Nicole Kras, Ph.D.
The Human Services Program delivers a structured combination of academics and supervised clinical experiences that instills knowledge, skills, and values essential to the field. Furthermore, it offers a gateway to advanced educational opportunities and meaningful careers in social work, health care, community advocacy, rehabilitation, education, and law. The curriculum and career-oriented fieldwork are oriented to addressing human needs and improving, often transforming lives through prevention and remediation. Theory and practice are effectively balanced to empower our students to meet their educational and career goals.
An interdisciplinary Liberal Arts curriculum provides the basis for understanding the issues that shape and constrain communities. To supplement this culturally engaging and intellectually stimulating foundation, Human Services majors take courses in social work theory and practice, sociology, anthropology, and political science. Further, a special topics course and electives allow students to delve deeply into areas of individual interest, such as substance abuse, disabilities, child welfare, or immigration. In addition to rigorous coursework honing academic skills, the Program cultivates student capacities for asking questions, communicating effectively, and offering appropriate counsel.
Students in the Program are immersed in service learning and experiential education through intensive, prolonged fieldwork experiences in preparation to enter the human services workforce. During year-long fieldwork placements in human service organizations – including hospitals, clinics, service facilities, and government agencies – students begin integrating and applying the content covered in the classroom. Our outstanding, expert faculty are dedicated to student-centered teaching, being accessible, building positive relationships, and providing mentorship, creating an inclusive, supportive, and collaborative learning environment. The Human Services Program thus fosters the intellectual, cultural, social, and emotional development of our students and enhances their personal and professional growth.
Human service professionals deal with psychologically, socially, medically, physically and economically vulnerable populations that need society’s protections. Human service workers are an important part of that protection and delivery of services and effect change at all levels of society to enhance the well-being of individuals, groups, communities and global systems. The Human Services Program at Guttman is dedicated to providing a supportive, collaborative and experiential learning environment and seeks to nurture and challenge students and to equip and prepare students with the basic knowledge, skills and values in Human services to make a difference in the lives of the clients they serve.
At the core of our program philosophy is a commitment to social justice, service to others through strength-based models of ethical professional practice. The interdependent, dynamic and resilient nature of systems provides a conceptual framework for the curriculum.
Our program recognizes that education should reflect a student-centered process within which students have opportunities for reflective learning along with knowledge and skill development. Intellectual inquiry immerses learners in multiple perspectives, theories, and disciplines, anchoring us in the diverse lived experiences of self and others. With a deep commitment to making a difference, students discover ways to intervene with individuals, groups, and communities and to facilitate processes for systems analysis, problem-solving, advocacy, and social change.
To promote career readiness within the curriculum, the Program implements course design and experiences that promote and incorporate the National Association of College and Employers (NACE) Career Competencies:
In alignment with Guttman Community College’s mission statement, the Human Services Program provides an academically rigorous, experiential, and supportive learning environment that prepares graduates with the values, knowledge, and skills for pursuit of advanced education and professional career attainment. Our philosophy is guided by the profession’s principles of respecting the dignity and welfare of all people; promoting self-determination; honoring cultural diversity; advocating for social justice; and acting with integrity, genuineness, and objectivity. Graduates from the Human Service Program experience foundational training in assessment, counseling, advocacy, and program development, and apply ethical, evidence-based practices in work with individuals, groups, and organizations.
Upon successful completion of the Human Services program, students will be able to:
On November 4, 2022, the Human Services Program at Stella and Charles Guttman Community College hosted a Tenth Year Anniversary Celebration Supervisory Meeting. The meeting was organized by the Human Services Field Coordinator, Rev. Nancy Dessables, LMSW. Attendees at the event included Guttman President, Dr. Larry Johnson; Provost, Dr. Nicola Blake; supervisors from partner agencies; […]Read Post
Gugeeta Cheetram is a proud Guttman alumna of the class of 2019. She is now an introspective leader eager to help others and she is not afraid to speak her mind. She credits the College with teaching her to be a better leader and role model, helping her grow and decipher wrong from right. It was during her time at Guttman that she stepped into her first official leadership role as Student Government Association Secretary, later becoming Vice President. She transferred to Lehman College where she continued to develop her skills while earning her bachelor’s degree during the pandemic and juggling multiple responsibilities.Read Post
“Guttman is a community of exceptional scholars that care deeply about teaching and learning and are at the forefront of rethinking the community college experience.”
Dr. Nicole Kras’ academic background is rooted in psychology and education. She earned a Ph.D. in Adult Learning and Development from Lesley University, as well as a Master of Science in Education and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study as a Classroom Teacher Specialist from Southern Connecticut State University. Dr. Kras has also received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with a concentration in child development and mental health, and a Master of Arts in Art Therapy from Albertus Magnus College. She serves as an accreditation self-study reader for the Council for Standards in Human Services Education (CSHSE) and is currently leading the self-study accreditation process for Guttman’s Human Services Program. She is actively involved on the Board of the New England Organization for Human Services, serving in many elected positions, including the former president of the organization.Read Post
“As an immigrant myself, I am passionate about supporting the aspirations of our students to pursue the ‘American Dream.’ This was why my parents came to the United States—to give me an opportunity to thrive. In Guttman students, I see the dreams of all who come here, their rich history, traditions, and extraordinary contributions.”
Dr. Anya Spector began her clinical career in direct practice after completing her MSW at Fordham Graduate School of Social Service. At Fordham, she worked with adults in treatment for substance use disorder and co-occurring mental health disorders. During her doctoral training at Columbia University School of Social Work, Dr. Spector focused on evidence-based practice and community-engaged research at the intersection of HIV and substance use. “I studied providers working in a variety of substance use treatment settings with HIV-affected populations. I continued this work during my post-doctoral fellowship at the HIV Center for Special Studies at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.” While Dr. Spector continues to do research in this area, she has, at Guttman, launched a program of SOTL research. Her SOTL research aims to elucidate best practices in professional identity development, pedagogy of experiential learning, and clinical supervision of community college students in the human services major.Read Post
Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of Human Services Dr. Nicole Kras has been awarded the Transformative Learning in the Humanities Fellowship, part of an important three-year CUNY-based initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. With her cohort of 2021-2022 THL Faculty Fellows, Dr. Kras will share and develop active, creative, and participatory practices as well as “pedagogical research and methods designed for the rich diversity of CUNY students,” ensuring their success in and beyond the classroom. While prioritizing the importance of teaching, the grant supports CUNY faculty in the humanities, arts, and interpretive social sciences who are committed to equity and social and racial justice. Guttman Associate Professor of Anthropology Dr. Kristina Baines and Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies Dr. Grace Pai were also named THL Faculty Fellows for this, the fellowship’s culminating cycle.Read Post
Guttman faculty Dr. Nicole Kras has co-authored “How New England Island Residents View the Influence of the Natural Environment in their Lives“ with Dr. Jennifer Keenan. The article was released online by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers in October 2020, ahead of its scheduled printing. The specific focus on adults residing on islands in the northeastern United States is significant because this population is “likely to have a high exposure to natural environments” due to their locations, which are “highly immersed in natural landscapes.” In their responses to a questionnaire, “residents identified benefits and challenges of being isolated on an island, expressed feelings of gratitude for living there, and shared concerns about the environment (as related to the island). Findings also show that the natural environment plays an essential role in these individuals’ social, emotional, and physical health.” In November 2020, Dr. Kras presented these findings and their important implications at the Conference on Environmental Psychology: Norwegian Network for Environmental Psychology and the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, held virtually from Lillehammer, Norway.Read Post
Guttman Human Services Professor Dr. Nicole Kras presented a workshop and a poster at the National Organization for Human Services Conference in Anaheim, CA this past October. “During the workshop, Providing Urban Community College Human Services Students Opportunities for Engaging in Self-Care: Utilizing Art Experientials and Ecotherapy-based Activities, focus was on the importance of encouraging human services students to develop self-care strategies,” stated Dr. Kras.Read Post
Assistant Professor of Human Services Nicole Kras has been awarded The League for Innovation in the Community College National Public Health Week/World Health Day grant.Read Post
Assistant Professor of Human Services Dr. Anya Spector and Guttman alumna Krimili Infante co-authored an article in the latest issue of Social Work Education: The International Journal.Read Post
On June 7, Jose Hernandez Lozano, Human Services major, gave a presentation about his spring semester independent study project, Chicanos: Forgotten in NYC.Read Post
On May 20, the Human Services program held its fifth annual Fieldwork Recognition Ceremony in partnership with the Guttman Offices of AccessABILITY and Partnerships and Community Engagement. The event celebrated the 42 Human Services interns who successfully completed their required 250 hours of fieldwork placement during the 2018-2019 academic year, their supervisors, and the program’s […]Read Post
“I really want [my students] to be insightful, self-reflective, and mindful of the human condition.”
Initially piqued by the New Community College Concept Paper, Prof. Marcia Edwards, Clinical Professor and Program Coordinator of Human Services, was recruited to Guttman faculty for Fall 2013 to “develop the fieldwork component of the Human Services major.” Bringing her 30 years of social work practice and teaching to bear, Prof. Edwards has worked to align the required internship with the expectations of social work programs while teaching every Human Services course in the Catalog, along with Ethnographies of Work and several special courses; leading a Global Guttman group to Jamaica; and becoming Program Coordinator.Read Post
Campus Compact, a Boston-based non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education, has announced the 262 students who will make up the organization’s 2019-2020 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows, including Guttman student Gugeeta Cheetram.Read Post
With the support of the Student Success Fund, Professor Nicole Kras, Assistant Professor of Human Services, created two exceptional active learning opportunities for Guttman students during Fall 2018. The workshops shared the fields of art therapy, eco-therapy, and animal therapy with Human Services majors and Prof. Kras’ Ethnographies of Work students, bringing these innovative career paths and areas of study directly to Guttman.Read Post
Guttman student Farah Reynoso, Human Services major, was selected to join the Caucus CUNY Scholars Program through the Edward T. Rogowsky Internship Program in Government and Public Affairs. As a New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus Scholar, she will receive an award of $2,000 and represent Guttman at the 48th Annual Legislative Conference, which convenes February 15-17, 2019 in Albany, New York. Farah will be assigned as an intern to a district office based on her residence, policy interests, and skill sets. Once assigned, she will perform substantive tasks such as constituent case management and legislative research and assistance.Read Post
(Left to Right) Philomina Mensah, Marcus Lowenhaupt, Brian Zhinin, and Christy Martinez were the recipients of the Human Services Incentive (HSI) Award along with Micah Fuertes and Ariela Sanabria (not pictured). Students were each provided a $500 award based on their application essays, academic achievement, and financial need. HSI is given to deserving continuing students […]Read Post