Join Engineers Without Borders at CCNY

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An EWB-CCNY student working in the field.

by Zineb Bouizy, Secretary, Engineers Without Borders-CCNY Chapter

I come from a poor family in Morocco. When I came to the US six years ago, I came alone and did not know any English. I started working full-time to support myself and help my family back in Morocco, and began to pursue my dream of becoming a civil engineer. It was my experience struggling to get the basic necessities in my hometown that led me to engineering as a professional path, and fortunately, I made my way into the Grove School of Engineering at City College. My personal experience is also what drove me to become involved with Engineers Without Borders (EWB), a humanitarian organization that supports the design and implementation of community-driven, sustainable engineering projects worldwide. Continue reading

Maria Binz-Scharf: Yes, “Lean In,” but also “Reach Out”

This month, we honor Women’s History Month. This past Saturday, we celebrated International Women’s Day. But how exactly do we choose to honor and celebrate these days? As during last month’s observance of black history, there is a necessary tension in recognizing the achievements of historically underrepresented and oppressed groups: We are celebrating the progress of peoples despite living within systems of power (still in place) that would have them shut out, by brute force or by insidious power play.

ImageMaria C. Binz-Scharf, Associate Professor of Management in Business and Economics at the Colin Powell School, addresses the slow progress of women achieving equality in the workplace in her International Women’s Day post on the Complexity and Social Networks Blog of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science and the Program on Networked Governance, Harvard University.

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Rajan Menon: On Ukraine and Russia

Courtesy Christiaan Triebert, Creative Commons License.

Addressing the crisis in Ukraine, Professor Rajan Menon, the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Chair of Political Science at the Colin Powell School, has published commentary on a number of blogs in the last couple days.

Today on the Huffington Post, “Stop Bashing Obama on Ukraine”:

“Even as I write these words, President Obama, who probably hasn’t slept much lately, is being bombarded with advice on Ukraine: Do this. No, don’t; do that instead. Do that, but not yet.

Apart from the pressure the president is under, it must be galling to be criticized by, and receive counsel from, individuals who have far less information than he does about what’s happening on the ground in Ukraine and until recently (if then) couldn’t spot Balaklava or Simferopol on a map.

Here’s the thing: Many people are outraged, and justifiably, by Vladimir Putin’s risible claim that he was forced to act to defend Ukraine’s ethnic Russians (who exactly has been attacking them?). But there’s nothing Obama can do to get the Russian soldiers, now patrolling various parts of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, back in their barracks….” Continue reading

Spend a Day with the Colin Powell School Feb. 27

Since its inauguration last May, the Colin Powell School’s programming—including public lectures, service-learning courses, partnerships between faculty and community organizations, and more—is driven by our desire to blend the intellectual resources of a public university with the diverse energy of the city: its leaders, its communities, its global network.

On February 27, we invite you to “Spend a Day with City College,” where you’ll get an insider’s view of our plans for the future. Continue reading

From the Dean: The Fundamentals of Leadership

vinceheadshotby Dean Vince Boudreau, Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership

Leadership can mean a lot of things to different people, and has been on the minds of more than a few of us at the Colin Powell School. What does it mean to shoulder the task of developing leadership capacities in new generations of City College students?

For us, leadership probably needs to mean something different than the specific training programs that take place in Outward Bound experiences or executive leadership seminars—because our leadership development work occurs alongside the university’s degree-granting activity. Students here need to prepare themselves for leadership roles as they learn the ins and outs of economics, sociology, psychology, and other academic fields.  Continue reading

Preserving and Strengthening Access

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by Lisa S. Coico, president of the City College of New York (excerpted from the Huffington Post)

President Coico published a piece on the Huffington Post last week urging lawmakers and public universities to preserve their mission of providing an affordable education, and to better connect students to networks that can provide a pathway to successful post-graduate careers. You can read the entire post here.

From the Huffington Post:

… “Access to affordable higher education has enabled people like me to take their lives on a different trajectory than would have otherwise been possible. Many have attained higher living standards; a few changed the world through their contributions. At City College, we claim such illustrious alumni as Gen. Colin L. Powell, Andrew Grove, Jonas Salk and nine Nobel laureates.

Clearly, public colleges and universities have been a win-win for both the students who attend them and the states and cities that support them. The higher tax revenues resulting from increased lifetime earnings and the economic development supported by entrepreneurship and university-based research offer one of the highest returns to be found on public investment.

Today, however, the pathway faces challenges at both the point that students enter college and after they graduate. States have slashed support for their colleges and universities, forcing them to raise tuition to unaffordable levels. New graduates often have to take unpaid internships to gain entry to their chosen fields. That’s a huge barrier for those who need to work to support themselves and pay off student loans. Continue reading

‘Let’s Get Ready’: Not Your Ordinary Work-Study

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by Angela Choi, Community Engagement Fellow at the Colin Powell School

When you scan the list of available federal work-study jobs, many are in campus offices or departments needing administrative help. But there’s another opportunity, one that takes you away from paperwork and into the City College community.

Let’s Get Ready is a nonprofit organization that provides free SAT preparation to students from families with low incomes, and assists these students throughout the college application process. Let’s Get Ready at City College is a different kind of on-campus work-study, where students awarded federal work-study funding get paid to do great work. It’s a unique opportunity to engage and have an impact on your community.

While I was still in high school, I had a burning desire to go to college—but I didn’t know how to get there. My parents had not gone to college in this country and were unfamiliar with the application process. My parents believed it was my high school’s responsibility to help me get into college, and expected their support. Unfortunately, this just wasn’t the case. Continue reading

Megacities and the Challenge of Urbanizing 250 Million Chinese

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By Lily M. Hoffman

Lily M. Hoffman is an associate professor and director of the MA program in sociology at the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership and faculty member at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her research interests include urban redevelopment and comparative urban policy focusing on the U.S. and post-communist Eastern Europe. Hoffman, who chaired the urban and community section of the American Sociological Association and who is coeditor of Cities and Visitors: Regulating People, Markets and City Space, was invited to present her current work this fall at the 10th Annual Beijing Forum. The forum, entitled “The Harmony of Civilizations and Prosperity for All—Retrospect and Prospect,” brought together scholars, public officials, and experts from more than 40 countries. While in Beijing, Hoffman reflected on some of the many issues facing megacities:

During my week in Beijing, I experienced two relatively smog-less blue-sky days, when minimal numbers of residents wore protective masks and when the air was less acrid than usual. I was there for the 10th Beijing Forum, cosponsored by Peking University, the city of Beijing, and the Korea Foundation, and held at the Diaoyutai State Guest House, where Nixon “met” China during his historic 1972 visit.

One focus of the forum was China’s urbanization, both the profound challenges raised by China’s megacities such as Beijing and Shanghai, whose populations number more than 20 million residents, as well as the government’s national policy of rapid urbanization. China plans to move 250 million people from rural to urban locations by 2025; this means moving about 20 million farmers per year. Many of these locations will be newly constructed towns and cities that require the establishment of an infrastructure of schools, hospitals, roads, and public transportation, as well as jobs for incoming migrants. Continue reading