Category Archives: Announcements

Project Rwanda: Year Four!

On July 5, faculty and students from the M.A. in Applied Theatre program traveled to Kigali, Rwanda for the fourth year of “Project Rwanda: Drama and Theatre Education for Reconciliation and Development.” The project was conceived as a multi-year program through which Applied Theatre students work with Rwandan young people between the ages of 11 and 25 to develop their social, educational, and cultural skills through drama and theatre.

The twin aims of the Project are to develop the use of theatre and drama strategies to promote unity and reconciliation among Rwandans and to create job opportunities by building applied theatre troupes, first in schools and later, in the professional, cultural milieu.

Participants will write daily blog entries to share their experiences with us at:

The M.A. in Applied Theatre 2013 group shortly before departure.

The M.A. in Applied Theatre 2013 group shortly before departure.

2012-2013 ePortfolio Student Showcase Now Live!

SPS is delighted to present our 2012-2013 ePortfolio Student Showcase! The showcase, which is hosted on an SPS ePortfolio site, highlights student work in individual courses, programs, and capstone projects at both the bachelors and masters level.

tyoes of eportfolios

ePortfolio provides a window into our students’ lives: who they are and who they aspire to be. While reviewing nominations to this year’s showcase, we were delighted to learn that we have a published children’s book author and a video/film/TV producer enrolled in our badge

Thanks to all of the instructors who nominated students for inclusion in the showcase and to the ePortfolio Team for encouraging students to self-nominate. This year we were able to award $100 Amazon gift cards to students whose ePortfolios were selected for inclusion in the showcase as well as digital badges to display on their ePortfolios.

If you have a student who is interested in submitting their ePortfolio for an opportunity to be selected as one of the “Featured Studies ePortfolios,” they still have plenty of time to do so – the nomination deadline for next year’s showcase is May 24, 2014.

Feel free to browse the showcase website or visit the featured ePortfolios directly below:

Related Posts:

Tonight: Stephanie Luce on the Minimum Wage

MetroFocus recently interviewed SPS Associate Professor Stephanie Luce in a segment on the luceminimum wage. The minimum wage became the subject of much debate after President Obama proposed raising it from $7.25 to $9.00 in a speech this past February. Associate Professor Luce provided commentary about two conflicting perspectives in the debate – represented in the segment by a low-wage worker from the Bronx, who says any increase would help her make ends meet, and by the President of the Business Council of New York State, who says raising minimum wage would hamper job creation. Associate Professor Luce is an expert on living wage campaigns and her book, “Fighting for a Living Wage,” addresses this issue in detail.

MetroFocus is a news magazine and program that airs on local PBS stations WNET, WLIW, and NJTV. The segment aired on March 20th and again on March 21st, but you can still watch it online or read the accompanying article here.



2013 ePortfolio Student Showcase

The ePortfolio Team invites you to nominate students from the past year who have done 2013_badge3_orangeexceptionally well with their ePortfolio assignments in your courses to participate in the Second Annual SPS ePortfolio Showcase. This year’s “Featured Student ePortfolio” winners will receive a $100 Amazon gift card!

Last month we recorded an ePortfolio Webinar Information Session to help students learn more about ePortfolios at SPS and how they can be used for academic and career development. The video is available on the ePortfolio Showcase website, SPS’s YouTube channel:, and below. We encourage you to tell your students about it and also let them know that they can nominate their own ePortfolios.

Please use the nomination form to send us your Fall 2012/Spring 2013 nominations by May 24th. If you are interested in volunteering to help evaluate nominated ePortfolios please send an email to Sarah Morgano at

Volunteer Opportunity – Help Our Hard Hit Neighbors

Join us on Saturday, November 17th, from 10am to 5pm, as SPS and CUNY join City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s efforts to support hard hit areas in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. Buses for volunteers will leave at 10 a.m. from 250 Broadway across from City Hall. Please look for the Gray Line New York double-decker buses.  Expect to return to City Hall at around 5:00 p.m.  Sign up here.

Please be sure that you are able to join us for the full day, and remember to wear water resistant or waterproof footwear, to dress warmly and in clothes that may get ruined or dirty, and to bring water.

For further information, please contact Cristina Finan, SPS Student Services Coordinator, at 212-652-2014 or

OEM Call for Volunteers for Hurricane Sandy

The message below is posted on behalf of Associate Dean Brian A. Peterson:

Dear Colleagues:

As you may know, Hurricane Sandy is making its way towards our area, and once again, the SPS team is working closely with the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) as they prepare our City for this oncoming storm. This is an enormous undertaking, and OEM is currently in need of two volunteers to perform data entry for the City’s resource management system from 8pm tonight through 8am tomorrow morning at the OEM Office in Brooklyn.

If you are available and interested in this opportunity to help our City, please let me know asap, by contacting me via my cell at 646-468-6153.

You may also be of help by forwarding this message to your friends and colleagues.

Many thanks for your consideration,


Brian A. Peterson
Associate Dean for Administration and Finance
CUNY School of Professional Studies

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 Student Featured in Article

SPS is delighted to share that one of our students, Chancey Fleet, was recently featured in an article on Chancey, who is blind, is pursuing her master’s degree in Disability Studies here at SPS, and was interviewed at length for the piece, which focuses on the myriad technological tools which have “drastically changed the way [people] navigate the city.” The article can be found here.

Hurricane Irene: SPS Supports NYC’s Coastal Storm Plan

evacuationcenterFollowing Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) partnered with SPS to help prepare for the potential impact of a large coastal storm. This preparation included the development and delivery of in-person and online training programs and field guides for opening and operating emergency evacuation centers, as well as enhancing the capacity of its web-based disaster management tool, Sahana.

Sahana is a free and open source software application that manages common coordination functions during a disaster.  These functions include managing aid, managing volunteers, finding missing people, and tracking information among government agencies, non-profits, and victims.   SPS has been adapting this software application for OEM to provide basic functions for managing the NYC Coastal Storm Plan Emergency Sheltering System.  SPS provided OEM with the current product solution on August 2nd, just in time for the start of the hurricane season, and, to date, the School has provided emergency sheltering training to over 25,000 city employees.

When it became clear that Hurricane Irene was likely to make landfall in the New York City region, the NYC OEM called upon the SPS team to support its deployment of Sahana. The core Sahana team, led by Washington Hernandez and including Chad Heuschober, Clayton Kramer, and Shirley Chan, worked around the clock from Tuesday, August 23rd through late Sunday, August 28th, deploying and adjusting the Sahana application as necessary during the various phases of implementation on site at the School’s West 31st Street offices. In addition, Andrew Boyarsky, SPS’s Project Director for the Coastal Storm Plan training initiative, was deployed to several evacuation centers in Queens and Brooklyn to help oversee its operation. Before Irene arrived, NYC OEM was able to open 81 evacuation centers throughout the city, many of which were located on CUNY campuses. Andrew chronicled his experience during his 30 hour shift on his blog: Stop Playing Games.

Many thanks and acknowledgements are also due to Brian Peterson and Jill Hyland, for their leadership, and to Paul Russo, Shawn Abraham, Cristina Finan, Pradeep Vijagiri, Z. Lobley, and Joe Vehling, for their support of this application’s deployment. SPS made a real difference during this time of city-wide crisis. We can be extremely proud of each other, our accomplishments, and the help we were able to provide.

Photo (from left to right): Shirley Chan, Washington Hernandez, Andrew Boyarsky, Clayton Kramer, Pradeep Vijagiri, and Chad Heuschober

Recruiting Volunteers for Hurricane Irene in NYC

From Associate Dean Brian Peterson: Fellow New Yorkers…if you are holding out in the City during hurricane Irene and are able to mobilize, The City of New York is recruiting volunteers to help staff hurricane evacuation centers and shelters as well as 311. If interested, contact Whitney Hampton at or 347-776-1513.