Associate Professor of Urban Studies
Phone: (646) 313-8012
Taught by experienced, dynamic faculty, the Urban Studies Program offers an intellectually rigorous foundation in the disciplines that focus on contemporary city life, urban culture, and urbanization, with emphasis on equality, diversity, inclusion, environmental sustainability and social justice. Through the lenses of history and literature, sociology and anthropology, political science and economics, psychology and environmental science, students explore the foundations, structures, and character of cities while considering their future development. The theoretical frameworks, conceptual tools, and research methods the Program instills provide a solid background for careers in urban policy, government, law, civil/public service and administration, real estate, journalism, community organizing, and regional or urban planning.
Using New York City as its laboratory, the Program guides students in navigating urban systems such as housing, transportation, health care, and education. As they investigate municipal structures and local communities, students develop analytical and practical skills and perspectives on urban development. Moreover, Urban Studies majors perform fieldwork in urban communities and the organizations serving them first-hand, allowing students to preview socially and environmentally relevant careers they can pursue upon transfer to a baccalaureate program.
Urban Studies is integral in the contemporary global context. By applying interdisciplinary analysis and research skills to the long-term vision of social change, economic development, and environmental sustainability, students learn to view cities as living organisms that have wide-ranging impacts not only on urban residents, but also the population of the world and international markets, movements, and trends. This broad perspective informs the deep, nuanced understanding of modern cities and strategic, critical thinking that Urban Studies graduates carry into further higher education and both public and private sector professions.
The Urban Studies Program empowers students to explore and understand the government, economics, services, and lived experiences of urban communities. Working individually and in teams, students engage with interdisciplinary concepts and practices of urban planning, social research, social justice, and the built environment. Students gain and create knowledge about how cities work so they can improve them.
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:
Upon successful completion of the Urban Studies program, students will be able to:
“As an anthropologist, one of my aims is to challenge students to understand what it means to think anthropologically about a particular social problem; that is, how might one learn to critically examine so-called ‘natural’ states of being through a cultural lens? And how are micro processes of the everyday reflective of macro processes? Yeah, I secretly want them all to become anthropologists, but I understand that we need more than anthropologists for the world to work.”Read Post
Guttman’s own Dr. Molly Makris, along with Dr. Elise Castillo and Dr. Mira Debs have published Integration Versus Meritocracy? Competing Educational Goals During the COVID-19 Pandemic. This paper comes to fruition because of the Spencer Grant which supports research in an effort to improve education.Read Post
The article “Reframing School Culture Through Project-Based Assessment Tasks: Cultivating Transformative Agency and Humanizing Practices in NYC Public Schools,” co-authored by Guttman Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Alia Tyner-Mullings with Drs. Maria Hantzopoulos and Rosa L. Rivera-McCutchen, has been published in the Teachers College Record. Building on the argument that high-stakes testing policies are ineffective and “have exacerbated inequities in schooling across racial, economic, geographic, and linguistic lines,” the researchers focus on the transition to Project Based Assessment Tasks (PBAT) at ten New York City public high schools that are part of the New York Performance Standards Consortium. The authors, who “specifically consider the role that PBATs might play in shaping school culture,” have found them “a useful tool to engage students and teachers more actively as participatory actors in the school environment, particularly when overall school structures collectively support its integration.”Read Post
With Co-Principal Investigators Dr. Mira Debs (Yale University) and Dr. Elise Castillo (Trinity College), Guttman’s Dr. Molly Vollman Makris was awarded a Spencer Foundation COVID-19 Related Research Grant. Their proposal, “New York City School Integration Activists during covid-19,” was one of only 20 to be funded, out of a competitive pool of 1,369 “education research projects that would contribute to understanding the rapid shifts in education in relation to COVID-19.” The team’s research with parent and youth activists in New York City, beginning during the summer of 2020, has potential impacts on policy that are urgent in the context of the “twin pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism.” Along with its “anti-deficit orientation,” the study also met the criterion of “aim[ing] to understand and disrupt the reproduction and deepening of educational inequality caused by the COVID-19 crisis.” In Dr. Makris’ important work, which resonates with Guttman’s institutional dedication to equity, the Spencer Foundation “recognized that in times of great disruption and change, there are opportunities to remake and imagine new forms of equitable education.”Read Post
Along with Guttman students and United Men of Color (UMOC) members Miguel Tejeda and Amari Dawkins, Urban Studies faculty Dr. Marcus Allen and Dr. Mary Gatta were selected as an evaluation team to review the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice’s Youth Justice Toolkit: A Community-Led Restorative Justice Approach. They spent July 2020 connected virtually, evaluating materials, collaborating with NJISJ staff, and writing a comprehensive review with recommendations, which was incorporated into the final toolkit. The resulting compilation of resources and practices is designed to inform restorative justice hubs throughout New Jersey on how “to remove young people from an unhealthy prison environment and successfully reintegrate them into their communities.” It will also prompt “communities to create community-based public safety systems that divert young people away from the criminal justice system in the first place, based on restorative and transformative justice practices and a trauma-informed approach.”Read Post
Alongside colleagues from CUNY and SUNY, Professor of Political Science Dr. Marcus D. Allen contributed to the Gotham Thought Leaders Series webinar entitled The New Normal for Higher Education: COVID-19 & Beyond. Moderated by Manhattan Deputy Borough President Aldrin Bonilla, the panel covered the experiences and implications of virtual learning, teaching, counseling, and supervising on students, faculty, staff, and administrators. Speakers also addressed how the sudden transition to virtual learning has influenced access, equity, inclusion, student learning and achievement, and career advancement. Panelists shared their insights on how they expect shrinking budgets to affect institutions of higher education, their workforce, and the students they serve. Finally, the participants reflected on both the challenges and opportunities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as its impact on their teaching and research.Read Post
Ernest Butts, Guttman class of 2018, isn’t afraid of a full workload in the name of social justice. With a calm and confident demeanor, he talks passionately about wanting to be an advocate for change. Since he began his college journey at Guttman, Ernest has built an impressive resume that sets him well on his way to create a positive impact on his community.Read Post
Assistant Professor of History Dr. James Rodriguez has been published as a contributor to Racial Inequality in New York City since 1965, recently released by SUNY Press.Read Post
On October 24, 2019, students of House 2, in collaboration with the Urban Studies Program, hosted the 6th Annual Gentrification Panel and Roundtable Workshops for Community Days. The panel featured activists from a variety of NYC organizations that are working to protect tenants, local culture, and affordable housing in New York City.Read Post
Associate Professor of Urban Studies Molly Makris co-authored an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer. “The Segregating Effects of School Choice Policies” discusses the pitfalls and promises of school choice policies, and proposes proactively integration measures as a way to reduce opportunity gaps.Read Post
Ayanna Dickinson, a Guttman Urban Studies major, was selected to join the 2019 cohort of the Pulitzer Center student fellows. Ayanna will travel to Ecuador in July with Global Guttman and will report on the conservation efforts in the Chocoan Rainforest.Read Post
The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) announced that Maggie Dickinson, Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, and Andrea Morrel, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, are among the 2019 Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellows. This is the first year of this program, which supports research projects from humanities and social science faculty who teach at two-year colleges. The program is made possible by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.Read Post
Gathering student feedback on courses and instructors has become routine in higher education, with this information influencing important personnel decisions, for instance, assigning instructors to open classes. In addition to reviewing the literature that examines and critiques student evaluations of teaching, the researchers apply the lenses of gender and race to further probe the common practice. Dr. Allen offers important guidance on the use of this type of feedback. “Our study suggests that written comments are a precious resource of information and may prove instructive to chairs and higher education administrators in detecting bias in student evaluations. Thus, when making personnel decisions such as promotion and tenure of faculty of color and women, decision-makers have access to all the information provided by the instrument to help contextual summative assessments of teaching.”Read Post
Molly Makris, Assistant Professor of Urban Studies, has co-authored an article in ChalkBeat titled, “We Study School Choice and Gentrification. Here’s How New York City Should Prepare for Amazon.” In the piece, Professor Makris and colleagues discuss the necessary measures New York needs to take to ensure that schools and neighborhoods do not suffer as a result of the business giant’s presence.Read Post
In spring 2018, Guttman Community College faculty have published an impressive array of articles, books, and reports, received prestigious grants for their research and scholarship, and delivered important presentations at a variety of local, national, and international academic conferences and scholarly events. PUBLICATIONS Ryan W. Coughlan, Assistant Professor of Sociology, is the co-author of “Progressive […]Read Post
Andrea Morrell, Assistant Professor of Urban Studies and Anthropology, participated on a May 15 panel at The New School sponsored by the nonprofit Child Welfare Organizing Project. The event addressed the connections between mass incarceration and the child-welfare system. A May 24 article in The Nation, For Women of Color, the Child-Welfare System Functions Like […]Read Post