an Option in African American Studies to create a more defined pathway for students to transfer to other CUNY campuses. As a social scientist, Dr. Botchway brings a distinct perspective to the role of dean. He is especially interested in understanding the socio-cultural environment that enables faculty to develop strategies to facilitate better student learning practices.

Pamela Brown

Dr. Botchway expects that this experience will allow him to better understand the human condition and study how education becomes a tool for social transformation.

Pamela Brown, who has served as Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at City Tech since 2005, has accepted an invitation to serve a one-year appointment as a Program Director in the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program for the National Science Foundation (NSF). At NSF, she will help to oversee the peer review process to assure that the most deserving initiatives receive funding, as well as contribute to defining national science policy in the future. A chemical engineer by training, Dean Brown earned a PhD from Polytechnic University, an SM from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BS in chemistry, summa cum laude, from SUNY Albany. She began teaching at City Tech in 1998. As a faculty member, her research interests included microwave induced chemical reactions, crystallization, as well as development of engaging curriculum. Dean Brown has published in American Institute of Chemical Engineering Journal, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, American Laboratory, Chemical Engineering Education, Journal of Chemical Education, and Woman Engineer. An article she wrote with her daughter Heather, a Research Fellow in Health Economics at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, titled, “Lessons from the Past: Economic and Technological Impacts of US Energy Policy,” was recently published in the summer 2011 issue of Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal.

Nucleus: A Faculty Commons Quarterly Volume 3 – Issue 1

Karl Botchway

September 2011 5

Barbara Burke: What area of physics do you work in?

NSF Grants Advance Physics Research Andrea Ferroglia, Giovanni Ossola, and Justin VazquezPoritz talk with Barbara Burke

ALL: We all work within the broad field known as high-energy theoretical physics. Molecules are made of atoms whose nuclei contain protons and neutrons which, in turn, are composed of quarks. Breaking up matter into smaller and smaller constituents requires greater and greater energy. The high-energy frontier involves what is currently believed to be the smallest pieces of matter, such as quarks. We want to understand the properties and behavior of fundamental particles like quarks. However, the higher one goes in energy, the more speculative theoretical work becomes. The job of a theoretician is to explore all possibilities. This has led physicists to study string theory-motivated “exotic ideas” such as extra dimensions in space. BB: What drew you to physics as a young student?

NSF Awards Research Grants to Three City Tech Physicists Andrea Ferroglia Top-Quark Pair Production Beyond NLO, $75,000 Giovanni Ossola Automated Computation of Oneloop Scattering Amplitudes, $75,000 Justin Vazquez-Poritz Constraining Gravity Dual Models of Strongly Coupled Plasma, $60,000


September 2011

Giovanni Ossola: I found physics to be a field where I could apply my natural curiosity towards the understanding of basic things about our universe. Good teachers inspired me to appreciate the complexities of physics problems and to want to tackle them. Andrea Ferroglia: What appealed to me about physics early on was that it is a “clean” subject; that is, you can distinguish between true and false, fact and opinion. Justin Vazquez-Poritz: For me, reading about physicists as people was important. From reading about the lives of Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman, I learned how interesting it could be to ponder the universe through mathematics. For students who are contemplating what path they should take in their own lives, I’d recommend that they consider the lives of those who have already embarked on particular paths.

Nucleus: A Faculty Commons Quarterly Volume 3 – Issue 1

BB: Is it possible to talk about practical applications of your area of research or is it purely theoretical? GO: In many instances, work in fundamental physics has pushed technology forward. For example, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland, that was designed to conduct investigations in high-energy physics, required new advances in engineering and technology in order to be built. AF: Physics enables you to know how nature works. Such understanding is a necessary precursor for deriving technological applications. Moreover, the World-WideWeb is also a product of CERN, it was proposed and developed at CERN in 1990, Giovanni Ossola and the first web site in the US was the one of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. JV: Historically there many examples, too, of how other fields have applied technologies originally designed for experimental physics to new applications in other domains—applications that were not foreseen at the time the technology was developed: for example, the medical application of radiation. BB: What is the focus of your individual research? AF: My research focuses on top quarks. I calculate the expected production rates for those particles at the LHC. Top quarks are particularly interesting at the moment because they interact with the Higgs Boson, which is the last missing piece predicted by the current model of particle physics. GO: My research pertains to the development of Andrea Ferroglia computational and theoretical approaches for managing huge calculations in particle physics. JV: Rather surprisingly, certain systems of stronglyinteracting particles are more easily described in terms of strings moving near a black hole. My main focus is to use these exotic techniques for the description of stronglyinteracting quarks.

Nucleus: A Faculty Commons Quarterly Volume 3 – Issue 1

BB: Who are your primary collaborators? ALL: The methods used by Giovanni and Andrea are applicable only to particles which are weakly interacting, while Justin’s techniques work only for strongly-interacting particles. Our work is complementary, since taken together it covers both weakly and strongly interacting particles. Collaboration is essential; our colleagues span the globe from China to CERN (Switzerland) to France and Germany and throughout the United States. We have invited colleagues from around the globe to give seminars at City Tech. BB: Have you involved City Tech students in your research? ALL: Students have been a vital ingredient for maintaining a climate of excitement surrounding our work. We have continuously been involving students in various aspects of our work, which has been presented at poster sessions at City Tech as well as at international conferences. While the topics on which we work are extremely advanced, students participate in weekly discussions of journal articles and several City Tech students have even co-authored articles that have appeared in physics journals. While this is not common because of the complexity of the subject matter, the fact that it has been possible at all can be attributed to the intellectually vibrant and motivating atmosphere that we seek to foster. So Justin Vazquez-Poritz there have been many levels of positive student engagement. BB: Have you realized any synergistic effects among your projects? ALL: We have found that our research lends excitement to our classes and awakens a sense of scientific curiosity within the students. Obviously, the research grants each of us has received from the National Science Foundation have enabled us to accomplish significant work. We have also received support through the Center for Theoretical Physics. These funding sources have enabled us to enrich the intellectual climate by bringing eminent physicists here and by enabling us to visit our collaborators at their home institutions. We see opportunities giving rise to more opportunities.

September 2011 7

A LIVING LABORATORY Redesigning General Education for a 21st Century College of Technology

Living Lab Steering Committee: (left to right) E.Benardete-Moll, C.Edwards, J.Spevack, S.Smith, J.Rosen, A.Leonard, M.Smale, R.Tsang Not pictured: Tammie Cumming, Richard Hanley, Robin Michals, Peter Spellane

“A Living Laboratory” is a five-year initiative funded by a $3.1M grant awarded under the U.S. Department of Education’s Strengthening HispanicServing Institutions (Title V) program. The project was launched last October and covered in the December 2010 issue of Nucleus. Here the project team reports on its activities over the past year.

BUILDING THE “LIVING LAB” Maura A. Smale, Project Director When we were interviewed for Nucleus last December, we were just laying the foundations for the project: planning our approach, hiring resources, and dealing with all the logistics of initiating a very large grant project. Now, only a few months later, we are delighted to share substantial progress towards the project’s ambitious goals. The project has four activities, centered on the conceptual model of City Tech and the Brooklyn Waterfront as “living laboratory”: 1) The Gen Ed Seminar: brings together a diverse group of Faculty Fellows to re-


September 2011

envision General Education through place-based learning and high-impact educational practices; 2) The OpenLab: creates a new digital platform to support open teaching and learning at City Tech, and enhance the intellectual and social fabric of the college community;

between assessment and all the project activities. And the BWRC team has established the Center as an important presence for research, with a major conference next month and additional funding secured.

4) The Brooklyn Waterfront Research Center (BWRC): builds an endowment to support student and faculty research at this newly-created City Tech institution.

The grant enables City Tech to create new open spaces—both virtual and intellectual—for experimentation, exploration, and collaboration. And there are many ways you can get involved in the project, as you will see. We on the project team are excited to build the Living Lab with you, and to see how the City Tech community will use the spaces we’ve created together.

In each of these areas, as the teams explain, we’ve made great strides. The Gen Ed Seminar has completed its first year, we are recruiting our second cohort of Fellows, and the current Fellows will soon be sharing their work with their colleagues. The OpenLab is up and running in beta mode to support the Fellows’ fall classes, and will launch to the whole college community in spring 2012. We are working closely with the AIR team to strengthen the key connections

Finally, I would like to thank Dan Wong for his dedication in co-directing the OpenLab with me during the first year of the grant as we moved from design to development to launch. And I would also like to express my gratitude to the outgoing Project Director, Matthew Gold, for his inspired leadership during the first year of the grant. I am honored to step into this position, and look forward to working with the Living Lab team and the college community in the coming years.

3) A “Culture of Assessment”: integrates comprehensive outcomes assessment into the General Education curriculum;

Nucleus: A Faculty Commons Quarterly Volume 3 – Issue 1

In the Lab with the Gen Ed Seminar Emma Moll and Shelley E. Smith, General Education Seminar Co-Directors, with outgoing Co-Director Jody Rosen and Julia Jordan, Acting Director of the Faculty Commons This first year of the Gen Ed Activity has been tremendously busy, exciting, and fruitful—a foundational experience for all. We organized the seminar around a number of key questions: “What is the first-year experience for students at City Tech?”; “What high-impact practices can be implemented in firstyear courses to help engage students and improve student retention?”; and “What could be the impact of creating an open, collaborative environment for students, in the classroom, with the City Tech community, and with those outside City Tech?” The Fellows used selected readings, field trips, and talks from guest speakers to work through these complex questions and move towards shared understanding of the first-year experience. We met during the spring semester activities ranged from workshops with WAC (Writing Across the Curriculum) Fellows; a rubric workshop with AIR; field trips to “The Brain” exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History and a boat trip on the New York Harbor; a visit to discuss Macaulay Honors College’s Gen Ed program and open course websites; and a joint “visioning” meeting with City Tech’s Gen Ed Committee, to name a few. Seminar Fellows are using the knowledge and experience they gained to reframe their first-year courses. Several courses are using Brooklyn as a common theme—a Living Laboratory—

to engage students in hands-on, place-based learning. The Seminar Fellows also explored the transformational impact of field trips on group interactions. One seminar participant found that the trips “facilitated camaraderie and helped cement the seminar as group. There was an amazing variety, which provided important examples for our own classes: institutions, outdoor excursions, scholarly conferences.” The seminar worked closely with the OpenLab team to shape City Tech’s new open digital platform. The Seminar Fellows and their students this fall are the first users of the OpenLab, and they are beta testing a variety of online enhancements to their courses, providing students with opportunities for expression and exploration in support of the classroom experience. On September 23rd, the first year fellows presented their experience of the spring seminar. They expressed particular appreciation for the opportunity to collaborate and build friendships with faculty from other disciplines, and for their role in shaping the direction of the project and the future of General Education at City Tech.

Want to become a Second Year Living Lab Seminar Fellow? Application available at

First Year Seminar Fellows: (L-R) B.Gelman, P.Catapano, S.Scanlan, J.Davis, M.Bilello, J.Reitz, S.Cheng, E.Halleck, C.Hirsch, J.Akana, D.Alter, D.Moody(standing) L.Karthikeyan, P.King, K.Goodlad, M.Noonan, M.Gellar (seated) not pictured: Viviana Vladutescu

Nucleus: A Faculty Commons Quarterly Volume 3 – Issue 1

September 2011 9

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Nucleus: A Faculty Commons Quarterly Volume 3 – Issue 1

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Nucleus: A Faculty Commons Quarterly Volume 3 – Issue 1 6. Learn.

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September 2011 11

Gen Ed Manifesto by First Year Living Lab Seminar Fellows

Introducing CityTech’s OpenLab Jody Rosen and Jenna Spevack, OpenLab Co-Directors, with outgoing Co-Directors Maura Smale and Dan Wong After a busy spring and summer, we are pleased to share the City Tech OpenLab! City Tech’s OpenLab is an open-source digital platform where students, faculty, and staff can meet to learn, work, and share their ideas. Its goals are to support teaching and learning, and to enable connection and collaboration across the entire college community. Unlike closed online teaching systems, the OpenLab allows classes throughout the curriculum to communicate with one another and the world outside City Tech. Like a lab, it provides a space where faculty and students can work together, experiment, and innovate. While courses are an important part of the OpenLab, the site also features spaces for students, faculty, and staff to create projects and clubs. Anyone in the City Tech community can become a member of the site, and site members can create profile pages and individual websites to share their work, both within City Tech and beyond. We’ve built the OpenLab using the open source software WordPress and Buddypress. Choosing open source software for the site will allow us to participate in the active WordPress

development community, with its large population of educational users. We’re using an iterative development process for the OpenLab in which we will continuously add features and improve the site, and we plan to release any custom code developed for the OpenLab back into the wider WordPress and Buddypress community. The OpenLab was designed by the co-Directors, with former City Tech

students Natasha Marcano, Solomon Doley, and Faiyez Haider, all graduates of our ADGA department. Our fantastic Community Team is working hard to support City Tech students, faculty, and staff in using the OpenLab: Instructional Technology Fellow Elizabeth Alsop; Community Facilitators Tom Blunt, Scott Henkle, and Bree Zuckerman; and Documentation Specialist Renee McGarry. We’d like to thank the entire OpenLab team for their hard work and dedication.

Want to be an OpenLab pioneer? Visit to take a look around and sign up. Questions? Email us at And watch out for our workshops coming up later this semester.

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Nucleus: A Faculty Commons Quarterly Volume 3 – Issue 1

Integrating Assessment for Learning Tammie Cumming, Co-Director, Rachel Tsang, Assessment Analyst and Olga Batyr, Research Aide City Tech’s approach to Gen Ed is outcomes-based. The City Tech Assessment Committee, Gen Ed Committee, and Living Lab and I-Cubed grant activities are coordinated to ensure a quality Gen Ed experience for our students. Under the auspices of the Living Lab, our faculty members have had an opportunity to embrace the concept of Assessment for Learning.

The college is actively utilizing an assessment process in critical courses that have been identified for each department. The performance of our students in these courses with stated student learning outcomes has enabled faculty to review the data as a department, discuss the results, strategize methods to improve student learning for outcomes that have been identified as falling below the departmental target, and implement the approved strategies.

Rachel Tsang By improving student learning outcomes in a critical course, we expect students to be better




subsequent courses, as well as be better prepared for the workforce.

Olga Batyr In developing our assessment model, we focused on an efficient and effective process to ensure a college-wide system that meets our need to continuously evaluate and improve student learning outcomes.

Please visit our website to keep yourself informed about training opportunities and resources at

Catching Up with the Brooklyn Waterfront Research Center Richard Hanley, Director, Peter Spellane, Associate Director, Anne Leonard, Geospatial Research Fellow, and Brendan O’Malley, BWRC Coordinator The Center’s three-fold mission supports research, education, and public outreach, and offers research opportunities for students and faculty interested in laboratory and primary source place-based learning. City Tech’s location, adjacent to Brooklyn’s historic and endangered waterfront, offers students and faculty a “living laboratory” for inquiry, research, and other activities to strengthen Gen Ed.

The BWRC had a busy summer. In June, the Brooklyn Borough President’s office made an award of $48,000 to fund the geospatial research initiative. These funds will be used to support hardware, software, data, as well as student research fellowships and faculty coordinators of student research. We also participated in the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance’s City of Water Day on Governors Island in July, where we crowdsourced our research mission, asking the public their opinions about important waterfront issues.

On October 26, the BWRC will host a waterfront conference, co-sponsored by the Newman Real Estate Institute at Baruch College and the CUNY Institute for Urban Systems. BWRC Research Fellows Sapna Advani and Jonathan Peters will present their papers. Sapna, Director of Planning at Chelsea West Architects, is Research Fellow for Preservation and Urban Design. Jon, Professor of Finance at the College of

Staten Island, is Research Fellow for Economics. Once again, City Tech was successful in its proposal for the NEH Summer Institute program “Along the Shore,” which will bring 50 community college faculty to campus in June 2012 to explore Brooklyn’s industrial waterfront. The Project Directors are Shelley Smith and Richard Hanley, and the BWRC will coordinate this project.

Coming soon: BWRC’s informal “hangouts,” where you can learn more about the Brooklyn Waterfront, and get ideas for place-based research and pedagogy.

Nucleus: A Faculty Commons Quarterly Volume 3 – Issue 1

Sapna Advani, Richard Hanley, Anne Leonard

September 2011 13

Charlie Edwards

Living Lab Project Coordinator An Interview with Julia Jordan Charlie Edwards joined the Living Lab team in April, after working for more than twenty-five years in the IT industry, initially as a programmer, later as a project manager and management consultant. Her professional career has focused on implementing large software development projects for corporate clients in fields as diverse as the life sciences and financial services. Her undergraduate degree, however, was in English Literature, and she is now a fourth-year student in the English PhD and Interactive Technology and Pedagogy certificate programs at CUNY Graduate Center. Her research interests include theories of text and technology, the Victorian novel, and the Digital Humanities (she is co-founder, with City Tech’s Matthew K. Gold, of the CUNY Digital Humanities Initiative). She also holds an MA in Liberal Studies from the New School for Social Research, New York. Charlie grew up in the English countryside, spent ten years in London, another ten in New York’s East Village, and now lives in Hoboken, NJ, with her husband Jack and their two cats. Julia Jordan: What attracted you to the Living Lab project? Charlie Edwards: Is it crazy to say that part of it was the metaphor, the “Living Lab”? The project is so important. It takes on a tough set of problems: reshaping General Education, enhancing our students’ experience of Gen Ed, improving outcomes. But the metaphor of the Living Lab opens up creative ways of thinking about these problems, as I think the Gen Ed Seminar Fellows have found in their work this semester. It’s such a powerful idea, and draws together a whole collection of other ideas – experimentation, innovation, collaboration, space – that inform the grant activities. The opportunity to play a role in building the OpenLab was very exciting too, especially for someone who’s a practicing technologist and has spent a lot of time thinking about theories of technology (in other words, a nerd). The OpenLab seeks to create a new kind of online academic community, in which openness enables students, faculty, and staff to connect with one another, the school, and our local environment in new ways. It’s inspiring work. JJ: What do you think is the project’s biggest challenge? CE: Any project of this size and complexity has challenges, of course. The Living Lab has a large scope, and many moving parts. For instance, right now there are twenty-five people working on

14 September 2011

the grant, in addition to the eighteen Gen Ed Seminar Fellows. That’s an enormous amount of activity! So perhaps the most important task we have as a team, day to day, is to make sure that all this hard work is heading in the right direction. If you were to sit in on our team meetings, though, you’d see how dedicated everyone is to the project and its goals: that’s how the team has accomplished so much in only a few short months. JJ: What do you hope to achieve? CE: The grant proposal lays out a compelling vision; the team’s mission is to make it a reality. Fortunately, we’re not doing this alone. One of the most exciting things about the project is that everyone at City Tech can play a part in making it a success. The OpenLab website says that it’s built “by City Tech, for City Tech,” and the same is true of the Living Lab as a whole. Students, full-time and part-time faculty, staff – everyone will have the opportunity to get involved in some way, from signing up on the OpenLab to becoming a fully-fledged Seminar Fellow. I hope that over the next few years we will see the conceptual and virtual spaces that the grant imagines become real places that are part of the daily life of the college community, and help make that life richer and more rewarding. It’s an absolute privilege to be able to contribute to this work.

Nucleus: A Faculty Commons Quarterly Volume 3 – Issue 1

Outcomes-based Assessment By Tammie Cumming

David Smith, City Tech’s Pathways representative and a member of the School of Technology and Design Assessment Committee mentioned that “City Tech is well-poised to implement the Pathways initiative, as our Gen Ed development committee has been investigating an outcomes based analysis for the last couple of years. It was interesting to me that when the Pathways committee met, many of their source documents had already been explored by the City Tech Gen Ed committee. The basic set of learning outcomes meshed very well to our draft document, and I anticipate very little modification to our development of a modified Gen Ed curriculum will be required.”

Photograph by George Lowe

Outcomes-based assessment is gaining prominence in higher education as evidenced by the movement of regional and professional accreditation governing bodies moving toward this type of assessment. Perhaps the most dramatic case has been the American Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET), but there are others as well, including the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). City Tech has programs accredited by each of these professional accrediting bodies. Outcomes-based assessment provides an opportunity for educators to view their courses and curricula from a different perspective than from one that considers education primarily in terms of inputs. The “checklist” approach where an institution designates a particular set of courses for students to take and when the course count is completed, assumes that the inputs (courses on the checklist) provided for students will lead to certain outcomes, the knowledge, skills, and other attributes we believe our graduates should possess. An outcomes-based approach to education does not rely only on this assumption. Rather, with an outcomes-based approach, the faculty members have the opportunity to identify the educational outcomes for a program, including its Gen Ed program, and then evaluate the program according to its effectiveness in enabling students to achieve those outcomes.

CUNY is considering a cross-curricular approach to defining Gen Ed requirements to help students experience a seamless transfer process between CUNY colleges within the CUNY Pathways to Degree Completion (“Pathways”) initiative. Under consideration as a framework to develop Gen Ed across the colleges within the system, the Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) model is being reviewed by the committee. The LEAP model, adopted at many American universities, tends to lean toward overarching learning outcomes that transcend curricular areas – and works well for an outcomes-based approach. According to CUNY’s Director of Assessment, Raymond Moy, “With outcomes based assessments, it is what the student does not end up forgetting that counts.” This emphasizes the importance of Gen Ed in students’ everyday lives beyond their experience at City Tech. Gen Ed competencies, such as teamwork, information literacy, ethics, writing, quantitative reasoning, and oral communication, to name several, are important skills for a person to be an effective citizen in the world of work and in our ever-increasing complex global world.

Gen Ed Assessment Committee members: (left to right) J.Zhang, R.Guidone, L.Leng, M.Maklan-Zimberg, S.Cho, A.Zhang, B.Grumet, G.Ossola, D.Smith, L.Pope-Fischer, H.Sisco, R.Alcendor, T.Walker, A.Sena, S.Brandt, S.Phillip, E.Kontzamanis, L.Cai, A.Aptekar, M.Gellar, D.Moody, J.Montgomery, D.Davis, D.Alter

Nucleus: A Faculty Commons Quarterly Volume 3 – Issue 1

September 2011 15

Two-Year NSF Award for Opportunities fo

A new grant to promote study in the geosciences has been awarded to New York City College of Technology (City Tech) of the City University of New York(CUNY) by the National Science Foundation (NSF). This two-year NSF Track -1 Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences (OEDG) grant, Creating and Sustaining Diversity in the Geosciences among Students and Teachers in the Urban Coastal Environment of New York City, will create and heighten awareness of geosciences at the high school and middle school levels, develop and implement geosciences courses at City Tech, and promote an undergraduate pathway of study with the City College of New York (CCNY) via articulation agreements with CCNY’s Earth Systems Science Engineering program. Dr. Reginald Blake of City Tech’s Department of Physics is the Principal Investigator of the grant. At City Tech, Viviana Vladutescu, Department of Electrical and Telecommunications Engineering Technology (ETET), Janet Liou-Mark, Department of Mathematics, Reneta Lansiquot, Department of English, and AE Dreyfuss, Learning Specialist are co-PIs; at CCNY, Joseph Barba, Dean of the Grove School of Engineering, and Fred Moshary, Department of Electrical Engineering, are both co-PIs.

16 September 2011

The first goal of the grant is to advance public literacy in earth system science. This goal involves the development of six earth science modules that feature difficult areas of the Regents Earth Science curriculum. Working with teachers, administrators, and students in Middle School 394 and two high schools, City Polytechnic High School (“City Poly”) and Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women (“UA Institute”), the modules will use the virtual world of “Second Life” to create environments in which critical features of geosciences/geophysics can be uniquely explored, examined, experienced, taught, and understood. The virtual world geosciences modules will cover a variety of topics on the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, the cryosphere, and the lithosphere. Middle and high school students from these schools will be taken on field trips to Brookhaven National Laboratories, The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) NOAA CREST center at CCNY, and NASA GISS at Columbia University through the New York City Research Institute (NYCRI) program. Other elements will include outreach activities to parents and to the community. The outreach effort will be in partnership with the NYCRI and the NOAA CREST programs. Geosciences research will also be supported for two middle school and two high school student and teacher teams during the summer of 2012 at one of the partner institutions. The fifth element of geosciences dissemination will be seminars for teachers from the three schools.

In the second year of the grant, the six modules will be tested in the classroom, and modified as needed. NOAA already uses “Second Life” virtual software to model events on a virtual “island” and these can be viewed at NOAA’s Virtual Island: watch?v=is8YX32GAyQ. The grant’s second goal is to prepare the geosciences workforce of the future, from both engineering and science perspectives. Two courses are part of City Tech’s course development. The first course “Remote Sensing” is being offered by ETET this fall 2011. The course was developed and is being taught by Dr. Vladutescu. The second course, “An Introduction to the Physics of Natural Disasters”, is being developed by Dr. Blake and will be offered by the Physics Department. By working with the Grove School of Engineering and the Earth

Nucleus: A Faculty Commons Quarterly Volume 3 – Issue 1

Photograph by NOAA

Photograph by NSSL

Creating and Sustaining Diversity in the Geosciences among Studen

or Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences

nts and Teachers in the Urban Coastal Environment of New York City

Photograph by NOAA

and Atmospheric Science Department at CCNY, a first-year objective is to have an articulation agreement in place that will align the courses of the two institutions, allowing City Tech students to receive credit for the geosciences courses offered at City Tech. CCNY students will also be able to take the City Tech courses toward their Baccalaureate degree in Environmental Engineering or Earth and Atmospheric Science. The grant has an added dimension of creating a network of partners to accomplish its goals. The collaborative partners include: NOAA CREST, NASA GISS (NYCRI program), Brookhaven National Laboratory, the GLOBE program, the three schools in Brooklyn (MS 394, City Poly, and UA Institute), CCNY and City Tech.



Remote Sensing This course highlights the physical and mathematical principles underlying the remote sensing techniques, covering the radiative transfer equation, atmospheric sounding techniques, interferometric and lidar systems and an introduction to image processing. The lab component will introduce remote sensing software HYDRA, and MATLAB which will be used for image display and data analysis.

An Introduction to the Physics of Natural Disasters This course focuses on natural disasters, the processes that control them, and their impacts to human life and structures. State-of-the-art satellite remote sensing techniques will be used to monitor the environment and for early detection of natural disasters. The course will demystify “nature’s wrath” and provide understanding of how the natural world behaves due to the nature, causes, risks, effects, and prediction of natural disasters. Such disasters result from the earth’s internal energy, gravity, external energy from the sun, and impacts with asteroids and comets, that is, the physics that governs these natural phenomena.

AE Dreyfuss

Reneta Lansiquot

Nucleus: A Faculty Commons Quarterly Volume 3 – Issue 1

Photograph by Phillip Li

Photograph by Phillip Li

There is a remote sensing course website, through OpenLab at City Tech:

Reginald Blake

Janet Liou-Mark

September 2011 17

City Tech Wins Second NSF Advanced Technological Education Grant Fuse Lab: Collaborative Education for Tomorrow’s Technology in Architecture, Engineering & Construction Dr. Shelley Smith, Chair of Architectural Technology, and colleagues in the School of Technology and Design have won a three-year $877,000 grant from the NSF. “Fuse Lab—a metaphorical laboratory for interdisciplinary collaboration and integrative curriculum process—will provide a model for the integration of architecture,

engineering and construction (AEC) programs at the national level. In order to produce students who understand the importance of, and can continually adapt to the fields’ rapidly evolving key computation, construction and sustainability related technologies, this initiative will: provide students with a solid foundation in science and mathematics, infuse collaborative and problem-based learning strategies into the curriculum, and establish a continuous feedback loop for the







introduction of new technologies. The Fuse Lab will prepare students to be leaders in the AEC industry, and ease transition to the workplace by providing graduates with an understanding of the uses of technology in industry and collaborative teamwork, giving them an advantage over those with more traditional, discipline-focused skills and knowledge.” The project is starting up this fall and will receive extended coverage in future issues of Nucleus. Barbara Burke







Pa Her Dr. Pa Her joined the Department of Social Science at City Tech in fall 2009, after receiving her PhD in developmental and biological psychology from Virginia Tech University. She received a dissertation fellowship there designed to increase faculty diversity in higher education from the Southern Regional Education Board. Last spring, Professor Her was selected to participate in the CUNY Faculty Fellowship Publication Program and has been invited to submit the resulting article for publication in a refereed journal. Professor Her’s role in the Grants Office is to engage faculty members

18 September 2011

in grants development activities to advance their scholarly interests and strengthen college programs. Later in the fall semester, we envision the formation of a research proposal working group that will provide a collegial environment in which professors from diverse disciplines may posit, develop, critique, and shape their ideas into competitive grant proposals. Having been involved in the later stages of City Tech’s NSF ADVANCE IT Catalyst planning project, Professor Her’s first order of business will be to work with the ADVANCE team, led by Provost Bonne August, to develop a full proposal for submission in November. The goal of ADVANCE is to advance the professional status of women in STEM fields. Interestingly, Professor Her received her first training in grant writing under the direction of her research mentor at Virginia Tech as part of that institution’s ADVANCE initiative. When asked what she hoped to gain from her experience in the Grants

Office, Professor Her said, “While I’ve had experience in developing research proposals, one thing I hope to be able to do is to hone my practical skills in other areas of grants: for example, proposal budgeting, developing project timelines, and creating organizational charts.” One of Professor Her’s current research interests is to understand more about the undergraduate student experience from a subjective point of viewtthat is, she plans to undertake qualitative research that deals with the many dimensions of diversity that exist among underrepresented students navigating a pathway through the STEM disciplines. I’m delighted to welcome Pa Her to our office and look forward to a great year. Barbara Burke September 22, 2011

Nucleus: A Faculty Commons Quarterly Volume 3 – Issue 1

PSC CUNY Grant Awardees Awardee



Adrianne Wortzel


Whirled War

Sarah Standing


R. Murray Schafer’s Eco-Theatre

Karl Botchway


State Capacity and Development in Africa: Public Sector Reforms in Ghana

Andrea Ferroglia


Two Loop Corrections to Top Quark Pair Production

Lei Cai


Typographic Experiment: Fusion of Type and Symbol

Cathy Santore



Tatiana Voza


Revisiting Two Antimalarial Drugs

Jenna Spevack


Birds of Brooklyn

Genevieve Hitchings


Great Pollinator Project

Barbara Mishara


The Row House in Brooklyn and Queens 1920 - 1960

Andrew Douglas


Indecomposable Representations of the Euclidean Algebra e(n) from Irreducible Representations of so(n+2,C)

Olufemi Sodeinde and


Ralph Alcendor Tony Nicolas

Variation in 18s Ribosomal DNA Sequence in Different Populations of Zonocerus Variegatus


Investigation of the Mechanism of the Addition of Silyloxyfurans to Benzoquinone Monoketals

Peter Spellane and


Coupling New Aniline Oligomeric Compounds to Tetraphenylporphyrin

Roman Kezerashvili


One- and Two-Dimensional Graphene-Based Photonic Crystals

Zory Marantz


Utilizing a Software Defined Radio for Efficient Resource Utilization in Wireless Systems

Diana Samaroo



An Examination of Tourism’s Impact on Native Americans – Pueblos of the Taos Region

Soyeon Cho


Physical and Mental Health Literacy

Xinzhou Wei


A Practical Data Protection Scheme for Medical RFID System



Adaption of New Lease Accounting Standard – Financial Market Reaction and Impact

Ralf Philipp


Image-Based Bleeding Detection and Localization for Minimally-Invasive Surgery

Justin Davis


Environmental Discourse and the Transformation of the Environmental Debate

Giovanni Ossola


Calculation of One-Loop Scattering Amplitudes with SAMURAI

Victoria Gitman


Indestructibility for Ramsey-like Cardinals

Xiangdong Li


A Software Approach for the Architecture Study of Quantum Computer

Hans Schoutens


The Group Scheme of an Artin Algebra

Luz Amaya-Bower


Numerical Simulation of Michochannels

Lisa Pope-Fischer


Elderly Hungarian Women’s Reinterpretation of Post Socialist Change

Maura Smale


The Scholarly Habits of Undergraduate Students at CUNY, Phase III

Carole Harris


Flannery O’Connor: The Politics of the Cliché

Laina Karthikeyan


Effect of Proanthocyanidins and Cranberry Juice on the Loss of Rotavirus Structural Integrity and Virus Particle Aggregation in Cell-Free Suspension

Mark Noonan


Water and Work: A Literary History of the Brooklyn Waterfront

Thomas Johnstone


Set Theory Without Power Set--Should We Add Collection

Nucleus: A Faculty Commons Quarterly Volume 3 – Issue 1

September 2011 19


NSF/ NIH Research Proposal Writing

3:00pm – 4:30pm RSVP:


WAC - “Helping Students Review and Respond to Sources”

3:00pm – 4:30pm RSVP:


Wiki & Blog

1:00pm – 2:00pm RSVP:


Test Blueprint Construction

3:00pm – 4:30pm RSVP:


Copyright and Fair Use in the Digital Teaching Environment

1:00pm – 2:00pm RSVP:


Black Solidarity Day

10:00am – 2:00pm All welcome


City Tech Surveyor Workshop


WAC - “Getting Students Started with Writing”

9:30am – 11:00am RSVP:

1:00pm – 2:15pm RSVP:


Grade Center


PSC CUNY Grant Proposal Writing

2:00pm – 3:30pm RSVP:

2:00pm – 3:00pm RSVP:


Interdisciplinary Creativity: Tools, Experiments, Science


9th Annual City Tech Poster Session

12:45pm – 2:15pm RSVP:

1:00pm – 4:00pm RSVP:


Data Dashboard Workshop


CUNY Annual IT Conference

2:30pm – 4:00pm RSVP:

Venue: John Jay College


Open Access Happy Hour: Your Rights as an Author


WAC - “Minimal Marking and Efficient Grading Strategies”

5:30pm – 7:00pm RSVP:

3:00pm – 4:30pm RSVP:

Contact us at extension 5225 • •

Nucleus: A Faculty Commons Quarterly Volume 3 – Issue 1

September 2011 20

Nucleus Vol.3 Issue 1  

Nucleus Vol.3 Issue 1 A Faculty Commons Quarterly