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Recent Posts

  • College or Certificates? Education for Students after Prison By Emily Tai A recent article in The Wall Street Journal quoted Brooklyn College Professor of Economics, Robert Cherry in arguing for the value of vocational certificate programs for incarcerated ...
    Posted May 18, 2017, 1:10 PM by Emily Tai
  • Fighting those Mid-Career Blues By Emily Tai Among the findings of the recent survey conducted across CUNY through the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE)  was evidence that some faculty see their ...
    Posted May 15, 2017, 1:46 PM by Stasia Pasela
  • Defending Academic Freedom at CUNY SPH: University Faculty Senate Press Release Press release: CUNY University Faculty Senate in Defense of Academic FreedomMay 1, 2017 We, the undersigned members of the Executive Committee of the University Faculty Senate at the City ...
    Posted May 5, 2017, 8:00 PM by Jay Weiser
  • UFS Shared Governance Conference Wrapup By Kay Conway Last Friday, April 28, the University Faculty Senate sponsored its Spring Conference, Shared Governance: Structures and Best Practices, at John Jay College.  The audience included faculty, Presidents ...
    Posted May 15, 2017, 1:52 PM by Stasia Pasela
  • Defending their Right to Say It -- at Graduation By Jay Weiser Clouds of pollen are blowing off the trees, which means it must be college commencement disinvitation season. Here in New York, sights are currently trained on Linda ...
    Posted May 14, 2017, 7:01 PM by Jay Weiser
  • Still Time to Register: UFS Conference on Shared Governance By Philip Pecorino and Karen Kaplowitz There’s still time to register for this year’s Spring UFS Conference, at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, on Friday, April 28 ...
    Posted May 15, 2017, 1:53 PM by Stasia Pasela
  • University URLs: Evaluating Excelsior From Emily Tai  Governor Andrew Cuomo’s new Excelsior Scholarship --  specifics in the 2017 New York State Budget -- is stirring debate across New York State and the country. Private universities ...
    Posted May 2, 2017, 5:13 PM by CUNY UFS
  • Supporting Part-time Students: UFS Student Affairs Committee Position Paper By Bill Crain, Laroi M. Lawton, and James McElwaine Since 2007, one of every three CUNY students has been enrolled as a part-time student. Part-time students now account ...
    Posted May 2, 2017, 5:20 PM by CUNY UFS
  • Please Lecture Me By Emily Tai Among the many advantages of online education have been the arguments that it substitutes customized, individual learning for the old-fashioned college lecture—the apparent dinosaur of ...
    Posted May 2, 2017, 5:28 PM by CUNY UFS
  • Who Finishes College? By Emily Tai Only 1 in 3 Americans hold a college degree.  Although 69.2 % of America’s high school graduates enrolled in college in 2015, only 59% completed a ...
    Posted May 2, 2017, 5:33 PM by CUNY UFS
  • University URLs: Madge, Badges and Microcredentials From Jay Weiser Readers of a certain age may remember Madge the manicurist telling customers, "You're soaking in it!" Madge astonished her clientele for 27 years with claims that ...
    Posted Apr 3, 2017, 5:01 PM by Jay Weiser
  • Catching the Online Wave: Hanging Ten with Cross-College Course Adoptions By Jay Weiser CUNY's Administration has made it a priority to increase online offerings in degree programs, reflected in funding for the School of Professional Studies online bachelors degrees ...
    Posted Apr 2, 2017, 8:57 PM by Jay Weiser
  • UFS Shared Governance Conference, F 04/28/17: Save the Date! by Philip Pecorino and Karen Kaplowitz  Come to this year’s Spring UFS Conference, where administrators and expert faculty will share perspectives and practical suggestions on making shared governance ...
    Posted Apr 2, 2017, 10:46 PM by Jay Weiser
  • Discipline . . . and Punish? Deconstructing CUNY's Discipline Councils By Jay Weiser Michel Foucault's classic Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison states: There is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge ...
    Posted Apr 2, 2017, 10:31 PM by Jay Weiser
  • Flying Coache At John Jay, With Better Results By Angela Crossman The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) survey was administered to all full-time faculty across CUNY in the spring of 2015. John Jay College ...
    Posted Apr 2, 2017, 10:35 PM by Jay Weiser
  • Reconfiguring Community College Semesters By Philip Pecorino and Kay Conway Several initiatives are driving CUNY’s community colleges (CCs) to consider moving from a 15 week semester schedule to a 12/6 schedule, where ...
    Posted Apr 2, 2017, 10:39 PM by Jay Weiser
  • NY Women’s Suffrage Centennial: UFS & USS Commemorate 100 CUNY Women by Emily Tai In a ground-breaking collaboration, the University Faculty Senate and the University Student Senate will be joining forces to help celebrate the coming centennial of women’s ...
    Posted Mar 2, 2017, 12:02 AM by Jay Weiser
  • Excelsior Scholarship Proposal: Faculty Q&A By Ned Benton The Excelsior Scholarship Program (ES) is a proposed New York State financial aid program designed to cover tuition costs for students whose family income does not exceed ...
    Posted Mar 2, 2017, 12:03 AM by Jay Weiser
  • Budget Update: Excelsior and the IG By Kay Conway Governor Cuomo released his Executive Budget last month, which included the Excelsior Scholarship, a program he announced at LaGuardia Community College. Excelsior or bustThe Excelsior was ...
    Posted Feb 21, 2017, 9:36 PM by Jay Weiser
  • Graduation Rates Up, Preparedness Down: No Cause for CUNY Celebration By Philip Pecorino Both the State and the City of New York have recently reported a rise in high school graduation rates.  But college preparedness still leaves much to ...
    Posted Mar 2, 2017, 12:05 AM by Jay Weiser
  • Higher Education and Upward Mobility By Emily Tai Last Monday evening, a conference/panel at the CUNY Graduate Center presented more findings from the recent study mentioned in a recent New York Times article, discussing ...
    Posted Feb 13, 2017, 7:41 PM by Jay Weiser
  • University URLs: College & the Job Market, Reconsidered by Emily Tai Last Sunday’s New York Times Education Life section considered the role that college education, linked with professional apprenticeships, can play in preparing Americans for manufacturing jobs ...
    Posted Feb 13, 2017, 11:31 PM by Jay Weiser
  • What Happened to Mathematics? By Roman Kossak “Let nobody ignorant of geometry enter here” was a warning at the entrance to Plato's Academy."The Book of Nature is written in the language of ...
    Posted Feb 13, 2017, 11:31 PM by Jay Weiser
  • Quarterly Report on Faculty Diversity Now Available By Kathleen Barker The Board of Trustees has approved the Quarterly Report on Faculty Diversity, January 18, 2017, authored by Vice Chancellor Gloriana Waters and Dean of Recruitment, Diversity and ...
    Posted Feb 13, 2017, 11:38 PM by Jay Weiser
  • Saving the National Endowment for the Humanities By Sandi Cooper The budget proposal that is being shaped in the White House promises to eliminate the National Endowment for the Humanities (as well as the National Endowment for ...
    Posted Feb 13, 2017, 11:40 PM by Jay Weiser
  • President Trump’s Executive Order and CUNY’s Response: An Update By Emily Tai   On Sunday, January 29, 2017, President Trump’s Executive Order suspended visas for individuals from nations “of concern,”  A graduate student in Political Science at the City ...
    Posted Jan 30, 2017, 9:57 PM by Emily Tai
  • Trump’s Executive Order on Muslim Immigration: CUNY’s Response By Emily Tai Last Friday, January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order barring the admission of all refugees from the United States for the next four months ...
    Posted Jan 29, 2017, 9:22 AM by Emily Tai
  • CUNY's Strategic Framework By Kay Conway Chancellor Milliken released CUNY's Strategic Framework on Friday, January 27.  Much of what it encompasses we have already seen in the Master Plan.  At our most ...
    Posted Feb 8, 2017, 2:23 PM by Stasia Pasela
  • University URLs: NYS Scholarships, Federal Cuts From Emily Tai Opportunities for New York Students in the News: Last week, in America’s Great Working Class Colleges, the City University of New York was named among the ...
    Posted Jan 25, 2017, 11:49 AM by Stasia Pasela
  • Tenure at Risk, Again By Emily Tai Last spring the UFS Blog’s Making the Case for Tenure discussed the American Association of University Professors report, The Economic Value of Tenure and the Security ...
    Posted Jan 25, 2017, 12:06 PM by Stasia Pasela
Showing posts 1 - 30 of 253. View more »


College or Certificates? Education for Students after Prison

posted May 17, 2017, 10:51 AM by Emily Tai   [ updated May 18, 2017, 1:10 PM ]

By Emily Tai

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal quoted Brooklyn College Professor of Economics, Robert Cherry in arguing for the value of vocational certificate programs for incarcerated students.   A 2003 study by the Bureau of Justice statistics found that 68% of the adults incarcerated in state prisons have not completed a high school diploma.  Such individuals, Professor Cherry asserted in a Manhattan Institute position paper, would be better served by vocational programs that allowed them to master workplace skills than a traditional liberal arts college degree, as vocational education would give them a better shot at finding, and keeping, a job upon re-entry.

Professor Cherry’s interest in supporting vocational programs for incarcerated students—such as the program in Air Conditioning Maintenance which is currently offered on Riker’s Island, with participation from several  CUNY faculty—may be contrasted with the “Prison to College Pipeline” program offered through the Prisoner Reentry Institute at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.   Ranked among the nation’s top programs for re-entering students, the Prison to College Pipeline has matched the success levels of programs offered through private colleges and universities in New York State, such as the Bard Prison Initiative, in helping re-entering men and women complete four-year baccalaureate degrees, find employment, and rebuild their lives.  As a research center, the Prisoner Reentry Institute has also become a national resource for faculty studying the challenges reentering students may face, including the special needs of  re-entering women;  the problem of carceral debt,  which imposes significant financial burdens that can precipitate recidivism; and current exclusions imposed on re-entering men and women, including access to public housing.

A college education, while it may not address such practical issues directly, can transform individuals, with significant, positive implications for the interactions incarcerated students may have with family members, especially children, even before release.  A traditional liberal arts education moreover helps re-entering students hone critical skills in self-advocacy that are often needed as formerly incarcerated men and women face a range of post-release difficulties.  Recent books, such as Daniel Karpowitz’s  College in Prison: Reading in an Age of Mass Incarceration, have argued for this impact, noting that re-entering college graduates are incidentally far less likely to return to prison. 

Perhaps the best solution is to make both a traditional liberal arts degree and vocational training available to incarcerated and re-entering students—just as we make a full range of educational options available to any CUNY student.

 

Emily S. Tai is a professor of History at Queensborough Community College who serves on the UFS Executive Committee, edits the UFS Blog, and Chairs the UFS Committee on Higher Education in the Prisons.  She would like to thank Jay Weiser, Associate Professor of Law at Baruch College, a member of the UFS Executive Committee and UFS Legal Affairs Chair, and Professor Robert Cherry, for supplying some of the references included in this post.  


The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view.


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Fighting those Mid-Career Blues

posted May 15, 2017, 10:54 AM by Emily Tai   [ updated May 15, 2017, 1:46 PM by Stasia Pasela ]

By Emily Tai

Among the findings of the recent survey conducted across CUNY through the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE)  was evidence that some faculty see their careers stall after earning tenure and making the all-important transition from assistant to associate professor.  As noted in a recent article in The Chronicle for Higher Education, this difficulty, while identified, and even pronounced, at CUNY, is by no means limited to the City University of New York.  Coache surveys administered around the country have exposed evidence for this problem among higher education faculty across the country.

So, what can be done to chase away those mid-career blues?

Several programs have been established to address this problem:

It is to the great credit of CUNY’s  administrative leadership that, in the year since COACHE survey results were released, Vice-Chancellor Vita Rabinowitz and University Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs  Annemarie Nicols-Grinenko have consulted with representatives of the University Faculty Senate to devise programs for mid-career faculty that replicate the best of these national programs—and then go beyond them.  At CUNY, there have been workshops and leadership seminars for mid-career faculty.  More substantively, however, additional programs have funded released time for Associate Professors to make progress on scholarly projects. 

After all, the best cure for mid-career blues is simply being allowed a bit more time, in a busy schedule, to focus on the disciplinary research that brought so many of us to the academy in the first place.

Emily S. Tai is a professor of History at Queensborough Community College who serves on the UFS Executive Committee, and edits the UFS Blog. 

Photo credit:
Egghead06, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BBKINGSignBealeStreet.JPG.

The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view.


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Defending Academic Freedom at CUNY SPH: University Faculty Senate Press Release

posted May 4, 2017, 7:34 PM by Emily Tai   [ updated May 5, 2017, 8:00 PM by Jay Weiser ]

Press release: 
CUNY University Faculty Senate in Defense of Academic Freedom
May 1, 2017 

We, the undersigned members of the Executive Committee of the University Faculty Senate at the City University of New York (CUNY) defend the School of Public Health’s invitation to Ms. Linda Sarsour and the right to deliver her commencement address. As in previous controversies, we take no position on Ms. Sarsour’s views. We strongly endorse the tradition that CUNY, and all universities, should be a forum for free discussion of all viewpoints, consistent with the First Amendment to the Constitution, the principles of academic freedom, and CUNY’s own Academic Freedom Policy.

We must resist external pressure to disinvite speakers at any institution of higher learning. For the cornerstone of higher education is the maintenance of free inquiry, which entails the sharing of different viewpoints, a tolerance for diversity, and a sensitivity to the values of a humane and civilized culture – namely sustained social and community engagement. Rigorous, thoughtful debate – in the tradition of a great university – is the best answer, not censorship.

Katherine Conway, Chair
Kathleen Barker, Vice-Chair

Members-At-Large
Michael Barnhart
Martin J. Burke
Hugo Fernandez
Karen Kaplowitz
Philip Pecorino
Emily Tai
Jay Weiser

Terrence Martell, Ex Officio

For further information, contact the Executive Director of the City University Faculty Senate, Dr. Matthew J. Cotter, at Matthew.Cotter@cuny.edu or 646-664-9032 or 646-664-9035

The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view.

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UFS Shared Governance Conference Wrapup

posted May 3, 2017, 2:24 PM by Emily Tai   [ updated May 15, 2017, 1:52 PM by Stasia Pasela ]

By Kay Conway


Last Friday, April 28, the University Faculty Senate sponsored its Spring Conference, Shared Governance: Structures and Best Practices, at John Jay College.  The audience included faculty, Presidents, Provosts and other administrators. The full room was a testament to the importance of the topic.

President Jeremy Travis provided a welcome greeting and shared his experiences with shared governance at John Jay. There was much head nodding when he spoke of the need to be nimble while still consulting with stakeholders, and the revelation that at John Jay they identified 197 active college committees!

Past UFS Chair Terrence Martell moderated a panel comprised of CUNY Board of Trustees Chair William C. Thompson, Jr.; Queens College President Felix Matos-Rodriguez, and Professor James Cauthen, Political Scientist and Chair of a study group that examined the Governance Charter of John Jay College of Criminal Justice . Each provided their perspective on shared governance, with transparency, trust and communication being key themes. Chair Thompson emphasized collaboration, President Matos suggested that we put the institution first, and Prof. Cauthen shared best practices at other governance bodies.

Prof. Cauthen cited The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), which leads me to our Keynote speaker, its President, Dr. Barbara Gitenstein, the 2006 recipient of the AAUP Ralph S. Brown Award for Shared Governance. Our conference website offers her thoughtful remarks, 
Shared Leadership and Shared Responsibility: Successful Shared Governance.  We will be updating the website with other conference materials.

Our fall conference, Innovations and Disruptions in American Higher Education: A View From the Professoriate will be held November 3rd at the CUNY Graduate Center. Save the date!

Kay Conway is a Professor of Business Management at Borough of Manhattan Community College, and Chair of the University Faculty Senate. 

The UFS Blog welcomes posts from faculty who attended the conference, which may be sent to the editor at etai@qcc.cuny.edu.

The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view.

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Defending their Right to Say It -- at Graduation

posted May 1, 2017, 10:06 AM by Emily Tai   [ updated May 14, 2017, 7:01 PM by Jay Weiser ]

By Jay Weiser


Clouds of pollen are blowing off the trees, which means it must be college commencement disinvitation season. Here in New York, sights are currently trained on Linda Sarsour, named keynote speaker at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy's inaugural commencement ceremony.

The CUNY University Faculty Senate Executive Committee has consistently defended academic freedom for all viewpoints. Among the controversies we have weighed in on:
Continuing our tradition, we defend SPH's invitation to Sarsour and her right to deliver her commencement address. As in previous controversies, we take no position on Sarsour's views. Instead, we believe that CUNY, and all universities, should be a forum for free discussion of all viewpoints. This is consistent with CUNY's Academic Freedom Policy:

The City University of New York should remain a forum for the advocacy of all ideas protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution and the principles of academic freedom. 

If you haven't been following the controversy, Sarsour has been a co-organizer of the National Women’s March and former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York -- as well as a prominent supporter of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement and a defender of Sharia law.

SPH Dean Ayman El-Mohandes cites former President Barack Obama, who named Sarsour a Champion of Change. New York State Assembly Member Dov Hikind, however, calls Sarsour an "apologist for terrorism," and wants CUNY to withdraw her invitation. Zionist Organization of America president Morton Klein agrees with Hikind.

Abbey Fashouer, a spokesperson for Governor Andrew Cuomo, told Politico New York:

Commencement speakers at CUNY are selected independently by the individual campuses, and the [CUNY Board of Trustees] does not approve the process or have any say in the matter.

We support this CUNY policy, enacted in the wake of the Kushner debacle, and urge the School of Public Health & Health Policy to involve faculty in the selection of commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients.

But most of all, we support Sarsour's right to speak at the SPH commencement. 

#commencement #disinvitation #cunysph #lindasarsour

Jay Weiser is Associate Professor of Law at Baruch College, a member of the UFS Executive Committee and UFS Legal Affairs Chair.

The UFS is preparing a formal statement to affirm our support for academic freedom as it pertains to this matter. We invite comments and posts from the UFS membership, which may be sent to the editor at etai@qcc.cuny.edu

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Image credit: Nick Youngson, The First AmendmentCreative Commons 3 - CC BY-SA 3.0

Still Time to Register: UFS Conference on Shared Governance

posted Apr 24, 2017, 10:21 AM by Emily Tai   [ updated May 15, 2017, 1:53 PM by Stasia Pasela ]

By Philip Pecorino and Karen Kaplowitz
There’s still time to register for this year’s Spring UFS Conference, at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, on Friday, April 28!
Come and hear administrators and expert faculty discuss the challenges of preserving shared governance at the 21st-century University:

CUNY Board of Trustees Chair William C. Thompson, Jr.; Queens College President Felix Matos-Rodriguez, and Professor James Cauthen, Chair of a study group that examined the Governance Charter of John Jay College of Criminal Justice will discuss five best practices in shared governance;

Keynote speaker Dr. Barbara Gitenstein, President, The College of New Jersey, and 2006 recipient of the AAUP Ralph S. Brown award for Shared Governance, will discuss the way she and her faculty made shared governance work on campus—and earned national kudos for their success;

Panels on “Creating or amending your campus charter;”  “Shared governance and the budget process,” “Ways to make shared governance work on your campus,” and “Legal & Procedural Issues,” will offer resources and straight-talk advice from CUNY administrators and UFS governance leaders.

The UFS welcomes the participation of faculty involved at all levels of faculty governance—whether you are a faculty governance leader, or considering membership in your campus academic senate, please register for the conference and join us!

We look forward to hearing your comments, your questions, and your insights.

Philip Pecorino is a professor of Philosophy at Queensborough Community College; Karen Kaplowitz is a professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.  Both serve on the UFS Executive Committee.

The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view.


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University URLs: Evaluating Excelsior

posted Apr 17, 2017, 1:44 PM by Emily Tai   [ updated May 2, 2017, 5:13 PM by CUNY UFS ]

From Emily Tai  

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s new Excelsior Scholarship --  specifics in the 2017 New York State Budget -- is stirring debate across New York State and the country. 

Private universities worry about the impact the scholarship will have on their enrollments. Some critics argue that the 30-credit-a-year requirement will exclude part-time students.  They are also concerned by a residency requirement — added by state Republicans — that turns the scholarship into a loan unless, after graduation, scholarship recipients live and work in New York for up to five years.
Emily S. Tai is a professor of History at Queensborough Community College who serves on the UFS Executive Committee, and edits the UFS Blog.

The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view.

Like the UFS Blog on Facebook.

Image credit: Daniel de Losques [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Supporting Part-time Students: UFS Student Affairs Committee Position Paper

posted Apr 12, 2017, 2:59 PM by Emily Tai   [ updated May 2, 2017, 5:20 PM by CUNY UFS ]

By Bill Crain, Laroi M. Lawton, and James McElwaine


Since 2007, one of every three CUNY students has been enrolled as a part-time student. Part-time students now account for 35.1 percent of those enrolled at CUNY community and senior colleges. In 2013, the Governor and Legislature increased the maximum award under TAP, unchanged since 2001.

The increase provided a small but critical benefit to low-income students attending either CUNY or SUNY, but that increase failed to provide any significant increase to our students who could attend only part-time.

TAP (Tuition Assistance Plan)

In the same year as the last TAP increase, 2013, only 1 percent of the nearly 150,000 part-time students enrolled at the state's 36 community colleges – 30 campuses in SUNY and 6 in CUNY – received financial aid through PTAP, the Part-time Tuition Assistance Plan. At CUNY community colleges, the number of part-time students who also received TAP was significantly smaller – just 91 out of nearly 40,000 part-time students, or two-hundredths of one percent, received TAP funds that year.

New York is one of only 14 states to sharply limit part-time students' access to TAP. It requires that students be enrolled full-time for two consecutive semesters before they can enroll part-time and still qualify for TAP. And once they meet these requirements, community college students are eligible only for a total of six semesters of TAP.

APTS (Aid for Part-Time Study)

APTS is a grant specifically for part-time study. It subsidizes tuition costs on a per credit-hour basis. APTS data for financial aid to part-time students are less detailed than other CUNY data. Since 2007, CUNY and SUNY tuitions have risen substantially. In 2007, part-time tuition at all SUNY campuses equaled $170 per credit. In 2017, the per-credit cost at senior colleges is now $275, a 62% increase. The per-credit costs at CUNY community colleges have been ameliorated by additional funding. $170 per credit at community colleges in 2007 has now become $210 per credit.

During that time, APTS awards have remained substantially the same, even decreasing nominally in value compared to earlier years when allowing for inflation. The APTS window still remains “between $15 and $65 per credit hour” just as it was in 2007.

This stationary award rate has become equivalent to a regressive tax by establishing a growing disproportion between TAP and APTS. As CUNY tuition continues to increase, while part-time awards do not, the less financially prepared part-time students must now confront a disproportionately greater personal tuition burden compared to their full-time peers.

Maintenance of Effort

As CUNY has tried to increase TAP and APTS, it has had to resort to another regressive taxation. Senior colleges are held responsible to the TAP gap, the difference between relatively stable TAP awards as the tuition at all CUNY campuses continues to increase. New York State and New York City have not helped with this gap with any formal Maintenance of Effort agreement. Instead, CUNY central has passed along the TAP gap to the senior colleges as another regressive tax, usually a 2% to 3% reduction of the senior college operating shares in the annual budget, called Tuition Waiver Credits in the budgets passed after the Governor and Legislature refused to provide Maintenance of Effort amelioration.

Change

The Student Affairs Committee supports this needed change for our part-time students. The first actions must come from the University Faculty Senate, and its local campus counterparts. As you read this, you are holding a potential summons to change. Next, the Legislature and the Governor of New York need to take substantive action to address regressive policies in TAP, PTAP and APTS. In order to do that, our campuses’ leaders need to explore better university alternatives to the TAP gap, other than the current Tuition Waiver Credits regressive tax at the senior colleges. This will involve the concerted efforts of faculty, students, and administration, as well as many shared governance budget mechanisms, in an attempt to empower similar reconstructive efforts by our elected city and state representatives.

Conclusion

As the collective voice of the CUNY faculty, we have to ask ourselves a difficult question: “How can we improve the current graduation rate and academic success of our part-time students?”

Part-time students often demonstrate great persistence and an intense desire for an education. Many go to classes and study while managing work and family obligations. In our faculty experience, many part-time students are older students whose interest in learning is not confined to tests and grades. They are intellectually curious and often pursue ideas for their own sake. For this reason, they provide a valuable model for many full-time students. Part-time students bring with them a set of life-experience and values that significantly contribute to in-class and on-line discussions.

We should avoid increasing the hardships caused by a ten-year series of tuition increases, lack of Maintenance of Effort (MOE), and regressive solutions that have had a greater impact on part-time students.

One immediate, no-cost option exists: eliminate the two-semester full-time-study TAP eligibility requirement for all part-time students.

Bill Crain is a Professor of Psychology at City College; LaRoi M. Lawton is the Coordinator of Learning Services and Deputy Chief Librarian at Bronx Community College; James W. McElwaine is a professor of Music at Queens College, and current Chair of the UFS Committee on Student Affairs. This position paper was adopted by the Student Affairs Committee on March 28, 2017.

The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view.

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Image credit: Farcaster at English Wikipedia, St. Louis Fred, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Please Lecture Me

posted Apr 8, 2017, 11:02 AM by Emily Tai   [ updated May 2, 2017, 5:28 PM by CUNY UFS ]

By Emily Tai


Among the many advantages of online education have been the arguments that it substitutes customized, individual learning for the old-fashioned college lecture—the apparent dinosaur of college and university teaching.

Some educational research has argued that College lectures are unfair. The structure and delivery of a lecture is less effective, it is asserted, than active-learning strategies—especially for minority, female and first-generation college students. A 2010 study conducted at Columbia Teachers College nevertheless showed that first-generation college students with less preparation didn’t necessarily do any better in online courses—and that students who were already doing poorly might even fall still further behind in an online class.

Defending the College Lecture


Notwithstanding its shortcomings, several academics have advocated for the continuing value of the college lecture. Alex Small, a Physicist at the University of Pomona, has argued that an effective lecture/discussion session models expert problem-solving. Miya Tokumitsu, an art historian at the University of Melbourne, recently argued that lectures teach students how to listen in public settings, reaffirming civic engagement skills. A good lecture moreover requires skills in public-speaking—skills some academics might lack, but that many also hone, and model, for students in a lecture-oriented classroom.

Lecture And Discussion?


Is there some way to leverage the best qualities of the lecture while incorporating the benefits of customized instruction? A number of teaching and learning sites make various suggestions: make the topics and objectives of lectures transparent to the struggling first generation college student; punctuate a lecture with questions; vary instructional routines to make lectures more “dynamic.” But could on-line technology help students get the most out of a traditional college lecture? As the UFS Blog inaugurates an occasional series on online education, we welcome posts on resources and approaches that might help our students reap the benefits of the latest educational technology—without forfeiting the value of exposure to more traditional forms of pedagogy.

#SavetheLecture; #FirstGenerationStudents #OnlineEducation

Emily S. Tai is a professor of History at Queensborough Community College who serves on the UFS Executive Committee, and edits the UFS Blog.

The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view.

Like the UFS Blog on Facebook.

Image credit: A lecturer, after G.M. Woodward (1809), CC BY 4.0, via Wellcome Trust/Wikimedia Commons

Who Finishes College?

posted Apr 5, 2017, 7:48 PM by Emily Tai   [ updated May 2, 2017, 5:33 PM by CUNY UFS ]

By Emily Tai 


Only 1 in 3 Americans hold a college degree.  Although 69.2 % of America’s high school graduates enrolled in college in 2015, only 59% completed a baccalaureate degree within six years. (Third Way
 found only slightly higher graduation rates at America’s private institutions.) While younger Americans are more likely to enjoy higher levels of degree attainment, it is, accordingly, still true that nearly half of those students who enroll in college never complete a college degree.

This places the United States at nineteenth among the twenty-eight countries ranked for college degree attainment by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) —a real tragedy, given recent research findings about the impact a college degree can have on lifetime earning potential.

Barriers to the B.A.

What are the obstacles to earning a college degree in the United States?  Cost, for one.   OECD data found that “the direct costs of higher education in the United States are among the highest in the world.” Temple University professor Sara Goldrick-Rab’s recent book, Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream draws upon the author’s research at the Wisconsin HOPE lab has studied the way college students lack adequate support from federal and state college tuition assistance programs, while often struggling with food and housing insecurity.

Then there are America’s funding priorities: in 23 states, spending for correctional facilities significantly outpaced spending for K-12 education, according to a recent report released by the U.S. Department of Education. These spending patterns not only sustain a system of criminal justice that incarcerates over two million Americans (disproportionately Americans of color), but contributes to an educational crisis for children, whose academic progress tends to falter when parents are incarcerated. A 2014 RAND corporation study argued for the benefits of educating the incarcerated. Although programs like the Bard Prison Initiative, Marymount Manhattan College’s program at Bedford Hills, and Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison have made New York a leader in privately-funded programs, states have varied in their willingness to dedicate tax-levy resources to prison education.

Finally, there’s college preparedness itself. Although the number of high school diplomas awarded across the country have risen, less than 40% of high school graduates are prepared for college-level coursework in Math and Reading, according to a recent report by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and the Institute of Education Sciences.

Lowering the Barriers: CUNY Leads the Way

Raj Chetty has shown that CUNY campuses propel almost six times as many low-income students into the middle class as all eight Ivy League campuses combined. Programs like CUNY’s ASAP offer intensive advising and economic support to address financial issues that can throttle the college dreams of even the most talented students.

Faculty across CUNY, and especially at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (led by departing president, Jeremy Travis), have also been national leaders in efforts to provide education and support to incarcerated and reentering students.  CUNY has begun revamping remediation requirements in Mathematics and English that might, in past years, have absorbed significant amounts of student financial aid without moving students closer to graduation.

But could there be a means to help prospective students while they are still in high school?

The Principal is your Pal

David Leonhardt suggested that high school principals can by support good teachers, mentor those who are less effective, and help struggling students stay on track. Although programs already link New York City high school students to CUNY campuses — the most recent being NYC Men Teach -- perhaps CUNY faculty could explore more ways to reach out to High School Principals — and together, find ways, to help more New Yorkers succeed in college, at CUNY.

#CollegeCompletion #CUNYASAP #NYCMenTeach #CollegeCosts

Emily S. Tai is a professor of History at Queensborough Community College who serves on the UFS Executive Committee, and edits the UFS Blog.

The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view.

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Alethe (Own work), Egg & spoon finish line, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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