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January 2017 Archives

The Teachers Who Change Our Lives


by David McCullough


Growing up in Pittsburgh, I went to a wonderful public school where the arts were given as much attention as standard subjects like math and history. We had art and music every day. We were taken to museums and steel mills. I had excellent teachers, both in grade school and high school. Most of us are lucky if we have two or three teachers who change our lives and I had several, especially Vincent Scully, who taught art and architecture at Yale. He taught us to see, to think about spaces, to pay attention to what the buildings were saying, and to think about what the alternatives were, what might have been built that wasn't. And few men I've known have such a great understanding of America. I also took Daily Themes at Yale, Robert Penn Warren's writing course. Every morning at eight-thirty you had to slide a sheet of original prose under the professor's door, and if you didn't, you got a zero. There was no kidding about it. It taught us discipline, to produce.

David McCullough is the award-winning author of many books, including The Wright Brothers.

Members of the CUNY Community:

We begin a new academic term with much news, some very troubling and some heartening.

CUNY is a university of immigrants in a city of immigrants. That is a source of pride and strength. So I know you share my concern over the new administration's order limiting the free movement of students, immigrants and refugees from certain countries. As I wrote you earlier today, I believe this policy is contrary to the fundamental values of openness and inclusion that have made CUNY--and our country--so successful for generations. And I reiterated CUNY's commitment to do everything it can within the law to support and protect our students, no matter their status.

While that difficult news necessarily had our attention over the weekend and continues to be a matter of urgent focus, there has been some extremely positive news recently about CUNY and its direction, which I want to share. I hope you saw the recent article in The New York Times about a path-breaking study that demonstrates the enormous impact of CUNY as a leading engine of mobility in this country. It was extremely gratifying to see such persuasive evidence for what we have long known - not just how effective our university is at opening the door to middle class careers for lower-income New Yorkers--but the remarkable scale of this achievement. The article reaffirmed the importance of our mission and helped make more opinion leaders, public officials and the public aware of CUNY's vital role.

This attention is timely. The university is launching a new strategic framework, cuny.edu/connected, which is focused on the goals and strategies that will further advance CUNY's historic mission in the knowledge economy. This plan is the result of broad consultation and considerable work, but we envision it as a living document and fully expect it can be improved. Your comments and suggestions are welcome and can be submitted on the website.

No institution has done more to provide opportunity to those who have the desire and talent to succeed, no matter where they begin in life, than The City University of New York. But there is much more that must be done. We must expand affordable access to more New Yorkers who would benefit from college, implement programs that promote timely completion and, in addition to our high quality instruction, provide experiential learning opportunities that lead to the best careers for our graduates. That's the essence of CUNY's new strategic framework: we seek to significantly increase opportunity for all New Yorkers.

How will we accomplish these ambitious plans? Certainly, in part, by making investments in faculty and student support. This will be possible only with increased public and private support as well as more cost-effective administration. Also, importantly, the strategic framework is called "Connected CUNY," because our success in the future depends on how well we collaborate across the university and with our many partners, including government, the public schools, other leading universities, philanthropies and the private sector.

I hope you share my excitement over this renewed vision for CUNY and join me in advancing our historic mission that continues to serve New York so well.


James B. Milliken

Landmark College Summer Institute


Not just a conference. 

A professional learning experience - combining hands-on, multi-day training workshops; world-class research presentations; a student panel; networking opportunities; and 30+ years of Landmark College expertise.  

Landmark College Summer Institute: June 25-28, 2017

For 27 years, the Summer Institute at Landmark College has been an annual opportunity for educators and professionals to reboot their learning and refresh their enthusiasm for supporting students who learn differently. Watch a short video of LCIRT Director Dr. Manju Banerjee describing the unique aspects of the Summer Institute.

Check out highlights from past Summer Institutes.

Keynote and Plenary Presentations by Nadine Gaab, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Boston Children's Hospital & Harvard Medical School
Department of Medicine/Division of Developmental Medicine
Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience
Twitter: Nadine Gaab (@GaabLab)

Sunday Keynote:
"Hope or Hype? The Use and Misuse of Neuroscience in Education"

June 25, 7:30 p.m.


Monday Plenary Presentation:
"The Typical and Atypical Reading Brain:  How Neuroscience Can Inform Educational Practice"

June 26, 9:00 a.m.

Workshops and Single Sessions

Three-day intensive, hands-on workshops (or "strands") form a core component of the Landmark College Summer Institute experience.

by Karen Kraskow

He is a design researcher for a global IT company.  He is charged with understanding the customers' needs and designing/planning the systems that make the businesses (of its clients) work.  Customers never see the systems he designs, but they make (e.g.) the ticket gates process work without hitch.  He is deaf.  Christopher and I met through a program of the NYPL called Visible Lives:  Oral Histories of the Disability Experience.  I was an Interviewer and Christopher Taylor Edwards was a Storyteller.  He told his story not only because it strengthens him, but because documentation of the lives of people with disabilities validates "our experiences both at the individual level and the civic-social level." 

For design builds social relationships.  As a design student at Parsons (graduated June 2015, at 41 years of age) he was part of a coalition that engaged homebuilders and remodelers in Detroit in uncovering and solving like problems, such as "How do you repair windows?  How to get a permit for a dumpster? etc."  These stakeholders, initially isolated in their efforts, were remodeling dilapidated properties, or building from the ground up on affordable, but depressed properties.  In a partnership with the Knight Foundation and IDEO, Christopher and his colleagues - including businessmen and women, historic preservationists, journalists, peace corps veterans, graphic and industrial designers - invited the remodelers to gather in a storytelling event where they mapped and tested their ideas; they also  developed skills classes, created a contractor directory and organized neighborhood tours, all in support of building a community to undergird the arduous work of homebuilding. Brick + Beam, a social impact organization who led the work, upheld the principle:  when you are constructing a building you are constructing a community.    

Christopher has applied his transdisciplinary (Transdisciplinary Design was his major) skills to the deaf community as well. He, himself, grew up hearing and only began losing his hearing when he was a sophomore in high school, something that continued to deteriorate, until complete loss in his 30's.  His speech was not affected.  He notes:  today there are fewer deaf schools, deaf students are largely mainstreamed.  Those individuals whose condition allows (Christopher's does not) use cochlear implants, which restore hearing almost completely. The result being that many more careers are open to individuals who deal with deafness.  However, Christopher observes, career services offices at schools are not as yet prepared to assist these students in preparing for the workplace.  To rectify this Christopher has published a toolkit to help deaf employees navigate the social space of their place of employment - from watercooler conversation to meetings. "Crafting Access:  A Toolkit for Communications Access in the Office and in Your Career" (available from christopher@nonedesign.net) helps the reader prepare to explain what works best for them in their communication with the hearing environment.  Through a series of tasks, users prepare to talk with an employer and also to engage in social conversation at the workplace. This effort also helped these individuals feel less isolated and gave all - who may have done this in the groups Christopher led at Parsons, an opportunity to explore how others handled similar situations.  They became empowered to negotiate their own inclusion.  And the hearing community learned from their efforts how best to work as a team together with them. This was yet another attempt to bring together for self-awareness and community awareness individuals dealing with the same issue. 

He has some tips for interacting with a person who is deaf, but ultimately it's up to the person themselves to discover with the listener the best way to work with them.  Some common themes are:  don't repeat and enunciate what was not understood - rather, rephrase it. (Enunciating distorts the mouth as it makes the sound, making it difficult to speech read. )  Slow down, and always face the person you are speaking to.  Some people who are deaf find it hard to know how loud they should speak and have to use cues from the environment (if there's a large crowd, people are probably speaking loudly; if people are in a library, probably not) one can help by giving gentle cues to help them modulate their voice to fit in with the sound surrounding.

To Christopher, communicating in a hearing environment is a 'design challenge.'  Can you beat that attitude?

Capitalizing on Summer


by Harold S. Koplewicz, MD



When my sons were young, no sooner were they back to school after winter break than the conversation turned to summer plans. I remember being flabbergasted. There truly is no rest for the parent -- or the thoroughly scheduled school-age child.

There's a reason for this preparation -- summer is a time for great changes in children. Some kids have transformative experiences at camp or traveling. And some kids, particularly those who must contend with
ADHD or anxiety or a learning disorder, struggle to attain those experiences, or fit in with summer friends.

Luckily, summer presents a great opportunity for all kids to test their limits and grow. We have articles on childmind.org about
holidays, managing breaks from school and using summer effectively to maintain progress for children, whether they are working to overcome a learning challenge or a behavioral issue.

At the Child Mind Institute, for instance, our new Summer Program is an example of using summer to give children with ADHD and behavioral, learning and social issues a leg up while having a great time.
Programs like these are a model for what mental health professionals can do when they bring together clinical research, top-notch training and compassionate care. And for how to make the most out of summer break while giving kids the gift of a transformative experience.

Warmest regards,

Harold S. Koplewicz, MD
Child Mind Institute

By Rose Spaziani

Pasteurized human breast milk can save the most vulnerable lives. Premature and sick infants are especially in need, notes the New York Milk Bank (NYMB). ColumbiaDoctors Midtown is one of two depot sites in Manhattan that safely collect and route donated human breast milk to NYMB, which opened its doors in September 2016 in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., and distributes the milk to mothers and their infants throughout New York State.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 10 infants was born prematurely in the United States in 2015. Research has shown that pasteurized breast milk provides the best nutrition and helps to prevent necrotizing enterocolitis, an intestinal infection that is common in premature infants.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends giving pasteurized donor breast milk to premature infants when a mother's breast milk is unavailable. To meet this need, NYMB estimates that 200,000 ounces of pasteurized donor human milk are needed per year to feed premature infants in the state.

Following Thanksgiving 2016, ColumbiaDoctors Midtown received its first donation--an 800-ounce supply--and promptly sent it to NYMB. Lauren Levine, MD, assistant clinical professor of pediatrics, oversees milk bank donations at ColumbiaDoctors Midtown, which is located near Rockefeller Center, at 51 West 51st Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues). The project is especially important to Dr. Levine because she saw firsthand the devastating effects of necrotizing enterocolitis on small babies after completing her pediatric residency and working as a house physician in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital. Premature infants continue to hold a special place in her heart.

All breast milk collected at ColumbiaDoctors Midtown is thoroughly screened in accordance with standards from the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. Donors complete verbal and written questionnaires and blood tests for HIV and other infectious diseases. In addition, donors and their babies must receive medical clearance from their health care providers. Next, the milk is pasteurized to destroy bacteria and viruses, and tested to ensure safety.

For more information about the New York Milk Bank, visit nymilkbank.org. To learn about all ColumbiaDoctors Children's Health services, visit ColumbiaChildrensHealth.org. If you're interested in donating breast milk to ColumbiaDoctors Midtown, contact NYMB at 212-956-MILK.

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