Fordham Notes: December 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Nice GSS Christmas Story

Since 1989, the Graduate School of Social Service (GSS) has been running a program that helps those Bronx schools showing high dropout rates to keep “at risk” students in school.

Known as the Liberty Partnerships Program (LPP), the dropout prevention initiative liaisons with I.S. 254 (just two blocks from the Rose Hill campus) to offer more than 80 students in grades six through eight tutoring, mentoring and social and emotional counseling.

Fordham’s GSS students do the counseling as part of their field placement curriculum. They spend 21 hours a week doing both one-on-one and group counseling with underrepresented students who might otherwise fall through the cracks in an already-taxed school system.

Part of the GSS’ larger curriculum, however, is also being mindful of social justice issues. So it was with great enthusiasm that GSS interns devised a friendly contest among the I.S. 54 classes to gather canned goods for needy families around the holidays.

Throughout the month of November the interns worked with the school’s parent coordinators to set up the class competition. Each day the middle school students charted the number of cans brought in by class members on a colorful graph on a hallway wall.

When the contest was complete, the school’s youngest sixth grade class, Class 601, was the winner. All in all, the students gathered more than 600 cans.

“They are really proud of themselves,” said Shelly Topping, LMSW, LLP’s program director. “They were very excited that the donations were going to families in need.”

As evidenced above, the winning class was also very excited to take a photo in front of the City Harvest truck, which picked up the donations for distribution on Dec. 15th. (photo by Benia Thomas)

--Janet Sassi

GSE and Bloomingdale’s Team Up to Help Promote Catholic Schools

Schools exist to educate students, open their minds to local and global issues and prepare them to be citizens of the world.

None of that is possible, however, if a school cannot draw students in the first place.

To address this basic challenge, the Center for Catholic School Leadership and Faith-Based Education, part of the Graduate School of Education, and Bloomingdale’s co-sponsored an in-service training session on Dec. 20 regarding the marketing of schools.

Thirty Catholic elementary school principals from the Archdiocese of New York, the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Diocese of Rockville Centre gathered at Bloomingdale’s corporate headquarters to gain entrepreneurial and marketing skills geared toward promoting their schools.

“School leaders in the 21st century not only have to be competent instructional leaders, but in Catholic schools they need to develop an entrepreneurial spirit as a core competency as well, so that they know how to promote their schools,” said Patricia Kelly-Stiles, Ed.D., associate director of the center.

“As a result of demographic changes, Catholic schools throughout the New York City metropolitan area are challenged to recruit adequate numbers of students so that the schools can continue to thrive,” she said.

Led by Kelly-Stiles and Gerald Cattaro, Ed.D., executive director of the center, along with Bloomingdale’s Richard Pittelli, vice president of financial control, and Michelle Pogue, manager of education, communication and recognition, the training drew on the retail giant’s corporate models to give the principals tips on marketing their schools.

“It’s important for the principals because one of their main functions is to attract students to the schools,” Cattaro said. “They have a terrific product and the real challenge is to get the word out there… We can learn from business.”

The participating principals will assemble again in May to reflect on the strategies they implemented since the December training and how their schools have benefitted.

Moreover, Kelly-Stiles added, these strategies are essential not just for Catholic school administrators, but also for anyone who serves in an administrative role in education.

“[For] people studying for school leadership positions, knowing how to promote their schools is becoming more and more prevalent and I would anticipate seeing some of those elements infused into the existing courses,” she said. “Twenty-first century leaders have to have an entrepreneurial spirit whether they are in business, retail or education. It’s part of what one is called to do.”

-- Joanna Klimaski

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

In Order and Chaos, Faculty Art Revels in Color and Detail

Fordham’s Center Gallery has yet another fantastic show on display—this time featuring the very first exhibition of what will be an annual “Faculty Spotlight” show.

Three members of Fordham’s Visual Arts Department faculty are featured:

Abby Goldstein’s paintings reference ancient hand-drawn maps and satellite images (center), creating “fictional landscapes” that navigate unfamiliar territories in an orderly format;

Casey Ruble’s small-scale paper collages (top) have been influenced by minimalist literature, late-modernist cinema, documentary photography of the 1970s and true-crime television; and

Carleen Sheehan’s “Convertibles Series” (bottom) depicts fusions of built and natural worlds by combining a range of media into “open-ended narratives of distilled chaos and spectacular abundance.”

Goldstein is an associate professor and head of Fordham’s Graphic Design concentration. Casey Ruble and Carleen Sheehan are both artists-in-residence who teach painting, drawing and visual thinking within the department.

The show will be on display through January 30th, 2012, Monday to Sunday from 9 am. to 7 p.m. It is sponsored by Fordham’s Department of Theatre and Visual arts.

For more information visit

—Janet Sassi

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

IPED Student Wins Competitive Internship with State Department

Having landed a highly sought-after internship, John Casey, a graduate student in the International Political Economy and Development program (IPED), Class of 2013, will journey this summer from Fordham to Washington, D.C.

Casey recently was awarded an internship with the Office of Development Finance, of the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. At the forefront of international development, the Office of Development Finance works closely with the U.S. Treasury Department in assisting multilateral development banks such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the African Development Bank. It also supports the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a congressional initiative to improve the distribution of U.S. foreign assistance.

“It’s extremely competitive. I really wasn’t even giving it much thought that I even had a chance,” Casey said, “so I’m pretty excited.

Despite the competition, Casey’s “excellent academic and professional credentials, as well as strong references,” brought him to the fore, State Department officials wrote.

Among these numerous credentials were two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia, where Casey helped to bring an innovative radio education program to rural villages that could not otherwise access a school.

“The Peace Corps has really opened up the doors for all of my prospects for careers,” Casey said. “It showed my ability to think outside the box and take responsibility on my own.”

Although Casey is not certain what his next step will be after the internship, he is interested in exploring the contribution that private organizations can make to development.

“I really feel that private corporations do a have a role to play in development. I don’t think it all has to be the government,” Casey said. “I feel that that’s been missing in development.”

Casey has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Indiana University. Currently, he is specializing in International Banking and Finance and in International Economics and holds an IPED Public Service Assistantship.

-- Joanna Klimaski

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fordham’s Student Health Services Receive Accreditation

After five years of data collecting and surveying, Fordham’s Student Health Services at Rose Hill and Lincoln Center was awarded accreditation from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC), distinguishing Fordham as one of just four New York colleges and universities with accredited health services.

The accreditation guarantees that Student Health Services meets the criteria set by the AAAHC in areas including patient rights, administration, infection prevention and clinical records and health information.

“When parents are looking at schools for their children and they see that the health services are accredited just like a hospital, it shows that that health services live up to a certain standard of care,” said Kathleen Malara, FNP-BC, director of student health services.

“They can rest assured that the staff members there are listening to patient grievances, are looking at processes to make sure they’re being done correctly… and making sure our facilities in general are not only clean—but safe,” she added.

By receiving a three-year accreditation—the longest term any health center can achieve—Student Health Services demonstrated that the AAAHC had no reservations about the quality of care provided at the clinic.

“It’s a very stringent and a very arduous process,” Malara said. “You have to have a lot of information in place before you can even apply.”

Not only does the achievement offer an outward sign of Student Health Services’ sterling reputation, it has also caught the attention of other Jesuit schools, she said. She’s heard from Loyola University and Boston College seeking to find out more about the process.

-- Joanna Klimaski

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Urban Studies Class to Present New Vision for NYC Suburb

If you had 43 acres of property on the Hudson River that afforded stunning views of the Palisades and the New York City skyline, what would you do with it?

Before answering, there’s a catch: The land is heavily polluted and the site is only accessible via a two-lane bridge.

That scenario is one of the challenges facing Hastings-On-Hudson, a village of 8,000 people 20 miles north of New York City.

At 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 14, students from the master’s in urban studies program at Fordham will present ideas for retrofitting the village.

Working from the notion that cities aren’t the only places where the principles of retrofitting—improved connectivity, public amenities, affordable housing options, mixed-use buildings, and congestion easing—can be applied, they will present their findings at the Hastings-On-Hudson Public Library, 7 Maple Ave., Hastings-On-Hudson.

The presentation is the final project for the class “The American Suburb,” which was taught by Roger Panetta, Ph.D., visiting professor of history at Fordham.

The students will address issues of governance, housing, the downtown, transportation, and food and community. Their recommendations will come from a larger collaborative project that entailed a semester’s worth of interviews, document analysis and site visits that can be found here.

For more information, call (415) 533-9665.
—Patrick Verel

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tongue Twister Wins FCRH Student Trip to Germany

What does it take to get a free trip to Germany? For Matthew Kasper, a sophomore majoring in German at Fordham College at Rose Hill, all it took was a few Z's. Thirteen of them, to be specific.

As part of an entry in to "German Jungle - Twist your tongue," a competition sponsored by the Goethe Institute, Kasper recorded the following video snippet:

For those un-versed in German, Kasper, who is also president of the Deutscher Klub, provided a little context:

"I said: 'Am zehnten zehnten zehn Uhr zehn zogen zehn zahme Ziegen zehn Zentner Zucker zum Zoo, which translates as 'On the tenth of the tenth (October 10) at 10:10, ten tame goats pulled 10 centers (that's an an obsolete measuring unit) of sugar to the zoo.

"This is why I had my watch in the video, why I "baaed" like a goat (probably the most embarrassing part) and then dug into a bag which said Zucker (sugar) on it to the zoo.

"At the end, I said 'Das ist nicht der Eingang!' which means 'That is not the entrance!'"

For his efforts, Matthew will go to Dresden, Germany, in January for a free language course, courtesy of the Goethe Institute. Whether he shows off his Z's to his German hosts, we'll have to wait and see.
—Patrick Verel

Monday, December 5, 2011

More Green, More Birds, More Diversity

Given his surname, Fordham graduate student Dustin Partridge admits to some amusement in his love of birds.

He studied birds and arthropods as an undergraduate and now does research in the laboratory of Dr. Alan Clark, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology. Recently the two of them collaborated on Urban Green Roofs as Migratory and Breeding Bird Habitat, funded by the New York City Audubon Society, Sigma Xi and Fordham.

The data collection, completed last spring, measured the frequency with which migratory birds land on green roofs while passing through the city on their southern route. Using Autonomous Recording Units (ARUs) to measure bird calls, Partridge recorded the amount of bird traffic on four green roofs (in three boroughs) against four traditional roofs of comparable size and elevation located almost directly across the street from each green roof. On average, up to three times more species and four times more birds were found to use the green roofs.

Of course, the data is hardly a surprise, said Partridge. What is surprising, he said, is the amount of benefit that cities and neighborhoods can take from installing more green roofs.

The first is diversity: the roofs attracted species that don’t show up on other rooftops—the raven, peregrine falcon, ruby-throated hummingbird, willow flycatcher, wood thrush, cedar waxwing and others. In an area like New York, which has a certain number of endangered species, these rooftops can only help to support biodiversity.

Secondly, roof greenery itself is not only sustainable but it helps with heating and cooling of the host building, as well as offering a place of refuge for the building occupants.

Thirdly, the roofs can provide additional needed refuge space for birds on the Atlantic Flyway, a migratory route that has increasingly limited habitat for the millions of bird species that use it each spring.

“I love birds and I love arthropods,” said Partridge. “It is my hope that our study will be used to fund more support for green roof installation in New York City. “

Partridge noted that 24 percent of Manhattan is rooftop, and only three percent of the borough is dedicated to natural green space.

“The benefits of green roofing are quite incredible for any city or neighborhood,” he said.

The study data was presented at an October conservation conference at the Museum of Natural History. Partridge took the photos of the green roofs (pictured) in lower Manhattan and in the Bronx (the large green roof is, in fact, the Bronx County Courthouse, said Partridge.)

—Janet Sassi

Thursday, December 1, 2011

McGinley Chair Launches Course on Interfaith Dialogue

Patrick J. Ryan, S.J., the McGinley Professor of Religion and Society, is expanding his efforts to promote interreligious dialogue.

Father Ryan and Rabbi Daniel Polish, Ph.D., adjunct professor in the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education, will team-teach a new course this spring that aims to create a literal as well as scholarly conversation between Judaism and Christianity.

The course, “Jewish-Christian Dialogue,” will examine the historical contexts of the two faiths to uncover areas of overlap and sources of difference.

“This course is good for Fordham students because it will help them reflect on the links that bind Jews and Christians in one of the major urban centers in the United States, where so many Jews and Christians live and work together,” Father Ryan said.

The course stands as part of Father Ryan’s larger mission to develop what he calls a “trialogue” among the three major monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Father Ryan was appointed the McGinley Professor in 2009 after serving as Fordham’s vice president for University Mission and Ministry since 2005. For nearly half of his life as a priest, he held academic and administrative positions in Nigeria and Ghana.

Rabbi Polish is the spiritual leader of Congregation Shir Chadash of the Hudson Valley in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. An eminent scholar in interreligious affairs, Rabbi Polish has published widely in the field and served as director of education for Inter-Met, an interfaith seminary in Washington D.C.

-- Joanna Klimaski