The Decade of Science at CUNY
In his 2005 book, The World Is Flat, Thomas Friedman
called “the steady erosion of America’s scientific
and engineering base” a “quiet crisis.” Indeed,
since 1990, U.S. bachelor’s degrees in engineering have
dropped by eight percent and degrees in math by 20 percent—and
yet our students are confronting a world that, more than ever,
requires them to be scientifically literate.
At The City University of New York, our current Master Plan
recognizes the importance of science, technology, and engineering
to the country’s future. In fact, we have embarked on
the decade of science at CUNY.
The University’s top-notch science faculty already enjoy
an excellent reputation. This was made clear most recently
when David Bauer, the first-prize winner of the 2005 Intel
Science Talent Search announced his decision to attend the
CUNY Honors Program at The City College. Bauer beat 1,600 entrants
to win the prize and had his pick of colleges across the country.
He chose CUNY, drawn by the mentorship of CCNY Professor Valeria
Balogh-Nair, in whose bio-organic chemistry lab Bauer had worked
while in high school.
To encourage and nurture students like David Bauer, the University
is making a robust investment in the sciences—hiring
more full-time faculty, supporting research initiatives, and
enhancing its infrastructure.
Since 1998, CUNY has added almost 800 new full-time faculty
to its ranks in part by targeting selected areas, including
photonics and biosciences, for cluster hiring. The New York
State Center for Advanced Technology in Photonics Applications
at CUNY, established in 1993, was recently re-designated by
the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic
Research (NYSTAR) for 10 years, allowing for further development
of photonics knowledge. Concurrently, our initiative in molecular
biosciences continues to attract federal, state, and University
funding for research in macromolecular assemblies, neurosciences,
and cell signaling and regulation.
CUNY researchers have been increasingly successful in securing
external funding to support their research. This was evident
in the results of the most recent National Science Foundation
major research instrumentation grant program, in which five
different groups of faculty from across the University won
over $1.5 million to purchase high-end research equipment,
including a confocal microscope and mass spectrometers.
To allow our faculty to aggressively pursue their cutting-edge
research, we are also focusing on upgrading our infrastructure.
Thanks to an unprecedented $2 billion capital investment we
obtained for New York City and State, we will be able to build
new facilities or modernize existing science buildings at several
CUNY colleges. Central to this effort is our ongoing plan for
the Advanced Science Research Center, a university-wide facility
that will facilitate the development of an integrated research
network throughout the University.
As the University prepares to educate the best science minds
in the city, we must also ensure that students are prepared
for a challenging college education. Our young people must
develop their science and math skills at every stage in their
education. CUNY has extensive partnerships with New York City’s
public schools to help students complete the coursework required
to pursue a science curriculum in college. Only through a unified
effort by our K-16 institutions and increased federal and state
investment in science education will we be able to meet our
country’s pressing need for scientists and scientific
innovation. At CUNY, we are committed to addressing this most
important challenge, in this decade and beyond.#