The City College Advantage

kevin-foster-research-for-the-common-goodI hope you read the recent report about how vital CCNY is, in propelling so many of our students out of poverty.  The report, led by Stanford economist Raj Chetty*, showed that 76% of City College students who started from the lowest 20% of income end up at least an entire quintile higher, so neither the lowest nor the second-lowest 20%.  That report ranks CCNY #2 for mobility in the entire country.  We are all proud of our contributions to this effort.  But let me link that report to other strands of economic research.

That leap in income is tremendously rare.  Most people stay in the same quintile where they start and of those who move, most move just one quintile up or down – very few take more than one step away.  You may remember hearing Raj Chetty’s name last month, documenting what David Leonhardt called the “end of the American Dream,” as he tabulated data that showed people born in 1950 had nearly an 80% chance of making more money than their parents, while those born in 1980 had just a 50% chance.  (He also provided data about the geography of opportunity: there are some parts of the country that do better than others.)  CCNY’s American Dream Machine is enormously difficult; it was always tough but it is becoming even more so.

Continue reading “The City College Advantage”

On Graduation

If you’ve never been to a CCNY graduation, you should come.

All graduations are joyous events; all graduations affect transitions between years of preparation and a world rife with new possibilities.  And, I’ll admit that it’s been years since I’ve attended a graduation that did not take place on a CUNY campus—but I still think our graduations are different.

I think they’re different because they’re filled with young people rewriting their entire family history.  When you wander around after a Colin Powell School graduation ceremony, you’re surrounded by parents who’ve sent sons and daughters into a world they didn’t understand and couldn’t explain to their children.  For many it may feel like a huge gamble: will their children grow unfamiliar to them, alienated from home and culture? Will the embrace of an education build walls, or create ladders? Will a child’s opportunity be a family’s loss? Despite the risks and doubts, or perhaps because of them, students and families arrive at graduation day as to a new continent they never thought they’d reach.  The air is spiced with their joy.

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Have you seen A New Light in Harlem?

Do you know a young person who wants to be a leader in public service? Get access to world-class preparatory coursework and field experience without amassing piles of debt? Are you a scholar, educator, or community organizer looking to break down walls between the Academy and the surrounding community? Who knows that in order to find better answers to pressing questions of the 21st century, we need to hear more voices? Watch and learn more about the mission of the Colin Powell School—”A New Light in Harlem.”

Our original upload to YouTube got over 600 views in just a matter of days! We had to do a *tiny* bit of clean-up, so we uploaded a new version (click below).

The film features interviews with General Colin Powell, Dean Vince Boudreau, and faculty, students, alumni, and board members, spotlighting the amazing community we have up here on the City College campus.

Do you know a young person who wants to be a leader in public service? Get access to world-class preparatory coursework and field experience without amassing piles of debt?

Are you a scholar, educator, or community organizer looking to break down walls between the Academy and the surrounding community? Who knows that in order to find better answers to pressing questions of the 21st century, we need to hear more voices?

Watch and learn more about the mission of the Colin Powell School—”A New Light in Harlem.”

 

Police Violence & Social Justice: A Faculty-Supported Student Dialogue

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Dear Students,

Members of the faculty have grown concerned about how you are thinking about and coping with issues of police brutality, the response of our justice system, and the protests that have occupied so much of our attention and emotional energy these past few weeks. We’ve noticed many of you with deep concerns and questions. We also know that many of you have felt compelled to join your voice with others in protest.

Continue reading “Police Violence & Social Justice: A Faculty-Supported Student Dialogue”

The Public University: Dying a Slow Death?

Year after year, the defunding of public higher education has crept forward without sounding many alarms. It’s not clear that any policy maker or government unit made a specific decision to withdraw support for state universities. Yet, if the current trend continues, most states will have fully divested themselves from supporting public higher education by the 2050s.How have we allowed this to happen? Through varying degrees of neglect—some more easily pinpointed than others.

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by Vince Boudreau, Dean, Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership, The City College of New York

Year after year, the defunding of public higher education has crept forward without sounding many alarms. It’s not clear that any policy maker or government unit made a specific decision to withdraw support for state universities. Yet, if the current trend continues, most states will have fully divested themselves from supporting public higher education by the 2050s. In New York State, the sunset year is projected to be 2038.

There was a time when New York State citizens covered more than 75 percent of The City College of New York’s budget. Today, that number stands at 36 percent, down a full 11 percentage points in the last four years alone.

How have we allowed this to happen? Through varying degrees of neglect—some more easily pinpointed than others. Continue reading “The Public University: Dying a Slow Death?”

From the Dean: Be Watchful, Restless, and Relentless

Cultivating a watchful, restless, and relentless sense of agency profoundly shortens the odds on success. The person who walks into a room attuned to its possibilities; who moves through a conversation, a program, or an organization alive with purpose; who is alert to surprising and unlooked for possibilities, will be far ahead of the game.

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

Over the years, we’ve brought scores of accomplished men and women to visit students in our leadership programs.  Most of these men and women—businesspeople, policy makers, lawyers and public servants—come with some specific public concern or policy dilemma to discuss. But we always ask them to also talk about their lives, to recount how they have navigated their paths to success. These conversations matter immensely because too many of our students discount the uncertain and contingent character of successful trajectories, mistakenly assuming that the contours of a successful end are evident from the start. In making that mistake, they take themselves out of the picture, imagining that no road leads from where they are to where they want to be.

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From the Dean: The Fundamentals of Leadership

Over the weeks and months to follow, I will, in our blog, lay out a vision for the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership—this wonderful endeavor I’ve been asked to shepherd. I’ll outline new programming, opportunities for students, and faculty projects, but my next post will stick close to examining what agency must mean in the service of our educational mission, and how we can produce a kind of leadership education that inspires our curriculum and propels confident, visionary students into the world.

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 “From the Dean: The Fundamentals of Leadership”