||Vol. 3 No. 3 March 5, 2008
CUNY Trustees Approve Charles B. Rangel Center
The City University of New York (CUNY) Board of Trustees has approved the naming of the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at The City College of New York. The Board acted at its February 25 meeting. Named for U.S. Rep. Charles B. Rangel, whose congressional district includes CCNY, the Center’s mission is to become a national center for the promotion of greater diversity in public service. “This is a timely and significant resource that is an invaluable addition to CCNY, the Harlem community and the nation as a whole,” said CCNY President Dr. Gregory H. Williams. “Congressman Rangel has been an extraordinary public servant – both to his constituents and to the United States – his entire adult life. He is a wonderful role model for our students. The Center honors his work on behalf of all Americans, and preserves and extends his legacy.” The Rangel Center will be housed in a restored brownstone adjacent to CCNY’s main campus. The facility will include the Charles B. Rangel Library, a conference center, and offices for visiting scholars. The Rangel Library will consist of documents, archives and memorabilia from Congressman Rangel’s lifetime of public service. More on this story.
David Bauer, Lindsay White Make Truman Scholarship Shortlist
Honors students David L.V. Bauer and Lindsay White have been named 2008 Truman Scholarship finalists. The two City College juniors are among 211 undergraduates from 139 institutions nationwide in the running for the prestigious awards, which provide $30,000 to each winner for graduate study. Awards are based on leadership potential, intellectual ability, and likelihood of ‘making a difference.’ This year’s winners will be announced by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation after the interview process by independent selection panels ends on March 21. “I don’t think it has quite settled in yet. The application process has been particularly rigorous,” said Mr. Bauer from Oxford, England, where he is conducting research on DNA sequencing. A 2007 Goldwater Scholar, he is majoring in chemistry in the Macaulay Honors College and plans to enter a Ph.D. program in the sciences after graduation. Ms. White, a SEEK student majoring in political science and psychology in the Honors Program, said she was excited to be chosen as a finalist. She thanked Honors Center Director Robin Villa and Assistant Director Lee Linde, saying: “They have been incredibly helpful and supportive of me through this process.” Ms. White, who is also a Colin Powell Fellow, plans to attend law school next year.
Professors Sorkin and Stein Lead Students to China
Eighteen graduate students from the School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture went on a two-week trip to China in mid-January. They were led by Distinguished Professor Michael Sorkin, Director of the Graduate Program in Urban Design and Professor Achva Benzinberg Stein, Director of the Graduate Program in Landscape Architecture. The CCNY entourage spent a week at Wuhan University, where they collaborated on a charrette with their Chinese counterparts. In the first week, the group defined the scope of their project in an intensive urban design workshop. The project is a restoration and redevelopment of Wuhan’s Foreign Concession Area along the Yangtze River. Students collected material, and conducted site reconnaissance. “We had very good cooperation between both teams,” said Sharish Joshi, an urban design major who went on the trip. The second week, the group toured Beijing and Xi-an. Professor Stein also accompanied some students to Guilin. “By exploring other cities, we found answers to problems we are studying here,” added fellow student Jason Lang. Both Professor Stein and Professor Sorkin received visiting professorships at Wuhan University, and Professor Stein lectured at both Wuhan and Xi-an Universities. Professor Sorkin spoke to the city of Wuhan’s municipal planning department. The CCNY students will work on the project during the Spring 2008 semester. A few have been invited to return to China over the summer. In past years, Professor Sorkin has led his students on winter intersession trips to such locales as Hanoi, Havana, Johannesburg and Biloxi, Miss., after Hurricane Katrina.
Mayor Bloomberg Presents Scholarship to Katja Dubinski
Fourth-year architecture student Yekaterinna “Katja” Dubinski has received the AIA New York City Chapter Center for Architecture Foundation Scholarship. The award, which carries a $1,000 one-year stipend, was presented to Ms. Dubinski at the Chapter’s Heritage Ball last October by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Hizzoner, who was being recognized by the Chapter for his contributions to the development of New York City, selected CCNY to give the scholarship to a student in his honor. Ms. Dubinski was nominated by the School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture for having the highest grade point average (over 3.9) and best design work in her class. “I feel extremely honored and surprised,” said Ms. Dubinksi, a resident of the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, who was born in Moscow and lived in Israel until moving to New York five years ago.
Professor Sarachik Elected To National Academy Council
Dr. Myriam P. Sarachik, CCNY Distinguished Professor of Physics, has been elected to the governing council of the National Academy of Sciences, which is the Academy’s governing body. Her three-year term begins July 1, 2008. The Academy is a private, nonprofit institution that provides science advice under a congressional charter. Members are chosen in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievement in original research, and election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors than can be accorded a scientist. Professor Sarachik, who has taught at CCNY since 1964, also was elected in 2007 to the Council of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which is that organization’s policy-making body. In addition, she is a past president of the American Physical Society and has served in an advisory capacity to the National Research Council, the National Science Foundation, the American Institute of Physics and various universities in the United States and abroad. More on this story.
Professor Kaku Explores ‘Impossible’ Physics
Dr. Michio Kaku’s newest book, “Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation and Time Travel,” (Doubleday, 2008) will be released March 11. In the book, Dr. Kaku, who is Henry Semat Professor of Theoretical Physics at CCNY and a co-founder of string field theory, explores to what extent technologies and devices deemed impossible today might become commonplace in the future. He categorizes these “impossible” technologies into three groupings: technologies that are not possible today, but which may be possible in the coming decades or century (Class I), such as invisibility, teleportation, ray guns, force fields, anti-matter engines, star ships, and robots; technologies that are possible on a scale of centuries to millennia (Class II) such as time travel, faster-than-light travel through wormholes, and interdimensional travel, and technologies that violate all the laws of physics as we know them today (Class III). Among other topics, Professor Kaku explains: how the science of optics, electromagnetism, and light could one day be used to make objects invisible; how physicists may be able to teleport segments of DNA and even a virus in the near future, and how time travel is actually consistent with the known laws of quantum physics and, therefore, someday possible. Professor Kaku’s other books, written for the popular market, include “Parallel Worlds” (Doubleday 2005), “Einstein’s Cosmos” (W.W. Norton & Co. 2004), and “Hyperspace” (Oxford University Press 1994).
Class to Develop Marketing Campaigns for WE ACT
CCNY advertising and public relations students are partnering with WE ACT, a West Harlem community group that advocates for environmental justice, to develop grassroots outreach campaigns to bring the “green movement” home. Over the course of the spring semester, four teams, each comprised of 10 students in the CCNY AD/PR workshop class, will assume the role of WE ACT’s communications agency. The teams will compete against each other to develop distinct integrated marketing communications campaign to brand WE ACT and build its membership. The workshop is the capstone course for advertising and public relations majors, and it provides “real world experience” prior to graduation. It is taught by Professors Nancy Tag and Lynne Scott-Jackson. “We believe letting our students get experience working for nonprofit, socially conscious organizations gives them an entirely different perspective on the profession,” said Professor Tag. In past years, the class has done campaigns on behalf of the New York Organ Donor Network, the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, and Spend Smart, a consumer credit education program for students. More on this story.
Study Reports Racial Disparities in HIV/AIDS Mortality Rates
Despite widely available and effective treatments, there are racial/ethnic disparities in HIV/AIDS-related mortality rates. This is the finding of a study lead by Dr. Nancy L. Sohler, Assistant Medical Professor in the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, published in the journal AIDS and Behavior. “The reason for inadequate HIV/AIDS management among minority populations is not fully understood. However, recent research indicates that patients rate the quality of their health higher if they are racially/ethnically concordant with their providers,” the report says. Dr. Sohler and her five-member team from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Montefiore Medical Center studied 380 HIV-positive patients living in single room occupancy hotels in New York City. The study, funded by CDC, was conducted at Montefiore in the Bronx. “As trust plays prominently on health care ratings, we examined whether racial/ethnicity concordance was associated with two dimensions of trust: trust in the provider and mistrust in the health care system,” Dr. Sohler said. The researchers concluded, “that in this patient population and within the health care system available to them, racial/ethnic concordance might be more important for helping patients to understand and navigate the health care system rather than in interpersonal relationships with a single provider.”
CCNY Team Reports First Known Stinging Beetle
While conducting field work in the lowland rainforest of Peru in November 2005, Pedro Centeno, a conservation worker from the Los Amigos Research Center, made a painful discovery. A long-horned wood-boring beetle, Onychocerus albitarsis, used its antenna to sting him on the finger. The incident drew the interest CCNY Professor of Biology Dr. Amy Berkov, who had been doing research on beetle gut microbes, since she had never heard of any of the approximately 350,000 beetle species having stingers. Pedro saved the specimen and removed its antennae. Back at CCNY, Nelson Rodríguez, an undergraduate, prepared specimens for examination using scanning electronic microscopy (SEM). He saw two pores at the tip of the antenna that resembled the tip of a scorpion’s stinger. Under high magnification, he was able to see some secretion inside. Comparisons with a scorpion specimen borrowed from the American Museum of Natural History revealed that Onychocerus albitarsis has a system for delivering venom that is almost identical to the deadly buthid scorpion. “This is a novel case of convergent evolution,” said Professor Berkov. “It is the first case we know of with a beetle injecting anything into anybody.” The team reported its findings in the journal “Naturwissenschaften.”
Professor Lee Helps Israeli Lab Carry on After Devastating Fire
For 20 years, Dr. John Lee, Distinguished Professor of Biology at The City College of New York (CCNY), has spent the winter recess as a volunteer scientist at the National Center for Mariculture (NCM) in Eilat, Israel. But this year’s trip nearly ended before it began. A few days before Professor Lee was to travel, a fire had destroyed NCM’s main building. He decided to go anyway, not knowing what to expect. When he arrived, the clean-up had already begun and scientists and technicians were working in former storerooms or crowded elbow-to-elbow in remaining office spaces, making good on the grants and contracts they already had. Professor Lee was given office and lab space at the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences across the city and commuted between the two facilities. Despite this loss, NCM’s future is filled with promise, according to Professor Lee. Currently he is participating in a new USAID-MERC project among the United States, Israel and Egypt to develop new marine polyculture systems for the Sinai and Negev deserts. In past years, he helped NCM develop techniques for raising abalone, Chilean sea bass and sea bream. While insurance will cover most of the facility's losses, there will be shortfalls in what will be needed to totally rebuild. Donations can be sent c/o Mr. Maurice Barbash, North American Friends of IOLR, 265 West Main St., Box 699, Babylon, NY 11702. More on this story.
Former Baghdad Reconstruction Chief Speaks March 5
Ambassador Barbara K. Bodine, a veteran diplomat and the first reconstruction coordinator for Baghdad after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, will speak about her unique experiences in that country 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, in Room 1/203 of the North Academic Center. Her two-hour public lecture, “The United States and Iraq: Cassandra’s Curse and Pandora’s Box,” is sponsored by The Master’s Program in International Relations (MPIR) in CCNY’s Division of Social Sciences. “Ambassador Bodine will offer a chilling, critical account of the early days of the occupation, drawing from her experiences as the Coalition Provisional Authority’s first coordinator for reconstruction in Baghdad,” said MPIR Director Professor Bruce Cronin. “After trying in vain to bring order and planning to the reconstruction process, she was abruptly dismissed from her post just before the entire project began to crumble,” Professor Cronin added. “These experiences provide her with a unique perspective on the U.S. war in Iraq and the policy implications for the U.S. in the Middle East.” Her experiences were graphically recounted in the award-winning documentary, “No End in Sight” (2007), a look at the Bush Administration’s conduct of the Iraq war and its occupation of that country. More on this story.
David Harvey to Present Mumford Lecture April 3
Dr. David Harvey, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center and internationally recognized social theorist, will present the Fifth Annual Lewis Mumford Lecture on Urbanism 6 p.m. Thursday, April 3, in The Great Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public. Professor Harvey is recognized as the world’s most cited academic geographer. His many books and essays have been prominent in the development of modern geography as a discipline and his work has contributed greatly to broad social and political debate. Professor Harvey’s lecture, titled “The Right to the City,” will examine who gets to exercise this precious right and how. Under capitalism, there has been a long-standing conflict between a view of cities as centers for profit making and capital accumulation and another that sees them as utopian spaces of human interaction. While the former has prevailed, Professor Harvey will ask how the right to the city can be restored to the people. More on this story.
Powell Center Hosts Service Learning Roundtable March 14
The Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies will host a roundtable on service learning Friday, March 14, that will bring service learning practitioners and community groups together to discuss their needs and goals. The day-long forum, co-sponsored by the New York Campus Compact (NYCC), an organization of college presidents committed to the civic mission of higher education, is expected to draw 50 participants. “The format will include 10-person roundtables for sharing questions, issues and solutions,” said Nora Heaphy, Program Director for Service Learning at the Powell Center. “Discussions will benefit service learning newcomers and veterans alike.” The roundtable should be of particular interest to faculty and students engaged in service learning as strong partnerships with community–based organizations are essential. “It’s important that faculty know some of the challenges, needs and differences between the campus and community and how to create common goals,” Ms. Heaphy emphasized, urging faculty to attend. To register, email Marianne Ridley at NYCC@Cornell.edu . The registration deadline is March 12. Cost for the program and lunch is $35 for NYCC members and $45 for non-members.
“In Good Company” Exhibit Honors CCNY Women Faculty
In a salute to the achievements of female faculty at City College, the Morris R. Cohen Library presents the exhibit “In Good Company: Celebrating 70 Years of Women Faculty at CCNY.”The exhibit will be on view in the Library Atrium from March 10 through June 10, 2008. The display acknowledges the strong contributions of women teachers past and present with special focus on faculty, such as Rosaria Piomelli, who were trailblazers or have received laudatory awards. Professor Piomelli was the first female dean of any school of architecture in the United States. Some 70 CCNY faculty members, going back seven decades, are highlighted in the exhibit. “The exhibit notes the origins of women faculty members as teachers at the City College in the 1930s,” said Pamela Gillespie, Assistant Dean and Chief Librarian. “It was not until 1945 that CCNY hired the first woman, Cecile Froelich, on a professorial line in the School of Technology (now The City College Grove School of Engineering).” In the years since, women faculty at CCNY have steadily gained a larger role and have expanded to all subject areas, making significant impacts through their research and teaching. For more information about the exhibit, please call the Cohen Library at (212) 650-7271.
Berechman Critiques Congestion Pricing Plan
Dr. Joseph Berechman, Chair of CCNY’s Economics Department, spoke out against the congestion pricing plan proposed by the Mayor’s Congestion Mitigation Commission. Professor Berechman was on a panel of experts that discussed Mayor Bloomberg’s plan at Baruch College, February 25. The forum was part of the Peter F. Vallone, Sr. Seminars in Government 2007-2008 Lecture Series presented by The Center for Innovation and Leadership in Government at Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs. “In principle, I’m for congestion pricing as a means to reduce traffic congestion,” said Professor Berechman. “However, for methodological and transportation-economics reasons I’m not in favor of this plan as outlined in the Commission’s report. First, the estimates provided in the report for traffic reduction and toll revenues are incredible since the commission used an obsolete database and inappropriate models. Second, from a transportation-economic perspective, this plan is not a bona fide congestion-pricing scheme since the toll price is set as fixed ($8) for 12 hours (6 a.m. -6 p.m.) and zero in all other times.” He suggested that a better and a more comprehensive plan would be to toll all river crossings to Manhattan, using toll prices that vary with actual congestion levels over a 24-hour period. More on this story.
Adjunct Professor Craig Cobb Honored for AIDS Work
Craig Cobb, an Adjunct Professor in the Theatre and Speech Department, received a New York City Council Award February 7 for his work as an AIDS advocate. Professor Cobb, who is also the Specialized Services Program Supervisor for the Harlem Dowling-West Side Center for Children and Family Services, was honored at a City Hall ceremony commemorating National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. He was nominated for the award by the Black Leadership Commission on AIDS of New York City in conjunction with the New York City Council Black, Latino and Asian Caucus. “I’ve been an AIDS activist for the last 20 years and the award was in recognition of the work that I’ve been doing,” Professor Cobb said. He has designed and managed many HIV/AIDS programs across the country and been an advocate for disenfranchised people impacted by the disease at the national and local level. Professor Cobb said he was inspired to take up the fight against HIV/AIDS because “the loss of so many friends at a very young age made me conscious of the impact AIDS has had on people’s lives. I believe in the calling. It’s helped me heal.”
From the President
First, I want to let you know that this week we sent the Middle States Self Study report to our accreditation team. I was there 18 months ago when co-chairs Leslie Galman and Lynn Appelbaum told us all that the Middle States visit would be here sooner than we thought – as you know the team is coming April 13-16 – and they were right! I want to thank the hundreds of faculty and staff members who worked so hard to make this a real learning experience for all of us. I would like to especially thank the Provost and Leslie and Lynn for the enormous effort they made to pull everything together into a coherent whole. They will never get those weekends back…but they have done an enormous service to the College.
I also want to invite you make sure you keep up with the very important events that are coming up on campus by checking EVENTS AT CITY. You’re not going to want to miss biologist and philospher Francisco Ayala on Darwin, April 1, our Mumford Lecturer Professor David Harvey on “The Right to the City,” April 3 and Elie Wiesel on “Confronting Fanaticism,” April 9.
Gregory H. Williams
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