Pace University Announces New Provost

Pace University is pleased to announce that Uday Sukhatme, ScD, has accepted the position of Provost at Pace University and will be taking office on May 21, 2012.

Uday Sukhatme, ScD, is quantum physicist and Executive Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

NEW YORK, NY, January 18, 2012 – Pace University President Stephen J. Friedman has announced that Uday Sukhatme, ScD, Executive Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and a distinguished physicist, will assume the role of Provost of Pace, effective May 21, 2012.

“I am delighted that Uday Sukhatme is joining the talented Pace team in this very important position,” Friedman said. “He will lead significant further advancement of our academic programs and faculty development, with a strong focus on the special strengths of each college and school, which are key components of our strategic plan. His academic credentials, strong record of research, and proven success at large and complex academic institutions will be invaluable to our faculty and students.”

Sukhatme succeeds Harriet R. Feldman, PhD, RN, FAAN, a national leader in nursing who assumed the role of interim provost in August 2010. She will be returning to her post as Dean of Pace’s College of Health Professions. Said Friedman: “We deeply appreciate Harriet’s many contributions as interim provost and look forward to the continuation of her long and successful Pace career.”

“Pace is uniquely positioned with a major presence both in urban Manhattan and suburban Westchester,” Sukhatme said. “This offers rich opportunities for real-life educational experiences, while promoting excellence in research, creative activities, learning, and community engagement.  I see great progress and enormous potential at Pace, and look forward to joining an institution that is moving forward in excellence, stature and reputation.”

Up and coming

Sukhatme has served as the Executive Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculties, as well as Professor of Physics, at IUPUI since July 2006. His duties involve management of all academic issues and overseeing 21 campus deans and schools, including the schools of liberal arts and sciences, as well as professional schools ranging from law and medicine to business, nursing, education and art. Sukhatme was the driving force responsible for developing and implementing the IUPUI Academic Plan, whose major initiatives have led to transformative improvements by stimulating new revenue streams involving innovative enrollment strategies, improved student retention, increased interdisciplinary research and energetic fundraising. The striking outcomes of the strategic plan have played an important role in placing IUPUI at rank 3 on the 2011 U.S. News and World Report’s list of “up and coming” universities.

From 2002 to 2006, Sukhatme served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the State University of New York at Buffalo, managing 30 academic departments, the Dean’s office, 480 full time tenured or tenure track faculty members, and 250 staff members. He helped to produce four successive years of strong faculty hiring, increasing tenured/tenure track faculty by 20 percent.

Before that, from 1980 to 2002, Sukhatme was at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) as Professor of Physics, Head of the Department of Physics from 1991 to 1998, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs from 1998 to 2000, and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs from 2000 to 2002.

New mathematical identities

Sukhatme’s early research was in the phenomenology of multiparticle production data resulting from very high-energy collisions of fundamental particles at the world’s largest accelerators. He was a co-developer of the “dual parton model” for describing soft hadronic collisions. His subsequent research has focused on studying the consequences of supersymmetry as applied to quantum mechanics, a set of ideas that has stimulated new approaches and applications in many branches of physics like atomic, molecular, nuclear, statistical, and condensed matter physics. This research has led to a deeper understanding of known results and a wide variety of new discoveries. Recently, the application of supersymmetric quantum mechanics to periodic potentials has yielded exciting new cyclic mathematical identities for Jacobi elliptic functions.

Sukhatme’s research in the phenomenology of high-energy hadronic interactions and the consequences of supersymmetric quantum mechanics was funded continuously by grants from the U.S. Department of Energy for 23 years. Among his 180 publications are 13 that have been included in the top-cited category in citation databases, an indication of their impact in the discipline of physics. His advanced level book on “Supersymmetry in Quantum Mechanics” (2001), co-authored with Fred Cooper and Avinash Khare, has been favorably reviewed and extensively cited.

Sukhatme earned both his doctorate and bachelor’s degrees in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.Sc. Honors degree in Mathematics from the University of Delhi, India. He has been a regular participant in international high-energy physics conferences, has given talks on administrative accomplishments at many national meetings, and has received a number of community awards to recognize these achievements. He is fluent in five languages (English, Italian, Marathi, Hindi, and French).

The Dream Continues: Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.

This month, students, faculty, and staff on the NYC and PLV campuses pay tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy —and are invited to a very special event featuring Dr. King’s daughter.

On Wednesday, February 1 at 6:00 p.m., join the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) and SDACA as they partner to bring the Pace Community a very special 3rd Annual MLK Reception at the Schimmel Center in New York City featuring Bernice A. King, daughter of the late Martin Luther King Jr. and renowned speaker and minister.

King will discuss the importance of social justice and the power of activism in the United States and will have an open Q&A session in the reception following. King’s visit to Pace comes on the heels of the Occupy Wall Street movement and the recent dedication of the MLK Memorial in Washington, D.C.

“There are so many movements that have started locally, like her father’s did, that have expanded nationally and globally,” says Denise Belen Santiago, director of OMA. “It’s an important time for activism in this country… It’s important to recognize that—even if we’re a tiny movement—we can grow and flourish and gain momentum.”

“The number one reason students, faculty, and staff should attend is to connect, reconnect, or recharge the passion to use our position of privilege and influence to help those who are disadvantage,” says Cornell Craig, director for Office of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Programs on the Westchester Campus, who has developed a brunch and discussion for students, faculty, and staff there on Friday, January 27. The theme of the program is “Silence of Friends” based on Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Professor Randolph McLaughlin from Pace Law School, a long-time advocate for civil liberties and voting rights, will be speaking in the Gottesman Room at the Kessel Student Center at 11:00 a.m.

“We all have the responsibility of humanity to first recognize inequality and then take steps to reduce and end inequality,” says Craig. “Ignoring inequality and oppression does not end it.”

For more information about the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Pace’s Martin Luther King Day events, please visit www.pace.edu/oma.

Star(gazing) Wars

You’ve all heard of IQ, but what about VIQ? Visual Intelligence Quotient, that is. That’s what researchers in Pace’s robotics labs are working on in an effort to create robots that can perceive and react to their surroundings.

“We don’t have R2D2 wandering around because robots don’t really know where they are. Your computer doesn’t know it’s on your desk,” says D. Paul Benjamin, PhD, director of Pace’s robotics lab and professor of computer science at Seidenberg. “And that’s what we’re trying to do—build in the software that can give robots that capability.”

If this sounds like something straight out of a video game, then you’re right. For Benjamin, the concept of having a robot be able to understand the world around it came in part from watching iconic plumbers Mario and Luigi navigate the virtual, but working, world of Super Mario Brothers, a video game Benjamin began playing with his oldest daughter about 15 years ago.

“We’re working on a computer vision system for a mobile robot so that, as the robot moves around it will use what is essentially computer game software, like Super Mario, and the main thing about that is the software understands the physics of the world, so balls can bounce and people can’t walk through walls, and so on,” explains Benjamin.

The robotics lab, which has been a part of the University for several years, is frequented by academically exceptional undergraduate and graduate student researchers who are dedicated to the development and exploration of intelligent agents. Benjamin, who has been awarded a prestigious $300,000 research grant by the Army Research Office, is currently in the second year of his work on the visual intelligence initiative. “This is really cutting-edge research,” he says, “There are very few people around the world working on projects like this.”

Students Lin Yixia and Vinnie Monaco with a robot.

“What we’re doing is creating a system, with a pair of stereo cameras, where the robot makes a virtual copy of the world around it in real-time, so that as it moves around, it sees people moving, cars driving, and it makes a copy of it in its virtual world,” says Benjamin. “The virtual world runs like the real world and can be run faster than real-time. It can be used to predict what people are doing and where they are moving.”

The creation of an intelligent agent that is aware of its environment and the things in it and can appropriately interact with humans and objects is the ultimate goal for Benjamin and his team, although at the moment the team is just working on getting the robot to interact with people in the lab.

“We hope that by the early part of next semester to have it moving around,” Benjamin says, “We’re going to see if it can cross the street on its own—something that’s hard enough to do in Manhattan for people!”

For more information about Pace’s robotics lab and the work being done by D. Paul Benjamin, PhD, click here.

Getting the InsideTrack

Join President Stephen J. Friedman and Mario J. Gabelli, one of the leading investors of our time, as they discuss the challenges and opportunities presented in today’s global marketplace.

Clear your schedules and make your way over to the Schimmel Theater on Tuesday, December 13 as President Stephen J. Friedman sits down with Institutional Investor’s “Money Manager of the Year,” Mario J. Gabelli.

Gabelli is a summa cum laude graduate of Fordham University and holds an MBA from Columbia University Graduate School of Business, and an Honorary Doctorate from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. He is also the founder, chairman, and CEO of Gabelli Asset Management Company Investors (GAMCO Investors), a multi-billion dollar global investment firm that provides investment advice to alternative investments, mutual funds, institutional and high net worth investors.  He is a pioneer in applying Graham & Dodd’s principles to the analysis of domestic, cash generating, franchise companies in a wide range of industries. His proprietary Private Market Value with a CatalystTM methodology is now an analytical standard in the value investing community, and he serves as a regular commentator on CNN and CNBC.

For more information and to register online, please log onto www.pace.edu/insidetrack.

Did you miss October’s InsideTrack with bestselling author and management consultant Richard Foster? Not to worry. Click below to see what you missed and find out what Joseph Schumpeter’s forehead, gecko breeders, and the Lilliputians have in common with economic innovation in China.

 

 

Summit on Resilience

If disaster strikes, are the public and private sector ready to work together to recover? Join Pace University and the Center for Homeland Defense and Security for this important one-day seminar.

If disaster strikes, what is the best way to rebuild communities, reinforce infrastructure, and keep business running smoothly? Where do the government and private sector converge and collide throughout this process? Where do each sector’s responsibilities lie in the quest for resiliency?

On Wednesday, January 11, 2012, Pace University will partner with the Center for Homeland Defense and Security to bring us an important one-day seminar that seeks to answer these and other critical questions. Keynote speakers include the Honorable Tom Ridge, first Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security and Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reductions within the United Nations.

You can join more than 20 international experts and hundreds of security professionals at this one-of-a kind event. Panelists include top executives and security experts from FEMA, Verizon, JetBlue, Target, the City of Los Angeles, and more in a day devoted to answering critical questions including:

  • When should the private sector put their resources to work?
  • What support can or should businesses and communities expect from the government?
  • What is government’s role after the humanitarian and law enforcement stage is over?
  • Should they just “get out of the way,” or play a strong central planning role?
  • How does the media cover disaster and what impact does it have on response and recovery?

For more information regarding the development of the Summit and panelist information, please see the Pace University press release.

Want to attend the Summit on Resilience? Click here to register. Early bird rates in effect until December 15.

The Professor Is In: Q&A with Chris Walther

Why Jessica Biel and Gandhi? Let Professor Chris Walther explain it. Check out part two in the series, The Professor Is In by Pace student Jordan Veilleux ’13.

Pace alumnus and Adjunct Professor of Psychology Christopher Walther ’02 has established himself as a prominent member of the Pace Community. Currently based out of the Pleasantville Campus, he works as a Pforzheimer Honors College Academic Adviser, as well as adviser to the Golden Key International Honor Society and the UNICEF C.H.I.L.D. Project. In 2009-2010 he was a bronze winner of the Jefferson Awards, the “Nobel Peace Prize of Public Service.”

One of Walther’s favorite classes to teach is Psychology of Civic Engagement, a class that pairs traditional classroom studies with a travel course. The course implements a little bit of everything important to Walther: mentoring, travel, psychology, and pro-social behaviors and has taken Walther and his students to exotic locations such as Fiji and Trinidad and Tobago. Outside of Psychology of Civic Engagement, Walther’s methods are just as effective… and recognized–students recently voted him one of their favorite professors in the Pulse’s Pawscars. He teaches courses including Social Psychology and Psychology of Personal Adjustment, Psychopathology, and Psychology of Cultural Diversity, and continues to form a connection with students encouraging in them an educated outlook at the world around us, honesty, humor, dedication, charity, and most of all motivation to make a difference.

What was your favorite class as a student?
Besides the psychology courses I took as an undergrad and through my graduate degree, my favorite course was probably my photography course. I really like the idea of actually creating something from scratch—creating a picture.

What one thing or person made you passionate about your current career?
I think there have been many people, many situations that have inspired me throughout my life. Such as the volunteering opportunities I’ve been a part of, the various internships and jobs I’ve held, the people, colleagues and professors I’ve met along the way, and I think my students make me passionate about my career…Just reaching out to so many people and students through what I teach and what I say—that makes me extremely passionate about my career.

What quality do you most value in your students?
I would definitely say motivation. Not only to set goals, but to follow through with those goals with an action to achieve them is the quality I most value in students. I see students every day that just seem lost, who just don’t know where to go. Then you have the flipside—students that are highly motivated, students who set goals and follow through with them through action. It’s one thing to say, “This is what I want to do,” but how do you plan on getting there?

What is your advice to students to make the most out of their time in college?
I definitely think students need to be engaged in the University experience. They need to become involved in University life. I personally believe that at Pace University you can be a big fish in a small pond, if you think it, you can actually make it happen [at Pace].

If you had to do it all over again and took another path, what profession would you attempt? What profession would you not like to do?
Definitely a zoologist! Growing up there were many different careers I thought of and I’ve always had a passion and interest in animals and helping so to be a zoologist and work at a zoo would be amazing.

I grew up in Manhattan, born and raised, and now I live about an hour and a half out of the city. Just doing [chores] around the house—landscaping, mowing the lawn, raking leaves, fixing things—I dread so much. Any career that involves landscaping, construction, fixing things is definitely not for me.

What is your favorite TV show/book?
My favorite TV show by far is The Amazing Race. It’s all about travel and competition, which are two things that I enjoy. I actually tried out for the show twice, but unfortunately never got called back. You can’t beat the travel. Seeing the world and trying to win a million dollars paired together is great.

I would say my favorite book is one I read recently—and one which I really enjoyed and made part of a few of my psychology classes—Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s about making spontaneous decisions, good or bad, versus decisions that are planned out.

What is your favorite journey/experience?
My travel experiences, definitely within the courses that I have taught and all the locations I have been to through civic engagement. Just this year my wife and I took a cruise to Europe—we visited Italy, Greece, and Turkey…Europe was amazing and it was my first cruise. It was a great experience.

I’m big into traveling. I encourage students to study abroad. I help them when they create four-year plans to incorporate either a study abroad experience or to take a University travel course.

What is your favorite saying/words to live by?
I went to Catholic school from kindergarten to 12th grade; I would say the Serenity Prayer. [Ed note: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…] I definitely try to live by those words within my life.

If you could have any five people, living or dead, imagined or real, as guests at a dinner party, who would you choose?
This is the toughest question of the bunch! Martin Luther King Jr.—I would want him at the party to talk to him about equality, to bring him along to show him how equality has changed from when he passed to today, and to hear his view points on how equality could be different in the years to come and advance further. Gandhi—I am big into helping, civic engagement, and pro-social behavior and I think Gandhi is an inspiration for such, so to have him there would be great. My Hollywood crush, Jessica Biel. Jane Goodall—I find her amazing for the life she led and for being an advocate for animals, and the one person who can really make me laugh, the comedienne Kathy Griffin. I find her hysterical!

This interview has been edited and condensed from its original form. Faculty profiles are based on student suggestions.

–Jordan Veilleux

The Professor Is In: Q&A with Karla Jay

The first in a brand new series. Pace student Jordan Veilleux ’13 chats with Karla Jay, PhD, on what she loves about Pace students, the five people she’d invite to dinner, filleting sardines, and more!

People often say, “to know them is to love them” and upon meeting Karla Jay, PhD, distinguished professor of English and Women and Gender studies at Pace’s New York City Campus, it is easy to see why students feel so passionate about her teaching methods. Both inside and outside the classroom Jay is a force to be reckoned with. A noted writer, editor, political activist, and professor, she exudes an authority in the classroom while still being approachable and genuine. Her classes range from The 20th Century Novel to Queer Culture and provide insight to topics through a combination of Jay’s seemingly effortless lectures and the general understanding that students not only participate in class discussion, but also help structure it.

Recently Jay was interviewed by director Jeffrey Schwartz for his new documentary Vito about author and activist Vito Russo who played a large role in the LGBT movement, and whom Jay knew personally through their mutual involvement with the Gay Academic Union, the 1973 Gay Pride March, and a variety show called Our Time, which featured not only Jay but also high profile actresses such as Lily Tomlin. The film was picked up by HBO Films for distribution, and plans to air the film on the network sometime in June. Jay plays coy about her exposure in the film and using her signature wit states that she only appears for what can only be termed, “nanoseconds.” The experience, however short, was ultimately a positive one for Jay in which she could look back and contribute not only to the memory of a friend, but also to that of a cause worth fighting for. It is qualities like these that affirm Jay’s success, and make us appreciate her all the more.

What was your favorite class as student? Least favorite?
I don’t know that I had a favorite class when I was student. I had a favorite professor as an undergraduate, my French professor. He was really good and it didn’t matter what he was teaching.

I have two least favorites. A zoology professor who read from his textbook in a huge lecture hall with hundreds of students and we’d all sit there as he read and we’d all turn the page with him. And an American history professor who was somehow stuck in the colonial period! She dressed with buckle shoes and a black dress and she just kind of was early Puritan and it was really quite horrifying. She was very boring. Those were my two least favorite classes, not because of the topics.

What one thing or person made you passionate about your current career?
From a certain point I just wanted to teach and in some ways I had a number of negative experiences [in the classroom] that made me feel I could do a lot better than what I had been given. It wasn’t one person but a series of experiences that made me feel I could contribute to the field. I was particularly interested in teaching first-generation college students.

What quality do you most value in your students?
What I really like about Pace students is that they are really outspoken. They say what’s on their mind and it’s not always what you think you are going hear.

What is your advice to students to make the most out of their time in college?
They should use college to explore things that they don’t know about because they’re not going to get this kind of opportunity again. I think some students waste their time taking “gut” courses that they already know about because they find it easy…Whereas it’s so much more compelling to learn something that you don’t know anything about and you’ll never have the opportunity during your work career, probably, to learn about that again and you may have to wait a very long time.

If you had to do it all over again and took another path, what profession would you attempt? What profession would you not like to do?
I don’t know because I really did take a lot of paths. I’ve worked in publishing as an editor; I’ve been a literary agent, a beach-bum and a hippie, a full-time activist. I lived in Paris as a writer, I lived as a freelance writer and journalist…I don’t know that there was something out there that I wanted to do that I didn’t try and I have no regrets about that.

I have a list of my least favorite things: my least favorite jobs would be toll-taker at the Holland Tunnel or filleting sardines. I don’t know how people do that! Anything that would involve filleting fish.

What is your favorite TV show/book?
My favorite book is Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. I think it’s not only the most complex and interesting book that you can read and reread, but it has a kind of compelling beauty that grows with time.

What would you do if you had an extra hour every day?
Sleep.

What is your favorite journey/experience?
My favorite trip so far has been to the Galapagos Islands.

What is your favorite saying/words to live by?
“Women, like men, should try to do the impossible. And when they fail, their failures should be a challenge to others.” – Amelia Earhart

If you could have any five people, living or dead, imagined or real, as guests at a dinner party, who would you choose?
I probably would want some people who would be really witty and entertaining. I think I’d like Gloria Steinem, Gandhi, Oprah Winfrey, Woody Allen, and Gertrude Stein.

This interview has been edited and condensed from its original form. Faculty profiles are based on student suggestions.

–Jordan Veilleux


Gaining Through Giving

As the holiday season draws closer, here are a few ways that Pace faculty and staff can give back to the community.

Although it seems like just yesterday we were celebrating the start of the new school year, it’s already time to gear up for the holiday season. As temperatures drop, community service heats up with opportunities for faculty and staff on both campuses.  Below is a list of a number of ways members of the Pace Community can give back.

Did you know that one pint of blood can save as many as three lives? Give the gift of life by heading down to the Kessel Student Center on Wednesday, November 16 from 11:30 a.m.—2:00 p.m. to donate blood with the American Red Cross.

Every year, Beta Alpha Psi hosts the “Holiday Cards for Troops” event. Students, faculty, and staff will come together on Friday, November 18, from 12:00 p.m.—3:00 p.m. to make Christmas cards for soldiers who are unable to celebrate Christmas with their families.

On November 19, the Center for Community Action and Research (CCAR) on the PLV Campus is recruiting students, faculty, and staff to travel with them to Harlem to deliver meals to homebound senior citizens with City Meals on Wheels. Spots are limited, so contact Hannah Tall today at ccarplv@pace.edu.

Join CCAR on the NYC Campus on Tuesday, November 22 as they bring the spirit of Thanksgiving to a shelter for survivors of domestic violence. Volunteers will serve thanksgiving dinner and coordinate arts and crafts with the kids. For more information about this event, contact Hasin Ahmed at ccarny@pace.edu.

Help make Christmas special for a needy child. Kevin’s Christmas, named in the memory of a younger brother of an Alpha Lambda Sigma sister, is a fundraiser to help families in need buy presents for their children during the holiday season. Monetary donations will be accepted on Wednesday, December 7 from 12:00 p.m.—2:00 p.m. in the Kessel Student Center.

Also on December 7, from 10:00 a.m.—5:00 p.m. in the Student Union, Pace’s Stonewall Coalition, the LGBTQA Task Force, and allied organizations present A Day of Peace. This event is geared towards fostering peace and community on the NYC Campus. It will also be focused on raising awareness of the numbers of the LGBTQ persons that are homeless, especially during the holidays, while accepting donations of nonperishable food items and clothing that will be taken to The Housing Works.

You can stay up-to-date on additional outreach events by checking the University calendar at events.pace.edu.

Don’t let your good-will evaporate in January—share your time and talent throughout the year! Did you know that most Pace faculty and staff are eligible to receive paid time off if they volunteer through the Center for Community Action and Research? Click here to learn more about volunteering at Pace.

Hull at the Helm

Newly appointed Vice President and Chief Information Officer Thomas A. Hull shares his plans for the future of tech at Pace.

This past July, Pace University appointed Thomas A. Hull as the new Vice President and Chief Information Officer for the University. Hull has a long history of both public and private sector experience, most recently serving as Chief Information Officer of Siena College in Loudonville, New York.  Hull will serve as the senior administrator of Information Technology Services at Pace and be responsible for maintaining an integrated, efficient, sustainable, and responsive program of information technology and infrastructure support services for academic, research, and administrative computing.

What are your top three priorities as CIO?

In brief: To emphasize progress with our Academic Technology group in the areas of online learning and distributed learning environments; to develop and execute a program plan for business intelligence known as iStrategy that will deliver dashboard data using our new data warehouse this year and provide insight into all areas of the University in the next couple years; collaboration enhanced by modern technology and knowledge management for our wealth of faculty talent across the University; and to implement best practices in the area of ITS strategy and operation, which includes management of all service areas from the foundation of infrastructure management, user services, call center, and helpdesk to the portfolio management of our software and device solutions (over 100 applications and systems).

What are some of the challenges you may face in this new position?

There are several challenges that we have to stay on top of in the IT industry, including the changing landscape of end user and mobile computing paradigm, which is emphasized in higher education with new devices coming to campus every year. We must learn and then provide client integration and networking to our key systems at the University with those devices. Another constant challenge is to provide efficient service management for all of our vendor products and then make the best use of the new features and functions that come with the annual development cycles so that we are getting the most value for our investments in technology. We are challenging ourselves with growing our skills in ITS so that we are talented in programming and systems integration, so that we are capable of producing modern applications and user interfaces. Similarly, we are seeking complementary partnerships with members of the Pace Community such as the Seidenberg Creative Labs and also utilizing our part-time student workforce to get new and exciting projects that will make a difference in the web applications and new end user interfaces in using our systems.

There have already been a lot of improvements in pedagogical technology at Pace, what else can we expect to see?

This is a very exciting area because it includes technology for the changing educational landscape in higher education. The higher education industry is moving fast and we want to be right in front of the curve. We want to standardize technology for our online and distributed learning programs and for our future opportunities, so that the technology that produces collaboration between faculty and students is defined and repeatable for all schools. This includes collaborative virtual classrooms, videoconferencing with a pilot program that we are evaluating called Blackboard Collaborate, desktop sharing between faculty and students so that students can text and ask questions or comment on the material, and applications so that everyone can work in the convenience of any location no matter where you may reside. We also have an iPad User Group that is constantly researching and trying new apps for pedagogical usage including new apps for students’ education materials, and usage as a clicker in getting responses to questions during the classroom sessions, amongst others.

Are you planning any collaboration with other departments at the University?

Yes, there are several initiatives in consideration now for cross functional collaboration. We have expanded our service request system (Web Helpdesk) to have queues for OSA, Facilities, Security, University Relations, and several others so that we can have a central point of contact, which is now as simple as just dialing the 3’s (3-3333).  This way anyone can ask any question on any subject and get a response from the proper department.  This August, through OSA leadership, we implemented a virtual call center so that if OSA’s call volume is high—such as the start of the semester—then staff from any location can be plugged in to take calls regardless of where they sit. We are collaborating with Enrollment Management on Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Web Services, and we working with HR and Finance for online web applications to reduce our paper-based forms processes which will be communicated throughout this year. There are other collaborations, too, including one with the Athletics Department in communicating the schedule of athletic events, and working with all the academic and student areas for helping the students get started with their ePortfolios that will help them retain their academic work products for the rest of their careers.

What do you consider to be the most important aspect of your work for the Pace Community?

I consider my relationships with students, my peers and the leadership of the University to be a very important aspect of my work here. The connection with faculty and students may be the most important since we are here to provide the best possible experience of higher education to our students. I am constantly considering new uses for technology and continuous process improvement so that we provide a great, modern experience here at Pace.  In working with the Pace leadership, SGA, and Faculty Committees, it has been an excellent start to my career here at Pace and I look forward to expanding our technology initiatives and relationships with all members of the Pace Community. I encourage anyone to contact me via e-mail or call to talk about a new idea or opportunity that we can endeavor into.

InsideTrack Returns This Fall

InsideTrack returns as President Friedman and bestselling author Richard Foster sit down for a compelling discussion on “Creative Destruction.”

Join President Stephen J. Friedman on Tuesday, October 25 for an evening of insightful conversation and questions as he sits down with Richard Foster, bestselling author and management consultant. Foster will share his views on how the changing economy of China will determine which U.S. businesses will survive and prosper, and which ones will wither and die.

Foster is an emeritus director of McKinsey & Company, where he founded the technology and innovation practice, the health care and private equity practice, and led McKinsey’s worldwide knowledge development. He currently advises health care service and technology companies on how to capitalize on disruptive innovation.

He has written two best-selling books: Innovation: The Attacker’s Advantage (1986) and Creative Destruction (2001), as well as many articles in research and popular journals. He was the external leader of the Council on Foreign Relations Study Group on Innovation and Economic Power, which led to the publication of Technological Innovation and Economic Performance, Princeton University Press (2001).

Foster is also a member of the executive committee of the board of directors of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Yale School of Medicine Dean’s Advisory Board, the Harvard Medical School Health Care Policy Advisory Committee, the National Research Council ‘s Policy and Global Affairs Committee, the Council for Aid to Education Board, and the Executive Committee of the W. M. Keck Foundation. He is also co-chair of the National Academies (of Science, Engineering and Medicine) President’s Circle and a senior faculty fellow at the Yale School of Management.

For more information about the InsideTrack or to register today, please visit us online at www.pace.edu/insidetrack.

 

 

Starry Days Devoted to Starry Nights

Learn about the “Lord of the Lights,” the mystery behind Mona Lisa’s smile, and more in this new lecture series from Distinguished Professor and renowned art historian Janetta Rebold Benton.

“I think this lecture series has the potential to fulfill its goal—to enhance the cultural and artistic environment of lower Manhattan,” says Janetta Rebold Benton, PhD, of her series of four lectures on Great Painters and Their Masterpieces planned for this fall. “It’s one thing to rebuild the buildings of lower Manhattan; it’s another to rebuild the various aspects that make a vibrant community.”

Benton who, in addition to being Distinguished Professor of Art History and Director of the Pforzheimer Honors College on the Pleasantville Campus, is also an acclaimed art historian, author, and lecturer. She will kick off the Pace Presents season at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts with her lecture series. Known for her fast-paced, fact-filled lecture style, she frequently speaks at famed art locales such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters, Smithsonian Institution, National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach.

The series, which begins at the Schimmel Center on Wednesday, October 12, features four artists from four different countries representing four different major styles of art.  Each lecture will be an hour long and will be richly illustrated with a PowerPoint presentation. And at the end of each lecture Benton will summarize the key points in rhymed poetry.  She explained, “I want them [the audience] to remember what they’ve seen and to walk out, endorphins flowing.”

“If I had the opportunity to meet only one artist in all of art history—and if language were no barrier—I would pick Leonardo da Vinci,” she says in regard to the topic of her first lecture. Following each presentation, audience interaction will be increased through a themed lunch and questions devised to involve members in the discussion. “After the Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance lecture we’re going to have an Italian menu at lunch. There I will pose two questions. The first: If you could own one of Leonardo’s works that I just showed you, which would you choose and why? And then second: If you could ask Leonardo da Vinci one question, what would you ask him?”

What would Benton ask Leonardo da Vinci if given the opportunity? “I would ask him to paint my portrait and make me even more mysterious than the Mona Lisa.”

The series continues with presentations on Rembrandt and the Baroque, Vincent van Gogh and Post-Impressionism, and Pablo Picasso and Cubism. Benton is looking to the future and will continue her lecture series in the spring with talks on Michelangelo, Peter Paul Rubens, Claude Monet, and Georgia O’Keeffe.

For more information about these and other events at the Schimmel Center, please visit www.pace.edu/schimmel. Faculty and staff can sign up for discounted tickets of $10. Please use the code PACEINSIDER to purchase your discounted tickets. You may purchase tickets online at www.pace.edu/schimmel, by phone at (866)811-4111, or in person at the Schimmel Box Office, Monday through Friday from 1: 00 p.m.—6:00 p.m.

Rolling, Researching, and Reading on the River

6 faculty, 4 schools, 1 course—all of them add up to one very unique academic collaboration at Pace.

The Hudson River is a central force behind the development of our nation—financially, technologically, and even artistically. This spring, Pace students will have a unique opportunity to learn about the rich past and future of the Hudson River Valley through an exciting combination of experiential learning, both inside and outside the classroom.

“It is a fantastic experience in interdisciplinary collaboration,” says Theresa K. Lant, PhD, an associate professor of management within the Lubin School, who will be part of the new interdisciplinary course called “The Hudson River Experience” launched by the Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies. “I have a particular interest in interdisciplinary work because a lot of my research has to do with how you get people with different training and different perspectives to come together and solve society’s difficult problems.”

The course, which is scheduled to begin during the spring 2012 semester, will be taught collaboratively by six faculty members from different departments and schools within the University, including Dyson College, the Lubin School, the Seidenberg School, and the Law School. The course was developed with the intention of teaching students not only about the many environmental, business, and artistic influences of the river, but also how to cultivate the skills they need to think outside of the box and to work together in a collaborative way.

“I’m interested in educational and research initiatives that encourage students or faculty or scientists to reach across their educational boundaries to understand what other people are doing and how it can be relevant to questions they may have—regarding the environment and other societal problems. Complex problems need to be tackled in an interdisciplinary way,” says Lant.

Fellow course instructor John Cronin, 37-year veteran of environmental studies and Senior Fellow at the Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies, agrees that the Hudson River transcends disciplines.

“By tackling the Hudson from the many points of view that we are, it’s really almost transdisciplinary,” he says of the course. “We designed The Hudson River Experience so that boundaries between our disciplines are completely porous. My specific job will be to help students integrate all of the course topics.”

As Cronin describes the course, policy and history, industry and politics, commerce and aesthetics, are all interrelated to one another in regards to the river. To talk about one topic, one must talk about all topics. “It’s a challenge to have faculty from four schools teach one course,” says Cronin, “but we all get along so well together and so easily identified our common interests that it was a pleasure to put the course together.”

The course, like Pace and the faculty who are developing it, is a reminder of how truly interconnected history, culture, and science are.

For more information about the course, join the faculty at an Information Session on Wednesday, October 26 at 12:20 p.m. in the Environmental Center. For course inquiries, contact Michelle Land, Director, Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies, mland@pace.edu or (914)773-3092.

Schimmel Takes Center Stage

Curtain’s up! The Schimmel Theatre unveils its exciting fall lineup of events. With everything from lectures to tango, and cabaret to film, the Schimmel is sure to have something for you.

“It’s everything—it’s film, it’s lectures, it’s dance, it’s music—it’s theatre,” says Abigail Buell, marketing and public relations manager for the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, which is operated by the department of Cultural Affairs. She’s talking about all of the great new programming that the Schimmel Theatre will be presenting this season, under the auspices of Pace Presents.

The Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts is shaking things up this fall with a new look, new programming, and a new mission. Under the direction of Martin Kagan, Pace’s department of Cultural Affairs is gearing up the Schimmel Theatre to become an epicenter in lower Manhattan for culturally and artistically enriching experiences.

Terence Blanchard

“We’re in the process of really giving ourselves a new image,” says Buell. “We have a wonderful new director, we’re building a new website, we’ve got focused lineup for the year—it’s a really important time for us to build an audience.” Pace’s Cultural Affairs department wants to engage not only members of the University community and lower Manhattan, but also the entirety of New York City.

The season kicks off with the first installment of the Great Painters and Their Masterpieces lecture series with Pace’s own Janetta Rebold Benton, PhD, who will discuss da Vinci on Wednesday, October 12. Over Homecoming weekend the Schimmel Theatre will present an evening of cabaret featuring Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway in BOOM! Later this fall, jazz legend and five-time Grammy award-winner, Terence Blanchard will take the stage on November 5.

“We’re so excited about our new programming and the Pace Presents season and can’t wait to share it with the Pace Community and the Lower Manhattan community as a whole,” says Kagan.

Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway

The Pace Presents 2011-2012 season runs from October through May. Scheduled for the spring are performances by the old-time string band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, followed by their album release party; Argentine Nights: Tango, a performance by Argentinean tango dancers followed by a milonga with dance instructions for the audience; and much more.

Tickets for all shows go on sale Thursday, September 15. Pace faculty and staff receive a special discounted rate of $10 to all shows unless otherwise advertised. (Use code: PACEINSIDER to purchase your discounted ticket.) You may purchase tickets online at schimmel.pace.edu, by phone at (866) 811-4111, or in person at the Schimmel Box Office, Monday through Friday from 1:00 p.m.—6:00 p.m.

For more information about these and other events at the Schimmel Center, please visit schimmel.pace.edu.

Celebrating Diversity In and Out of the Classroom

Discussing diversity has been a mainstay for the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), and this year they’ve scheduled a series of events aimed at engaging faculty and staff as well as students.

This fall, pack your lunch and head over to One Pace Plaza to enjoy a bit of discussion and camaraderie at the Office of Multicultural Affair’s (OMA’s) brown bag lunchtime series. The gatherings are part of OMA’s Courageous Conversations in Diversity series. Denise Belen Santiago, director of OMA, says that the lunches are a way to promote discussion and inclusion among people. “We talk about why we sometimes feel as though we have to hide parts of ourselves in order to feel accepted,” she says. The lunches will be held from 12:30 p.m.—2:00 p.m. on September 20, October 25, November 22, and December 13.

The brown bag seminars are just one in a series of events for faculty, staff, and students that OMA has lined up this fall. “We’re starting the semester with the Chalk Festival and we’re going to start up the Knitting Circle again toward the end of the month,” says Santiago, who also encourages students, staff, and faculty to participate in the 11th annual Brides March on September 26, sponsored by the New York Latinas Against Domestic Violence.

Another way that staff and faculty can get involved is through OMA’s Theater Lab, which is made up of undergraduate students who write and perform pieces centered on the issue of diversity. “We’re always looking for staff and faculty to take on some of the roles in the skits—parts like parents, professors, other adult figures. And if you’re a writer, you may want to submit a written piece—you don’t have to act,” explains Santiago. The Theater Lab works in conjunction with UNV101 and the OASIS Program for young adults on the autism spectrum.

If performance isn’t your forte, don’t worry—you can still be a part of all the great things OMA is doing on campus. “We’re in desperate need of mentors,” says Santiago about OMA’s mentoring program, which was developed to help students from historically underrepresented groups. The mentoring program, which Santiago reports has more mentees than mentors, is actively seeking faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds to be volunteer mentors for Pace students. “We don’t partner people based on race or ethnicity,” she explains, “but based on similar interests and career goals.”

And last, but certainly not least, a great way for faculty and staff to get involved in the University dialogue about diversity is to share their stories. Telling My Story: Reflections of Race, Culture, and Identity is a way for members of the Pace Community to share their experiences and background, and explain how their experiences have shaped them as individuals.

For more information about these and other programs hosted by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, please visit www.pace.edu/oma or contact dsantiago@pace.edu.

Chic To Be Geek

How sci-fi conventions, Star Trek, and a deep love of history paid off for Dyson professor Nancy Reagin. Learn about how her recent publications have shed a historical light on today’s pop culture.

“Like sports fans and music fans, literary fan groups love to discuss and parse out books that they care about, and I’ve always enjoyed dissecting my favorite science fiction series with other science fiction devotees,” says Nancy Reagin, PhD, professor of history and women’s and gender studies within the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences. Self-described as a life-long fan of science fiction and fantasy literature, Reagin began attending sci-fi conventions when she was a teenager.

As a student and lover of history, Reagin has always been fascinated by the incorporation of history into the dreamed up, imaginary worlds of series like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and even Twilight. “Science fiction often plays with history, since the stories often involve time travel or discuss how things might have turned out differently if something in the past had been changed,” Reagin says. “And many characters and themes are often deliberately based on historical examples: the Trade Federation in Star Wars is similar to the British East India Company and Voldemort and the Death Eaters in Harry Potter were modeled on the Nazis, according to J.K. Rowling.”

Reagin published several books on modern German history after earning her doctorate from Johns Hopkins University, but in recent years she’s begun to translate her love of history and literature into several popular history anthologies that have been enjoyed by scholars and non-scholars alike.

In 2009, Eric Nelson, a Pace alumnus and executive editor at Wiley & Sons, asked Reagin to help develop a series focused on history and pop culture. “I knew that the series would be a lot of fun to pull together,” she says. “It was easy to recruit historians who were also fans to use their expertise to analyze various series.”

Since then, Reagin has worked to produce Twilight and History, which was published in 2010 and translated into six languages, and Harry Potter and History, which was released this past June. Currently, Reagin is working on  Star Trek and History, which will be on the market in summer 2012. She is also collaborating with Janice Liedl, PhD, a historian from Laurentian University, on The Hobbit and History, due out in 2013.

Also on Reagin’s docket this year is a collaboration with Lucasfilm and Star Wars creator George Lucas. When representatives from Lucasfilm approached Wiley & Sons to create a volume dedicated to the history in Star Wars, the publishing house knew that Reagin was the person for the job. Working with  Liedl, Reagin plans on examining the historical influences in the Star Wars dynasty.

“To work with Lucasfilm on this is an amazing opportunity. I never imagined—when I saw the first Star Wars movie at the age of 17—that I’d be editing a scholarly volume on this in collaboration with George Lucas!” she said.

But it isn’t just the pros that are getting in on the action. Reagin has actively recruited some of her students at Pace to contribute to the volumes she’s worked on.  “I realized early on that this series was also a possible vehicle for publishing work by some of my best students,” she says. “I wanted to offer some of my students the opportunity for their work to appear in collections that contained chapters by senior historians and which were published by a good trade press.”

Remembering 9/11

Pace commemorates the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks with a series of thought-provoking and touching events.

The events of 9/11 have had a profound effect on a generation of people around the world, but our University, located mere blocks away from the World Trade Center, felt the impact first-hand. Almost 10 years ago, the Pace Community lost 47 members—students and alumni alike—and was closed for several weeks as we worked toward recovery.

“The attack on the World Trade Center had a dramatic impact on the lives of the faculty, students, and staff of Pace. It’s important that during this anniversary we honor the lives of those we lost that day, but also recognize the critical role Pace has had in the rebuilding and revitalization of downtown Manhattan. I think the events we have planned do exactly that,” says Tom Torello, vice president of University Relations. As the 10-year anniversary approaches, Pace has a number of events lined up to commemorate those lost, and those who rebuilt.

Beginning on Thursday, September 8, through a partnership with the National Press Photographers Association, Pace hosts “Witness to Tragedy and Recovery,” an exhibit of haunting photographs from the 9/11 tragedy and a symposium on how news images of disaster are shaped—and shape us—featuring keynote speaker Aaron Brown, former CNN news anchor, and moderator Michelle Charlesworth, WABC-TV reporter and anchor, who both covered the events that day. “We are balancing it [disaster] with recovery,” explains Christopher T. Cory, executive director of Public Information for Pace. “Once the building has fallen, once the flood has receded, recovery is a big part of the story.”

On Friday, September 9 starting at 4:00 p.m., the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences’ Center for Ethical Thinking  will host a symposium dedicated to rethinking the significance and the impact of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 and spearheaded by Pace professor of philosophy Ilan Safit, PhD. “The speakers at the symposium will be exploring a variety of issues that range from personal response to the philosophical significance of an event that was local and immediate, yet instantly turned international, mediated, and represented,” says Safit. “The tenth anniversary of this event provides an apt opportunity to think further about these effects and to share these thoughts with the New Yorkers who live here, where it happened.”

On Saturday, September 10 at 1:00 p.m.  Pace comes together for a memorial service and performance by the New York Choral Society. The service will commemorate the 45 Pace students and alumni lost on 9/11. And on Sunday, September 11, the Schimmel Theatre will be open to Pace faculty, staff, and students who wish to watch the broadcast of the memorial events with others from their community. And on Monday, September 12, at 5:00 p.m., Pace will hold an event for the 9/11 Oral History Project–more than 90 interviews with members of the community who witnessed the 9/11 tragedy conducted, recorded, and transcribed by Pace students.

For more information on these and other events observing the 10-year anniversary of the events of 9/11, please visit www.pace.edu/paceremembers911.

Come Ring in the New (School) Year!

Join faculty, administration, and staff in welcoming our newest faces at Pace—the incoming class—at our 4th Annual Convocation, September 6, on the Pleasantville Campus.

On September 6, 2011, from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. faculty, staff, and students will gather on the Westchester Campus for an afternoon of festivities, food, and an exciting address from international best-selling author Chris Cleave at Pace’s 4th Annual Convocation.

The theme of this year’s Convocation is “Global Citizenship: Humanity through Action.” Global citizens are people who are not only aware of issues in the wider world, but also willing to act to upon them to make the world a more equitable and sustainable place—a topic that is covered in the most dramatic of ways in this year’s common reading, Little Bee, by keynote speaker Cleave. Little Bee is told from the alternating perspectives of a Nigerian refugee and a British magazine editor and takes the reader on a journey of morality, compassion, and friendship as a traumatic event inextricably links these two women from two very different worlds.

Little Bee was chosen by a University-wide committee consisting of students, faculty, and staff because it met all the criteria we were looking for in a common reading. Specifically, it was beautifully written, compelling, and engaging,” says Susan Maxam, university director of Student Success. “[It] raised thought-provoking issues related to a wide variety of themes—global citizenship, normative ethics, cross-cultural communication, human rights, sacrifice, immigration. These themes can all serve as a springboard for a wide variety of discussions and programs.”

Cleave, a columnist for The Guardian newspaper in London whose first novel, Incendiary, was published in 20 countries and won the 2006 Somerset Maugham Award and the Prix Special du Jury at the French Prix des Lecteurs 2007, said the novel was influenced both by his childhood living in Cameroon and Buckinghamshire, England, as well as his experience working in a detention center for asylum seekers. Cleave has said that his new novel “came out of a sense of my own complicity in some of the evils of the world… I began to think about my life, and how it is relatively easy, and how it is therefore relatively easy to ignore the suffering of others. And since suffering is the rule rather than the exception in the world, it’s not an easy moral question to duck.”

“We are very excited about this initiative,” says Maxam. “Fortunately, there has been a great deal of cross-divisional collaboration and momentum with this initiative and we are thankful it has been so widely embraced by students, staff, and faculty. We are also creating a global citizenship website, which will be up and running by September, and which will serve as a one-stop shop for upcoming events, programs, common reading information, faculty and student resources (including relevant podcasts, links, and videos), student blogs from all over the world, global citizen quizzes, and a wide variety of other features.”

Faculty and staff from both campuses are encouraged to be a part of providing a warm welcome to Pace’s newest class and helping usher in a year of global citizenship at Pace!

Buses to the Pleasantville Campus will depart from the Schimmel Theater between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. and the Convocation Ceremony will begin at 2:00 p.m. Acclaimed musician Jason LeVasseur will be part of the Post-Convocation festivities.

For more information about Convocation and this year’s common reading selection, please visit www.pace.edu/convocation.


All Kinds of Minds

A new Pace institute shows that love of technology, and a little close attention, can help students with learning disabilities move to the head of the class.

“We need to help students who have unique minds to be successful,” said Temple Grandin, PhD, professor and famed autism advocate, during her keynote address at Pace’s 2010 Convocation ceremony. Inspired by these words, Jonathan Hill, DPS, assistant dean for the Seidenberg School of Computer Science Information Systems, and Beth Rosenberg ’12, graduate student in the School of Education pursuing a MSEd in educational technology, envisioned an environment where students with special needs could explore their passion for technology.

Incorporating a love of technology and learning, Hill and Rosenberg developed the Pace Tech All Kinds of Minds Institute. This summer institute, which is geared towards middle school and high school students with learning disabilities such as ADD, ADHD, Asperger’s, and autism, is based on a model of peer mentorship and exploration.

With the aid of a $10,000 Verizon Thinkfinity grant, Seidenberg faculty hosted the inaugural institute late last month. A volunteer from the Seidenberg Summer Scholars program along with other support staff assisted the students enrolled in the All Kinds of Minds program with hands-on tech assignments and group work. The students learned about physical computing, robotics, gaming, and game development.

“This is one of the only technology programs in the area that is suited for these types of learners,” says Rosenberg. “We hired two teaching artists, a social worker, and counselors,” she says. “Working with the kids takes a lot of patience and love, but it also takes a lot of hands. The more individual attention students get, the more likely they are to succeed.”

Rosenberg describes how the students learned about the inner workings of electronic gadgets, locating sensors, arduino boards, lights, and other miniature mechanical components. “We brought in old cell phones and we decided to destroy them—break them open and see what was inside,” she says. “The kids were so into it.”

One of the major goals of the program was to expose the students to the kind of work they could be doing as a future computer scientist or technologist. “You can be schooled to the nth degree,” says Rosenberg, “but if you don’t have a skill to sell, then you don’t really have anything.” Rosenberg and Hill agree that these talented learners could prove to be successful in the job market. With a bit more time and attention, these students could go on to a future in the computer science field.

Guest lecturers also attended to speak to the students about different aspects of computing and the many possibilities that technology holds. Seidenberg student Jeremy Pease ’13, one of the winners at this year’s Pace Pitch Contest, attended the institute as guest lecturer and counselor. “Presenting in front of eight very intelligent—but distracted kids—was just as rewarding as it was challenging,” said Pease. “It was immediately clear that they all wanted to learn. However, simply telling them about new technologies and giving them a PowerPoint presentation wasn’t going to cut it.”

Luckily, the format of the institute accounted for that—with only eight students per class, it gave students the ability to work almost one-on-one with instructors. By having a small group, each student got the individual attention he or she needed.

“[Physically] showing them cool new augmented reality technology kept them engaged and allowed them all to interact with the computer,” Pease says. “Seeing them really excited about this technology, I knew the presentation was a success.”

And Pease isn’t the only one who thinks so! “While Zach occasionally plays video games; this was his first attempt at actually thinking about what went into a game. He has a whole new perspective,” says parent Karen Elder, of her son, Zach. “It was a true learning experience for him and he enthusiastically shared everything he did with his friends and teachers at school.”

When Words Become Weapons

As cases of harassment and bullying grab national headlines, Pace hosts an event for all members of the community addressing different aspects of this issue.

As incidents such as those involving Phoebe Prince and Ryan Halligan—children who committed suicide as a result of bullying—become increasingly common, educators and lawmakers are beginning to examine new ways of approaching bullying in the classroom and online. On July 12, the School of Education and Pace Law School team up to address this critical topic that affects both the classroom and the community. Educators, attorneys, counselors, parents, and students are invited to attend this unique event where researchers in the field share their findings and offer strategies for fostering a more inclusive environment and preventing bullying.

“We’ve been promoting this event to not only educators and school administrators, but also to parents, school psychologists, social workers, and community based organizations—particularly ones with after-school programs,” says Merrill Lee Fuchs, program administrator for the School of Education, “We invited people who we thought would have an interest in the topic; people who have an interest in children—people who are dealing with this on a daily basis.”

The Summer Institute, the first official collaboration between the two schools, seeks to examine bullying from a range of perspectives: pedagogically, legally, psychologically, and emotionally. Several scheduled sessions will deal with protecting LGBTQA and special needs students from bullies, cyberbullying, reduction of stigma in schools, the creation of empowering environments for students, victim advocacy, and effective techniques for the cessation and prevention of bullying.

Emily Waldman, an associate professor of law at Pace and Chair of the Education Law Section of the American Association of Law Schools, will address the difficult balance between protecting students’ rights to free speech and the liabilities schools face if they choose not to intervene. “On the one hand you want to protect the student victim—in some cases, depending on how egregious the speech is, schools are legally obligated to take action to stop the speech—but on the other hand, you can’t violate the First Amendment rights of the student speaker,” says Waldman. “It’s a delicate course that they [schools] have to chart between the First Amendment rights of the student speaker and the need to protect the student victim.”

Other keynote speakers include Frank Laghezza, special counsel to schools and executive assistant district attorney in the Crime Prevention Division of the Kings County Office of the District Attorney in New York City; and Bureau Chief of School Advocacy in the Kings County Office of the District Attorney (and former special education teacher) Renee Turner Gregory, who will be addressing recently passed New York State anti-bullying legislation.

If you’d like to attend the institute of want to know more about the presenters scheduled please click here or contact Susan Dunn at sdunn@pace.edu or (914) 773-3746.

OSA’s New Face for Fall

Matt Bonilla, the new Assistant Vice President of Office of Student Assistance, discusses how the department plans to cut through the red tape to change its reputation from rule enforcers to problem solvers.

In what way does your new position in OSA differ from your previous role as the Interim Vice President and CIO?

Believe it or not, there are a lot of similarities between what we did in information technology and what we do in OSA. There are a lot of policies and procedures that are dated and need to be revised with the infusion of technology to make the execution of those policies/procedures service oriented for students, faculty, and staff. We want to make the way we do business more efficient and less manual process driven for the people involved.  One key task we are focusing on is eliminating the manual processing of paper, allowing staff members more time to focus on our primary objective of servicing students.

What are some of the new things that are happening with OSA?

We’re quickly becoming flexible as an organization to meet the peak demands placed on each aspect of the OSA operational business model. What do I mean by that? I mean that within OSA there are a lot of different departments; all have a shortage of staff members during peak periods if viewed independently. Each department within OSA has its own busy period based on the time of year. So what we did was get rid of all the barriers—all of the individual departments—so now everyone does everything. During peak times, what would’ve been done by 10 people is now being done by everyone in OSA.

You’ve recently launched the new OSA Program Liaison Initiative. What is it, and who is it for?

We did a customer satisfaction survey of students, staff, and faculty to try and pinpoint the exact areas within OSA we could improve. People indicated we weren’t picking up the phones and so on, so the survey really gave us a baseline of what we needed to focus on for the fall. We heard about the “Pace run-around,” people being sent to different areas, being sent from department to department, and not knowing who to speak with. Another thing they mentioned was the bureaucracy – the inability to get things done because policies and procedures would get in the way. The OSA Program Liaison Initiative is a single point of contact—I call them the “red-tape specialists”—for each program. An individual who is in charge of all aspects of OSA business for that program is assigned to someone who is having a problem or for whom the system isn’t working. They speak with their personally assigned representative who then navigates the backend of OSA [Ed. Note: There is also a representative for Financial Aid] to get back to the person with an answer within 24 hours. We’ve seen a lot of great success with this program.

How do OSA employees function within this new initiative?

They work on an operational calendar. They meet with program directors once a month, and during orientation they meet the students and talk with them again in University 101. The representatives also meet with program coordinators, who they are developing long-term relationships with. Everyone is responsible for their programs—creating an individual accountability model. People are really taking pride in their work and in positive working relationships.

At the beginning of each semester, before we go live, OSA staff take an exam that they need to pass to be sure we are up-to-date on the policies and procedures. We also send in “secret shoppers.” We have people making phone calls and visiting the office to rate the service we provide.

How else do you gain feedback for OSA’s efficiency?

The student/faculty advisory council is very important to us. We meet with them once a month and we also meet with the Student Government Association. We listen to their concerns and then the next meeting the following month, we come back with results. They love to see progress and I think we need more of it.

What are your plans for OSA going forward?

We’re teaming up with our friends from Financial Aid and we’ve been sending our OSA staff members for Financial Aid Certification training [see the article on the new Financial Aid Training Institute in this issue of Opportunitas]. Already three have come back with scores above 90 percent. In the fall we’re combining OSA and Financial Aid, both physically and operationally. Right now there are several different places someone might need to go to for the answers they need, and we’re trying to reduce the “run-around” for students.

We’re also setting up a centralized call center for the start of the fall semester. The big thing people say is that OSA doesn’t answer the phone—it isn’t that we don’t want to answer the phone; it’s just that it’s impossible to answer 20,000 phone calls a week at the beginning of the semester.  We’re spending time fixing the main issues that cause students to call in the first place. We’ve started using the Help Desk ticketing system, so now each ticket is assigned to a staff member and tracked. You can also leave a voicemail and that, too, will generate a help ticket and someone will get back to you within 24 hours.

I think the biggest thing we’re trying to do is move away from our role as rule enforcers and toward our new role as solution developers. We’ve always looked at ourselves as a group that enforces the rules, but that’s not really what we’re here for. We have the integrity of the rules to uphold, but we also have to work within the rules to find accommodations for people.