Professor Mandel Goes to Washington

Dyson Professor Ellen Mandel represented Pace University at the Jefferson Awards National Ceremonies and talks about what it took to get there and how you can help Pace make strides in the fight against cancer.

“It was an unbelievably wonderful experience and it was really fabulous to learn about what wonderful things people are doing all over the country,” says Dyson Professor Ellen Mandel, PhD, of her recent trip to the Jefferson Awards National Ceremonies in Washington DC. “It was very humbling because I was surprised to be in that group.”

That surprise however was not shared by other members of the Pace Community. This past spring, Pace’s Center for Community Action and Research (CCAR) was proud to announce that Mandel had been nominated by her Pace peers and had been chosen as one of six Jefferson Award Bronze Medal winners. In addition, Mandel had been selected to represent Pace at the Jefferson Award National Ceremonies where she would compete for the Gold Medal Award.

A little more than 20 years ago, Mandel worked with Rockland County Legislative Chair Harriet Cornell to bring Komen to the Rockland area by instituting the county’s first-ever Breast Cancer Awareness Day and offering mammograms to the underserved women in the community. Eventually they were able to bring mobile mammogram services into the various Hasidic communities within Rockland County. Mandel sat on the New York Chapter of Komen for several years until her own health kept her from attending the meetings.

“I stayed on as the Chairman for hospital teams in the tri-state area, and I founded the Pace team ‘Right Away,’ which has grown tremendously,” she says. “We now have more than 100 walkers and since the addition of the fabulous Sleeper category, people are giving their money and sleeping in instead of walking.”

Through the years, Mandel has dedicated her time and concentrated her efforts into giving back to those closest to her and to the community at large. From sharing a laugh and some kind words with colleague battling cancer to forming one of the largest university teams in the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Mandel is giving back on so many levels.

“I try to give back as much as I possibly can give back,” says Mandel, whose grandmother taught her at a young age that one must give without the expectation of recognition. “I’m not good at much—I’m an excellent teacher and I’m good at giving. That’s all.”

Want to be part of the Pace team on Sunday, September 9? Click here to register.


 

New Seidenberg Dean

Amar Gupta, PhD, the Thomas R. Brown Endowed Professor of Management and Technology at the University of Arizona and a visiting scientist at MIT, has been appointed dean of Seidenberg.

President Stephen J. Friedman announced today that Amar Gupta, PhD, the Thomas R. Brown Endowed Professor of Management and Technology at the University of Arizona and a visiting scientist at MIT, has been appointed dean of the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, effective August 15.

To read the full press release, click here.

The Elephant in the Room

Michelle Land, director of the Pace Academy, discusses why using wild and exotic animals for entertainment acts is a cruel relic of a less enlightened society and why entertainment trends should instead focus on human skill and artistry.

By Michelle Land, director of the Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies

Pop quiz: What do  Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Peru, Israel, and Singapore all have in common that the United States does not (yet) share?

They have enacted a nationwide ban on the use of wild animals in circuses. Many other countries ban specific wild animals or those wild-born from performing in circuses. The UK government has issued a commitment to ban the use of wild animals in circuses, though legislation has not yet been enacted. Last year, U.S. Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) introduced the first bill to comprehensively tackle the use of all wild animals in circuses in the United States. If passed, the bill would end the keeping of animals for extended periods in temporary facilities, the cruel training and control methods employed by circuses, and address public safety issues. It is not intended to impact zoos or other static facilities with captive wildlife. Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies is assisting with the drafting of a similar bill for New York State.

Why Do We Need to Protect Wild and Exotic Animals from Circuses?

The typical species used by traveling circuses are elephants, tigers, bears, and non-human primates. In the wild, elephants travel up to 30 miles a day and are practically in constant motion for 18-20 hours a day. Biologically, elephants need to move. Contrast the natural history of elephants with those that are kept in captivity, particularly traveling circuses, and we find that these animals may be confined to boxcars and trailers for thousands of miles a year—often nine to eleven months annually. Some elephants spend most of their lives in chains (up to 20 consecutive hours at performance venues and up to 100 hours continuously when traveling). When not performing or on the road, elephants are still chained and allowed to move only a few feet in each direction. Captive elephants often develop serious foot problems, which can shorten their life spans by more than 20 years. The number one health problem in captive elephants is foot problems; in the wild this is nonexistent.  Higher elephant mortality in captivity is also attributable to obesity due to lack of movement. In the circus, every aspect of their behavior is controlled. Engaging in natural behaviors as simple as throwing dirt on their backs or reaching out with their trunks to connect with a friend can result in punishment.

Other circus animals face similar fates: A tiger’s territory in the wild can range between 6-20 miles, whereas a circus cage is more than a million times smaller—typically 12’ x 12’ x 10’. In circuses, big cats spend their whole lives in cages, often pacing. Captivity has such a profoundly negative effect on big cats that, in October 2003, British researchers with Oxford University published a study in the journal Nature concluding that wide-ranging carnivores should not be kept in captivity. Similar examples of disparity between the realities of wild and captive existence are true for bears and non-human primates.

It is not surprising that the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums is against the inappropriate keeping of animals with high space requirements in circuses. Additionally, the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums does not permit its member establishments to supply animals to circuses. Even the Bronx Zoo in New York has announced that it will close the elephant exhibit once two or even one of its three elephants die, citing the distinctive traits of pachyderms and America’s changing standards when it comes to confining animals.

Training Cruelty Threatens Public Safety

Regardless of close and regular contact with humans, captive wild animal performers are unpredictable. Incidents involving harm to people can and do happen. Harsh training methods and public safety risks are inextricably linked.  Circuses force animals to perform acts that have nothing to do with how they behave in the wild. For example, the difficult tricks that elephants must perform, such as standing on two legs, sitting on tubs, or waving their trunks, place a great deal of stress on their muscles and joints. Elephant experts and veterinarians agree that elephants will not voluntarily perform these physically taxing and painful maneuvers on command, over and over, hundreds of times a year without the constant threat of punishment. No form of positive reinforcement alone will elicit such unnatural behaviors.

Because these are wild animals, they will never be predictable when performing unnatural stunts, so trainers use brute force to maintain a position of dominance. The animals perform out of fear. It is standard and accepted practice that training wild animals to perform unnatural tricks requires negative reinforcement using bull hooks, whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods and other tools. “Bull hooks” or “ankuses” are approximately three-foot long clubs with sharp metal hooks on the end.

In the case of elephants, researchers do not yet fully understand the psychological impact of dominance-oriented breaking methods on the psychological welfare of elephants. However, observations suggest that if the animal has the opportunity, it may become more aggressive and attack the trainer, causing injury or death. Worse still is the possibility of an elephant rampage with an audience in close proximity. Neither circuses nor venue personnel have a plan for such a terrifying incident.

Aren’t There Laws Against This?

The federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is the primary form of protection afforded to circus animals. Unfortunately, the AWA creates only minimum housing and maintenance standards for animals in traveling exhibits and it is poorly enforced. Notably, the Animal Welfare Act does not prohibit any kind of cruel training methods. However, regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Animal Welfare Act do stipulate that “[p]hysical abuse shall not be used to train, work, or otherwise handle animals,” and that the “[h]andling of all animals shall be done . . . in a manner that does not cause trauma . . . behavioral stress, physical harm, or unnecessary discomfort.” Unfortunately the enforcement of these regulations is difficult due to the lack of agency monitoring during training sessions, which is when it is more likely for animals to be mistreated. It is not uncommon for rehearsals on the road to be entirely different from the more significant training sessions that go on in the permanent training center, behind closed doors.

The USDA has about 120 inspectors who are responsible for more than 11,000 licensed facilities nationwide, which means that most facilities are inspected only once every 2-3 years. In fact, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) guidelines on inspections advise inspectors, “You do not have to inspect every circus or traveling exhibitor that exhibits in your territory.”  In 2005, the USDA’s Office of the Inspector General issued a report stating that animal welfare officials in the department’s Eastern region (which covers all licensees east of the Mississippi River) were “lax” in punishing zoos and other facilities where people or animals are endangered.

The 21st Century Circus of Willing Performers

Luckily changes are starting to take shape: Just in the past year, Feld Entertainment Inc., which produces Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus received a record penalty of $270,000 from the USDA for violations of the Animal Welfare Act from 2007–2011. This was the likely result of numerous undercover videos obtained by animal advocacy organizations.

Animal-free circuses are also on the rise. Take for example Cirque du Soleil, known for its human-only performances, which has entertained more than 100 million people in 40-plus countries around the world since 1984 and grosses $700 million in annual revenue.

When the Cole Bros. Circus traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, in 2005 on its animal-free tour, it reported that the circus had its “best year…in a long time” and “can put on as good or better show than without the exotics.” Research recently undertaken by Pace’s Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship indicates that when the iconic Big Apple Circus headquartered in New York City eliminated its elephants from the show in 2005, the non-profit’s revenues were unaffected through 2010.

Today, animal circuses are down to only a handful of operations.  As more people are learning about the cruel realities of animal circus performers—especially wild, exotic animals—the public is growing uncomfortable with supporting such circuses, by opting to find alternative forms of entertainment.  Nearly 30 wild and exotic animal-free circuses perform throughout the United States. And this is exactly the direction society should be heading. Because when children are exposed to the negative and inaccurate messages circuses send, it contradicts the more valuable lessons of ecosystem function, habitat, animal behavior, and conservation.

 

Green Tweets

Seidenberg Professor Catherine Dwyer examines if Twitter can truly be the tipping point for climate change.

“You have people clicking the ‘like’ button or retweeting and feeling like they’ve actually done something for the environment instead of say recycling,” says Catherine Dwyer, PhD, Seidenberg associate professor and member of Special Interest Group on Green Information Systems (SIGGreen). The group, which brings together a wide variety of Green IS professionals and researchers, uses technology to facilitate transglobal collaboration and research. SIGGreen members recently traveled to Barcelona where Dwyer presented her research on Twitter’s role in the issue of climate change.

Dwyer presenting in Barcelona, Spain.

“Everybody is on Twitter and there is a goodwill feeling that has a role in advocacy. We saw it with the Arab Spring and other political events and it certainly has enabled a lot of connections between people who were not connected before,” says Dwyer. “But can Twitter really make a difference in something as complex and interconnected as climate change?”

Using Malcolm Gladwell’s analysis from his article “Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted,” Dwyer mapped his findings onto the issue of climate change. “He had terrible timing—In October 2010 he writes that Twitter basically doesn’t matter, and along comes the Arab Spring in early 2011,” explains Dwyer. “It looked as though he was completely wrong, but he really made some good points.”

Twitter, she agrees, is great for making connections with different people and sharing information, but the degree to which people are engaged hasn’t been measured yet. So is all of this liking and retweeting just a superficial phenomenon in social media?

The answer is yes and no. While Dwyer and other Green IS professionals are working out the nuts and bolts of recognizing, measuring, and optimizing engagement, Dwyer has noted a trend. Most social media, she believes, seems to be most successful in the advocacy arena when related to a current or ongoing event like the Gulf oil spill. “Organizations were all over Twitter then, and they were breaking all kinds of news stories,” she says “but we don’t have those sorts of events every day.”

To learn more about SIGGreen and the work they’re doing, click here.

Leadership and Service in Technology

On June 21 the Seidenberg School with keynote speaker Soledad O’Brien, CNN anchor, honors Verizon CIO and Senior Vice President of IT Strategy and Planning Judith Spitz, PhD, at its 17th annual award reception.

On Thursday, June 21, the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems will host its 17th Annual Leadership and Service in Technology Award Reception. The award is presented to an individual who exemplifies leadership in the field of technology by demonstrating a commitment to development, innovation, research, and application. Proceeds from the reception support Seidenberg students through scholarship funding and underwriting key academic initiatives.

Verizon CIO and Senior Vice President of IT Strategy and Planning Judith Spitz, PhD, will be recognized at this year’s reception. Spitz is being honored for her contributions to technology including the  establishment of enterprise-wide standards for IT computing infrastructure and systems architecture, for IT portfolio and talent management, process and technology transformation, IT governance and compliance, and finally for integration with corporate strategy. Through her 26-year career at Verizon, Spitz has also shown a commitment to encouraging young women to pursue an education and career in technology.

“I have been associated with Pace University and the Seidenberg School for many years and I am continually impressed by the incredible work they do both in educating their students and reaching out to and supporting the community,” says Spitz. “I am so very humbled to be their honoree this year and I am extremely proud to represent Verizon and their commitment to women in technology at the 2012 Leadership and Service in Technology Award Reception.”

This year’s reception will also feature a keynote address from Soledad O’Brien, anchor for the CNN morning show Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien and special correspondent for CNN.

The annual Leadership and Service in Technology Award Reception reflects Pace’s commitment to promoting technology as a creative, practical, and empowering career in the 21st century. Over the past five years, the Leadership and Service in Technology Award Reception has provided support for more than 50 students. Past recipients of the honor include Gary Butler, President and CEO, Automatic Data Processing; Jay Dweck, Managing Director Global Head of Strategies, Morgan Stanley;  Joseph Simon, Chief Information Officer, Viacom; and many others.

For more information about the award reception, please contact Pamela Yosh at pyosh@pace.edu or log on to www.pace.edu/lst

Summer at the Schimmel

Looking for things to do around Pace’s New York City Campus over the summer? NYC’s River to River Festival returns to keep you busy in June and July.

This summer’s River to River Festival brings a myriad of fun, free events to the Downtown area. This year, River to River presents a four-week season that focuses on artists who are native New Yorkers or whose works have been greatly inspired by the Big Apple. Several events scheduled for June and July will be held at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts on Pace’s NYC Campus.

Oceanic Verses
Monday, June 25 at 7:30 p.m.
River to River presents the New York premiere of acclaimed new music composer Paola Prestini’s Oceanic Verses. This full-length multimedia opera created in collaboration with librettist Donna Di Novelli, film artist Ali Hossaini, and director Kevin Newbury is set against the backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea, where two ghosts re-enact their courtship, a sailor searches for lost songs, and a scholar discovers a common past.

Arieb Azhar
Tuesday, July 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Sharp eloquence, humanist politics, and mystic poetries are given a global voice by this singer-songwriter and his acoustic band from Islamabad, Pakistan. Azhar leads a quartet of musicians in an eclectic mix of urban and folk-based songs grounded in Sufi and other humanist poetries from across Eurasia, paying tribute to Irish balladeers, Croatian gypsies, Punjabi traders, and ancient Sanskrit texts.

Source of Uncertainty II
Saturday, July 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Source of Uncertainty II features a premiere performance of Energy Shapes by Morton Subotnick and excerpts from Silver Apples of the Moon. Preceding Subotnick’s performance will be a presentation of Orchestra of the Damned by Richard Lainhart.

Missy Mazzoli and Victoire
Wednesday, July 11 at 7:30 p.m.
The River to River Festival presents a musical portrait of “postclassical queen bee,” composer Missy Mazzoli. Performing songs with her own signature “shimmering, surging, post-Minimalist flow” (Time Out New York), Mazzoli will be joined by Matt Mehlan with his band Skeletons. The concert will feature world premieres by Mehlan and Mazzoli.

Alarm Will Sound performing John Cage’s Song Books
Sunday, July 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Alarm Will Sound’s fans know that the group has been combining music and theater for some time now. What they might not know is that John Cage’s work was an early inspiration to take that path. The members of the ensemble did a production of Song Books as students years before starting Alarm Will Sound and much of what they’ve accomplished since then in innovating the concert-hall experience goes right back to the excitement they felt during that first Song Books.

For more information about these and other events going on in the Downtown area, visit the River to River site.

Scary Stories to Tell on the Web

Dyson Professor Jillian Mcdonald tells her own story about what happens when art meets Internet and how collaborative research with Seidenberg student Julie Gill ’12 helped bring her Horror Stories to life.

Jillian Mcdonald and Julie Gill '12

“When we first completed horror stories in 2009, it was working, but neither of us was excited about it,” says Jillian Mcdonald, an associate professor of fine arts and co-director of the Pace Digital Gallery, discussing a new venture to put her work online. This lack of excitement is what prompted Mcdonald and her undergraduate partner Seidenberg student Julie Gill ’12 to continue their work as part of the first undergraduate student/faculty research initiative.

“We initially made the project in a design environment using Adobe Flash, but by the time we finished, Flash appeared to be on the verge of obsolescence,” says Mcdonald. “We saw this research opportunity as a chance to redo the project in a way that was more viable online and especially on mobile platforms. It was a way to release the project in a more current fashion.”

The project Mcdonald and Gill were collaborating on was a web-based artwork entitled Horror Stories, which Mcdonald describes as “not a film per se, but a contemporary update and visual equivalent to ghost stories told around a campfire.” It is an online space where visitors can consume and produce their own chilling tales―using Mcdonald’s footage or uploading their own.

As Mcdonald designed the visual and aural elements of horror stories, Gill went about figuring out how best to translate the artwork to the web. In her blog chronicling her work, Gill writes “I researched many new web technologies and languages with the features in mind. We know that video upload and play is the most important thing so the main criterion when researching languages is the video support offered by the language.  I found that Ruby on Rails, a new and cutting edge web programming language, has the best support for video uploading and YouTube support.”

After deciding that Ruby on Rails would be the best language choice for horror stories, Gill began learning the language and programming around Mcdonald’s artistic imaginings. Using Mcdonald’s vision as a guide, Gill was able to code a veritable palette of images, sounds, and video clips that visitors to the site could use to compose their own horror story. Visitors could then view and share their own or user-contributed creations on different social networking platforms.

“The aspect of collaboration can potentially make artwork more rich, exciting, and participatory,” says Mcdonald, who is known for her video and performance art that typically feature macabre zombie marches or the artist’s insertion of herself into movie scenes with well-known actors. “More and more I find myself working with actors, musicians, sound designers, and programmers, among others. Over the last three or four years, I’ve worked on large scale videos and performances involving many actors. These have required a lot of collaboration.”

Want to tell your own scary story? Visit Horror Stories online at horrorstories.jillianmcdonald.net

The DNA of Pace University

The Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology hosts the 11th annual Faculty Institute on Pace’s PLV Campus, featuring keynote speakers Victor E. Ferrall and Marc Prensky.

Join the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology (CTLT) at this year’s 11th annual Faculty Institute on May 17 and 18 on Pace’s Westchester Campus. This year’s theme, The DNA of Pace University: Collaboration and Innovation, is focused on the development of partnerships between faculty, staff, administrators, and students, as well as the promotion of collaboration among members of the Pace Community.

On day one, keynote speaker Victor E. Ferrall, president emeritus of Beloit College and author, will discuss the challenges facing liberal arts colleges today. Also planned for the day are sessions presented by the Faculty Research Forum, whose goals this year were to increase faculty publication rates and promote interdisciplinary collaboration, and the Pforzheimer Center for Faculty Development, which will share their work from the past year.

The second day of the Institute will be dedicated to addressing the innovations and collaborations currently happening at the University in the forms of interdisciplinary teaching, research, and the use of new technologies. The day’s keynote speaker, Marc Prensky, is an internationally acclaimed writer, speaker, and innovator in the field of education. Additionally, a panel presentation by representatives from each of Pace’s colleges and schools is also planned for the second day of the Institute. The Panel is set to present their own initiatives which best exemplify the theme of Collaboration, Innovation, and Research.

For more information about the Faculty Institute or to attend, please visit www.pace.edu/facultyinstitute.

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

Dyson Psychology Professor Paul Griffin, PhD, and Pace student Boyan Robak explore gender differences in romantic rejection and how experiencing a break-up is similar to experiencing loss through death.

“He had some interesting questions, like ‘is it harder to break up with someone than to lose someone?’” says Dyson Psychology Professor Paul Griffin, PhD, of his student research partner Boyan Robak. “He used a lot of death references for comparison, and a light went off in my head because I had done some previous work on bereavement and was in the process of co-writing a paper on grief therapy with my colleague, Anthony Mancini.”

The research, which was part of the Undergraduate Student-Faculty Research Initiative, was proposed to Griffin by Robak, who had recently been through a break-up. For Robak, the break-up inspired questions about gender differences and how people deal with romantic rejection. The pair developed a questionnaire that was re-conceptualized from one that would be used to measure grief after death. The questionnaire was given to 162 young adults who had been in a romantic relationship of at least three months that had since ended. The questionnaire used attachment theory to elucidate what attachment style respondents had (e.g., an anxious attachment style was exhibited by those individuals who were anxious or worried about their partner not loving them and avoidant styles expressed by those who were removed from and guarded about romantic relationships). The questionnaire also measured respondents’ levels of self-esteem and rejection sensitivity.

Paul Griffin, PhD

“We found that romantic break-ups were a real part of their lives, whereas death is not,” explains Griffin. “When people talk about grieving due to death, they don’t have the same experience as a loss versus a break-up. This is probably because the romantic relationship is much more personal because at this point in their lives the relationship losses they incur due to romantic break-ups are more significant than those due to death. But what I would like to make clear is that the likely reason why break-up loss is ‘more personal’ is because at this point in their lives the relationship losses they incur due to romantic break-ups are more significant than those due to death.”

As expected, attachment style did affect the way people reported they reacted to break-ups. People who were more anxious measured significantly higher in bereavement symptoms. The inverse was also true—that individuals who had avoidant attachment style were less likely to report having a hard time after a break-up. Also, true to prediction, individuals who reported high self-esteem were less likely to be “hung up” on a break-up.

Boyan Robak

“We asked who was responsible for the break-up, thinking that if the other person was responsible that the respondent would be more likely to feel rejection. We thought this would especially be the case with women,” says Griffin “but there was no significant gender difference when reacting to breaking up.”

The pair also predicted that the majority of break-ups would be initiated by men. However they found that women were just as likely to end a relationship, something that Griffin believes lends itself to changing social norms.  More investigation should be done, says Griffin, on how break-ups affect well-being. He plans on doing subsequent follow-up studies in Pace’s new Psychology Lab.

“We did a lot of work on this. It wasn’t my project—it was Boyan’s. I don’t think I would’ve gone down this road,” Griffin says, “but the great thing about working with students is that they force you to think outside the box.”

Are you interested in working with an undergraduate student to conduct research during the 2012-2013 year? Pace is committed to strengthening the undergraduate research climate through the Undergraduate Student-Faculty Research Program, designed to increase opportunities for students to undertake research and scholarship with faculty. Click here for more information.


 

Celebrating Commencement 2012

Commencement is just around the corner, so here’s the 411 for faculty or staff members. From award ceremonies, to Honorary Degree Recipients, to dates and times, find out what you need to know.

It’s almost time for this year’s graduates to walk the walk, and as we bid adieu to the Class of 2012, here are a few things you need to know before the big day. For the New York City undergraduate and graduate level ceremonies, Pace returns to Radio City Music Hall on Wednesday, May 16. Commencement on the Pleasantville Campus is planned for Friday, May 11 at the Ann and Alfred Goldstein Health, Fitness, and Recreation Center and Law School Commencement will be on the White Plains Campus, Sunday, May 20.

This year, the University is pleased to announce Stephen Apkon, Danny Meyer, and Donna E. Shalala as this year’s Honorary Degree Recipients.

Stephen Apkon, executive director of the Jacob Burns Film Center and Media Arts Lab, will be the Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient at the Pleasantville Undergraduate Commencement ceremony. As Founder and Executive Director of the Jacob Burns Film Center, Inc., Apkon has combined a lifelong passion for film with his desire to revitalize his hometown of Pleasantville, NY.

The Honorary Degree Recipient at the NYC Undergraduate ceremony will be Danny Meyer, the CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, which includes Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, Jazz Standard, Shake Shack, The Modern, Maialino, Untitled, North End Grill, Union Square Events, and Hospitality Quotient, a learning and consulting business. Meyer, his restaurants, and chefs have earned an unprecedented 24 James Beard Awards.

Donna E. Shalala, professor of Political Science and president of the University of Miami, has been selected as the Honorary Degree Recipient at the graduate ceremony in New York City. Shalala has more than 30 years of experience as an accomplished scholar, teacher, and administrator. In 1993 President Clinton appointed her U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) where she served for eight years, becoming the longest serving HHS Secretary in U.S. history.

On May 20, Pace Law School will honor the Honorable Andrew Lamar Carter Jr., U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) with a Doctor of Laws degree. Carter was nominated by President Barack Obama and appointed to the SDNY in December 2011. He also served as United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York. He began his career as a public defender and worked as a staff and supervising attorney with the Federal Defenders of New York and with the Legal Aid Society in the criminal defense and federal defenders division.

Prior to the Commencement ceremonies, award ceremonies and receptions will be held on both campuses. Faculty are encouraged to attend the award ceremony and reception for your school/college to commemorate the Class of 2012! Dates and times are as follows:

 For more information about this year’s Commencement ceremonies and everything you need to know about participating, visit http://www.pace.edu/commencement.

Pace Perspectives: Hydrofracking

Franz Litz is the Executive Director of the Pace Energy and Climate Center at Pace Law School, where he also teaches energy and climate change law. Read why he believes we should focus more on climate change and less on fracking.

By Franz Litz

Climate change is the single greatest environmental challenge humankind has ever faced. Unabated, global warming pollution threatens human health, entire ecosystems, and large land areas inhabited by hundreds of millions of people. Averting the worst impacts of climate change means we must reduce our reliance on high-carbon fuels like coal and oil and over time move to a near zero-carbon economy by mid-century.

It won’t be easy. And it will take focus. We must become more energy efficient and begin investing more aggressively in renewable energy now. On the way to a cleaner, greener economy, we will have to continue to make hard choices about how we produce electricity, propel our vehicles, and heat our homes. Until we reach that sustainable energy future, saying “no” to one fuel means saying yes to some combination of the other available fuels.

Opponents of fracking seem to be missing this bigger picture—it is not that their environmental and health concerns have no merit, but that even valid concerns must be evaluated in the context of our larger climate change and energy realities.

Hydraulic fracturing uses large quantities of water mixed with chemicals. Cases of groundwater contamination have been tied to both fracking and conventional natural gas wells drilled in an atmosphere of lax or non-existent regulation. As a native of New York’s Adirondacks, I do not relish the thought of industrial drilling rigs dotting the landscape of the Catskill Mountains region or the rolling hills of New York’s southern tier.

On the other hand, environmentalists in the Northeast have worked tirelessly for decades to lessen the impact of coal plants upwind. Those coal plants spew toxic mercury, acid-rain-causing sulfur dioxide, and smog-causing nitrogen oxides that cause serious health problems. And then there are the impacts of coal mining itself—impacts that are well documented and severe.

What do the dangers of coal have to do with the dangers of natural gas? Increased natural gas supplies have made natural gas the least-cost fuel for electricity generation in the United States. By most credible estimates, natural gas power plants emit half the global warming pollution of coal plants per unit of power produced, and natural gas presents almost none of the other air pollution problems of coal.

If we replace one-third of the existing coal-burning power generation with natural gas—a realistic goal—we’d reduce U.S. global warming pollution by at least 5%. If we could replace one-third of the transportation fleet currently burning oil-derived fuels with natural gas vehicles, we could reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by another 5%.

Because the environmental risks associated with fracking are real, we must work to put the right regulations in place to ensure fracking is as safe as possible. We also need adequate regulatory oversight to ensure the gas industry is complying with those regulations. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens have halted fracking in New York until these safeguards are in place. This is precisely the kind of reasonable approach to fracking that we need.

Why am I a fan of cheap natural gas? Abundant natural gas will do what most politicians have been unwilling to do—significantly reduce global warming pollution by displacing dirty coal plants. And while the energy markets work their magic, we need to continue to drive energy efficiency and renewable energy. Ultimately, though, tackling climate change and creating a sustainable energy future will require politicians in Washington that understand the need for action. If we are to make them understand, we need to focus more on climate change, and less on fracking.

Want to know more about fracking? Join members of the Pace Community on April 9 for a multi-campus discussion on the controversies surrounding hydrofracking in New York. Please RSVP online at www.pace.edu/paaes/events.

Pace Perspectives: Hydrofracking

Dyson College’s Claudia Mausner, PhD, an adjunct professor in the Environmental Studies Program, discusses the importance of empowering Pace students to be agents of change when dealing with energy issues and hydrofracking in particular.

By Claudia Mausner, PhD

I bring a social science perspective to this subject, examining people’s attitudes and behaviors. My goal is to help students understand the underlying issues related to sustainability or “going green,” and how environmental problems are related to culture, economics, politics, and communications, as well as the behavioral and social sciences. Teaching both environmental and non-environmental majors, I strive to pique student interest by emphasizing the relevance of sustainability to students’ daily lives both in school and at home; I help students recognize the many ways they can make a difference despite their youth and status as college students. At times students seem discouraged by what they perceive as lack of external support for environmental action, and lack sufficient motivation or ability to counteract this perception with confidence in their own power to create change.

When introducing the topic of energy in my classes, we typically focus on cultural and historic attitudes toward nature-as-resource as well as issues of climate change. I introduce the subject of renewable energy—solar, hydro, wind, geothermal—along with a discussion of nonrenewable energy from fossil fuels, including hydrofracking for natural gas. We also review the role of nuclear power, although I openly acknowledge my concerns about this technology despite its advantage in addressing the problem of carbon emissions vis-à-vis climate change.

I am a realist regarding use of non-renewable energy in today’s world, as transition to more sustainable energies will take time. It is essential that students have the library skills required for finding relevant information about these complex subjects; they must know how to evaluate reliability of their sources and use critical thinking skills to make responsible decisions with the vast amount of information available. My objective in the classroom is to create an atmosphere which invites open exchange of ideas, attitudes, and concerns, as well as sharing of knowledge. We examine how our own behavior contributes to the problem—such as driving from dorm to classroom on the Pleasantville Campus—and consider what sacrifices we might be willing to make to increase our own energy efficient behavior and conservation strategies.

Several years ago I used a textbook called Planet U for my Sustainable Living course. In this text the author emphasized the university’s broad responsibility for what he termed “sustaining the world.” It is typically assumed that universities will conduct scientific research to address energy problems. Research has been and will continue to be conducted across a wide spectrum of disciplines, contributing to progress in development of energy-saving technologies; improving renewable energy technologies (think car batteries); designing technologies to reduce emissions from existing power plants; analyzing the ecological impact of oil spills in order to improve clean-up efforts; and so on. But as large institutions that use energy themselves, universities can and should serve as engines of change by shifting their own energy consumption patterns. Pace, of course, is no exception.

Universities such as Pace are major employers with hundreds of commuters; they design, construct, and operate buildings that consume power; their endowments invest in numerous energy-related businesses; and both food and supplies purchased by the University have energy footprints as well. My students have examined sustainability practices at Pace with the College Sustainability Report Card http://www.greenreportcard.org/ and, as of last year, the STARS program https://stars.aashe.org/.  They reviewed pages on Pace’s website which describe the University’s sustainability efforts, and made recommendations for keeping students well-informed and fostering increased participation in environmental activities both on and off campus.

I first became aware of hydrofracking in early 2011 with the release of the movie Gasland. As a member of Tarrytown’s Environmental Advisory Council I helped arrange a showing of the movie at our public library, and was delighted when Pace Law Professor Nicholas A. Robinson was in the audience and contributed his in-depth knowledge of the subject during our follow-up conversation with community members. Later that year I was invited by Tracy Basile, a colleague in Pace’s Environmental Studies program, to work on an Earth Day hydrofracking program featuring her film The Unfractured Future. This month I look forward to participating in the Fracking Forum sponsored by Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies, hosted for both NYC and Pleasantville students through videoconferencing. The Fracking Forum has been specifically designed to inform students, staff, and faculty about this critical issue from diverse perspectives, and to encourage active engagement as the state of New York moves forward on this issue.

Given this essay is appearing in a University publication, it may be blasphemous to inform readers that decades of social science research have proven that knowledge alone is not sufficient to change environmental behavior. Ultimately, what we need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels—whether oil, coal or natural gas—is to change both attitudes and behavior. But knowledge is certainly an excellent starting point, especially for those already committed to creating a healthier, safer, and more sustainable world. Working together across departments, programs, and schools at Pace, I believe there is enormous potential to harness the passion, skills, knowledge, and talents of myriad students, faculty, and staff to make a difference solving intractable energy problems including those associated with hydrofracking, which is arguably the most important environmental issue to confront New Yorkers this decade.

Want to know more about fracking? Join members of the Pace Community on April 9 for a multi-campus discussion on the controversies surrounding hydrofracking in New York. Please RSVP online at www.pace.edu/paaes/events.

Pace Perspectives: Hydrofracking

Dean Emeritus of Pace Law School Richard L. Ottinger is the co-director for the Center for Environmental Legal Studies and founder of the Pace Energy and Climate Center. Read his views on the regulatory issues around fracking.

By Richard L. Ottinger

Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing (“fracking”) of shale formations to access natural gas supplies heretofore unable to be harvested economically creates a vast potential domestic energy resource for areas with appropriate shale resources.

The process has serious environmental problems, however, that need to be resolved and vigorously regulated to avoid overtaxing and contaminating drinking water supplies, dangerous air pollution, earthquakes, assure reimbursement for any accidents or damages to affected properties, and to assure minimization of the release of greenhouse gasses.

The fracking process involves drilling into the shale deposits and forcing more than a million gallons of water, sand, and chemicals per well through cement pipes into the shale to release the embedded gasses. The chemical-infused wastewater is returned, often with radioactive materials that occur in the shale, and it has to be stored or reprocessed in a manner to prevent leakage into aquifers and reservoirs used for drinking water. Hundreds of trucks bring in water and transport the waste water to disposal sites, often spilling waste water and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.

There now are hundreds of wells in the U.S. that were improperly plugged after the wells were abandoned resulting in serious leakage of waste water, toxic chemicals and radioactive materials into drinking water supplies. Some fracking companies failed to use adequate qualities of cement in the drilling pipes resulting in leakages both of contaminated water and methane gases that are powerful greenhouse gas contributors. There have been incidents of methane fires and explosions. Fracking companies have refused to disclose the identity and concentrations of chemicals they use in the fracking process claiming that the information is proprietary. Contaminated wastewater has been delivered to POTW facilities that lacked the capability of processing the chemical and radioactive wastes.

In Pennsylvania, there were serious incidents of water contamination resulting in illnesses and deaths, adjacent property values plummeted, and the banks no longer will give or extend mortgages to property owners in the vicinity of fracking projects. Affected property owners were not properly reimbursed.

Regulation of fracking operations to prevent harm to public health and the environment has been abysmal. At the federal level, the Energy Policy Act of 2005[i], orchestrated by Vice President Cheney and signed by President George W. Bush, exempted fracking from most of the provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act and restricted application of NEPA and other environmental statutes.  State regulations have been insipid and poorly enforced. The DGEIS prepared by the Department of Environmental Conservation in New York was seriously deficient, and the Riverkeeper, NRDC and other environmental organizations, and the US EPA have submitted extensive comments detailing the deficiencies.

The principal regulations required to assure protection of public health and the environment include:

  • Fracking must be prohibited in the vicinity of major drinking water supplies, in areas on seismic faults and in areas with drinking water shortages.
  • The specifications for pipeline construction and wastewater repositories must be strict to the point of preventing leakage of chemical and radioactive materials and methane under all foreseeable contingencies.
  • The chemicals used in fracking must be fully disclosed, at least to the regulatory authorities.
  • Wastewater must not be sent to POTW plants that lack the ability to remove toxic and radioactive materials.
  • Specifications for trucks that transport wastewater must require adequate protection against leakage in the event of accidents or driver negligence. Drivers must be adequately trained in the safe handling of these materials.
  • Procedures must be required to handle all foreseeable accidents, and equipment necessary to handle such events must be available at each fracking site.
  • The exemption of fracking operations from federal environmental laws must be repealed.
  • Regulations must be strictly enforced, adequate numbers of enforcers must be hired and adequately trained, and penalties for failure to abide by regulations must be severe.
  • There should be strict liability for damages caused by fracking operations, and a fund or insurance should be required to compensate all persons and communities that suffer damages resulting from fracking.
  • Assistance should be provided to developing countries to enable them to adopt and enforce these regulatory measures.
  • These measures should be paid for by a tax on the revenues from fracking operations.

If these measures are adopted and enforced, then natural gas from fracking could be a useful transition fuel while energy efficiency and renewable energy measures are adopted and adequate transmission systems are constructed.

Natural gas still is a greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuel; the necessity for replacing all fossil fuels, including natural gas, with non-carbon alternatives still should be the world’s energy priority.


[i] 42 U.S.C. § 300h(d)(1) (2006).

Want to know more about fracking? Join members of the Pace Community on April 9 for a multi-campus discussion on the controversies surrounding hydrofracking in New York. Please RSVP online at www.pace.edu/paaes/events.

Pace Perspectives: Hydrofracking

Environmental Science student Diane Saraiva ’12 offers a student perspective on hydrofracking, the damage it causes, and the possibility of greener alternatives.

By Diane Saraiva ’12

It seems that the latest domestic craze in energy is hydraulic fracturing. The gas industry can certainly make this energy option seem like a perfect fix and solution to several aspects of our energy crisis. Natural gas is promoted as an alternative to coal and oil, and can be extracted domestically, eventually reducing the United States’ dependence on foreign oil. With full exploitation of this energy source, a huge industry would be developed, one that could rival the enormity of that of coal and oil. This would create countless and much needed jobs. However, there has been a great debate over whether these benefits outweigh the dangers of the processes of hydraulic fracturing.

The production, transport, and actual burning of natural gas can create huge water, air, and health problems. It has been estimated that the operation of a single well can use between 2,370,000 and 7,700,000 gallons of water. This is especially alarming because water scarcity has the potential to become an even bigger issue than energy consumption in the coming years.

Drinking water in areas of gas production is also severely at risk of being polluted by hydraulic fracturing processes.  It has been estimated that as much as 30% of fracturing fluids remain underground, allowing for upward leeching into the groundwater from which people are obtaining drinking water. Dangerous chemicals often make up a small percentage of the fracturing fluids. However, many of these chemicals have been classified as toxic and carcinogenic.

Gas industries are benefiting greatly from the relaxed government regulation and exemptions from laws that exist to protect our drinking water supplies and the integrity of water quality. Any real attempts that have been made by lawmakers to increase regulation of natural gas production processes have stirred up an uproar with the gas company’s powerful defenders. The gas industry’s immense influence in Washington is due to the consolidation of the gas industry with some of the largest oil companies.

Horror stories keep emerging from all around the country as natural gas drilling is becoming more and more common. There are countless issues related to hydraulic fracturing, including the hazards to the surrounding land and water sources where wastes are dumped, inadequate treatments to wastewater and sludge, methane pollution to the degree that allows people to set their faucets on fire, and direct effects of drilling, like noise and foul smells, communities are exposed to. Many homeowners that lease their properties to gas companies are financially struggling and are lured in because of the prospect of financial compensation. Often, what homeowners are left with are polluted wells, health issues, and an overall disrupted and polluted community. We have to consider all the potential effects the application of this technology could cause. Truth is that the long term effects of hydraulic fracturing are not known from experiences from the past few years. The methods of exploration of hydraulic fracturing can be considered nothing short of irresponsible and must be mended if natural gas production is to become as ‘clean’ as it is promoted to be.

Want to know more about fracking? Join members of the Pace Community on April 9 for a multi-campus discussion on the controversies surrounding hydrofracking in New York. Please RSVP online at www.pace.edu/paaes/events.

Silver Surfers

Jean F. Coppola and her nationally recognized collaborative and multidisciplinary research team study older adults, computing, and what happens when the Internet Age and the Golden Age collide.

Jean F. Coppola, PhD

“Someone at that age is sometimes scared that they’re going to break the computer,” says Jean F. Coppola, PhD, of the senior citizens she works with. “But they don’t want to be left behind. They want to learn.”

Coppola, an associate professor of Information Technology at Pace’s Seidenberg School, is also one of the lead researchers in a nationally recognized collaborative and multidisciplinary team studying older adults and computing.  The Gerontech Team, which is led by Coppola and Lienhard Professors Lin Drury, PhD, and Sharon Wexler, PhD, comprises several Westchester County administrators and professors from both Pace and other institutions, is currently working with several community partners and Pace students to improve the quality of life—emotionally, cognitively, and socially—for older adults learning about technology.

A few years back, Coppola was called on by the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services to participate in Take Your Grandparent to Work Day. Due to the logistical limitations of the request, Coppola and her students brought their work to the senior citizens. “We had support from IBM—we had laptops with a network—and we taught the seniors to make photo greeting cards using their photos of family and friends,” she says. “After that experience I knew we had found something special.”

Afterwards, Coppola co-developed a service-learning course called “Intergenerational Computing,” which was first offered to Pace students in spring 2006. This small class was the first formal incarnation of what Coppola and her students are researching today. The students, who also learn about social gerontology and technology in action, go through sensitivity training so that they are better able to understand the needs of senior citizens.  The training, which is conducted by Drury and Wexler, involves students using everything from wheelchairs, walkers, and leg weights to experience limited mobility, to glasses and earplugs that simulate vision and hearing impairments, to popcorn in shoes to create a feeling like arthritis. This creative and necessary part of training helps ensure students have a new awareness of their senior citizen pupils and instills in them a patience that is necessary when working with senior citizens.

The course has expanded and evolved since its introduction in 2006. Coppola’s gained new community partners including nursing homes, adult day care centers, and centers that cater to people living with cerebral palsy. In addition, the research team has partnered with Telekin.com for the donation of touch-screen computers and CogniFit.com, which has donated 1,000 licenses for their brain fitness software.

As words like Google, Twitter, and wiki enter our everyday lexicon, seniors are increasingly eager to learn about computing and technology. Through Coppola’s research program, Pace is helping provide seniors with the tools they need to use a computer, navigate the internet, and participate in social media.

“Just the other day I had one of the [senior] ladies come up to me and say ‘I think you really can teach an old dog new tricks,’” says Coppola.

For more information about Jean Coppola, PhD, and the work of Pace University Gerontechnology Program, click here.

Editor’s Note: Since publication, The Los Angeles Times featured Pace’s gerontechnology program headed by computer science professor Jean Coppola, PhD, and nursing professors Sharon Wexler, PhD, and Lin Drury, PhD, on March 20, 2012. The same day, Coppola was honored by Cerebral Palsy of Westchester which declared the day “Jean Coppola Day” for the work she does teaching technology to older adults.

 

 

36 Reasons to Love Theater

For the next month, The Actors Studio Drama School gives you 36 reasons to love theater as the students in this year’s graduating class bring to life their hard work and talent in the fourth annual Repertory Season.

This March, The Actors Studio Drama School kicks off its annual Repertory Season, five weeks of theater designed to introduce graduating students to the public in professional productions of the work they have created during their three years of study. This year’s crop of graduating students—comprising 36 actors and directors, and one playwright—bring you more than a month of exciting and challenging theater, featuring selected scenes from the work of legendary playwrights Anton Chekhov, Noel Coward, Mel Brooks, and more.

Productions take place:
March 28–April 28, 2012
Wednesday through Friday at 8:00 p.m.
Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

For a full list of this year’s performances, visit www.pace.edu/ASDSrep.

Admission is free, but seating is limited and reservations are recommended. For reservations please call (212) 501-2099 or e-mail: ASDSRep@pace.edu

A Professor’s Musical Salute

For Dyson Professor Diane Cypkin, PhD, performance, culture, and history intersect—both personally and academically. Join her on March 27 as she brings to life the story of Molly Picon, the First Lady of the Yiddish Stage.

On Tuesday, March 27 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., experience one of the most entertaining—and lyrical—lectures in town as Media and Communication Arts Professor Diane Cypkin, PhD presents a  concert/lecture on the life and legacy of Molly Picon in the Multipurpose Room at One Pace Plaza. The New York City-born Picon became an icon in the Yiddish entertainment world, performing on the stage of the Second Avenue Theater on New York City’s Lower East Side and in radio, television, and film productions. One of Picon’s more famous English-speaking roles was as Yente the Matchmaker in the 1971 film version of Fiddler on the Roof.

In addition, Cypkin, who has been teaching for more than 20 years on the Westchester Campus, has appeared in many Yiddish language musical productions and served almost ten years as the Yiddish Theater Consultant at the Museum of the City of New York where she curated the exhibition “A Celebration: 100 Years of Yiddish Theater in New York.”

“The Yiddish theater itself started in 1882 on Second Avenue and the one who started it was Boris Thomashefsky,” explains Cypkin “So in 1982 I did ‘100 Years of Yiddish Theater’ at the Museum of the City of New York. Because of this, the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts knew that I was familiar with Yiddish theater both academically and professionally, which is why they asked me to do the Molly Picon exhibit.”

In Cypkin’s event, she tells the story of Molly Picon and the history of Yiddish theater through both a narrative lecture and the songs Picon became known for. The first performance of Cypkin’s musical tribute to Picon occurred a few years ago at the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts where it was very well received by audiences. In the years since, Cypkin has taken her show on the road to a variety of venues in the tri-state area and as far as Missoula, Montana.

“The show is more than just music—it becomes a community event because I talk about how my parents came to America and how my mother gave me singing lessons and how I eventually came to discover Molly Picon,” says Cypkin.

If you’d like to attend the show, you must RSVP to Selena Chan at schan3@pace.edu or (212) 346-1244 by March 21 at 5:00 p.m..  

 

 

Hitting His Mark

Pace’s new Director of BA Theater Arts/Directing Ion-Cosmin Chivu shares his plans for the future of the program and the first session of the Performing Arts Masters Series on February 13, featuring three of American Theater’s most influential voices.

Ion-Cosmin Chivu started at Pace University in 2006 as an Adjunct Professor of Theater. This past fall he joined the full time faculty in the Department of Performing Arts and became the Director of the Dyson College BA Theater Arts/Directing Program on the New York City Campus. He has directed more than 50  professional and university productions in the United States, Austria, England, Germany, Greece, and Romania. This month, he discusses the upcoming Performing Arts Masters Series and his plans for the future of theater at Pace.

You’re relatively new to the University, but you’re coming on board at an exciting time for the Performing Arts program. How has the experience been for you so far?

Rewarding! The University provides me with an extremely stimulating environment and the opportunity to share my passion for teaching theater. As the newest addition to the full-time faculty in the Performing Arts Department I have a personal commitment to create a climate that nurtures and encourages students to realize their full potential. I am surrounded and deeply inspired by the finest and most supportive colleagues; together we work effectively on developing our students’ distinctive voice and perspective, training them to become first-rate performers, directors, and designers. This year is particularly exciting because we are creating four new programs that will come to fruition by the time we will be in our new home, 140 William Street. Students and teachers will benefit from new rehearsal spaces, classrooms, a TV studio, and a 100-seat theater. This is all happening this year and will undoubtedly raise Pace’s Performing Arts profile.

What can you tell us about the first installment of the Performing Arts Masters Series taking place on February 13?

The Masters Series enhances our mission to providing the new generation of students and artists with the opportunity of interacting with well-established, outstanding professionals that have developed new voices and ideas. Our inaugural session will feature three visionaries from some the most influential American theater institutions: Anne Cattaneo of the Lincoln Center Theater, Maria Goyanes of The Public Theater, and Joe Melillo from the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). I will have the privilege to moderate the session and I intend to engage the evening’s guests in discussions that range from the moment that inspired their commitment to working in theater to their most intriguing work, and from the challenges of the artistic process to their unique practices that resulted in highly acclaimed productions. Also there will be a Q&A session with Pace BFA and BA Performing Arts students.

You can learn more about the event and register here.

What was the motivation for beginning the series?

Learning—accomplishments become more meaningful when articulated in front of new generations of artists. Students will benefit from being in the same room with powerful artists who have developed strong voices in various modes of theatrical expression. We also need to reinvigorate the theater’s ancient role as a public forum by focusing on the social and cultural context for the works of the American Theater of today and tomorrow.

How do you anticipate the series raising the profile of the program and the University as a whole?

Opportunities! In addition to providing curriculum enrichment by introducing our students to the exceptional work of innovative masters, our goal is to increase the presence of visiting high profile artists. They will have the opportunity to appreciate the quality of our training process and to interact with our student body, a crucial step in creating working relationships that would land jobs, assistantships, and internships. Fulfilling the next phase in our students’ emerging career by learning from the best in the business is key in becoming successful artists. Our students’ accomplishments are greatly influencing our program’s reputation and future.

What else can we expect to see from the Performing Arts program in the future?

More high-profile industry professionals. On March 26 we will have three leading Broadway theater producers. On April 23 we are bringing together several Broadway actors. In the future we also intend to dedicate our sessions to well known composers, playwrights, directors, and designers.

For more information about Ion-Cosmin Chivu and Performing Arts at Pace, please log onto www.pace.edu/performingarts.

Employees’ Time to Shine

It’s time to walk the red carpet and take a bow as the annual Employee Recognition Ceremony celebrates the many dedicated Pace employees.

“Our employees have worked hard over the last few years,” says Interim Associate VP of Human Resources Elizabeth Garti. “Given the challenging economic times and our own changing environment, we felt it was important to create more robust recognition programs  to thank our employees for their diligence in achieving excellence.”

You’re a star! And starting February 28, Human Resources will celebrate you, your coworkers and colleagues, and all of your outstanding accomplishments and years of service at the University. In addition to acknowledging milestone service years, special awards such as the STAR Award and the President’s Extra Mile Award will be given to teams and individuals who have showed exemplary leadership and dedication to the University.

“We recognize employees with special awards, not just for the length of their service, but we also provide an opportunity to reward faculty and staff for their outstanding contributions to the University,” Garti says, “and those special awards are directly tied into our Strategic Plan.”

During the Recognition Ceremonies, employees who have served anywhere from 5 to 50 years will also be honored. “There is much tenure at the University,” notes Garti, “and I think that it speaks to the level of pride and loyalty that Pace University employees have in the institution.”

Raymond Lopez, PhD

One such longtime employee is Lubin Professor and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Academic Federal Credit Union Raymond Lopez, PhD, who was recently honored at the Employee Anniversary Luncheon for reaching his 45 year milestone.  Lopez, who has been with the University since 1966, has seen how different facets of the University have changed and evolved over the years, in particular the Lubin School.

“I believe we’re now doing a lot more than just education as an organization,” says Lopez. “The focus in the 60s, 70s, and 80s was primarily on the educational experience, the classroom, knowledge shared between professor and student.” Lopez also notes that there has been a change in the student profile since he began his career at the University—noting an upward trend in women enrolled in Lubin’s MBA program and a marked decline of suits and ties in the classroom. As business men and women return to school, they bring with them their own real-world experiences and innovative problem solving, he says.

“I think one of the major differences between Pace and other schools is the large number of part-time students we have—other places don’t get that mix of diversity that we get here in the City, or the diversity of business experience,” Lopez explains. “I tell my classes ‘you learn not just from me, but the person sitting next to you.’”

Allan M. Rabinowitz

Lubin Professor of Accounting and Publishing Allan M. Rabinowitz, who is celebrating his 50th year of service at the University, began his relationship with Pace in 1954 as an accounting major. He continued to be part of the University after graduation by taking graduate courses and becoming very involved with the Alumni Association. After attaining his CPA designation and MBA degree, he began teaching as an adjunct professor in the Lubin School in the fall of 1962 and became a full-time professor in January 1989.

“Pace has been a consistent blessing in my life and a very happy place for me,” says Rabinowitz. “I would not change any part of my 58 year multifaceted Pace journey.”

Lopez and Rabinowitz are just two of the many Pace employees who have helped the University continue to expand, evolve, and provide the best possible education and services to its many students and alumni.

The award ceremonies and receptions will be held on the following dates:

Law School/Graduate Center
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Tudor Room, Preston Hall
3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

 New York City
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Student Union, One Pace Plaza
3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. 

Briarcliff/Pleasantville
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Gottesman Room, Kessel Student Center
3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

For more information about the Employee Recognition Program, click here or log on to www.pace.edu/awardRSVP  if you plan on attending the ceremony on your campus. 

(Don’t) Fall into the Gap

Sr. St. John Delany discusses her research on literacy and the gender gap—how boys and girls differ in the way they focus, process, and memorize information.

“Over a period of a year, three mothers came to me—they didn’t know each other and came from different parts of Westchester—and each one said to me ‘my son can’t get past the first sentence when he’s asked to write,’” says Sr. St. John Delany, PhD, associate professor at the School of Education. “It was uncanny.”

Delany, in addition to teaching at the School of Education, is also the Director of Pace’s Center for Literacy Enrichment, which will be celebrating its 40th anniversary this spring. For Delany, the trend in boys having difficulty in reading and writing caused her to start thinking about the differences between boys and girls.

She asked herself why boys are the way they are, if they really were different from girls. “Girls try to please you,” she notes. “They try to maintain an interest in whatever it is, try to achieve whatever it is—boys are much more off-handed.”

She set to the task of investigating the brain and how it functions, reading article after article, until she had the opportunity to do a full-fledged research project with undergraduate student Andrew Newmark, who is currently blogging about their work.

Together, Delany and Newmark are monitoring the progress of young readers using a specially developed computer program that uses activities to strengthen students’ ability to focus, process, and memorize information. The group, made up of 10 elementary school students, uses the software five days a week and will work for a minimum of 13 weeks. Delany expects the program will wrap before this coming April.

“We are looking at the differences in the way boys and girls process information and what is the defining cause that might make this [gender gap] occur. But we don’t know just yet. We might find out there is no difference in the way they process information,” says Delany, remaining optimistic about discovering new information before the end of the research project.

The neighboring town of New Rochelle has implemented a similar program for middle and high school aged students, and since then students’ test scores have improved dramatically. Although high scores are important to Delany, she says her main goal in life is to make people better readers.

“I want to know: where is the deficit? Where are these children in the continuum of cognitive development?” she says. “I want to know what we can learn to understand these children better and apply the strategies each one needs.”

For more information about the research being conducted by Sr. St. John Delany and student Andrew Newmark, follow Andrew’s blog on Literacy and the Gender Gap.