Author: Sarah Morgano

Code for Change: Student-to-student text book exchange challenge

Paul Russo, Ph.D., our Director of Online Programs, is working with a team of current CUNY students and graduates to develop a free student-to-student text book exchange as part of the ApplicationsforGood hackathon sponsored by the Motorola Mobility Foundation, Center for Social Innovation, Blue Ridge Foundation, and New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service.

While textbooks represent 17% of tuition costs in various majors, the team believes that there are simple ways in which technology can make books more affordable. Their application—much like other online communities such as or Craigslist—combines the broad reach of the Internet with the benefits of local face-to-face interactions. Focusing on urban areas such as NYC, offers the project access to a critical mass of potential users, which is necessary to make participation valuable to all textbook swappers.

The team is committed that the bookswap will “student owned” and “student operated” following the OpenSource model, to ensure future use will have only “student friendly” policies. Their model is also distinct from other services such as because the primary mode of exchange is student-to-student swapping or monitored low cost reselling, so there will be no high markups or shipping costs. The group says that over time, they are interested in adding more functionality to the site such as links to affordable housing, health services, and various types of student discounts.

The group currently has a working prototype, and as the next version of the platform comes online, Russo hopes there will be interesting research opportunities or chances for students to study the system as part of a capstone project. To learn more about their plans for the textbook exchange, see:

SPS Alumna Linda Ames Key Receives Fulbright Specialist Award

The School of Professional Studies is delighted to announce that Linda Ames Key, a graduate of the School’s M.A. in Applied Theatre program, has been named a Fulbright Specialist.

In 2011, while completing her M.A. in Applied Theatre degree at SPS, Ms. Key participated in the School’s Project Rwanda: Drama and Theatre Education for Reconciliation and Development program, teaching applied theatre techniques to drama teachers at Kigali Institute of Education, Rwanda. The twin goals of the Project are: (a) to develop the use of theatre and drama strategies as educational tools to help promote unity and reconciliation among Rwandans, and (b) to create job opportunities by building applied theatre troupes, first in schools and colleges, and later in the professional, cultural milieu.

The Fulbright award will now enable Ms. Key to continue this work with two possible return visits through 2017. “I am thrilled to be given this opportunity,” said Ms. Key. “I look forward to returning to Rwanda, continuing to professionally develop through this work, and learn from the Rwandan students. I credit CUNY SPS and my phenomenal professors in the Applied Theatre program with opening up this new and exciting career opportunity that I had never imagined.”

Ms. Key is the Education Director of Vital Theatre Company, New York City, whose teaching artists integrate theatre arts into the humanities curriculum in an effort to jumpstart academic progress. A lead partner with Brooklyn Theatre Arts High School in Canarsie, the Company also holds partnerships with Fordham High School for the Arts, Bronxdale High School, PS 6, PS 166, PS 199 and PS 452. Since its founding, Vital has presented over fifty original productions for over 160,000 children and their families.

The Fulbright Specialist Program (FSP) promotes linkages between U.S. academics and professionals and their counterparts at host institutions overseas. The program is designed to award grants to qualified U.S. faculty and professionals, in select disciplines, to engage in short-term collaborative 2 to 6 week projects at host institutions in over 100 countries worldwide. International travel costs and a stipend are funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Project activities focus on strengthening and supporting the development needs of host institutions abroad. Eligible activities include short-term lecturing, conducting seminars, teacher training, special conferences or workshops, as well as collaborating on curriculum planning, institutional and/or faculty development. U.S. faculty and professionals apply to join a Roster of Specialists for a 5-year term.  Roster candidates are reviewed by peers in the same discipline, and by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FSB).

Ellen Shakespeare joins SPS as Health Information Management Academic Director

Please join us in welcoming our new Academic Director for the Health Information Management program, Ellen Shakespeare. Ellen joined SPS on Monday, August 27th, from her last position as a faculty member and the program coordinator for the health information technology programs at Raritan Valley Community College.

Prior to her position at RVCC, she was a health information management department director and consultant at hospitals in Florida, New York and New Jersey. Ms. Shakespeare recently achieved Fellowship with the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), an honor only bestowed on 116 fellows out of over 60,000 members.

Ellen also serves as a panel reviewer for CAHIIM (Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management), as past president of the New Jersey Health Information Management Association, and is a member of AHIMA’s Council for Excellence in Education and Health Information Exchange Practice Council.

She received her MBA with a concentration in health administration from the University of Miami, and a B.S. in health information management from the University of Central Florida.

Lisa Poelle Authors New Book

Lisa Poelle, faculty member for the Child Development Associate (CDA) program at the CUNY School of Professional Studies, is author of the soon to be released book, The Biting Solution: The Expert’s No-Biting Guide for Parents, Caregivers, and Early Childhood Educators.

Lisa’s twenty-five years of experience in the field of early childhood education include counseling families, pioneering a mentoring program for teachers, applying her expertise to the architectural design of child care centers, as well as serving as a consultant for corporations and government organizations. She has also provided consultation to childcare centers and programs through the Children’s Health Council. Her experience with this multidisciplinary agency inspired her to write the book. “That’s when I started getting so many requests to help with biting, and it is how I had a chance to practice and perfect my method,” Lisa says. “My case studies in the book came from this period. This was quite a unique opportunity.”

Here at the CUNY School of Professional Studies, Lisa shares her knowledge and experience with students in the Child Development Associate (CDA) program. The CDA program, offered in partnership with the NYC Early Childhood Professional Development Institute, offers students an opportunity as early childhood professionals to master the knowledge base, application of theory to practice, and qualifications to create effective learning environments for children. Lisa teaches Child Development: Birth to Five and Observing and Recording Development of the Young Child.

In her book, Lisa provides realistic advice to help caregivers devise effective plans to solve children’s biting behaviors. She provides seven questions for caregivers to consider before establishing a plan to describe the problems and design the solutions to curb children’s biting behaviors. Using her method, “Stop the Fighting and Biting,” Lisa emphasizes the importance of parental involvement in developing positive and effective solutions for aggressive behavior problems.

The Biting Solution: The Expert’s No-Biting Guide for Parents, Caregivers, and Early Childhood Educators will be published in the fall of 2012.

Lisa Poelle is also co-author of the book, Growing Teachers and several parenting articles. Lisa’s website can be found at:

CUNY SPS Foundation Launched!

The CUNY School of Professional Studies is a rapidly growing institution, adding new degree programs and new students at an impressive rate. As the school grows, so must its resources. In fiscal year 2012, the SPS Office of Alumni Relations and Development raised more than four times the amount raised in fiscal year 2011. Launching the CUNY SPS Foundation for the 2013 fiscal year was the next logical step in an expanding fundraising apparatus.

The SPS Foundation has a 5 person board of directors, currently chaired by Robert Kissane, CEO of CCS Fundraising, Inc. The role of the CUNY SPS Foundation is to raise funds for the School of Professional Studies. These funds support scholarship, the Friends of SPS Annual Fund, or any program the donor wishes to support. The scholarship funds are particularly important to the mission of the Foundation, since many students are mid-career professionals who may have trouble receiving traditional financial aid.

One of the first projects taken on by the Foundation was the establishment of the Alumni Scholarship Fund in partnership with the SPS Alumni Association. The fund is still small, but it is an exciting opportunity to increase scholarship funds and encourage more alumni engagement. As the Foundation embarks on its first fiscal year it hopes to contribute to the continued growth of the CUNY School of Professional Studies.

For more information ways to support SPS, click here.

Commencement 2012

Dean Mogulescu

SPS celebrated the accomplishments of over 400 students at its 2012 Commencement Exercises on June 5th at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center in New York City.

John Mogulescu, Dean of the School of Professional Studies, welcomed the graduates and their friends and families, Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost Alexandra Logue brought greetings on behalf of the Chancellery, and Trustee Frieda Foster reminded the graduates to celebrate their accomplishments and to look forward to what lies ahead. William P. Kelly, President of the CUNY Graduate School and University Center, also offered congratulations, while Judy Halliday represented the SPS faculty. Yvette L. Campbell, President and CEO of the Harlem School of the Arts delivered a keynote address focused on the value of unexpected opportunities in life, and the importance of “enjoying the ride.”

Student speaker, Nelson Franco, who graduated from the B.A. in Communication & Culture program,  offered an enthusiastic speech on behalf of his fellow graduates, emphasizing the influences of diversity, technology, and change that shape modern education and that SPS students are proud to embrace.

The event culminated with the awarding of certificates and degrees to students from 25 different disciplines.

SPS congratulates the class of 2012, and offers best wishes for the future!