July 06, 2006 - Press Release

Dr. Ann Kirschner Named Dean of CUNY Honors College

Dr. Ann Kirschner, a distinguished innovator in higher education administration and management, has been appointed by the Board of Trustees of The City University of New York as Dean of the CUNY Honors College following a national search, Chancellor Matthew Goldstein announced today.

Dean Kirschner is President of Comma International, a management consulting firm specializing in higher education and digital media. Founded in 1992, Comma International provides program development, marketing and communications, and strategic planning services to public and private universities and education companies, including Arizona State University, The London School of Economics, the University of Southern California, and Princeton Review, among others.

Chancellor Matthew Goldstein stated: “Dr. Kirschner has impressive management and administrative experience in both academia and the business world. She will provide inspired leadership for the CUNY Honors College, which is bringing the city’s most talented students to CUNY and exemplifies the University’s commitment to excellence.”

Dean Kirschner received her Ph.D. from Princeton University, where she was a Whiting Fellow in the Humanities and a Lecturer in the Department of English. Dean Kirschner is Vice Chair of Princeton’s Committee on Academic Programs for Alumni, serves on the University’s English Department Advisory Council, and has been honored as a distinguished graduate of Princeton. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Research Foundation of The City University.

"Dr. Ann Kirschner will apply her considerable talents to advancing the CUNY Honors College, a program that has a proven record of recruiting accomplished students, engaging dedicated faculty, and creating exciting academic programming," said Dr. Selma Botman, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. "Dr Kirschner brings fresh ideas, energy, and a deep respect for the students and faculty connected with the Honors College. She will motivate and inspire the community."

Dr. Kirschner grew up in East Harlem and Jackson Heights, Queens, and was educated in New York City’s public schools. An honors graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, she was a Cabell and Seay Fellow at the University of Virginia, where she received her master’s degree. 

“I am delighted to be working with the tremendously talented students, faculty, and staff of the CUNY Honors College,” stated Dean Kirschner. “The success of the Honors College thus far demonstrates its potential as a unique and innovative 21st century learning community -- a leader within New York, and within the increasingly globalized world of higher education.”

A pioneer in digital media, Dean Kirschner was instrumental in developing Columbia University’s overall strategy for technology and learning, which led to the creation of Fathom, the first online knowledge network, in association with the London School of Economics, the New York Public Library, and other institutions in the United States and United Kingdom. She is also the co-founder of nfl.com and NFL SUNDAY TICKET, the flagship Internet and satellite television channels of the National Football League, where she led the new media division.

Dr. Kirschner is also the Director of “Letters to Sala,” which develops educational and outreach projects based on an archive of letters saved by her mother from Nazi labor camps, now part of the permanent collection of the Dorot Jewish Division, New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations. Dr. Kirschner’s book, Sala’s Gift, will be published in 2006 by Simon and Schuster’s Free Press and is the subject of a documentary film and theatrical production.

She serves on the Board of Directors of the Topps Company, the Jewish Women’s Archive, and MOUSE. New York Magazine named Dr. Kirschner a Millennium New Yorker, while Crain’s New York Business selected her as a Top Technology Leader. She lectures and writes on a wide variety of subjects in education and technology, and her articles have appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times, and Publishing Trends.

The CUNY Honors College, inaugurated in 2001, is a flagship program of the University designed to raise educational standards and encourage university-wide collaboration and excellence. The Honors College draws on the vast resources of CUNY and New York’s cultural, scientific, government, and business communities to provide its students a broad-based and challenging liberal arts education. Honors College students receive special mentoring and advisement to help them achieve their intellectual, professional, and personal goals. The participating CUNY Honors College campuses are Baruch College, Brooklyn College, City College, Hunter College, Lehman College, Queens College, and the College of Staten Island.

The Honors College is designed for students who have demonstrated scholastic strength and broad intellectual curiosity through their high school academic records, standardized test scores, extracurricular involvement and other academic criteria. A stellar example of the students who are attracted to the Honors College is David Bauer, winner of the $100,000 Intel Science Talent Search (the “Nobel Prize” of high school science). Given his choice of premier universities, David selected the CUNY Honors College program at City College.

The mean College Admissions Average for this year’s admitted freshmen was 93.8. The mean SAT I score has increased from 1352 for students accepted last year to 1381 for students in next year’s freshman class. Applications for admission have also increased, from 2,304 in Fall 2005; to 3,175 for Fall 2006, an increase of nearly 40 percent. From its inaugural class of 208 students at five campuses in 2001, the Honors College has grown to 1,266 students at seven campuses this year. The program’s retention rate ranges between 88 and 93 percent, which equals or exceeds that of many Ivy League institutions.

Many of the 189 graduates in the Class of 2005, the first graduating class of the Honors College, garnered awards, grants, and honors in the form of scholarships, fellowships, and other prizes. They have been accepted to leading graduate and professional schools and received employment offers from major firms and corporations. The CUNY Honors College has made a vigorous effort to recruit, admit, retain, and graduate highly qualified students who reflect the City’s broad diversity. Of the 1,266 students enrolled during the 2005-06 academic year, 391 were born in other countries. In the Fall 2005, Honors College students were approximately 25% Asian or Pacific Islander; 9% Hispanic; and 7% Black, non-Hispanic.

Honors College students, who are designated University Scholars, receive full financial support, including free tuition and a $7,500 study grant to cover the cost of educationally enriching experiences including study abroad and unpaid internships. They also receive free laptops and a Cultural Passport that provides free or discounted access to the City’s cultural riches, including concerts, opera, dance, theater, museums, and other cultural, historic and scientific institutions.

University Scholars take a sequence of four interdisciplinary seminars with a special focus on New York City. The seminars combine scholarly activity with experiential learning, as well as collaborative research projects designed to stimulate student engagement with and understanding of the culture, history, institutions, and people of New York. Each student must also complete a minimum of thirty hours of community service before graduation.

The Honors College offers Internships in the city’s business, scientific, governmental and cultural communities; and study abroad at sites that range from Florence, Italy to Australia, India, China, and the Galapagos Islands.

The City University of New York is the nation’s largest urban public university: eleven senior colleges, six community colleges, the CUNY Honors College, the Graduate School and University Center, the Graduate School of Journalism, the Law School and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. The University serves more than 220,000 degree-credit students and 230,000 adult, continuing and professional education students. College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program for 32,500 high school students is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 200 high schools throughout the five boroughs of the City of New York. In 2006, the University is launching an on-line baccalaureate degree through the School of Professional Studies and a new Teacher Academy offering free tuition for highly motivated mathematics and science majors who seek teaching careers in the city’s public schools.

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