January 28, 2022 FALL 2021

Campus News

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Awards a $1.5 million Grant to the Prisoner Reentry Institute

The Prisoner Reentry Institute (PRI) at John Jay College has helped hundreds of criminal justice-involved individuals get a new lease on life. And, thanks to a $1.5 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, PRI will continue to help hundreds more. The grant will support the expansion of PRI’s education and reentry initiatives for current and formerly incarcerated students. PRI helps them successfully reenter communities, the workforce, and institutions of higher education, after contact with the criminal justice system.

“I am honored that The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation continues to believe in our mission and support this work,” said PRI Executive Director, Ann Jacobs. “This grant will enable PRI to expand its college-in-prison program, the Prison-to-College Pipeline (P2CP); work within CUNY on a university-wide strategy for supporting students after justice involvement; and contribute toward a coordinated, statewide approach for providing higher education  in correctional facilities.”

John Jay Launches New Cohort Program LEAP

Seeing the positive impact cohorts have on student success, this fall 2019, John Jay College launched Linking Experience, Academics, and Practice (LEAP). The new cohort-based program, funded by the generous support of the Booth Ferris Foundation, marks the first time all incoming freshmen at the College will have access to multi-year cohort program support. Cohort-based models have proven to be effective in providing students with a greater sense of belonging, self-confidence, and leadership skills, while also enabling students to learn to network within their cohort and other groups, and to stay competitive when pursuing graduate and career opportunities.

LEAP applies the most effective tools and practices from already existing programs at the College—such as Accelerate, Complete, Engage (ACE)—that have demonstrated success at increasing student retention and graduation rates. Students in LEAP won’t have to meet any eligibility requirements, other than not being in another cohort-based program, making it more inclusive and available to a larger group of scholars that is representative of the College’s population. LEAP will provide students with tailored major and career exploration, intensive academic advisement, and access to experiential learning opportunities.

John Jay’s Vision for Student Success 

Nationally, there is a crisis in college completion, particularly for students from low-income households and students of color. However, research shows that institutions committed to improving graduation rates can achieve this goal when their leaders are intentional. With a singular focus on student success, John Jay is just such an institution. “It’s a place where everyone—first-generation students, working students, immigrants, parents, and veterans—can transform their lives with a justice-focused education,” said President Karol V. Mason.

Student Success InitiativeJohn Jay is leading the way in providing its diverse and historically underrepresented students—nearly 75 percent of students are from minority backgrounds and more than half come from low-income households—with an education that cements the foundation for not only their college graduation, but also their post-graduate and career success, as well as civic participation, leadership, and lifelong learning. To achieve this, John Jay is building on and expanding the approaches that are working at the College, such as the proven cohort-based support programs. These programs have higher retention, faster credit accumulation, and better graduation rates among participating students. The College is also testing new technologies and strategies to help scale and more strategically target support for at-risk students. To learn more about John Jay’s Vision for Student Success, visit the president’s page on the College website.

Contents

Remembering Our Heroes

Looking back on 9/11 two decades after the tragedy. By Andrea Dawn Clark

Campus News

John Jay by the Numbers Amid a global pandemic, John Jay College’s unwavering commitment to its student success, support for...

Getting to Know Brian Kerr, Ed.D., Our New VP of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs

Brian Kerr, Ed.D., uprooted himself from a job he had for almost 17 years to join the John Jay College community. By Andrea Dawn Clark

Developing Culturally Responsive, Inclusive, & Anti-Racist Curriculum

Reimagining our curriculum and classrooms so that all students feel seen, heard, and welcomed. By Andrea Dawn Clark and Shirley...

Elevating Latin Music

Professor Benjamin Lapidus, Ph.D., highlights the remarkable role diversity and New York City played in creating a new Latin music sound. By Shirley Del Valle

Reaching His Research Dreams

Alumnus Eugene Gonzalez-Lopez ’12, ’14 makes the journey from homelessness to doctorate degree. By Andrea Dawn Clark

Improving Mental Health Behind Bars

Virginia Barber-Rioja’s, Ph.D.,’02, ’09 passion for psychology and law helps system-impacted individuals with mental health challenges. By Shirley Del Valle

President’s Letter

“We’re living through challenging times.” I’ve found myself writing, saying, and contemplating those five words countless times this year.

Campus News

CUSP Takes Center Stage at 2020 Davos World Economic Forum

In the Media

“YOU’RE SEEING MORE PEOPLE OF COLOR, more working class folks starting to find their voice a little bit more. That’s...

Breaking the Cycle of Intımate-Partner Violence

In Kingston, New York, NNSC’s new approach has significantly reduced the deadliest forms of intimate-partner violence. By Michael Friedrich

Measuring the Impact of Reform

The Data Collaborative for Justice evaluates the success of New York City’s Criminal Justice Reform Act.

On the Front Line

Despite the hardships and health risks, John Jay students, alumni, faculty, and staff continue to keep our communities safe throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. By Andrea Dawn Clark

Educating Through the Crisis

How John Jay students, faculty, and staff successfully transitioned to a distance-learning model. by Mary Anderson

Charting New Territory

Olivia Orta, Ph.D. ’07 blazed a path for John Jay alumni, being the first John Jay grad to earn her doctoral degree from Harvard. By Andrea Dawn Clark

President
Karol V. Mason

Editorial Director/Lead Writer
Andrea Dawn Clark

Writer/Editor
Shirley Del Valle

Senior Designer/Art Director
Laura DeVries

Web Producer
Anh Phan