CCNY to Offer Interdisciplinary Urban Sustainability Masters
The City College of New York (CCNY) will offer a new, interdisciplinary graduate program, "Sustainability in the Urban Environment," that incorporates emerging approaches from the disciplines of architecture, engineering and science. The program will enroll its first students for the Spring 2010 semester. It will award a Master of Science degree in Sustainability to its graduates. "None of the masters-level programs in sustainability currently listed on the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education website integrate the disciplines of architecture, engineering and science," noted Dr. Latif Jiji, Herbert G. Kayser Professor of Mechanical Engineering in The Grove School of Engineering and Director of the program. The 30-credit program is designed to respond to the increasing demand for a workforce equipped to meet the sustainability challenges of the 21st century. Students in the program will be prepared to adapt old and advance new generations of buildings, urban infrastructure and open spaces using approaches that take into account rapid urbanization, environmental degradation, peak oil, and climate change. More on this story.
Professor Birman to Receive Sakharov Prize for Human Rights
For about 35 years, Dr. Joseph L. Birman, ’47, Distinguished Professor of Physics at The City College of New York (CCNY) has advocated for the rights of repressed scientists, first in the former Soviet Union and later in China, Cuba, Iraq, Iran and the United States. Now he is to be honored for "his tireless and effective personal leadership in defense of human rights of scientists throughout the world" as one of three recipients of the American Physical Society’s (APS) Andrei Sakharov Prize for 2010. Professor Birman is to receive the award, named for the Russian theoretical physicist who became a dissident and received the 1975 Nobel Peace Prize, at APS’ annual meeting, February 13 – 16 in Washington. He will share the prize, which carries a $10,000 stipend plus travel expenses, with Dr. Herman Winick, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University, and Dr. Moishe Pripstein, a Program Director with the National Science Foundation. It is his second award for his work on behalf of human rights of scientists. In 2006, he received the Heinz Pagels Award from the New York Academy of Sciences. More on this story.
CCNY Student Architecture Journal Wins Award
"Informality," the new student journal of The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, won the Center for Architecture Foundation2009 Douglas Haskell Award for student journals. The award is meant to encourage student journalism in the areas of architecture, planning and related topics. Its $5,000 grant provides supplemental funding for ongoing publication of student-edited architecture journals. The journal promotes open discussion and intelligent criticism among architecture students on ideas, theories and experiences. With minimal interference by the administration and faculty advisors, "Informality" is taking a new creative stance and discarding conformity. It features light-natured optimistic stories with a critical undertone. Former editor and graduate Marina Ovtchinnikova applied for the Haskell Award last year in hope of getting additional financial backing for the publication. Much to the staff’s surprise, they received the full $5,000 award, which is typically shared with other publications. The proceeds of the grant will enable future issues to be printed in color and increase the print run. More on this story.
Skadden, Arps Honors Program Enrolls First Cohort
At a time when minority enrollment in law school is declining, the new Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom Honors Program at The City College of New York (CCNY) is working to reverse that trend. This fall, the first cohort of 26 Skadden, Arps Scholars enrolled in the intensive two-year program. All juniors, they were selected through a highly competitive process. Students in the program are raving about it and the advantages it will offer them when they apply to law school. "This program is unique nationally because no other undergraduate school offers anything as comprehensive," says Jeremy Wilson, a Political Science major and Bronx resident. "We not only take classes pertaining to law but LSAT (Law School Admission Test) classes as well, in addition to meeting and talking to lawyers." Historically, African-Americans and other minority groups have been underrepresented in the legal profession. As of May 2007, just 13 percent of the nation’s lawyers were minorities, according to the "Minority Law Journal." More on this story.
4th Annual Cosloy-Blank Lecture November 19
Biologist Susan Lee Lindquist will deliver the Fourth Annual Sharon Cosloy-Edward Blank Lecture at The City College of New York (CCNY) 4 p.m. Thursday, November 19, in Room 95, Shepard Hall. The title of her talk will be "Engineering Simple Cells to Study Complex Human Diseases." A reception will follow the lecture in Room 150, Shepard Hall. Dr. Lindquist is Professor of Biology at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a member and former director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She specializes in protein folding, and her investigations seek to find reasons for incorrect folding, which is associated with several medical conditions including Parkinson’s disease, cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease. CCNY alumnus Edward Blank, ’57, established the lecture series in memory of his late wife, Professor Sharon Cosloy, who was a beloved member of the City College biology faculty for 27 years and served as Chair of the Biology Department. Sharon Cosloy was an adored mentor, educator, wife, mother and a passionate investigator of life and science. The lecture is presented by CCNY President Dr. Robert E. Paaswell and the CCNY Department of Biology. More on this story.
Symposium Celebrates ‘Royal Commentaries of the Incas’
Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (Cuzco, 1539 – Córdoba, 1616) was the son of a Spanish conquistador and an Incan princess who would become the first great Spanish-American writer and the first historian of the New World born in the Americas. "The Royal Commentaries," his history of the Incan Empire and its conquest by Spain, is considered by many scholars to be the most elegant and complete accounting of the rise and fall of this civilization in what is now Peru. Last month, Dr. Raquel Chang-Rodríguez, Distinguished Professor of Hispanic Literature and Culture at CCNY and the CUNY Graduate Center, helped organize a symposium to commemorate the 400th Anniversary of its publication in Lisbon in 1609. The two-day event drew more than 250 participants, including scholars of Garcilaso from four countries. A highlight was an interview Professor Chang-Rodríguez conducted with internationally acclaimed Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa. "It was very exciting to have a conversation about a favorite writer with someone of his stature," she says. "It indicates how important Garcilaso has been throughout the centuries in influencing writers and the way that Peru, his native country, has been viewed by many." More on this story.
Alumna’s Bushwick Documentary Gets Cable Carriage
Two years ago, while working on her M.A. thesis about delinquency in Bushwick, Stefanie Joshua, a City College student with no filmmaking experience, decided that the socio-economic plight of her old neighborhood could make a good documentary. The sociology student, who completed her degree in 2005, took a filmmaking class and wrote, produced and directed "Bushwick Homecomings," a 38-minute film about the Brooklyn neighborhood’s social and economic changes between 1970 and 2000. The film, which won the "Best USA Documentary" award at Britain’s 2008 Swansea Life Film Festival, has been acquired by the Documentary Channel, which is beamed via satellite into 21 million U.S. households. It premiered on the network October 5 and will have a two-year run. "This project really began for me in 2001, while taking a sociology class called "People of New York City" at City College for my master’s thesis," said Ms. Joshua. "In the class, we were encouraged to explore the history of groups in New York’s various neighborhoods. It was in Professor William Helmreich’s sociology class where I wrote my first paper about Bushwick." More on this story.
CCNY Begins Social Networking with New Facebook Page
Adopting a social networking platform first made popular by college students, CCNY’s Office of Communications and Marketing has created an official Facebook page for the College. Known simply as "The City College of New York," the page contains links to CCNY news releases, media stories about CCNY, photos, event listings, discussions and more. Subscribers, known as "fans," can post comments and add their own content, including web links, photos and videos. "Facebook is probably the most popular communications tool used by college students today and it’s a great way to connect with alumni, faculty, staff and prospective students, as well, and build an online community," said CCNY Director of Public Relations Ellis Simon. Since the CCNY Facebook was launched November 6, more than 600 Facebook subscribers have become "fans" of The City College of New York. To find CCNY’s Facebook page and become a fan, visit http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/New-York-NY/The-City-College-of-New-York/170858093839. (You must be a Facebook subscriber to access.)
CCNY Biologist Links Climate Change, Species Distribution
In 2006, Dr. Robert P. Anderson, CCNY Associate Professor of Biology, co-authored a paper that introduced a mathematically rigorous method for modeling species’ geographic distributions, based on known occurrences and environmental factors including climate. The paper, "Maximum Entropy Modeling of Species Geographic Distributions," has become one of the most-referenced sources on the topic, being cited 192 times to date, according to Thomson Reuters ScienceWatch.com. According to Professor Anderson, much of the paper’s attention stems from the ability of the approach it describes to predict changes in species distributions due to climate change. Using the method, researchers can form a niche model of a species’ niche requirements that correlates occurrence data with climatic data, he explains. Then the model can be applied to projections of future climate to forecast potential habitats for the species in the future. However, Professor Anderson cautions that "climate is just one piece of the puzzle" to be looked at in predicting a species future range. Physical barriers and presence of interacting species such as competitors, predators and mutualists, in an area need to be considered, as well. More on this story.
Infrastructure Projects Lack Economic Scrutiny: Berechman
Politicians and policymakers often tout the economic and social benefits of large-scale transportation infrastructure investments, but often the projects they promote are approved without the benefit of thorough economic analysis. So says Dr. Joseph Berechman, CCNY Professor and Chair of Economics. In a new book for the trade, "The Evaluation of Transportation Investment Projects," (Routledge, 2009) Professor Berechman contends investment decisions about multi-billion dollar capital projects rely too heavily on preliminary cost estimates and demand forecasts. These tend to be optimistic. Key issues such as a project’s risks, capital costs financing, latent demand, market imperfections, labor force availability and various incompatibilities between trip rates, travel times and activity location are not taken into account, he notes. The end result often is significant cost overruns and ridership and revenue below projections. "There seems to be an inverse relationship between the size of the project and the amount of money and time spent on economic analysis," he notes, adding that the assumptions behind many projects would not stand up to more thorough scrutiny. More on this story.
CCNY Joins Nation’s First Official Heritage Rose District
CCNY’s scenic campus, with its landmark neo-gothic buildings, is about to get greener. The 162 year-old institution is now part of the nation’s first official "Heritage Rose District." A variety of heritage roses, including the rare "Green Rose," were planted by a group of CCNY officials, Heritage Rose Foundation members and community residents on the west side of the 35-acre campus, along Amsterdam Avenue (between 135th and 136th Streets) on October 24. This followed the "Heritage Rose District" ground breaking in Harlem and Washington Heights earlier in the day by Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer and officials from the Parks & Recreation Department and the Heritage Rose Foundation. "Heritage" roses are a collection of roses originating in the nineteenth century or earlier, with particular historic, educational, or genetic value. CCNY’s inclusion in the Heritage Rose District was initiated by Joan Newman, Deputy to the Dean, The City College School of Education, and a community activist. Robert Santos, CCNY’s Vice President for Campus Planning & Facilities, helped to coordinate the project on campus. More on this story.
Iconic Economics Professor William I. Greenwald Dies at 88
Dr. William Irving Greenwald, Professor Emeritus of Economics, who taught at CCNY for 59 years, died October 9 at the age of 88. A Maryland native who lived most of his life in New York City, Professor Greenwald was a graduate of Brooklyn College and held a Ph.D. from New York University. He joined the CCNY economics department in in 1946. Former colleagues had fond recollections. Professor Mitchell Kellman described him as "the embodiment of the Academic ideal" and said he held nothing back when it came to helping others. Professor Peter C.Y. Chow added: "While the economics department lost a professor emeritus, I personally lost a good friend and a respected colleague." Professor Chow also said he admired Greenwald’s "dedication to scholarship and his contributions to his students." Professor Yochanan Shachmurove described Professor Greenwald as "a towering figure in the Department of Economics for many, many years" who would offer newcomers a helping hand and a friendly smile. Books authored by Professor Greenwald include: "Buy or Rent" (Twayne Publishers, 1958), "The Secular Decline of Capital-Output in Manufacturing" (The Engineering Economist, 1963) and "Statistics for Economics" (C.E. Merrill Books, 1963).
From the President
The fall foliage season may have peaked, but CCNY keeps getting greener. We’re preparing to enroll the first students next semester in our new M.S. in Sustainability program, Sustainability in the Urban Environment. It’s the only program of its kind integrating the disciplines of architecture, engineering and science.Also, CCNY scientists and engineers are engaged in wide-ranging research projects related to sustainability, like Professor Robert Anderson’s works on GIS-based techniques to model species distribution, which incorporates the impact of climate change. And, we continue to beautify the campus through our participation in the nation’s first "Heritage Rose District" in Upper Manhattan.
Robert "Buz" Paaswell
Open the original version of this page.