Metro Center Conference Focuses on Support for At-Risk Children, April 6-7

NYU’s Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools (Metro Center) will host From Risk to Resilience: Building Support Systems for Children and Schools, a two-day conference for educators and community leaders to discuss strategies for supporting vulnerable children.

The event will be held at NYU’s Kimmel Center for University Life, Rosenthal Pavilion, 10th floor (60 Washington Square South at LaGuardia Place) on Mon., April 6 and Tues., April 7. Click herefor the event program and full schedule.

Issues of trauma and risk in children’s lives are frequently overlooked, yet are pervasive in urban areas like New York City. School systems, which often lack trauma-focused resources and professional development, struggle to adequately serve children who confront these issues.

The Risk to Resilience conference will address current resources, practices, and services to help teachers, administrators, and other community leaders think strategically about support systems for vulnerable children. The event will include panel discussions, workshops, and talks by thought leaders on children and education. Target audiences include advocacy community-based organizations, school principals, and other school administrators.

Highlights include keynote speeches by Angela Glover Blackwell, founder and CEO of PolicyLink (April 6 at 6:30 p.m.), and C. Cybele Raver, vice provost for research and faculty affairs and professor of applied psychology at NYU (April 7, 8:45 a.m.), as well as remarks by New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña (April 7, 10 a.m.)

Additional thought leaders and speakers include Pedro Noguera, executive director of the Metro Center and professor of education at NYU Steinhardt; Richard Buery, New York City Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives; Anne Williams-Isom, CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone; New York City Health Commissioner Mary Bassett; and five New York City principals.

Reporters interested in attending should contact Rachel Harrison, NYU Office of Public Affairs, at 212.998.6797 or rachel.harrison@nyu.edu. Educators and community leaders interested in attending must RSVP online (please register separately for the April 6 evening session and April 7 full day session).

 

Study Led By Nutrition Faculty Member Helps Define Registered Dietitian Nutritionists’ Clinical Responsibility

A nationwide survey of registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) is helping to formalize a career path for RDNs seeking more responsibility and autonomy as clinicians, according to a paper published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The results of the survey describe, for the first time, what advanced practice RDNs do that distinguishes them from entry level and early career RDNs. Using this profile of an advanced practitioner, the Commission of Dietetic Registration developed a new credentialing exam for advance practice RDNs, which will be offered beginning in the fall of 2015.

RDNs have long been important members of health care teams, providing counseling and oversight on food and nutrition. RDNs have a wide range of autonomy in clinical settings – from needing supervision on most tasks to writing complicated medical orders and independently running clinics – but efforts to credential RDNs based on advanced or specialized clinical skills have fallen short of other fields.

“As nurse practitioners have grown in popularity in the last 20 years, the idea of advanced practice health professionals has really taken off,” said Charles Mueller, clinical assistant professor of clinical nutrition at NYU Steinhardt and the study’s lead author. “Nurse practitioners often take the place of physicians on the front lines. We want to create a pathway for dietitians to practice autonomously, too.”

A separate study by co-author Rebecca Brody, concurrently published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, found a significant demand for advanced practice RDNs who can care for patients independently.

“Physicians are saying, ‘I want someone to run my diabetes clinic or nutrition support service, and I don’t want to have to give them permission,’” Mueller added.

Earlier efforts to create credentials for advanced practice RDNs have recognized leadership in the field but haven’t delineated what the clinicians actually do – the work that sets them apart from entry level and early career RDNs. As a result, the Advanced Clinical Dietetics Practice Audit Taskforce (which included Mueller and Brody) developed a survey looking at all aspects of the profession, including level of education, years registered as an RDN, experience presenting or publishing research, standards of care, and autonomy in clinical practice.

Nearly 30,000 RDNs responded to the initial exploratory survey; the taskforce focused on the 16,253 respondents who were actively involved in clinical care. In a follow-up survey of the clinical RDNs, the researchers received 7,822 responses.

The surveys were successful in distinguishing advanced practice RDNs from those earlier in their careers. Results indicated that advanced practitioners have more years of experience under their belts, are more likely to have a graduate degree, and have achieved professional milestones, all of which were supported by earlier research.

However, the follow-up survey also measured specific tasks within different areas of clinical care, and found for the first time that certain tasks are unique to advanced practice RDNs. RDNs at all levels are involved in nutrition assessment, diagnosis, intervention, monitoring, and evaluation. However, advanced practice RDNs have higher levels of involvement in support nutrition care; managing, designing, and developing systems of nutrition care; and conducting research.

“The survey confirmed that advanced practice dietitians practice with more autonomy, which along with clinical knowledge, will be measured in the new credentialing exam,” Mueller said.

Based on the survey results, the taskforce set eligibility requirements for advanced practice RDNs as being an RDN for at least four years, having a graduate degree, and logging 8,000 hours of clinical nutrition practice within the past 15 years (including 800 hours within the past two years). An alternate pathway for RDNs without graduate degrees has also been defined.

An RDN who meets the criteria and passes the credentialing exam will become an RD-AP (registered dietitian-advanced practitioner) or RDN-AP (registered dietitian nutritionist-advanced practitioner).

In addition to Mueller, study authors include Dick Rogers of Readex Research, Rebecca Brody and Riva Touger-Decker of the Rutgers School of Health Related Professions, and Clarence Chaffee, Jr., of the Caviart Group.

(Photo: © stokkete/iStock)

 

NYU Steinhardt Hosts Panel on Undocumented College Students, April 2nd

The Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy will host a panel discussion, Undocumented College Students: In the Shadows of the Ivory Tower. The event will cover findings of America’s first survey of undocumented college students, published earlier this year by researchers at UCLA.

The panel discussion will be held at NYU’s Kimmel Center for University Life, Rosenthal Pavilion, 10th floor (60 Washington Square South at LaGuardia Place) on Thurs., April 2 from 9-11 a.m.

The UCLA Institute for Immigration, Globalization, and Education released the findings of its nationwide study of undocumented undergraduates, which for the first time, sheds light on the needs and challenges of undocumented college students. The report, In the Shadows of the Ivory Tower: Undocumented Undergraduates and the Liminal State of Immigration Reform, carries implications for policy makers as well as colleges and universities.

The event’s discussants include:

  • Steven Choi, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition
  • Carola Suárez-Orozco, Professor of Education, UCLA and co-principal investigator of the report
  • Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, Wasserman Dean and Distinguished Professor of Education, UCLA and co-principal investigator of the report
  • Robert Teranishi, Professor of Education, Morgan and Helen Chu Endowed Chair in Asian American Studies, UCLA and co-principal investigator of the report
  • Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Courtney Sale Ross Professor of Globalization and Education, NYU Steinhardt

The panel discussion is free and open to the public. Space is limited; attendees must RSVP online at the event’s website.

(Photo: © Digital Vision/thinkstock.)

 

German Masterworks Concert to Feature Steinhardt Percussion Ensemble, March 29

The NYU Symphony Orchestra will perform selected works of the great German composers Karlheinz Stockhausen, Hans Werner Henze, and Richard Wagner as part of a unique, one-day-only event to be hosted at The NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, March 29. Entitled German Masterworks, the program is part of NYU Skirball’s Visions + Voices: Germany Global Performance Series.

The NYU Symphony Orchestra is the premier orchestral ensemble at NYU and is directed by Steinhardt Music Professor Joseph Bongiorno. Featured soloists on the Henze pieces include soprano Alexandra Deshorties and bass-baritone Keith Miller. Deshorties is a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist program and made her debut with the company as the High Priestess in Aida in 1999. In 2006, Miller made his Metropolitan Opera debut as the Imperial Commissioner in Madama Butterfly and has since performed in over 200 productions for the company.

Also featured on the Henze will be the NYU Chorale, part of the NYU Choral Arts Society, under the direction of Deepak Marwah. Featured on Musik im Bauch will be the NYU Percussion Ensemble directed by Jonathan Haas, Director of the Percussion Program
NYU Steinhardt.

The concert will be conducted by German-born conductor Jens Georg Bachmann. Bachmann spent several years as assistant conductor to James Levine at the Munich Philharmonic, the Verbier Festival, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Metropolitan Opera.

NYU Skirball’s Visions + Voices Global Performance Series is an ongoing thematic program designed to spotlight culture emanating from countries in which NYU global campuses are located. Prior series focused on Australia and China. Continuing its mission to showcase and support diverse and eclectic talent from around the world, while cultivating audiences for live performance through deeper engagement opportunities, Visions + Voices: Germany features productions from Germany’s premiere contemporary theatre companies, including the upcoming She She Pop’s Schubladen and Rimini Protokoll’s Remote New York.

Tickets for German Masterworks are now on-sale and may be purchased online at www.nyuskirball.org or in person at the NYU Skirball Center Box Office: Tuesday-Saturday, 12:00–6:00 P.M. The NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts is located at 566 LaGuardia Place at Washington Square, New York, New York 10012.

 

Conference on “Our Crisis of Connection” to Explore Our Common Humanity — March 28

The Project for the Advancement of Our Common Humanity (PACH) will host “A Day of Reflection on the Roots of Our Crisis of Connection and Strategies for Change.” The conference will bring together leading scholars, artists, scientists, activists, policymakers, and teenagers to discuss the science and practice that underscore our common humanity.

The event will take place on Sat., March 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at NYU’s Global Center for Academic and Spiritual Life, 5th Floor (238 Thompson Street, between Washington Square South and W. 3rd Street).

PACH, a think-and-do tank at NYU funded by the NoVo Foundation, aims to integrate, generate, and communicate evidence about our humanity, the forces that disrupt it, and the means to reconnect to each other so that we may live in a more just and humane world.

“Across a wide range of scientific disciplines, we see confirmation that staying connected to each other allows us to live longer, healthier, and happier lives,” says Niobe Way, PACH’s principal investigator and a professor of applied psychology at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. “Yet we live in a modern world that privileges autonomy over relationships, independence over the community, and reinforces stereotypes that disconnect us from our own and from others’ humanity.”

The event will combine talks and panel discussions with performances and interactive features. Conference participants include:

  • Niobe Way, professor of applied psychology, NYU Steinhardt
  • Carol Gilligan, university professor, NYU School of Law; professor of humanities and applied psychology, NYU Steinhardt
  • Alisha Ali, associate professor of applied psychology, NYU Steinhardt
  • Torrey Maldonado, author and New York City teacher
  • Lisa Arrastia, founder and CEO, The Ed Factory
  • Kent Harber, associate professor of psychology, Rutgers University
  • David Amodio, associate professor of psychology and neural science, NYU
  • Michael Kimmel, distinguished professor of sociology and gender studies, Stony Brook University
  • Jimmie Briggs, co-founder and executive director, Man Up Campaign
  • Mary Gordon, founder and president, Roots of Empathy
  • Arun Sundararajan, professor of information, operations and management sciences, NYU Stern School of Business
  • Gary Barker, international director, Promundo-DC
  • Fabienne Doucet, associate professor of Education, NYU Steinhardt
  • Khary Lazarre-White, executive director and co-founder, The Brotherhood/Sister Sol
  • Linda Kay Klein, director, Echoing Green’s Work on Purpose
  • Stephan Wolfert, actor, writer, and director
  • Dana Edell, executive director, SPARK Movement
  • Pedro Noguera, Peter L. Agnew professor of education, NYU Steinhardt
  • Wendy Puriefoy, senior fellow for education, Ford Foundation; former president, Public Education Network
  • Teenagers from George Jackson Academy and other schools in the New York area

The conference is free and open to the community, but space is limited. A light breakfast and lunch will be served, followed by a reception at the end of the day.

Reporters interested in attending must RSVP to Rachel Harrison, Office of Public Affairs, at 212.998.6797 or rachel.harrison@nyu.edu. Other attendees must RSVP through the event’s website.

To continue the conversation on “our crisis of connection” and engage a global audience, PACH will host a related conference at NYU Abu Dhabi on April 11.

(Photo:  ©iStock/Jamie Wilson)

 

Research Alliance Study Simulates Changes to Admissions Criteria for NYC’s Specialized High Schools

New York City’s eighth graders are anxiously waiting to find out which high school they’ll be attending in the fall. Six percent of students will end up at one of the city’s eight specialized high schools, known for their elite academics—and controversy around their lack of diversity. Female and, most starkly, Black and Latino students are all underrepresented at the schools.

A new report from the Research Alliance for New York City Schools examines students’ pathways from middle school to matriculation at a specialized high school, and simulates the effects of various admissions criteria that have been proposed as alternatives to the current policy – which uses students’ performance on the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) as the sole determinant of admission.

The study found that admissions rules based on criteria other than the SHSAT – including state test scores, grades, and attendance – would moderately alter the demographic mix of the specialized schools without significantly lowering the academic achievement levels of incoming students. But the rules would not substantially improve the schools’ diversity, particularly for Black students, whose numbers would actually decrease under several of the proposed rules.

“While there is a clear pattern of unequal access at the specialized schools, our findings suggest that a narrow focus on the SHSAT is unlikely to solve the problem,” said Sean Corcoran, associate professor of educational economics at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and the report’s author. “Unfortunately, the disparities at these schools are symptomatic of larger, system-wide achievement gaps.”

In a typical year, about 25,000 of New York City’s 80,000 eighth graders take the SHSAT, and 5,000 are offered admission to a specialized high school. In their study, Corcoran and coauthor Christine Baker-Smith sought to understand what role the SHSAT plays in racial and gender disparities at specialized high schools. Analyzing data from 2005 to 2013, they found that while the SHSAT is (by design) the single most important factor determining who attends the specialized high schools, it is not the only factor. Many students—including many high-achieving students—do not take the SHSAT at all, and some of those offered admission decide to go to high school elsewhere.

Even when comparing students with the same level of prior academic achievement (based on seventh grade New York State English language arts and math tests), the researchers documented disparities at each stage of the pathway into a specialized school:

  • Application: Girls, students eligible for free lunch, and Latino students were less likely to take the SHSAT; Asian students were substantially more likely to take the test.
  • Admission: Girls, students eligible for free lunch, and Latino and Black students were all less likely to receive an offer of admission, while Asian students were more likely to receive an offer.
  • Accepting an offer: Girls who received an offer to attend a specialized school were less likely to accept it, while students eligible for free lunch and Asians students were more likely to accept an offer when given one.

“Our analysis suggests there is room to increase the number of well-qualified students who successfully navigate the pathway into a specialized school,” said Corcoran. “Strategies that encourage top students to take the test, for example, or provide high-quality SHSAT preparation hold promise for improving access.”

The researchers also noted that more than half of students admitted to a specialized high school came from just 5 percent of the city’s middle schools. However, when controlling for students’ prior achievement, the middle schools that students attended had little effect on their likelihood of admission to a specialized school. This suggests that the concentration of offers in a small number of middle schools is less about the schools themselves and more about the uneven distribution of students across the system—that is, the sorting of higher- and lower-achieving students that takes place before they get to middle school.

Critics of SHSAT-only admissions have offered ideas for different admissions criteria, and selective high schools in other cities use a variety of rules to admit students. But little information exists about how proposed changes would affect New York’s specialized high schools. To address this, Corcoran and Baker-Smith simulated what would happen if new admissions criteria were in place, in lieu of the SHSAT. Key findings include:

  • Admissions based on state test scores, grades, and attendance would increase the share of Latino and White students and reduce the share of Asian students, but generally would not increase the share of Black students admitted. The same admissions criteria would tip the gender balance in favor of female students.
  • More than half of the students who would receive offers based on state test scores, grades, and attendance would also be admitted based on SHSAT scores, suggesting that there is considerable overlap among students who would be admitted under existing and proposed criteria.
  • The only simulated admissions rule that substantially changed the demographic mix of specialized high schools was guaranteed admission to all New York City students in the top 10 percent of their middle school. While this would have a large impact on diversity, it would also reduce the average academic achievement of incoming students, particularly in math.

“The real take-away here is that the lack of diversity in the specialized schools is a much bigger problem than ‘to test or not to test?’” said James Kemple, the Research Alliance’s executive director. “We need to think more broadly about how to reduce inequality in New York City’s schools – identifying strategies that create opportunities for traditionally disadvantaged students will be a primary focus of the Research Alliance’s work in coming years.”

(A new report from NYU’s Research Alliance for New York City Schools examines students’ pathways to matriculation at a specialized high school, and simulates the effects of various admissions criteria that have been proposed as alternatives to the current policy – which uses students’ performance on the Specialized High School Admissions Test as the sole determinant of admission. ©Fuse/thinkstock)

 

Beatsville, Musical about Greenwich Village in 1959, Will Have a Workshop at Steinhardt, Mar. 26 – 29

Beatsville, a bebop-inflected musical about the beatnik generation, will be presented by NYU Steinhardt’s Program in Vocal Performance in the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions, March 26-29. The show features music & lyrics by Wendy Leigh Wilf and book by Glenn Slater. John Simpkins directs.

Beatsville takes place in Greenwich Village, 1959—playground of goateed artists, turtlenecked poets, and bongo-playing jazzbos. When hopelessly square Walter Paisley accidentally kills a cat and hides it in a lump of clay, the beatniks declare “Dead Cat” a masterpiece, and Walter a genius. More “sculptures” bring more acclaim—but will the world discover that Walter’s body of work consists of actual bodies?

Beatsville is part of an annual project that pairs a new and developing musical with NYU Steinhardt. “We are particularly excited about working with Wendy and Glenn,” said Director John Simpkins. “This piece has one of the most unique sounds of the new musical theatre landscape and we are thrilled to help give it a first ever staging.”

Glenn Slater is one of the co-creators of Tangled, Sister Act, The Little Mermaid, Home on the Range, Leap of Faith, and Love Never Dies. Wendy Leigh Wilf is a composer, lyricist, and jazz musician whose music has been performed in New York, The Berkshires, and at the William Inge Festival – where she was also Artist-in-Residence.

NYU’s production of Beatsville runs March 26-28 at 8 p.m. and March 28 & 29 at 3 p.m. at the Provincetown Playhouse at 133 MacDougal Street, between Washington Square South and W. 3rd Street.. Tickets are $15 general admission and $5 for students/senior citizens/ NYU faculty/staff/alumni. For tickets, contact NYU Box Office at tickets.nyu.edu, (212) 998-4941, or in person at 566 LaGuardia Place (at Washington Square South).

Beatsville features choreography by Richard Stafford, music direction by Eric Kang, scenic design by Josh Smith, lighting design by Chris Dallos, costume design by Michelle Eden Humphrey, and sound design by Kumi Ishizawa. The production stage manager is Ashley Rodbro. The cast features NYU Steinhardt students Kelsey Andridge, Catherine Ang, Aaron Banes, Hayley Biegel, Joe Conceison, Emma Davis, Josh Greenblatt, Naree Ketudat, Lauren Krauss, Brandon Nase, Javi Romero, Nikhil Saboo, and Jake Satterfield.

Beatsville is the 15th annual new musical that has been workshopped at NYU Steinhardt. Past projects have included writers Joe Iconis, Rachel Sheinkin, Joshua Salzman, Ryan Cunningham, David Kirshenbaum, Gaby Alter, Tommy Newman, Daniel Goldfarb, Kate Thomas, and Joey Contreras. Shows have gone on to further development and productions at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Barrington Stage Company, Theatre Under the Stars, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Sharon Playhouse, and the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF).

 

Program in Vocal Performance to Present Cendrillon, Opera Story of Cinderella, April 2 – 5

NYU Steinhardt’s Program in Vocal Performance will present Cendrillon, Jules Massenet’s opera of the story of Cinderella, April 2–5, 2015. The libretto is by Herbert Cain, based on Charles Perrault’s 17th-century version of the fairy tale. Dallett Norris is the stage director and Christopher Zemliauskas is the music director.

The wicked stepmother, evil stepsisters, fairy godmother, charming prince, midnight curfew, and glass slipper of Cinderella are familiar to everyone. While all of these elements are present in the opera, Massenet and his librettist have emphasized the human elements, adding poignancy to the tale. This production offers a fresh perspective on the story by setting the action in Monte Carlo in the mid-1950s.

NYU’s production of Cendrillon runs April 2–4 at 8 p.m. and April 5 at 3 p.m. at the Frederick Loewe Theatre (35 West 4th Street). Tickets are $20 general admission and $5 for students and seniors. For tickets, contact NYU Box Office at tickets.nyu.edu, call the box office at 212-998-4941, or visit in person at 566 LaGuardia Place (at Washington Square South).

Cendrillon features scenic design by Brittany Vasta, lighting design by Jimmy Lawlor III, costume design by Karen Kinsley, and props by Nelly Reyes. The production stage manager is Brae Singleton. The cast features NYU Steinhardt students Raphael Anastasiadis, Eric Balboni, Lauren Barachi, Valentine Baron, William Baugh, Rebecca Blackwell, Aaron Cooker, Chase Cornett, Brady DelVecchio, Caitlin Duckworth, Will Evans, Jack Flatley, Victoria Graves, Jacklyn Grigg, Madeline Judge, Michael King, Lauren Langbaum, Alyssa LeClair, Molly Leonard, Emma Goldberg Liu, Jasmine Marshall, Ashley McHugh, Stephanie Meadowcroft, Sarah Merten, Juliet Morris, Brittany Mruczek, Maria Palombo, Kelly Pleva, Mary Rice, Chad Schultze, Paul Speiser, Reka Szakacs, Natalie Tyson-Multhaup, Joseph Valle-Hoag, Geddy Warner, Ashley West, and Katarina Wilson.

 

NYU Launches Prison Education Program Backed by Ford Foundation Grant

New York University has launched an initiative to bring college education to incarcerated individuals at the Wallkill Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison in New York State’s Ulster County.

Backed by a $500,000 grant from the Ford Foundation, NYU’s Prison Education Program (PEP) offers credit-bearing, university courses that will enable students to earn an Associate of Arts (AA) degree from the university.

“By expanding access to a university education to incarcerated students, the NYU Prison Education Program aims to help redress inequities that result from the fact that the United States incarcerates more people than any other nation in the world–over two million–the great majority of whom are poor, African American, and Latino,” explains Nikhil Pal Singh, an associate professor in NYU’s Department of Social and Cultural Analysis and faculty director of PEP.

“NYU PEP strives to link NYU more deeply to the diverse communities of New York City and to offer an example of how a university can serve its community while advancing new models for education and citizenship,” adds Bryonn Bain, a visiting professor and artist-in-residence at NYU’s Gallatin of Individualized Study and PEP’s director for public affairs.

“Supporting high quality, postsecondary education programs in prisons is vitally important and will contribute in many ways to renewing communities, strengthening families and breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty,” says Douglas E. Wood, program officer at the Ford Foundation on Higher Education for Social Justice.

“I’m extremely grateful to both the Ford Foundation and New York University for investing and establishing a college program at DOCCS,” Acting DOCCS Commissioner Anthony J. Annucci says. “This private partnership will undoubtedly give inmates a second chance, future opportunities, and help break the cycle of re-incarceration. Since the central goals of replicating college behind bars are to prepare more inmates to be employable, to support their families, and to lead law-abiding lives both in their communities and behind the walls, the Ford Foundation and NYU have taken DOCCS one step closer to achieving these goals.”

Beginning in the Spring 2015 semester, 36 men will take one of two NYU classes taught at the Wallkill facility, with up to three additional courses offered during the summer of 2015. Classes will be taught by NYU faculty and offer both intensive liberal arts study and introductory courses from NYU’s professional schools.

Once released from prison, students enrolled in NYU PEP may seek to continue their college education at NYU or by transferring credits to another institution. This initiative will also include providing educational and employment counseling, community support for families, and other services such as legal assistance to address human rights, housing, and employment issues. The program is also working with the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions (CNUS), one of the nation’s leading community-based organizations addressing post-prison release issues.

This semester, George Shulman, a professor in NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, and Bain will co-teach “Critical Perspectives on Justice through Creative Writing”; Toral Gajarawala, associate professor of English in NYU’s Faculty of Arts and Science, will teach “Literary Analysis and the Politics of Interpretation”.

The leadership for this initiative arose from faculty and deans in NYU’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and the Gallatin School of Individualized Study.

“NYU faculty and staff have worked for several years to develop this program driven by the belief that the university has a special obligation to provide educational opportunities to incarcerated individuals,” says Gallatin Dean Susanne Wofford. “We’re delighted that the Ford Foundation has generously supported the university in this effort.”

“We at NYU are thrilled to be working to serve the people of New York State in this important way,” adds CAS Dean Gabrielle Starr. “Our program will offer New Yorkers a strong foundation for a new life, and helps to offer families, communities, and individuals a safer, better, and more productive future.”

NYU PEP is being coordinated with the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) and overseen by a steering committee composed of faculty from several NYU Schools: the College of Arts and Science, the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, the Silver School of Social Work, and the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. CNUS, the Program’s community partner, is a nonprofit founded and developed by formerly incarcerated professionals.

(Photo:  NYU has launched an initiative to bring college education to incarcerated individuals at the Wallkill Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison in New York State’s Ulster County. Backed by a $500,000 grant from the Ford Foundation, NYU’s Prison Education Program (PEP) offers credit-bearing, university courses that will enable students to earn an Associate of Arts (AA) degree from the university. ©iStock/demachi)

Study Finds A Summer Entrepreneurship Program Has Far-Reaching Benefits for Teens

New York University researchers evaluated the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s (NFTE) 2014 summer entrepreneurship programs, designed to introduce teenage students to the concepts of entrepreneurship while developing their academic and life skills.

“Summer learning loss is a significant problem for students who aren’t engaged during summer vacation. However, summer programs are a way to help students improve their academic skills in nonacademic settings,” said Meryle Weinstein, research assistant professor of education policy at NYU’s Steinhardt and the Institute for Education and Social Policy.

“In our report on NFTE’s summer entrepreneurship programs, many students indicated that the business-related skills they learned would help them in other parts of their lives, including academic areas such as writing and math, and even managing personal finances.”

Weinstein will report her findings today in a panel titled “New Ways to Measure Student Success” at the annual meeting of the Association for Education Finance and Policy in Washington, D.C.

Teaching entrepreneurship – how to create, grow, and run a business or organization – is a potential way to increase college and career readiness skills. NFTE’s 2014 summer programs, in which students learned basic business skills while developing an “entrepreneurial mindset,” served more than 450 at-risk teens in 10 cities across the country. Through classroom instruction, field trips to local businesses, guest speakers, working with mentors, and a business plan competition for seed funding, students worked to develop skills and knowledge essential for successful entrepreneurship.

Weinstein and her colleagues used both qualitative methods (interviews, observations, and focus groups) and surveys before and after the summer program to evaluate its implementation and benefit to students. The surveys were developed to measure business knowledge as well as “entrepreneurial mindset,” a collection of qualities and skills including communication and collaboration, initiative, persistence, self-direction, critical thinking, and problem solving.
Key findings of the report include:

  • Approximately 95 percent of students agreed or strongly agreed that the skills they learned in the program would help them in their life and in business.
  • 90 percent of students indicated that the skills they learned and experiences in the summer program would help them in school.
  • Students reported an improvement in their communication and problem solving skills as a result of the program.
  • Although students reported they were more prepared to start a business after completing the program, they were less likely to be interested in starting one. Prior to participating, 91 percent of students reported wanting to own a business, which declined slightly to 85 percent after.
  • Funding, youth, and lack of business skills were commonly cited as barriers to starting a business prior to the summer program. After the summer program, students perceived their skills, ideas, or resources as less of a problem, but were more likely to report that they were too busy to start a business. Many students worried about the competing time demands of starting a business and going to school.

“In our research, almost all students remarked on the significant effort and time required to start and run a business, and often spoke about the important role of both persistence and passion,” Weinstein said. “Participating in the program may have served to clarify student career goals and interests.”

The study was conducted by Weinstein, Megan Silander, and Michael Chavez-Reilly of NYU’s Institute for Education and Social Policy, a joint initiative of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. The summer programs and NYU assessment were funded by a grant from the Citi Foundation as part of their Pathways to Progress initiative.

(NYU researchers evaluated the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s 2014 summer entrepreneurship programs, designed to introduce teenage students to the concepts of entrepreneurship while developing their academic and life skills. Photo courtesy of NFTE.)