Fordham Notes: November 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NASW Honors Dean Vaughan

Peter Vaughan, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School of Social Service (GSS), will be honored on Thursday, Dec 1 with a National Association of Social Workers’ “Leader of the Profession” award, given a by the NASW’s New York chapter.

An active participant in the professional community, Dean Vaughan has worked on NY-NASW's strategic planning committee and served two terms on the Council on Social Work Education's Commission on Accreditation.

He will be among four persons being recognized at an annual dinner for their exemplary leadership qualities and their commitment to improving the profession and the community they serve; also being honored are Alma Carten, Ph.D., associate professor of social work at New York University; Larry Lee, executive director of New York Asian Women’s Center, and Nancy Wackstein, executive director of United Neighborhood Houses.

This is the organization’s fifth annual Leadership Awards ceremony.

Known as a collaborative leader, Dean Vaughan has headed Fordham’s GSS since October 2000. Under his guidance the school has advanced enrollment and expanded its curriculum to include a global services and a human rights focus. GSS is currently is ranked 18th in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

Dean Vaughan also co-chairs the FordhamVEts Task Group.

—Janet Sassi

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fordham Jesuit’s Book Featured this Advent Season

Mark Mossa, S.J., recalls a profound moment he had while watching an Adam Sandler movie.

The movie, 50 First Dates, tells the story of a man, Henry, who falls in love with a woman, Lucy, whose handicap doesn’t allow her to remember things more than 24 hours. Every day she meets Henry again for the first time.

The author of Already There: Letting God Find You (St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2009) Father Mossa calls the situation an “apt metaphor for our relationship to God.”

“Like Lucy, we treat God from day to day as if we’ve never seen God before. But like Henry, God keeps coming back, trying to get our attention in both ordinary and unexpected ways,” he said.

Father Mossa’s message about letting God find us will be the subject of this season’s Advent Book Club, led by Msgr. Joseph G. Quinn and held on all three campuses. The Lincoln Center book club will kick off the season with a discussion on Monday, Nov. 28 in McMahon 109 of the Lowenstein Center. For a full schedule of times and dates on all three campuses, visit the advent website. (

Father Mossa, who has taught a course on Catholicism and Popular Culture in America, will be in attendance with each campus book club to help facilitate discussion.

--Janet Sassi

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Latina Performance to be Held at Rose Hill

O’Keefe Commons on Fordham's Rose Hill campus will be alive with readings and performances by three legendary artists on Thursday, November 17.

The 1 p.m. showcase will feature:

-Magdalena Gomez, author of Dancing in My Cockroach Killers and artistic director of Teatro V!da and a National Endowment of Arts master artist.

-Josefina Baez, author of Dominicanish and founder/artistic director of Ay Ombe Theatre Groupe.

-Alina Troyano, aka Carmelita Tropicana, author of I, Carmelita Tropicana: Performing Between Cultures (Beacon Press, 2000) and Obie award winner.

The performance, which is sponsored by the department of Modern Languages and Literature, is free and open to the public. A reception will follow. For more information, call (718) 817-2698

—Patrick Verel

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

'Groundbreaking' a New Fordham Website

By James J. Kempster

Soon after the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Fordham Law building last May, I went for a tour of the half-century-old current building on the Lincoln Center campus.

I was struck by the number of state-of-the-art services that have been squeezed into the tight, insufficient structure. It is not a comfortable fit. Equipment sticks out into halls. Floor plans meander like mazes and students congregate in lounge areas barely bigger than the elevators.

Glimpsing some of the original fixtures and molding, I easily imagined a time when the rooms housed only desks and chalkboards, when Mad Men-era faculty members and priests maneuvered the halls with the streamlined mid-20th-century polish of statesmen. However, the structure has clearly become insufficient for their 21st-century successors, and we are grateful that the new building promises to support services never imagined in the 1960s.

I have had a similar feeling when I roam the virtual hallways of Fordham’s website. Time collapses in virtual years. As technology has advanced, the University’s website, though visually redesigned only a few years ago, has not been able to incorporate new features and content easily. As with the websites of many academic institutions, the Fordham site has devolved into a cobbled-together group of services filling the immediate needs of schools and departments, without a cohesive system or guiding plan to unify them, enhance the user experience, or support the greater mission and goals of the University.

Our capable but small web staff often must first attend to users’ immediate needs and frustrations, without the time or support to focus on larger issues that would not only curb these frustrations, but improve the website for a broader group of users now and going forward.

The result is a website overdue for reassessment and redesign. Many important features are necessary to make a good website, but the following are perhaps most important, currently:

• support for video, social media, calendaring and user-provided content;
• intuitive navigation and structure that are clear to the user;
• design that unifies the Fordham look and message, while supporting the vast needs of the University;
• readiness for mobile and other future technological advances;
• data integration that directs information internally to serve school office procedures, while shaping content outwardly to suit the interests of each visitor;
• sufficient staff to support ongoing maintenance and development; and
• a cultural shift that puts web communication first, recognizing that our website is our single most important marketing tool.

A core steering committee of administrators and faculty members has met and is committed to shepherding this new website project. With the full support of the administration, we have begun planning a comprehensive strategy, based on good research and analytics, an extensive survey of the community, and sound technical, marketing and communications tactics.

From the start, a thorough assessment of our current online services, infrastructure and needs is crucial. The process must involve representatives from the entire Fordham community, including students, faculty members, alumni, administrators, supporters and friends. This requires assistance.

The steering committee is reviewing proposals from several outside firms to lead the assessment of the Fordham website and our needs. The finished assessment will include a report on the current state of our website and a plan for designing and implementing a new one. We estimate that the full process will require 18 to 24 months, though we expect the company with whom we ultimately work to provide a clearer timeline as part of its assessment.

Throughout the process, we will continue to keep the Fordham community informed of our progress. Over the coming months, we will publish a series of reports and articles about the project in Inside Fordham and on the Fordham Notes blog. From time to time, we will invite community members to participate in the assessment or share their thoughts as we proceed. Your support will ensure that what we develop in the coming months and years will serve the Fordham community well into the future.

James J. Kempster is the senior director of marketing and communications at Fordham.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fordham Hosts Education Dean/New York Regents Meeting

The leaders of the institutions that train teachers came together on Monday, Nov. 7 at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus to meet with Merryl Tisch, the Chancellor of the New York Board of Regents.

The meeting, which was attended by John King, the New York State Commissioner of Education and New York area deans of schools of education, was meant to address changes being proposed for teacher evaluation and preparation.

James Hennessy, Ph.D., dean of the Fordham Graduate School of Education, chaired the meeting along with Joan Lucariello, Ph.D., University Dean for Academic Affairs The City University of New York.

“We’re joined here today by members of board who really committed to understanding your issues. We would prefer that you lay everything out so that some fresh air can enter the dialogue between us. It is not helpful for us if you have your conversations by phone with each other,” Tisch said.

“As with anything, there will points that can be addressed, there will be points of commonality, and then there will be points of disagreement. But if everything’s not on the table, then the conversation continues to take place in the shadows. This is our opportunity to get it out of the shadows.”

The three and half-hour meeting was dedicated to addressing:

-Race to the Top;
-Assessment of Teacher Educator Effectiveness;
-The Adequacy and Use of Video in Performances-Based Assessment
-College and Career Readiness
—Patrick Verel

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fordham College at Rose Hill Dean to Host Breakfast

Attention Fordham College at Rose Hill alumni!

You're invited to the second annual State of the College Address, hosted by dean Michael Latham, Ph.D. Join us for breakfast from 8-10 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17 at the New York Yacht Club in midtown Manhattan. Click here to RSVP and for more information.
—Patrick Verel

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Literature and Social Justice Make a Home

Fordham University has launched a national literary magazine.

The inaugural issue of CURA: A Literary Magazine of Art and Action, is now on line, with a print and kindle issue to follow in the spring.

The magazine will feature creative writing, visual art, new media and video in response to current news and themes of social responsibility. The theme of the first issue is “Home,” and proceeds from the project will go to support Covenant House, New York’s largest adolescent care agency serving homeless, runaway and at-risk youth.

Featured in the first issue are works by renowned writers Robert Bly, Lia Purpura, Evie Shockley, Rigoberto Gonzalez and Idra Novey, alongside that of Fordham graduate and undergraduate students.

CURA, says Sarah Gambito, assistant professor of English and the magazine’s editor in chief, acknowledges the marriage of literary publishing with Fordham’s mission of cura personalis, or nourishment of the whole person.

“What is unique is the idea of integrating a literary magazine with social justice,” said Gambito. “I think Fordham has created something meaningful in the literary community.”

And here are two excerpts from the inaugural issue.

Woman in Black
– Hamra Abbas –

Climbing into Bed
– Robert Bly –

There's no end to the joy of climbing into bed,
And hearing your wife rustling about nearby;
There's no end to the delight of the huge covers.

There's no end to the delight of hearing your body
Rumbling, and night waiting to capture you,
And take you off to your childhood bed.

There's no end to saying there's no end,
No end to rubbing your feet after a run,
No end to the delight when the door closes.

There's no end to thanking Jesus for his words,
To pulling up the covers of a century
And stretching out your toes into the dark,
And saying goodbye to the world once more.

CURA is administered by Fordham faculty, graduate and undergraduate students. You can find the online magazine, including submission deadlines, here.

--Janet Sassi