June 1, 2009
This e-newsletter provides details and addresses your questions about the implementation of the Freshman Academies. Each issue of FAQ is topic-specific and will address such topics as organizational structure and staffing. Questions about each topic, as well as suggestions for future topics, are encouraged. Answers will be provided in subsequent issues and will be added to the Q&A that will reside on the QCC website.
Questions can be emailed to: faq@qcc.cuny.edu

In This Issue:
The Freshman Academy for Education
Meet the Coordinators for the Education Academy

Freshman Academy for Education - at a Glance
Faculty Coordinator: Renee Rhodd
Freshman Coordinator:  Andrei Lee

Areas of Study: Childhood Education; Daycare Assistant

Chair: Dr. Joe Culkin, Chair Social Sciences Department

Education Academy office:  Medical Arts Room 127; phone 718-281-5754

Number of enrolled students (spring '09 semester):
approximately 246


Dr. Martì on the
Freshman Academies

Read the
April 21 Issue of FAQ

Read the Q&A's
FOCUS: The Freshman Academy for Education
Growing a Sense of Camaraderie among
Education Students
The Freshman Academy for Education began as an informal academy program in the fall of 2006 to address the needs that education students were facing in their careers, families and academic life.

Creative learning experiences, such as using ballroom dancing to convey math concepts (i.e. counting the beats!) as well as a host of monthly workshops on educational certifications, various career paths, and academic techniques were offered to Education students under the former academy.



Now institutionalized through the Freshman Academy structure, Faculty Coordinator Renee Rhodd works with Freshman Coordinator, Andrei Lee, and the Education Faculty to build on the strategies that have been successful in past years. Social Sciences Chair, Dr. Joe Culkin, comments on the department's transition to the new academy structure, "We had an advantage, in that we had some experience under our belt, and it has rolled out quite smoothly – better than I anticipated. Now institutionalized, my role has diminished substantially around the academy because the day-to-day decision-making is with Renee and Andrei, who have worked out a good collaboration and keep things running smoothly.  I like the fact that they have persisted in communicating with students about program changes, monthly events and academic advisement – working with and for students to be sure they are keeping on top of the program and participating fully in their education."

"I am seeing now what I have always wanted to see: there are always students in the Education Academy office working on projects together, bringing in donuts, sharing with each other." - Renee Rhodd, Faculty Coordinator

Students in the Freshman Academy for Education create a clear academic plan for success and attend monthly events on issues in the field of teacher education. Students have the opportunity to work together on similar academic interests and goals, and they collaborate with faculty both in and out of the classroom through participation the chosen high impact learning experiences: two Learning Communities which pair education courses to courses in English and Social Sciences, as well as Writing Intensive classes, such as Philosophy. Education Academy students will also have Service Learning opportunities, such as teaching Spanish to native speakers in the local community.

One hundred and eighty new Freshmen were placed into the Education Academy in the fall of 2008 and an additional sixty six in the spring semester. In the fall of '09, when all the academies will be fully enrolled, it is anticipated this will rise to close to 300 freshmen students in the Education Academy. 

"...hopefully, with our guidance in the academy, we will see more of them grow and gain more maturity as a student and as a person." - Andrei Lee, Freshman Coordinator

One of the great outcomes that has been witnessed is the growing sense of camaraderie among the Education students, thanks to the Education Academy office located in the Medical Arts building right across from the departmental offices. “Now that students have a place to go to work together, I am seeing now what I have always wanted to see: there are always students in the Education Academy office working on projects together, bringing in donuts, sharing with each other," remarks Faculty Coordinator, Renee Rhodd. Adds Dr. Culkin, “What really delights me is to look across the hall from my office and see students hanging out and using the computers in the Education Academy Office.  Maha Husein, the President of the Future Teacher's Association, has been bringing the social aspect to it as well – drawing in the students and making it feel more like a club."

Freshman Coordinator Andrei Lee looks forward to the next semester saying, “I will have more students to work with as enrollment rises, but hopefully, with our guidance in the academy, we will see more of them grow and gain more maturity as a student and as a person."

Meet the Coordinators for the Education Academy
Building One-on-One Relationships with Students
Faculty Coordinator for the Education Academy, Renee Rhodd, has been advising students at Queensborough since 2001. Renee has had a long history of working with college aged students and with CUNY, first as an admissions counselor for CUNY and BMCC, then as Coordinator for the Dual/Joint QCC/Queens A.A./B.A. degree program in Childhood Education.

Renee was involved with the Education program's own version of an academy when it started in 2006, designing creative workshops and activities to help education majors with their career, academic and personal needs. This is a special talent of Renee's, who says, "I listen to the students to understand their issues, and then come up with workshops that will help them – whether its study skills, math phobia, career choices, family issues or time management."

"I listen to the students to understand their issues, and then come up with workshops that will help them – whether its study skills, math phobia, career choices, family issues or time management." - Renee Rhodd, Faculty Coordinator

When the College formalized the Freshman Academy program this year, Renee was a natural for assuming the role of Faculty Coordinator for the Education Academy, explains Social Sciences Chair, Joe Culkin, "Renee worked together with Professors Anita Ferdenzi and Pat Spradley to come up with monthly activities for Education students starting back in the fall of 2006. Now, she deserves a great deal of credit for being on top of the Education Academy every day and for being extremely responsive to students….and they to her."

Freshman Coordinator, Andrei Lee, is relatively new to Queensborough, joining the Education Academy last fall immediately after graduating with a B.A. in English from SUNY Binghamton. Andrei was attracted to the support that Freshman Academies are providing students, "This job seemed perfect for me because I want to do something socially positive – to help people – but I didn't want to be a teacher," Andrei explains. Clearly helping new Queensborough students is what Andrei excels at. He has helped countless students from falling through the cracks at Queensborough – troubleshooting and jumping right in to overcome the obstacles they have encountered.

"I like to develop a one-on-one relationship with students right off the bat. I call them, I contact their professors, I send them a letter, or respond to a message they post on my Facebook wall to establish the relationship." - Andrei Lee, Freshman Coordinator

Soft spoken and highly articulate, Andrei spends as much time as students need to give them the attention they deserve. Having worked on the phone with a female student (and mother) to help her with registration issues, she later came in to the Education Academy office with her son to personally thank Andrei. "I really appreciate all your help," she told him. "I am just doing my job," Andrei replied. "No, I think you overdid your job," was her reply. Just a day in the life of Andrei Lee, Freshman Coordinator for the Education Academy.
Next Issue - coming in late August: Focus on the Freshman Academy for Business
Please address your questions or suggestion for a future topic to:  faq@qcc.cuny.edu. Your question will be answered via email and will be included in the next issue of FAQ.