A LETTER FROM GENERAL POWELL
Serving the Growing Needs of the Center and CCNY
Dear Friends and Supporters,
Working with the Center over the years has given me the chance to periodically ask people from my professional life to come to City College, learn about the work we’re doing here, and spend time with our students. Already this year, several of my good friends, including former Secretary of State James Baker and the writer and publisher Sir Harold Evans, have spent time at the Center; Barbara Walters was among our guests last spring. These visitors have seen what a remarkable place CCNY is, and why it has been so important to me. Their conversations also play an important part in our leadership training. For students like ours—ambitious young people with clear commitments to public service—these meetings motivate reflection and inspire resolve. Visitors to our Website can listen to some of these remarkable discussions, and I invite you to follow the links in this newsletter to some of those audio files.
In this issue, you’ll also read about continued Center growth. Student-led service initiatives have emerged as an increasingly important part of our work. Some provide opportunities for CCNY students to help youngsters in underserved neighborhoods realize the dream of a college education. Others allow CCNY students to plan and implement their own community service project, and then institutionalize that program as part of CCNY’s co-curricular life. This summer, we created a new position, director of student leadership and college access programming and hired Kamilah Briscoe to run these programs. We’ve also hired Genéa Stewart to be the new director of our vibrant service-learning program. New support from the Kenan Charitable Trust has allowed us to add 20 new student scholarship lines, and our Edward I. Koch service program is now fully endowed.
This growth has long surpassed our original, fairly modest vision for what the Center might do, but now strains to the limits our current offices and facilities. I was therefore tremendously pleased when some of my friends began talking with members of the CCNY administration about constructing a new building on campus that would bear my name. I deeply appreciate the honor that this plan embodies, but my main vision for Colin Powell Hall is that it serve the growing needs of the Powell Center and of a dynamically expanding City College.
In this newsletter, you’ll read several stories about our progress on this building project: It’s a long process and we’ve really just begun. Last year, we secured the services of Ennead Architects (formerly Polshek Partnerships); Ennead is one of the country’s leading architectural firms, and a CCNY alumnus and Ennead partner, Joe Fleischer, has assumed leadership of the design project. This issue contains a profile of Mr. Fleischer and an in-depth discussion of some of the ideas he’s brought to the process. Like me, Joe has fond memories of CCNY and a clear sense that this building can be a very special addition to the campus.
Many of you have already come forward to support this building project, and for that assistance, I’m grateful. I’m also happy at the prospect of working closely with CCNY’s new president, Dr. Lisa Staiano-Coico; she’s an exciting and dynamic new leader for the college. With her support, and the help I know I can expect from many of you, we’ll move this project off the drawing board and onto the CCNY campus.
Colin L. Powell
COLIN POWELL LEADERSHIP PROGRAM
James A. Baker Shares Insights with Fellows
Former Secretary of State reflects on security issues and world events.
Listen to the podcast (50:39)
In a Q&A discussion with the fellows of the Colin Powell Program in Leadership and Public Service on Friday, September 24, former Secretary of State James A. Baker shared his insights on a range of international and political issues, including U.S. policy toward Iran, America’s standing in the world vis a vis China, and the current political debate over tax cuts. Baker, a Colin Powell Center advisory council member, served as Secretary of State under President George H. W. Bush, as well as both Chief of Staff and Treasury Secretary under President Ronald Reagan.
In considering questions of foreign policy, Baker, a moderate Republican, offered a realist’s view. For instance, although he stressed Iran’s role as an absolute force for instability in that part of the world, he continued, “Having said this, I reject the idea that somehow the U.S. needs to take military action against Iran’s nuclear enrichment activities.” At this point, he added, the U.S. is still unable to prove with absolute certainty that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapon, and military action would only strengthen hardliners, undercut reformers, and promote terrorist activities in the region. “President Obama is doing exactly the right thing by being willing to talk with the government of Iran and pushing for economic and political sanctions," Baker noted. More
COLIN POWELL LEADERSHIP PROGRAM
Harold Evans Unlocks Keys to Innovative Thinking
Distinguished publisher and author shares lessons from his landmark book.
Listen to the podcast (56:40)
“Innovation is not the same thing as invention; invention is only the beginning,” With these words, on Wednesday, October 6, Sir Harold Evans, a Colin Powell Center advisory council member and renown journalist and publisher, launched a conversation to illuminate the often elusive and seemingly opaque process of innovation. Joining Center fellows and other guests for an absorbing discussion, Evans drew on his most recent nonfiction work, They Made America: From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine, which PBS produced as a four-part series. Evans offered compelling examples of the men and women whose innovations have shaped America. Their advances included concepts such as franchising and products ranging from combines to hard drives.
What those individuals had in common, Evans stressed, was a willingness to question the status quo, undaunted persistence, and the ability to collaborate. Innovation, he said, is not the domain of scientists or geniuses. Innovators are often regular people who are willing to adapt from the groundwork laid before them. Driving them is often the desire for convenience, he added, citing the example of the enterprising individual who combined a cell phone with a camera. Additionally, Evans said, many innovators are committed to making their developments as widely available to the populace as possible. The democracy of mass marketing, he noted, has been a hallmark of American success in the world.
Evans, a U.S. citizen who was born in Britain into modest circumstances, rose to be named by British journalists in 2001 as the greatest British newspaper editor ever. His career includes posts as editor of The Times of London and the Atlantic Monthly Press, and as the president of Random House. In 2004, he was knighted by the Queen for his service in the field. After taking questions from audience members, Evans wrapped up his talk by encouraging fellows to think innovatively by questioning assumptions. After all, he said, for the U.S. to continue providing opportunity at home, a new generation of creative thinkers must take their place turning ideas into the practical reality.
POWELL CENTER UPDATE
Colin L. Powell Hall to Rise at the Center of Campus
City College to gain urgently needed facilities; Powell Center to gain a permanent home.
CCNY and the City University of New York have announced that they will partner with the City and State of New York to construct a new building at City College, Colin L. Powell Hall. Named in honor of one of City College's most distinguished alumni, the new building will rise at the campus center, providing not only urgently needed facilities for the college, but also a permanent home and visual identity for the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies.
Following a rigorous evaluation process, selection committee members representing CCNY and CUNY, the Spitzer School of Architecture, and the Colin Powell Center awarded the project this past July to Ennead Architects LLP (formerly Polshek Partnership). Ennead Architects is a New York City-based firm known for design excellence. The firm has worked extensively at institutions of higher education across the country, including Stanford University, University of Michigan, The Pennsylvania State University, and Williams College. It also has designed some of the country's most recognized recent buildings, including the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History and the William J. Clinton Presidential Center.
An Understanding of the Campus Context
The firm stood out among a field that included some of the nation’s finest architecture firms, according to Lance Jay Brown, a distinguished professor at CCNY’s Spitzer School of Architecture and selection team member, because of “its sympathy for and understanding of the Powell Center’s mission, its feel for the mission of City College, its familiarity with and appreciation of … the campus context and environment, and its willingness to engage with the college to develop the best possible home for this significant new work of architecture.” More
POWELL CENTER UPDATE
Architect Brings Unique Perspective to Powell Hall Project
CCNY alumnus to lead new design project for City College.
Like countless other young architects-in-training over the years, as a student Joseph Fleischer had more than once surveyed the CCNY landscape and conceived his ideal building. Fleischer, a native of Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn, New York, went on to achieve a highly distinguished career as one of nine principle partners at the New York City-based firm Ennead Architects, LLP (formerly Polshek Partners). Along with his partners, he has helped to create an outstanding portfolio of work for an extraordinary range of public and private institutions. What has been missing is a building at his alma mater. That is, until now.
This past July, CCNY and CUNY announced Ennead’s selection as the architecture firm for Colin L. Powell Hall. This new building on the City College campus will provide urgently needed space for the campus and a new, permanent home for the Center. It will also enable CCNY to more fully integrate service-learning and civic engagement activities across departments and programs.
Recently, Fleischer and his longtime partner Richard Olcott initiated planning discussions at their offices on the comprehensive design that will evolve over the coming year. Several models arranged on a table presented the earliest conceptions of the building and offered a starting point for the clients’ and architects’ discussion.
Broadening a Worldview
Fleischer, one of the first graduates of CCNY's School of Architecture, brings to the process a genuine appreciate for the City College campus, its context, and its culture. He first set foot on City’s Harlem home base at not-quite 17, intending to major in engineering. CCNY not only offered what might have been his only window to a higher education, Fleischer says, it also broadened his entire worldview. “You were no longer in your neighborhood—you were in a richer, deeper environment, in a mixing bowl with people of the much larger world,” Fleischer says. “That sense is retained for students today, and it's what makes City College such a special place." More
SERVICE-LEARNING FACULTY PROFILE
Darwin Deen: "Activating" Patient-Doctor Understanding
Professor enlists service-learning to tackle a troubling cause of health-care disparities.
Patients need to be part of the conversation about their care. Virtually everyone would agree with this common-sense statement. Yet, communication breakdowns happen continually in medical settings across the United States, particularly when the patients are non-native English speakers, members of racial or ethnic minorities, or low-income clients. The unfortunate result is often derailed care, subpar health outcomes, and increased distrust toward providers.
Tackling this issue on two fronts is Darwin Deen, M.D., M.S., a professor of community health and social medicine at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. On the one side, he is working with doctors-in-training. In his course, Patient-Doctor I & II, Dr. Deen instructs fourth-year Sophie Davis students (who are the equivalent of first-year medical students) in primary-care principles and practices. Among other skills, he teaches his students effective patient-centered interviewing techniques.
On the other side of the equation, Dr. Deen is focusing on patients, working to improve their ability to communicate effectively and to participate actively in decisions around their care. To achieve both goals, Dr. Deen relies on service-learning. Service-learning is a teaching method that incorporates community service into a course design to enrich the course content and the students’ experience. The Colin Powell Center supports service-learning courses such as Dr. Deen’s through faculty fellowships and additional assistance. More
STUDENT-LED SERVICE INITIATIVES
Edward I. Koch Scholars: A Dedicated Corps of Volunteers
CCNY students devote close to 10,000 hours of service through the Edward I. Koch Scholarship program.
Whenever he volunteers as an overnight chaperone at the Central Baptist Church Shelter, Hyeondo "Luke" Hwang ensures that the guests—all women—have a safe, clean, secure, and caring environment. Working under the auspices of the Partnership for the Homeless, Hwang prepares the sleeping area and food tables, oversees the 10 p.m. "lights out" process, and then wakes at 5 a.m. to lay out a light breakfast and to help transport the women back to the homeless shelter central offices. Sharing conversation with the women and learning about their widely diverse circumstances has been "eye-opening" for Hwang, a CCNY sophomore majoring in biochemistry. “You’d think that they would be bitter, but they have so much gratitude,” he says. “It has given me a lot of appreciation for what I have.”
Hwang is just one of the Center’s Edward I. Koch Scholars in Public Service, a corps of dedicated volunteers who commit themselves to devoting a minimum of 200 hours a year to community service. Edward I. Koch Scholars, who are also selected based on academic merit and financial need, receive a full-tuition $5,000 scholarship, renewable for up to four years, and supportive programming. The program, anonymously endowed in 2009 in honor of former Mayor Edward I. Koch, supports five new students a year, for a total of 20 scholars at any one time.
Since 2005 when the program launched, Koch scholars have devoted more than 8,446 hours of public service to local nonprofits and public institutions. Among their efforts, Koch scholars have helped in overcrowded classrooms, assisted with the support of HIV-positive immigrants, worked as translators at medical centers, and helped to create a healthier "green" urban environment. By the end of this semester, Edward I. Koch Scholars will have pushed their total number of volunteer hours past the 10,000 mark.
Recently, Koch scholars gathered to welcome their newest honorees and to share advice and support. Though their experiences varied widely, the discussion suggested that together they knit a connected web of community support across the five boroughs. In return, the scholars say they are gaining in personal ways. “I am not only helping those in need, but significantly molding my character,” Hwang says. “Humility, compassion, volunteerism, and faith are taking a strong root in my heart. I am getting back tenfold what I am giving."
Read more about this year’s Koch Scholars.
POWELL CENTER PROFILE
A Focus on Faculty for New Director of Service-Learning
Building on service-learning's success at CCNY is Genéa Stewart's goal.
This fall, the Center welcomes Genéa Stewart to the position of director of service-learning and civic engagement. Stewart, the former service-learning coordinator at Kingsborough Community College (CUNY), developed and helped to launch Kingsborough’s service-learning program, bringing faculty participation from three to 21 participants over the past three years, and overseeing a service-learning program that encompassed 50 community partners and 2,000 students.
Stewart credits her success at Kingsborough, in part, to fostering a close alliance with faculty. “I wanted to ensure that faculty were the guiding voice behind what we did,” says Stewart, a native of Dallas. She consulted with them regularly and offered professional development workshops and informal discussion sessions, among other program elements. “My goal was to connect faculty to each other so they could enhance one another’s teaching,” Stewart says. “Faculty are very busy, but they made the time to take part.”
Supporting faculty continues to be Stewart’s top priority as director of service-learning and civic engagement at the Center. Her work begins with listening and learning, she says. “I want to see what the culture is about service-learning for the faculty here,” Stewart notes. “I also want to see what the chairs are thinking about service-learning, and whether it meets their needs.” Stewart brings a similar approach to assisting faculty develop service-learning projects. “Rather than me saying, ‘Here’s something we need to take care of,’ I start by asking ‘What’s your passion? Immigrant rights? Community development?’” Stewart says, “I like to make sure that the conceptual ideas come from faculty and are based on their interests.” More
POWELL CENTER PROFILE
Center Welcomes New Director of Leadership and Access
Kamilah Briscoe brings experience and a passion to make a difference in the lives of students.
The Center’s newly created position of director of student leadership and college access virtually had Kamilah Briscoe’s name on it. At least, that’s what Briscoe thought the first time she saw a description of the position.
As assistant director at the Steinhardt Institute of Higher Education Policy at New York University, Briscoe had focused her research on issues of access and equity in higher education for underrepresented students. Before this, she had served as founding associate director of the Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship program. For six years, she had provided leadership training and growth opportunities to promising undergraduates at eight (now 10) New York City colleges and universities, including CUNY-related institutions.
Now Briscoe, a native of Toronto, Canada, was looking for the next step in her career. At the Watson Foundation, she had worked with CCNY students and knew them to be exceedingly driven and capable. She also appreciated the emphasis CCNY administrators, faculty, and staff placed on students and their development, and she found the idea of focusing on undergraduates again energizing. More