A Nobel Effort: Professor Widom Wins Top Honors in Criminology

Distinguished Professor of Psychology Cathy Spatz Widom has been named as one of three winners of the 2016 Stockholm Prize in Criminology, the world's most prestigious award in its field. Widom was selected for her groundbreaking longitudinal research on the causes and consequences of child abuse and neglect.

Widom and her fellow honorees will receive the prize in Stockholm in June 2016.

The Stockholm Prize, awarded since 2006 and considered to be the Nobel prize in criminology, recognizes outstanding achievements in criminological research or the application of research results by practitioners for the reduction of crime and the advancement of human rights. 

According to the international jury that chose the winners, theory and evidence on parenting and peers in juvenile crime prevention is the common thread that connects the three award winners, with Widom being recognized for her important advances in understanding the influences on a person’s risk of crime and violence. 

“On behalf of my former and current students, postdoctoral fellows and collaborators, I am truly honored to receive the Stockholm Prize in Criminology for the work that we have been conducting for the past 30 years on the cycle and intergenerational transmission of violence,” Widom said after receiving news of the award.  “I also want to thank the organizations that have provided support for this research over the years, notably the U.S. National Institute of Justice, National Institutes of Health, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.”

Widom was nominated by John Jay President Jeremy Travis, Professor Terrie E. Moffitt of Duke University and Professor Britt af Klinteberg of the Stockholm University/Karolinska Institute in Sweden. The nominating process was coordinated by Widom’s colleague in the Department of Psychology, Assistant Professor Preeti Chauhan.

Travis said of the Stockholm honor: “Dr. Widom is a distinctively original and rigorous scholar who has carved out a unique body of knowledge where she is the indisputable pioneer. That is the hallmark of a Stockholm Prize winner!”

The prize jury noted: “Dr. Widom pioneered systematic research on what parents did wrong and how this affected abused or neglected children. . . . [S]he found that maltreatment of children increased their adult rates of crime and violence, but that most maltreated children had no criminal record as adults. Her evidence suggested a more complex relationship between parents and maltreated children than the conventional ‘cycle of violence’ theory, that violence begets violence — which it did not, in three out of four cases.”

Childhood sexual abuse does not pose a uniquely heightened risk for future arrests for sex crimes, according to Widom. “These results do not provide support for the common belief that being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse carries with it unique increase in the risk for becoming a sex offender, contrary to some public policy and administrative practices of jurisdictions where children may have been stigmatized, placed in restrictive settings, or barred from schools,” she said.

Her findings, Widom added, suggest that early intervention programs should target children with a history of physical abuse and neglect.

Widom is widely published and oft-honored in her field. In 2013, she became the first John Jay faculty member to win the American Society of Criminology’s highest honor, the prestigious Edwin H. Sutherland Award.


Getting the Word Out: New Ad Campaign Focuses on Student Recruitment

John Jay College’s drive to attract and retain more high-achieving students is getting a significant shot in the arm with the rollout of a new ad campaign designed for the College by siegelvision, the marketing and brand-enhancement firm led by John Jay College Foundation trustee Alan Siegel.

Unveiled for the College community on Nov. 9 at President Jeremy Travis’s State of the College address, the ad campaign will be officially launched at the annual Undergraduate Open House on Nov. 15, when more than 3,000 prospective students and their families will be on campus to learn more about John Jay.

“Our challenge is to project the image of the new John Jay onto a larger canvas,” Travis said. “In order to attract more students, and better prepared students, to our College, we need to launch a unique advertising campaign that gets the word out that John Jay is a hot college.”

The campaign will support student-recruitment goals by emphasizing four objectives:

The new ads, which are on display in the lobby of Haaren Hall and in other campus locations, are intended to be widely shared on social media by students, alumni, faculty and staff. The ads are appearing in placard and postcard form, on the dozens of TV and digital screens around campus, on external monitors near the 59th Street entrance and in Li’l Jay Café on 11th Avenue, as large wall posters in strategic campus locations, and in rotation on the John Jay website.

Students and other members of the College community are being encouraged to take photos of themselves with the new ads and share them in social media sites as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (#JJCDefinesJustice). Postings can be accompanied by a personal message about how one can be a fierce advocate for justice. Please visit

In the second phase of the campaign, the ads will appear in public spaces around the city. “We want our prospective students to experience the energy and passion that we have for John Jay, and for mission of educating for justice,” Travis said. “If they can see themselves as fierce advocates for justice, we want them to consider John Jay.”

Despite Tough Times, College Is ‘Poised for Great Things’
President Travis Assesses State of the College

In his annual State of the College address on Nov. 9, President Jeremy Travis combined an accounting of important progress made in recent years and his vision of John Jay’s bright future with the “sobering reality” of the challenges that lie ahead.

“It is, in the immortal words of Dickens, ‘the best of times, the worst of times,’” Travis said. “In terms of our core academic mission, the caliber of our students, the quality and dedication of our faculty, the creativity of our staff, our position of prominence on the world and national stage, and our relevance to the public discourse on the challenges of justice, the College has never been stronger. Yet, at the same time, we face profound challenges.”

One “overriding reality,” Travis said, is that the university-wide budget cuts have “put the College’s financing model at risk,” and faculty and staff have been working without a contract for the past five years. “This state of affairs has sapped the energy of our institution,” the President said.

Travis said that financial and other challenges notwithstanding, “we should celebrate the strength of our College and take pride in our accomplishments.” He outlined a multi-year strategy that will put John Jay on a path to a strong future and a sounder financial footing, and allow the full realization of the College’s potential.

A key pillar of the strategy, according to Travis, is the expansion of John Jay’s enrollment base, including John Jay Online, the winter and summer sessions, and enhanced international student recruitment. Under new director Judith Cahn, John Jay Online is working with faculty to launch an online master’s program in Criminal Justice in the fall of 2016, Travis pointed out, while online certificate programs in modern policing, law enforcement leadership and investigative psychology are due to be offered in the spring 2016 semester.

Also under development, Travis noted, is a program called Weekend College at John Jay, which will seek to tap a market of potential students interested in programs of study offered entirely on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
“Increasing enrollment is everyone’s business,” the President stressed. “It is clear that we cannot rely solely on enrollment growth to close our budget gaps, but we must recognize that enrollment growth is an important pillar of our strategy.”

Travis cited a number of recent developments at the College — the accreditation of the doctoral program in Clinical Psychology; the APPLE Corps partnership with the New York City Police Department; record-setting levels of grant funding; top rankings by numerous publications, websites and other surveys; and the launch of a bold new advertising campaign — as evidence that John Jay is “truly standing at the head of our class.”

While the year ahead will be difficult, requiring “lots of hard work [and] more sacrifice,” Travis said the College “is poised for great things in a stellar second half-century.” Thanking the faculty and staff for their forbearance and hard work, and the students for their faith in the institution, Travis concluded, “John Jay stands in your debt.”

Click here to read President Travis’s full State of the College address.

Veterans Day Brings Tributes for College & Its Students

In what has become an annual tradition to mark Veterans Day, John Jay College President Jeremy Travis on Nov. 11 visited the Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square to ring the opening bell for the day’s trading. Representatives from more than 60 companies were on hand to pledge their support for veterans hiring initiatives.

The Veterans Day observance came as John Jay was once again designated a 2016 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publisher of G.I. Jobs®, STEM Jobs℠and Military Spouse magazines. The Military Friendly Schools Guide also named John Jay College one of the top 25 schools nationwide for online programs.

Now in its seventh year, Military Friendly® Schools designation provides service members and their families with transparent, data-driven ratings about post-military education and career opportunities. The designation is awarded to the top colleges, universities, community colleges and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students, and to dedicate resources to ensure their success both in the classroom and after graduation.

 “At John Jay College, we believe that our nation’s military veterans deserve the very best we can provide to help ease their transition back into civilian life,” said Travis. “As the proud home of over 400 student veterans, we are honored to be recognized as a Military Friendly® School.”  

Daniel Nichols, Chief Product Officer of Victory Media and a Navy Reserve veteran, said: “Post-secondary institutions earning the 2016 Military Friendly® School award have exceptionally strong programs for transitioning service members and spouses. Our Military Friendly® Schools are truly aligning their military programs and services with employers to help students translate military experience, skills and training into successful careers after graduation.”

John Jay College will be showcased in the annual Guide to Military Friendly® Schools, special education issues of G.I. Jobs®and Military Spouse, and on

Earlier this year, John Jay was also recognized as a “Best for Vets” institution by Military Times magazine. Among the 600 colleges and universities listed, John Jay ranked No. 3 nationally, outpacing all New York colleges and universities.

Fifty outstanding John Jay students were among the veterans honored by the City University in a ceremony held Nov. 5 aboard the Intrepid Air, Sea and Space Museum. On Nov. 10, the New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs held a “community conversation” in John Jay’s Moot Court Room to discuss new and pending legislation and gather information on issues affecting veterans.

For more information about John Jay’s commitment to attracting and supporting military students, visit the college’s Office of Military and Veteran Services website.


All’s Well at the New Wellness Center

In order to do well, it helps to be well, and to this end John Jay College on Oct. 29 formally opened the new John Jay Wellness Center, “a holistic model of service with streamlined collaboration between counseling, health and accessibility services.”

After a recent Urban Commuter Student Focus Group Study revealed that John Jay students find themselves confronting unexpected obstacles en route to graduation, the College recognized the need for specialized and consolidated health and counseling services that would address such issues as stress, domestic violence and poor nutrition.

The new Wellness Center combines the offices of the Student Health Center, Counseling Center, Women's Center for Gender Justice, and Accessibility Services.

John Jay has also become the first four-year college in the nation to house Single Stop, a nonprofit venture brought to the College through the Robin Hood Foundation, which will help students access legal, financial, housing, food, employment and health resources. “Single Stop and John Jay are proud to be at the forefront of ensuring students are provided with the resources they need to finish college and improve their families’ financial future,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Lynette Cook-Francis.

By offering a variety of services for the physical, emotional and mental wellness of students and connect students and their families to untapped resources, Cook-Francis said, the Wellness Center “is a game-changer for our students. With these departments working together, we are able to respond directly to research about the specific needs of the John Jay student body.”

The Wellness Center includes a meditation room, a space that students can use for meditation, reflection or prayer. And by spring 2016, said Director of Counseling Services Dr. Gerard Bryant, students will also have access to a food pantry stocked with fruits, vegetables, canned goods and toiletry items. “The Wellness Center will provide short and long term solutions, from a MetroCard to connecting to social services to education that provides lifelong wellness skills,” Bryant said.


Two Bloodhound Athletes Win Top Honors


In another first for John Jay Athletics, the recently concluded fall season saw two Bloodhounds named athletes of the year in their respective sports by the City University of New York Athletic Conference (CUNYAC).

Richard Brienza, a junior Fire Science major from Floral Park, N.Y., earned the 2015 Runner of the Year award after winning the CUNYAC Cross-Country Championships at Van Cortlandt Park on Oct. 25. Brienza became the first John Jay runner to win the championship, out-kicking his closest competitor in the final 50 meters to finish the eight-kilometer course in a time of 29:29.

"It is an honor being named Runner of the Year, and it was a great season this year," Brienza said. "I came into a great training program here at John Jay to help me make progress as a runner."

Grayson Carlson, a senior forward for the men’s soccer team, was named Player of the Year by CUNYAC after a season in which he led the conference in goals and tied for first in game-winning goals, among other statistical highlights. A Forensic Psychology major from Sacramento, Calif., Carlson scored 17 goals in 19 games this season, including five game-winners. He also had two three-goal games.

"This award means a lot to me personally, but the credit goes to my teammates more so than myself," said Carlson, who finished the season among the national leaders in NCAA Division III in goals, goals per game and total points.


John Jay College Receives Three Transformative Grants

Strategic initiatives at John Jay College recently got a substantial boost with the awarding of three grants totaling nearly $2 million to support student and alumni success.

As part of the City University’s Strategic Investment Initiative, colleges were invited to compete for funding, with John Jay winning two transformational grants totaling $1.4 million. A third grant was received from the CUNY/JP Morgan Chase Foundation (JPMCF) Tech Research Initiative.

“These grant programs will support key initiatives embraced by the John Jay strategic plan,” said President Jeremy Travis. “The first will support student success and allow John Jay graduates to show prospective employers their qualifications for professional opportunities. The second grant will accelerate the expansion of John Jay Online and will help the College gain access to more students around the world who want to study at John Jay. The third grant will position the College as a key player in the creation of a pipeline of career-prepared CUNY graduates for technology jobs with New York City employers. Together, they are truly transformative.”

A grant of $656,500 will support the program “Digital Portfolios: A Virtual Passport to Post Graduate Success.” The program enables students to create a professional portfolio to demonstrate their intellectual and personal growth over the course of their undergraduate careers, while spotlighting their best academic work and other achievements. The funding will provide needed support for faculty, staff and student development, and for the construction of a digital writing lab.

“The digital portfolio is a great tool for us because it allows us to showcase our achievements, scholarships and extracurricular activities. Employers always ask me about my digication e-portfolio because it’s one of the first links that comes up when you search my name,” said Thamanna Hussain, a senior majoring in Political Science. “It’s like an online career passport, which is particularly important now that employers and graduate schools are selecting applicants by conducting online searches. Now that we have the funding, I think all students should create one.”

A second grant of $750,000 will build on the success of John Jay Online by supporting intensive faculty development, and recruitment and marketing to increase and diversify the pool of applicants for online programs. The grant also provides for the creation of an online toolkit to assist other CUNY colleges in launching fully online programs in undergraduate, graduate and professional studies.

The JPMCF grant provides approximately $96,600 annually over the next three years to develop and implement an industry-aligned, dual admission and joint degree program in Computer Science and Information Security that involves John Jay and the five community colleges in the CUNY Justice Academy. The grant will also fund a CUNY Tech Consortium to help institutionalize relationships between John Jay and its technology-related community-of-practice partners, creating opportunities for students and faculty.       


CUNY Black Male Initiative Returns to John Jay for 10th Annual Conference


On October 16, John Jay College hosted the 10th annual City University of New York Black Male Initiative (CUNY BMI) Conference, “Increasing Black and Latino Student Engagement and Success in Higher Education,” which brought together members of the University community as well as colleagues from around the country to discuss critical issues impacting black and Latino men in college.

The gathering, which celebrated the first decade of CUNY BMI, marked a return to John Jay, which hosted the first such conference in 2006.

CUNY BMI now has over 30 projects, all of which promote three central goals of the program: diversity recruitment, structured mentoring and academic programming. At John Jay, the Urban Male Initiative, the Ronald H. Brown Summer Law School Prep Program, and the Prisoner Reentry Institute College Initiative are three CUNY BMI projects focusing on social justice and educational equity.

The conference featured morning and afternoon panel discussions led by John Jay students, alumni and faculty, as well as three keynote speakers: David Johns; Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans; Professor Shaun Harper of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education; and Shawn Dove, CEO of the Campaign for Black Male Achievement.

“Our keynote speakers were incredible,” said Maria Vidal, coordinator of the Urban Male Initiative. “Mr. Johns interacted with students in Club Row and students in the UMI lounge and learning lab, while Dr. Harper also had a book signing event in the afternoon.”

Planning for the event began in December 2014, Vidal noted. “It took a long time, but we received such great feedback on how wonderful the event was,” said Vidal. “The conference would not have been as successful as it was without the BMI Conference Planning Committee, students from the Urban Male Initiative and the Ronald H. Brown Scholars.” To improve the experience for attendees, the planning committee also made the event program and schedule available via Guidebook, a mobile guide for University activities and events.



Faculty/Staff Notes

On Board
Perri Wisotsky (Marketing and Development) is John Jay’s new Foundations and Scholarships Manager. Wisotsky, who holds a master of public administration from Baruch College, comes to John Jay from the New York Academy of Sciences, where she served as Development Manager and oversaw a steady growth in foundation and event revenue.

Presenting. . .
Ann A. Huse (English) gave a talk on early African-American literary culture in New England for the Society for the Study of American Women Writers Conference in Philadelphia on November 7. Huse’s presentation was titled "Beyond `The Bars': Lucy Terry Prince and the Margins of the Colonial Landscape."

Kimora (Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration) spoke at One Day University at the Fashion Institute of Technology on Oct, 25, 2015. Her talk on “The Criminal Mind” outlined basic criminological theories, highlighting the emergence of Positive Criminology and aspects of Classical Criminology. One Day University “hosts live talks from the nation’s greatest professors.”

George Andreopoulos (Political Science) was selected as a Senior Visiting Scholar by the University Seminars Program (USP) of the Alexander Onassis Foundation for the fall 2015 semester. As part of the appointment, Andreopoulos visited three universities during October — the University of California at Berkeley, UC-Santa Barbara, and the University of North Carolina-Asheville — where he gave presentations at faculty seminars and lectured on the European human rights system and on the human rights situation in Greece.

The Printed Page
Robert McCrie’s (Security, Fire and Emergency management) seminal text Security Operations Management was recently reissued in an updated third edition by Butterworth-Heinemann publishers.

James Wulach (Psychology) has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Jersey Psychological Association.  The association’s highest honor, the award recognizes “exceptional leadership in the form of enduring and exemplary contributions to NJPA. . .as well as advancing the field of psychology in New Jersey and beyond." A former president of the association, Wulach previously won the NJPA’s Distinguished Teacher Award and Psychologist of the Year Award, among other professional honors. 

Terry Lynn and Fern Chan (Professional Studies) and Diana Falkenbach (Psychology) were among the members of the Crisis Intervention Training program who were honored by the Continuing Education Association of New York on Nov. 12 for their work on the training program “Managing Situations Involving Emotionally Disturbed Persons (EDP).” The training helps NYPD members of various ranks develop crisis intervention and communication skills to effectively manage situations involving EDPs in order to ensure positive outcomes.