Three CUNY Colleges Lead By Creating Partnership To Launch The Urban Academy

May 20, 2021

The CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, in partnership with BMCC and Stella and Charles Guttman Community College, today announced the launch of the Urban Academy.

The Urban Academy is a new program that provides a pathway to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Urban and Community Studies at CUNY SLU, while students work towards their Associate degree in their Community College.

“The goal of the Urban Academy is to provide a college experience that is focused on social justice, academic excellence, and career success. We are thrilled to be partnering with our sister colleges, BMCC and Guttman, to launch this academy which will serve as a conduit for producing graduates who are advocates, organizers, policymakers, and service providers for diverse urban populations.” Dr. Gladys Palma de Schrynemakers, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs/Chief Academic Officer at CUNY SLU.

“The past few years have brought racial injustice front and center in our public discourse, and BMCC students have been passionate in contributing their perspective on deeply rooted social justice issues. Through the Urban Academy transfer opportunity, BMCC graduates will earn their bachelor’s degree and gain the educational foundation to serve as advocates, policymakers, and community leaders, making the change that will impact all our lives.” Dr. Erwin J. Wong, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, BMCC.

​”Guttman’s Urban Studies Program is delighted to be a part of the Urban Academy! This innovative transfer partnership with the School of Labor and Urban Studies, which builds upon the outstanding model of the CUNY Justice Academy at John Jay, represents a fundamental understanding of talents and excellence of Community College students and an increased focus on equity in transfer.” Dr. Niesha Ziehmke, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Guttman Community College.

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The Urban Academy, modeled after the Justice Academy at John Jay College, will expose students to experiential learning through unique partnerships with unions, community organizations, and government agencies.

In addition to dual admission to Urban Studies and social science majors at community colleges and SLU, students will participate in Urban Academy programs and also receive coordinated advisement and faculty mentorship; internship and scholarship opportunities through SLU’s Community Semester, Union Semester; and individualized career planning (resume development, mock interviews, etc.); among other benefits.

“SLU’s Urban and Community Studies BA focuses on the diverse experiences of working-class communities and explores the urban setting from an interdisciplinary perspective.  Our expert faculty are both renowned researchers and experienced practitioners. Courses develop students’ leadership skills and to be advocates for social, racial, and economic justice,” said Dr. Steve London, Department Chair of Urban Studies.  “The Urban Academy creates a community of scholars across CUNY collaborating on the exploration of urban issues and students’ educational experiences.”

Interested students must first apply to one of the approved majors at a partnering community college. For more information, visit

The CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies (SLU) is the 25th and newest unit of The City University of New York and the only one explicitly dedicated to public service and social justice.

The School offers undergraduate and graduate certificate and degree programs in labor relations, public policy, public administration, health care administration, community studies, labor studies, and urban studies.

 SLU’s mission derives from its core values: access to education, diversity at every level, social justice, and equality for all.

Its goals are to expand higher education opportunities for workers; prepare students who aspire to careers in public service and social justice movements; promote civic engagement; provide leadership development for union and community activists; help workers achieve greater economic security.

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Borough of Manhattan Community College is a diverse teaching and learning community committed to advancing equity and the intellectual and personal growth of students.

Working to strengthen a culture of care inside and outside the classroom, we share a passion for learning with students from around the world.

We strive to increase degree completion, successful transfer, career achievement and service and leadership within our community, New York City, and beyond.

Stella and Charles Guttman Community College is an urban public institution that offers associate degree programs in an environment that nurtures student success.

Based on extensive research, Guttman Community College integrates excellence in teaching, proactive and responsive student supports and external partnerships.

Our primary objective is to increase the number of students, especially those not effectively served in higher education, who persist in their programs of study and attain a degree in a timely manner.

We offer a clearly defined educational pathway including an integrated first-year curriculum that is inquiry-based and majors that prepare students for careers and baccalaureate study.

Guttman programs are academically rigorous, multidisciplinary and experientially based.

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