For more than 100 years, Pace University has been preparing students to become leaders in their fields.
A private university, Pace provides an education that combines exceptional academics with professional
experience and the New York advantage. Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County,
and enrolls almost 13,000 students in bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs in the Dyson College
of Arts and Sciences, Lienhard School of Nursing, Lubin School of Business, School of Education, School
of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.
Pace faculty, students, and alumni discuss the critical need to improve science literacy and why academic programming at Pace provides students with a more integrated, relevant, and broader understanding of the field.
Moderator: Richard Schlesinger, PhD, Associate Dean and Professor, Department of Biology and Health Sciences (RS)
Antonella Castaldo ’10, Staff Associate (AC)
Marcy Kelly, PhD, Associate Professor and Chair, Biology and
Health Sciences (MK)
Erica Kipp, Adjunct Assistant Professor and Director of Biology
Zelda Mendelowitz ’13 (ZM)
Mary Margaret (Peggy) Minnis, PhD, Lecturer in Chemistry (PM)
Neil Patel ’13 (NP)
Richard Schlesinger: One of the big issues nationally today is “scientific literacy.” There is an attempt at all educational levels to change the curriculum so that students will have a better idea of how to relate the concepts they learn to the real world. One approach involves a move toward integrating concepts across disciplines. Right now, for example, if a student learns something in biology, they may not be able to apply it toward chemistry. What we’re trying to do at Pace is develop a Learning Community, whereby the concepts discussed in biology will be applied to chemical problems, and then the chemical concepts will be applied to biological problems. In another approach, Peggy Minnis has developed a course called Consumer Chemistry, which is an online course that provides relevance of scientific concepts to non-majors.
Peggy Minnis: We were trying to find some way to put one of thesciences online that incorporated a lab component. So what I did was get the students to use household chemicals in order to do theexperiments. Students didn’t know that things around the housewere actually chemicals; so I think they are finding science to bevery relevant to their life.
RS: Another of the more popular courses in the general educationUniversity core is what has been termed “general biology light,”which Erica Kipp has recently redesigned to make more relevant.
Erica Kipp: We changed it to Human Biology and Contemporary Society, whereas before it was more focused on biology and we didn’t have this other component. One of the things I did was integrate case studies into the lecture portion, so that when we discuss a concept, students are given an actual scenario that it canbe applied to. With genetically modified (GM) foods, for example,we’ll talk specifically about a GM product, like golden rice, and how it is adding vitamin A to the diet of folks that have a blindness directly related to a vitamin A deficiency. We look at journal articles and popular articles, so they’re learning a lot about not only genetically modified products, but also deficiencies, food products,and the relation of these to other cultures.
RS: The integration of case studies in this course makes it more relevant to the students. To me, the goal of “the thinking professional” related to the sciences means that non-science majors can read popular articles, for example in Time magazine,and figure out whether or not the reporter is biased.
PM: Science majors also need to be schooled in that kind of thing;they’re not critical readers. They don’t know how to read the NewYork Times. They know how to read a textbook.
RS: That’s true, and one of the factors in the redesign of Dyson Hall was this integration across disciplines. It’s also important for students to see what’s going on in research labs other than their own. One event in the city that we hope to do in Pleasantville isa colloquium every year, where the students in all of the science disciplines at Pace present their research in poster sessions.
EK: The poster session I host usually has biology, chemistry, physics, forensic science, and environmental science students presenting. Next year, we hope to have communication science disorders and psychology involved as well. The goal is to make these programs more Dyson-wide in terms of the various natural sciences and related social sciences.
Marcy Kelly: I was also thinking about our seminar series, where we have professionals come in to talk about what they are doing.
EK: It shows the students how the information they’re learning,the degree that they are going to earn, can be relevant once theygraduate.
Neil Patel: In terms of integration of the biology and chemistry departments, one thing that the seminars do really well is show exactly how the two are connected. When you’re in BIO 101 you startoff with this huge whiteboard that talks about how everything gets broken down—“the hierarchy of life.” It goes from the broadest organism level all the way down to the cellular. It shows exactly how, on the larger scale, things get influenced through the body and environment. Recently in my Chemistry 111 class, I learned that the cellular respiration produced by two human beings is equivalent to a Hummer H2 per year.
RS: That’s the kind of relevance that students need! This is what sticks in their head. One of the other problems with science is you can bore students by standing there and just lecturing. Marcy Kelly is using a new technique that promotes interactive teaching.
MK: I use a classroom response system with a remote control device in my BIO 101 and 102 courses. It’s similar to… have you seen the showWho Wants to Be a Millionaire? and the “ask the audience” question where you get that bar graph response? Every 10 to 15 minutes I’ll do a clicker question, and I’m able to see the response. If most of the students get the question correct, I’ll know they understand and I can continue, but if I realize they’re not understanding it, I can backtrack and try and figure out where they’re stuck.
RS: Another issue with science majors in general, and not just at Pace, is as incoming freshmen, they’re thrown into a program where they’re taking two lab sciences right away. So they have two problems: one is adjusting to college life; the other is time management. One thing that we’ve done to try to help in this regard is to set up discussion groups that are peer led by an upper-level student. If they have a question, they can talk to a fellow student about it and hopefully resolve it.
EK: I also think they can sometimes explain a concept in a different way than the professor that might make more sense to the student.
Antonella Castaldo: I benefitted from those a lot, because I definitely felt intimidated to stop the whole class and say “Hey, I didn’t understand that.”
NP: The help of a peer leader really influences how well a student develops in making connections with both classes [chemistry and biology] and overcoming the overwhelming pressure that’s put onby both courses.
PM: And as you’ve probably found out, the process of teaching is the best learning experience that you can have!
RS: I wanted to bring up the issue of research. A number of years ago, at many schools, research was considered an elective. But it has been shown that one way for students to understand concepts is to see their application in the lab. So we revised the science curricula and made research a requirement. And I think it’s one of the factors that draws people here… If a student came up to you and asked “Why should I study science at Pace?” what would you tell them?
Zelda Mendelowitz: I would tell them because it is a small school. When I came here, I was a freshman in Dr. Lampard’s BIO 101 lab section and he asked me to join his lab, and I think it was the best thing that has ever happened to me.
NP: I’d tell them that the interaction between the faculty and the student is greater. You’re not just a number, you have a name. They offer a lot of summer programs and internships and in-school research, which is what a lot of kids want to do. At Pace, you’re someone who has potential to present a poster or paper.
AC: I want to go back to what Zelda was saying: Faculty members can affect their students on such a great level. I would not have been here today if it wasn’t for my freshman year when she [Kipp] scooped me up. I had all my papers ready to transfer, and she brought a new perspective and opened my eyes up to a lot of other possibilities. You guys [Kipp and Kelly] aren’t just here for my academic career, you could be my life mentors. It’s really important because the bonds you form now, whether it’s with a classmate or a faculty mentor—you hold that for life.
RS: Some of the advanced courses can have as few as six or seven people, so it is almost like a one-to-one relationship. It’s also attractive to students that we do not use graduate teaching assistants. One of the questions I get asked at open houses is “Who teaches? Real faculty or TAs?” And when I say real faculty, parents often look shocked. Our assessment process also makes us unique. When I was in college, assessment consisted of a biology exam at the end of senior year, and if you didn’t pass it you didn’t graduate—I thought that was a little late. So we’ve started giving an assessment exam in the junior year. This allows us to tell if a student has a problem in a particular area, and if a student does, we can perform some remediation before it’s too late. In addition, there is advisement during all years to assure that students are entering a field in which they can succeed. For example, many biology majors come to Pace thinking they will goto medical school. In some cases, they will not be able to achieve this goal so we advise them on alternatives that will allow them to pursue their interest in science or science related fields.
PM: So a real strength of coming into the sciences [at Pace], and finding out they are not suited for it, is you can advise them into a field where they can still achieve their life goals, and not compromise.
MK: I wanted to touch on one of the other courses we offer in biology, which is our Capstone. It’s a writing enhanced course, and we have each student pick a research topic and guide them through the development of an NSF [National Science Foundation] style research proposal. The end goal is to get our students to come up with their own scientific ideas, develop their own hypotheses, and be able to think about and apply all of the material they’ve learned throughout their time at Pace.
RS: That’s the purpose of that course: to integrate and synthesize everything they’ve learned into developing a research project. The era of generalization in science is gone. In any field—medicine, dentistry, scientific research, business—what employers are looking for are people who can think. And in the sciences this translates into people who are able to look at the big picture, but then be able to drill down to the problem at hand. What we try todo in the sciences here at Pace is to provide the ability for both the science degree and non-science degree graduates to think outside the box of their specialty, and make them a “thinking ‘science’ professional.”
The coal business may be risky for miners, but it shouldn’t cause harm to the innocent, unsuspecting public. That is why a group of concerned citizens, supported by students and professors from Pace, are going head-to-head with this giant of the energy industry. In an effort to stop mining companies from allegedly fouling our water supply, the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic is taking on big coal, bringing a lawsuit against three companies in Kentucky for violations of the Clean Water Act.
Student interns, supervised by Pace law professors Karl S. Coplan, JD, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., LLM ’87, JD, and Daniel Estrin, JD ’93, filed the lawsuit on behalf of a coalition of environmental and social justice organizations and private citizens. The suit alleges that the three companies exceeded the discharge limits of their Clean Water Act permits, failed to monitor discharges as required, and submitted false data in reports to state agencies.
“I have personally never seen such a flagrant thumbing of noses at the process,” says Estrin. “It appears that these [companies] have no concerns about the regulations. The idea that they would submit false [discharge monitoring reports], which are legal documents and are required under the law, shows they apparently have no fear. They must have known that no one was looking at these forms.” Stacks of dusty discharge monitoring reports from more than 60 coal mines and processing facilities were found at the Kentucky Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement regional offices. The reports, which allegedly showed hundreds of repeated violations, did not appear to have been evaluated for compliance by the regulators for more than three years. During a press conference held prior to filing the lawsuit, Kennedy said, “Regular, systematic open fraud that anyone could have uncovered shows the contempt that the coal industry has, not just for the law but for the state agency supposed to enforce it.”
Luckily, the Clean Water Act has a provision that empowers citizens to bring polluters into court when government agencies fail to do their job. “Even if regulators are not watching, we citizens are watching,” Estrin says. “We believe this easily rises to the level of not just civil violations but criminal acts, and they really should be prosecuted as crimes.”
The Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic has been working on this matter since April 2010, providing Pace law students with firsthand experience both in research and preparation—and in the courtroom. “One of the clinic’s major goals is to get students at our clinic time on their feet before a tribunal, making an rgument, submitting legal briefs, before they ever get out to practice,” Estrin says. “It gives them a head start and makes them more appealing to prospective employers.”
One student at the clinic, Peter Harrison ’11, came to Pace from Appalachia, where he was involved in grassroots environmental initiatives. “It’s ironic that I came to New York to pursue environmental law and wound up working on this issue in the South, where I came from,” Harrison notes, but he adds: “It’s really special to be able to come to law school and to actively work on a real case that affects people in tangible ways... Doing this kind of work while I’m still a student validates why I came here, and I’m very grateful for that.”
Preparing for the Future of Accounting
This year, U.S. accounting and financial leaders wait with bated breath as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announces its long-awaited decision on whether or not to require companies to abandon generally accepted accounting principles (or GAAP, currently the nation’s required financial reporting standards) and switch to international financial reporting standards (IFRS). Poised at the forefront of this change is Pace’s Center for the Study of International Accounting Standards, which annually convenes forums of world-renowned accounting and finance professionals, policy makers, and thought leaders in the field to debate this very topic.
Student Steven Berry ’11, president of Lubin’s Iota Lambda chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, the national scholastic and professional organization for finance students and professionals, believes Lubin is setting the groundwork for the future of accounting. “I think there are going to be a lot of job opportunities created because of the IFRS,” he says. “We’re going to be really confident when that happens. We’re learning about it proactively. We’re getting exposed to all these changes before they become mandatory. I think Pace University is doing a great job with this.”
Directed by Distinguished Professor Tom Jones, the Center serves as a locus for discussions around the adoption of a single globally accepted accounting standard. “International accounting standards are a true lingua franca for accounting,” says Jones, who served as vice chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board from its inception in 2001 until 2009. “The reason you need the same standards is because if you have different ways of approaching [accounting], it’s confusing, causes errors, and can hide fault.”
Currently, more than 120 countries, including China, India, Japan, and Mexico, use or allow IFRS (or a national variant) for at least a portion of their financial reporting. The United States is the sole holdout. Many consider the current U.S. standards complicated, lengthy, and wasteful and a number of multinational corporations keep two sets of books to comply with both U.S. and international standards—a burdensome process that is costly and inefficient.
If the SEC decides in favor of international accounting standards, the regulator will likely require U.S. firms to make the switch in 2016. “The whole idea behind the Lubin Center is to foster the transition, to make it easier to understand the practical aspects of how to go about it, and generally to support the decisions that must be made by the SEC and others to make this transition,” Jones says.
The Center also addresses not only the technical aspects of the international standards, but also the psychological ramifications of change. “It takes a great deal of courage for a jurisdiction to say, ‘I will no longer have the power to determine the accounting rules that we use. I will go along with the vote of a body that represents many jurisdictions, but which I don’t have absolute control over. I’ll have some say, but not absolute control.’ It’s hard to make that decision,” says Jones. “But common sense says accounting shouldn’t be decided by politics. After all, it’s a convention we use to describe a business transaction. Frankly, how can you possibly pretend to get a different result because you happen to be in Birmingham, Alabama, instead of Birmingham, England?”
Breaking New Ground in Information Assurance
Pace professors, alumni, and students discuss the challenges and opportunities of this rapidly evolving field—and how to prepare for jobs and issues that don’t yet exist!
Moderator: Constance Knapp, PhD, Interim Dean, Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems
Li-Chiou Chen, PhD, Associate Professor, Information Technology (LC) Andreea Cotoranu ’04, Instructor and Associate Director of Assessment (AC) Michael D’Angelo, Criminal Justice Major ’12 and recipient of the National Science Foundation Scholarship for Service (MD) Darren Richard Hayes, DPS ’08, Lecturer, Information Technology (DH) Sotirios Skevoulis, PhD, Professor, Computer Science (SS)
Constance Knapp: Information assurance looks at managing risk in three key areas that relate to information: confidentiality, integrity, and availability. We see this as an area of huge growth and feel we have an opportunity to prepare professionals in this field. We have been designated a center of excellence in information assurance education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. What we want to do in this roundtable is have educators and students talk about Pace’s role in this field and why we believe we are at the forefront. First, for the non-technology professionals, how would you define this field?
Sotirios Skevoulis: I think there are two different directions students can take for their future. One, is as users of software. The other one is as developers of software. They should know how to use and how to protect their software and computers, and personal data, because whether you like it or not, nowadays your information is out there—your bank account, your money, your personal information, your medical records.
CK: Darren, you’ve worked a little with the district attorney’s office on the user’s side. Can you talk about opportunities in computer forensics?
Darren Richard Hayes: I think with security there are two important elements: one is security and being proactive, but the other part is the incident handling and looking back and investigating what has occurred so that we can better prepare and better protect ourselves moving forward.
CK: Li-Chou, you’ve been working with the students who received grants from the Department of Defense (DoD) and National Science Foundation. Can you talk about the government opportunities you’ve seen?
Li-Chiou Chen: There is certainly an increase in demand from the federal government in terms of security professionals. Our scholarship program is designed to be an interdisciplinary program where we educate students from a computing side as well as from a criminal justice or business side, because in terms of computer security, they need not only technology in their knowledge background, but also background from the business side, the legal side, and the management side in order to perform their jobs.
Andreea Cotoranu: Students often do not know what information assurance is all about—as many of us probably did not know until we looked at a definition. The terms [information assurance and information security] are usually used interchangeably, but information security draws primarily from computer science while information assurance is interdisciplinary in nature. And here is where we come in with this approach to educating our students in an interdisciplinary context that does not draw only from computer science, but also military science, forensic science, criminology, management science, systems engineering, so it’s more complex.
LC: We have two different scholarship programs. For the DoD scholarship, basically the DoD selects students that they will hire in the future; the student doesn’t have to look for placement. The other scholarship, which is a scholarship for service, is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, and for this program you have to actively participate in looking for placement in a government agency, which is a great way for students to learn what different types of jobs the agencies are offering. They have a virtual career fair and a career fair in Washington, D.C.
CK: Michael, can you tell us about your experience with the virtual career fair?
Michael D’Angelo: When I first logged in, I didn’t know what to expect. There were so many different organizations and agencies— more than I expected. Some I had never heard of and I wouldn’t even assume needed information assurance positions… like the Oceanic Institute.
CK: This is the first year of the scholarship program. What’s your perspective so far?
MD: All of these opportunities are opening up. All of the people I’m meeting, and the people I’m speaking to, and the projects that I’m starting to get involved with have really opened up my eyes. There’s a lot more to the field that a lot of people don’t necessarily think of.
CK: It is interesting to meet with the students who have received these scholarships, because many can’t tell us where they work—it’s almost like a John le Carré novel, “If I told you where I worked, I’d have to kill you.” But it also highlights the import of this. With WikiLeaks on everybody’s mind, maybe we could use that as a way to talk about information assurance and the issues around confidentiality and vulnerability.
DH: The DoD, with regard to security and data leakage in general, has been very concerned about things like social media. For example, an Israeli raid recently was called off after a soldier made a posting on social media. So on the one hand, it’s very positive for troop morale and for those stationed abroad. On the other hand, there is this fear of data leakage.
CK: When I teach database security I talk about the continuum between data and access. When you have complete security you have no access, but if you have complete access, you have no security, so the challenge is to find that balance.
SS: Computer science and software engineering, in general, is a very young discipline. And security in particular was not an issue 20 or 30 years ago, simply because there was no internet. Nowadays it’s different. Until recently, we were thinking of software security as something like a peripheral point. You install your software, and then you install on top of that firewalls and software that monitors activity. To give you an analogy from real life, it’s like taking a building that has been designed to be a hotel and turning it into a federal prison. This building will never be secure enough. Why? Because it hasn’t been designed to be secure. It’s exactly the same situation with software. The best thing to do with any kind of crime is to prevent it. So you need to build the software to be secure; you need to design it to be secure.
CK: I jokingly say that at the Seidenberg School, we need to teach students technology that hasn’t yet been invented for jobs that don’t exist. How do you see this field evolving?
DH: I think that being able to think like a criminal is really important. [LAUGHS] Sometimes I ask my students “What do you think is inappropriate content to put on a Facebook page?” and they often think about images and I say “What about your date of birth and your pet’s name?” because chances are they may be part of your password. That’s how Sarah Palin’s Yahoo! account was hacked into. So trying to think like a criminal and trying to think more about the social engineering part, which is always very difficult to do, is really important.
AC: You were just asking about the future, but I just want to mention, in terms of the present, that our students are really prepared to enter the workforce and make an immediate contribution. Our alumni are in the midst of that—mitigating how the DoD responds to WikiLeaks and how they will secure the DoD files for the future. It’s really amazing that we were able to prepare them to move into the workforce and in a very short amount of time, to have them in the position where they can affect change at the policy level. It speaks to the quality of the students and the quality of the education they have received.
CK: There are technical things we can do for security but there are also policies that need to be in place. That is often the issue.
DH: I think that one of the other things is that you definitely need different perspectives, because you could fall into the trap of “technology can save us.” For New Orleans, they had what seemed like a really good disaster recovery plan, but when the hurricane actually hit, the disaster recovery plan was a complete flop because the plan talked about use of telecommunications, use of electricity and technology and they didn’t have that after the hurricane. So people are still rethinking how a disaster recovery plan should actually be working.
AC: There was a survey done recently, the 2011 Global State of Information Security Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, that showed that only 63 percent of the respondents have a business continuity plan in place, and only a small percentage of those plans were deemed effective!
CK: It’s interesting that Darren pointed out about having different perspectives. When they first came out with ATM cards, the early systems did not automatically sign you out, because they were designed by programmers who were used to logging in and logging out. Then banks started losing money because if I were on line behind you, and you hadn’t logged out, I could just take money out of your account. I use this as an example a lot because you can see what has happened and how systems change.
SS: What it comes down to is conflict: the basic conflict between usability and security crimes. Why do I have to sign-in a thousand times? Give me a single sign-on. That’s a tremendous usability aspect that makes your life easier, but on the other hand, it is a huge security problem because once you use this single sign-on, you open up Pandora’s box basically.
CK: We love to discuss this topic, but there also is a bigger issue— the shortage of people who know about it. I would bet that in four to five years, we’re going to be facing trouble because we’re not churning out enough information security professionals, so we want to do whatever we can to interest people in studying this, because it’s a national problem.
Viewing Health Care through an International Lens
The Lienhard School of Nursing knows that to serve a global population, you need to have a global perspective. That’s why they are giving their students a variety of international experiences, ranging from site visits to Europe to hands-on clinical experience in South America, India, and Africa to exposure to researchers and fellow students from around the world.
“Lienhard has a number of formal and informal programs that look at cross-cultural health care delivery systems and education in different countries,” says Professor Lillie Shortridge-Baggett, EdD, RN, FAAN, who has initiated several of those programs and herself has joint appointments in Holland, Belgium, and Australia.
Opportunities include travel courses for both graduate and undergraduate nursing students that expose students to clinics, other nursing students, and faculty in countries such as the Netherlands and Iceland; a five-week elective rotation for Physician Assistant (PA) students that gives them hands-on clinical experience in countries such as Ecuador, India, and South Africa; a 10-week program inviting international students to visit and study with nursing students on Pace campuses; and international visiting professors who are doing collaborative research and teaching students.
“Part of our goal is focusing all of our courses on having students not just be culturally competent but have a greater awareness of patient preferences,” says Shortridge-Baggett. “This is something that more and more programs are doing,” adds Associate Clinical Professor and Director of the Pace University-Lenox Hill Hospital PA Program Kathleen Roche, MPA, RPA-C, FNP. “It’s especially important for students in rural areas where they may not have the opportunity to work with patients from a variety of backgrounds the way our students in the New York area can.”
“Travelling abroad gives one the opportunity to stay open to new ideas,” says Murielle Sinvilcin ’11, who along with several other Lienhard students spent two weeks this summer in the Netherlands in a course called Nursing in an International Context. “What works for one country might not work for another, but we can certainly learn from each other to improve our individual practices.”
“I think it’s important for health care professionals to maintain a broad perspective of what individuals consider important and influential to their health seeking behaviors,” adds John Ringhisen RN ’09, who received a Fulbright grant to study health care in Bangladesh after he graduated. “Culture can have an immense impact; it defines the daily routine, social norms, and context an individual uses as their decision framework,” he adds. By understanding what influences decisions, health care professionals can provide a more comprehensive model of care that takes an individual’s culture and personal priorities into consideration.
“In the future, we want to require that all our students have an international experience,” says Shortridge-Baggett. “That doesn’t mean they necessarily have to travel abroad, but if you have a client from Russia, we want our students to understand their background—that’s part of the care we offer.”
Promoting New Approaches to Learning
Amulti-year, and multi-hundred thousand dollar, grant from the New York State Department of Education is helping Pace professors and partnering high schools explore new ways to improve teaching—tools they plan to pass on to the next generation of School of Education students.
The grant project is called “Students as Inquirers, Teachers as Inquirers: Using Collaborative Inquiry to Engage Students in Inquiry.” Teaching inquiry-based learning involves developing a question based on observation, collecting baseline data on student performance, inputting what teachers already know, creating a plan for intervention, implementing it, and then analyzing data that points out the next steps. Traditionally, students are expected to learn through the processes of repetition and memorization. However, the benefit to inquiry-based learning (for example, learning about inertia by studying the effects of rolling marbles on different surfaces) is that it allows students to become involved in the concepts being taught to them. Through a deepened engagement in the learning process, students essentially learn how to make raw data useful. Studies show that inquiry-based instruction promotes student achievement.
“Our premise is that the teachers are better able to explain and understand and teach the process of student inquiry if they can engage in it themselves,” says James F. Kilbane, PhD, one of the Pace professors who wrote the grant.
“The goals of the project are to help teachers use an inquiry process to deepen their own ability to support students to do inquiries and to structure classroom experiences that enable students to investigate their subject areas in more meaningful and authentic ways,” says Clayton. “In addition to learning about a teacher inquiry process, teachers also learn about practices in curriculum development to help kids to investigate different questions and problems—for example, how to use different kinds of resources and data to investigate problems and how to communicate ideas.”
In the 2009-2010 academic year, 51 area high school teachers participated in the project—reaching more than 4,000 students.
“We’re trying to deepen the partnership we have with local schools so they will benefit from our students and we can give back to them by providing professional development,” says Kilbane. The grant focuses on assisting new teachers. Of the teachers involved, the majority have less than 10 years of teaching experience and many have less than two years.
Eventually, the idea is to place the School of Education’s own student-teachers in classrooms with high school teachers who have benefited from the project and launch the next generation of inquiring minds.
Starring on Broadway
The Yellow Brick Road now winds its way through Pace University. That explains why you will find Dorothy (minus her ruby slippers and her little dog Toto) studying as a fulltime student in Dyson’s musical theater department.
In real life, Dorothy is 20-year-old Kate Bristol ’12, who landed the lead role in the national tour of the production based on the 1939 classic film, The Wizard of Oz. Bristol is winning the hearts of theater-goers young and old across America—between Pace classes. How does it feel to land this iconic part? “I’m incredibly excited to be playing this,” says Bristol. “I assumed I would be a struggling actor forever. It makes me feel very proud and accomplished and happy, but I won’t let it go to my head.”
As Bristol has discovered, theater life can be grueling. Before opening night, rehearsals lasted up to 10 hours. Then things really got busy. Bristol stars in eight to nine shows a week and will perform in 109 cities during the five month run. “I’m on stage for the entire show,” she says. “I never have time to relax and let my nerves settle. So it’s like being on edge for two and a half hours. It’s exhausting and yet stimulating.”
When she’s not “off to see the Wizard,” Bristol is engrossed in her studies as a full-time student—finishing the year via correspondence and online courses. She credits Pace with preparing her for the rigors of theater life and values the camaraderie of fellow Pace students. “It’s a very professional environment, and we’re all very supportive of one another,” she says. “When one of us finds success, we know that it’s not defeat for the rest of us, because all of the situations are so different.”
Indeed, Bristol is not alone in her success as a star prior to earning her BFA. Other Pace students are landing big roles: Cailan Rose ’12 is performing in Hair on Broadway; Brandon Contreras ’12 is in the national tour of In the Heights; Rahul Rai ’14 is the lead actor in the indie film When Harry Tries to Marry; Cooper Rivers ’14 appears in Generation Um… starring Keanu Reeves; Christopher Bert ’12 acted in The Green starring Julia Ormond and Illeanna Douglas; and Donnel James Forman ’10 was in the national tour of Hairspray and Mamma Mia! before returning to Pace to complete his studies.
At any given time, as many as 15 performing arts students at Pace are professionally engaged. What’s at the root of this success? “We believe your professional career starts the day you come to Pace, not the day you graduate,” says Performing Arts Assistant Professor Grant Kretchik.
Musical Theater Director Amy Rogers adds: “Our philosophy is that we build process and product at the same time, and we’re training students while giving them the opportunity to actually be professionals.”
Bristol is living that philosophy: taking advantage of the opportunity to build her confidence—and professional chops—while maintaining her academic focus as she pursues Pace’s strategic goal of becoming a “thinking professional.”