NYC Chancellor Carmen Fariña visits Pace University’s Inside Track

If you’re curious about the education issues shaping New York City’s future leaders and professionals, you won’t want to miss our upcoming InsideTrack with New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. Our program begins 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16, in the Schimmel Center at 3 Spruce Street.

As the Chancellor of New York City Schools, Chancellor Fariña oversees the education of more than one million students, so her priorities and decisions related to key issues such as charter schools, Common Core, class size, teacher evaluations, and technology will impact the City for years to come.

We’ll talk about these topics and more with the Chancellor. Her 40 years of experience as a teacher, principal, district superintendent, region superintendent, Deputy Chancellor, and—since 2014—Chancellor gives her a well-rounded perspective as she works to provide New York City children with a quality education.

Whether you are a teacher, student, parent, or community leader, or you see yourself in one of these roles in the future, please join us for a discussion of issues that will reverberate far and wide into the future.

No shortcuts to success

In the 21st century we’re conditioned to expect speed. We use apps because they are faster than searching. We like followers to respond to our social media thoughts within seconds. The web site loads instantaneously; and if it doesn’t we conclude the site must be down.

Yet there is still one thing that will never come to us quickly—success. There are no shortcuts to success either —just ask anyone who ever purchased a weight loss program that advertised fast results without a long-term commitment to diet and exercise.

I was recently reminded of the discrepancy between the speed in which we usually receive things and the time it takes to succeed when I attended a reception honoring the Dyson College Fed Challenge Team. You may remember that our Pace team won the annual national College Fed Challenge in December for the second year in a row. The Pace team beat out teams from Princeton University, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bentley University, and Northwestern University.

Last year at a similar reception I asked one of the team members how he accounted for the team’s success. He said, “We work harder than anyone else. We are better prepared.”

In his book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. Our team won because they understood the dedication and time it takes to obtain real mastery of the issues in a new and complex field—which is the same dedication and time it takes to become a leading professional. To put in that kind of effort and realize a positive result is hugely satisfying.

The faculty members who worked with the team, principally Professors Mark Weinstock and Gregory Colman, also understand what it takes to succeed in this competition and in life. They did so much more than teach these students about monetary policy. They created a culture that led a group of students to believe that they could compete at the highest levels and win—and that the accomplishment would offset the sacrifices required to make it happen.

This is truly higher education at its best—creating a desire for learning at as deep a level as possible so that learning becomes a motivation in itself—the classic academic search for truth.

Congratulations to the team and its coaches on an outstanding feat.

The Pace Community is a Remarkable Group

Pace’s Giving Tuesday campaign was a huge success, thanks to the commitment and generosity of our entire Pace Community. Given the campaign’s success, please allow me to proclaim today “Thank You Thursday” so we can properly recognize the donors—alumni, faculty, staff, students, and others who helped make this past Tuesday such a memorable day for the University.

Our Giving Tuesday contributions set a record. We raised over $100,000 in one day. That’s a marvelous achievement. Even better, these and other contributions we receive through the end of the year will be matched by our Trustees up to $220,000.

Our Pace Community is a big source of strength for the University. These dedicated, caring individuals support us through their gifts and they routinely enhance our academic programs and our students’ University experience. Many become Pace University ambassadors as they assume leadership positions in business, government, the arts, and non-profit worlds. What this University is today, and what it will become, is driven by the Pace Community.

Thanks to all of you for your ongoing dedication and support of Pace.

Prayers for Peace

Once again families have been devastated and dreams have been destroyed.

As world leaders search for answers that will allow all people to live in peace, let’s never forget the victims in Paris and elsewhere to whom those answers will come too late. Terrorism has no place in a civilized society, and the Pace University community stands with all those who loathe terrorism and the fanatics who perpetrate these despicable acts.

 

Finding your passion is not a one size fits all exercise

“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

That’s great advice. It may surprise you to learn, however, that the person who made the suggestion isn’t a professor, career counselor, or anyone with knowledge of what it takes to succeed in our constantly changing, 21st century, technology-driven world. Confucius, the Chinese philosopher who lived approximately 2,500 years ago, uttered those words at a time when jobs looked much different than the careers people have today.

The concept of being passionate about your work, however, is as fresh today as it was in Confucius’ time.

How do people find their passion? Some people find their passion very early in life. Our School of Performing Arts students probably have been practicing their Oscar acceptance speeches in front of the bathroom mirror since they were children. Others must search for their passion.

Most of us find our passions as our horizons expand. We try new things, read up on new subjects, and talk with people from diverse backgrounds. Some people, like me, have different passions at different times in their lives.

Finding your passion sometimes means you’ll explore new roads for exploration’s sake—without knowing where the road goes.

Albert Einstein’s passion for inquiry made him the most influential scientist of the 20th century. In 1917, Einstein wrote a paper called “The Stimulated Emission of Radiation.” Einstein’s paper became the foundation of a new technology called “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emissions of Radiation.” Perhaps you are more familiar with the technology’s acronym, LASER. Today lasers are used in eye surgery, tattoo removal, to scan barcodes in supermarkets and departments stores, for data storage, and in electronic devices like DVD players. Multiple multi-billion dollar industries were born—all because of Einstein’s passion for inquiry.

If you see something that interests you, explore it, no matter what your age or position in life. You never know where a new-found passion will lead.

First day of autumn makes the new school year feel official

There is something about the first day of autumn that makes even the biggest procrastinators admit that it is time to focus on studying rather than sun tans.

But for the rest of us, the new semester and the 2015-2016 school year is in full swing. I hope by now you’ve had a chance to spend time in the new buildings and renovated spaces on both campuses. They are the most visible examples of the exciting renewal going on at Pace, but they are far from the only examples. If you haven’t already, please spend a few minutes with me as I highlight our progress on both campuses in this short video.

I will have updates on our progress throughout the year. Please leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions. In the meantime, I wish you the best of success this academic year. Let’s make the 2015-2016 school year a great one!

Seeing wrong and trying to right it

My InsideTrack conversation with Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, on October 6 takes place during the TECHO, Univision Poverty Awareness Week campaign, proudly co-hosted by Pace University. These events once again highlight the University’s role as a center of discussion and debate on the critical public policy issues of our time. As I prepare for these events, I can’t help but remember the day a photograph I was in made the front page of the New York Times—all courtesy of Senator Robert Kennedy, the war on poverty, and a five-year old who answered a knock on his door.

In 1966, Senator Kennedy traveled across America to highlight the needs of the poor in places like Appalachia, the Mississippi Delta, migrant farming camps, and urban environments. On a winter day in February 1966, Senator Kennedy came to Brooklyn. He famously toured Bedford-Stuyvesant on foot—accompanied by hundreds of community leaders, the press, and yours truly, a young lawyer who had recently returned from two years working in Washington after law school.

Many of the community leaders were wary of another “tour” by a politician, but Senator Kennedy won them over with his good intentions and new legislation that provided substantial funding for a new project. He saw it all that day—burned out buildings, vacant lots covered with garbage, and abandoned cars rusting on the streets. The area looked like a war zone. Then Senator Kennedy knocked on a door at 733 Gates Avenue. A young child opened it. He looked up to see a stranger towering over him and a crowd of people behind the stranger. As you can see I am off to the side. That’s when the New York Times photographer snapped the picture. Here it is:

Friedman and Kennedy crop

Senator Kennedy’s experience in Brooklyn motivated him to introduce a national model for community development. The model’s goal was to improve living conditions and employment opportunities in depressed areas. The nation’s first community-development nonprofit was the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation in Brooklyn. As a volunteer in Senator Kennedy’s office, I did the legal work to create and organize the new Corporation. The organization still exists today—fostering economic self-sufficiency; creating healthy, stable families; promoting the arts and culture; and transforming neighborhoods into safe, vibrant places to live, work, and visit.

I am thrilled to welcome Kerry Kennedy to InsideTrack. She has continued her father’s fight against poverty, and racial and social injustices. She has also devoted herself to a wide range of global issues including children’s rights, ethnic violence, women’s rights, and human trafficking. Please join us Tuesday, October 6, at 6:00 p.m. in the Schimmel Theater for a conversation about issues that we still need to address. We can all make a difference.

iPace brings 21st century flexibility to Opportunitas

The online news source, Inside Higher Ed, analyzed the latest statistics from the federal government’s data on students enrolled in distance education courses and concluded that the online education market showed “no discernible growth” between the fall of 2012 and 2013.

Pace’s experience with online education is much different. iPace, Pace’s online degree completion program, is growing. The program began with 15 students during its inaugural fall 2011 semester, and has grown to more than 250 students enrolled in iPace programs this past semester. From fall 2012 to fall 2013 iPace enrollment doubled.

One reason for Pace’s success in this area is our approach to online degree programs. Pace’s historic mission of Opportunitas has always included the type of students most interested in online learning—students who need quality, flexible education programs that fit into their busy and demanding working lives.

Years ago, many Pace students earned degrees by attending evening classes part-time. Many of these students couldn’t afford to attend college full-time, or they juggled full-time jobs and family responsibilities and couldn’t commit to full-time class schedules. Pace helped these students become thinking professionals and move beyond their means. Today there are 54 million working adults in the US with some college experience or an associate’s degree, but no bachelor’s degree. Many of these adults are veterans and members of the military. Offering online degrees and online degree completion programs allows Pace to offer a 21st century opportunity built on our century-old mission and help even more students realize their dreams of a college diploma.

Pace faculty members are experts at combining liberal education, professional preparation, and real-world experiential opportunities —perfect for iPace students who have work experience and want to integrate their professional lives into their educations. iPace currently offers five degree completion programs—a BBA in Business Studies with concentrations in marketing and management and accounting and internal auditing, a BS in Professional Communication Studies, a BS in Professional Technology Studies with a concentration in computer forensics, a BS in Nursing, and an associate degree in Arts and Sciences. Each degree is designed for students who need convenience and flexibility in order to earn a degree.

I attended the iPace Commencement ceremonies last year. The joy and pride that permeated the room was infectious. Many graduates had never been in the same room with their faculty, advisers, and classmates before. Everyone was very happy to connect in person. Watching them match familiar names to unknown faces was a delight. Two graduates also spoke. They told us how much their degrees meant to them at a time in their lives when receiving a diploma was either a distant memory or unfulfilled dream for their peers. They were also overjoyed to share their accomplishments with spouses and children. The experience reminded me that life-long learning has many benefits beyond the diploma.

When debt produces return on investment

While debt often has negative connotations, not all debt is bad. Debt in pursuit of a university degree is one of the best investments a student can make in his or her future. The return on investment in education is real.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) did a study a couple of years ago. The OECD found that the typical graduate from a four-year college earns 84 percent more than a high school graduate. The same study also indicated that a college degree is worth $365,000 for the average American man after subtracting all the direct and indirect costs over a lifetime. For women—who still tend to earn less than men—a college diploma is worth $185,000.

College graduates aren’t having problems getting their careers started either. The US Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics reports that as of 2012, college graduates from the Class of 2008 had spent just six percent of the previous four years unemployed. Eight out of ten Class of 2008 graduates had one full-time job during the previous four years, another eight percent of the graduates had multiple jobs during that time period.

No one wants to start his or her career in in the red. And the amount of debt a student incurs should be considered in light of his or her intended career choices. The good news, however, is that in addition to the economic returns your college education will produce, the federal government gives graduates more advantageous repayment options than ever before.

Under Income Based Repayment (IBR), students who have US Department of Education (DOE) loans only have to pay a maximum of 10 percent of their income per month. Any balance left after 20 years is forgiven. IBRs are especially attractive to graduates working in government and non-profit jobs because the DOE forgives their loan balances after 10 years. IBRs are growing in popularity among students. The DOE reports that between April 1, 2013, and September 30, 2014, participation in IBRs doubled.

Graduating from Pace also is an advantage for people carrying student loans. Approximately six out of ten Pace students have at least one internship. Many have multiple internships. This real-world experience gives our graduates an advantage in the job market. In fact, PayScale ranks Pace graduates in the top 15 percent nationally for average earnings in first and mid-career jobs. Pace students also have a lower loan default rate than students from many similar schools.

Students or parents considering student loans should explore their options with Pace’s professionals in our Financial Aid Call Center at 1 (877) 672-1830; while graduating students should talk with a counselor in our Career Services Department. The department is one of the largest of its kind among colleges in New York City. Students can make an appointment with a counselor by contacting the appropriate campus office at http://www.pace.edu/career-services/location-hours-staff-directory.

Finish in Four

The number “four” pops up a lot in our everyday lives.

There are four seasons—spring, summer, autumn, and winter. There are four directions—east, west, north, and south. There are four books in Islam, and the Four Noble Truths express the basic orientation of Buddhism. In Christianity the four-point star, or the Star of Bethlehem, represents both Jesus’ birth and the purpose for which he was born, and children ask the four questions at the Passover Seder. In professional baseball, basketball, and hockey, teams must win four games out of seven to be crowned champions.

In numerology, the number “four” is defined as disciplined, strong, hard-working, and conscientious. These four adjectives describe Pace students.

Now the number “four” is more prominent on our Pace campuses. We kicked off our Finish in Four campaign at the start of this semester. We handed out flyers during Orientation and hung posters on both campuses. There’s also a new video on the way. The campaign supports Provost Sukhatme’s goal to have students graduate from Pace in four years or less.

There are all sorts of advantages for students to finish in four. For one thing, students who graduate in four years pay less than students who delay graduation. In addition, lower costs often translate to lower student debt. Students who finish in four can also begin their careers faster—which mean becoming economically independent and self-sufficient. Most important, however, students who commit to finishing in four years are more likely to complete their degrees than students who plan on taking longer to graduate.

Graduating in four years may not be for everyone. Some students who work and attend school at the same time, for example, may not be able to commit to Finish in Four schedules. But students who do commit to graduating in four years or less do not have to sacrifice their undergraduate experiences to do it. These students are still afforded every opportunity Pace has to offer—including access to internships, study abroad programs, honor societies, student activities, and leadership opportunities.

Finishing in four isn’t difficult—it just takes the commitment, dedication, and hard work Pace students are known for, combined with the thoughtful planning they do with their advisers. Pace faculty and staff are very supportive of this initiative and there is no doubt in my mind that once our students commit to Finish in Four, they’ll do it!