December 2021





In the midst of a pandemic and a transition to remote-learning, Brian Kerr, Ed.D., uprooted himself from a job he had for almost 17 years to join the John Jay College community as the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. “I’ve always known that John Jay was a leader in so many things,” says Kerr, commenting on why he made the career transition from Queensborough Community College to John Jay. Read More






In 2020, the United States of America faced a cultural and racial reckoning triggered by the high-profile murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor. As a Hispanic-Serving (HSI) and Minority-Serving Institution (MSI) dedicated to exploring issues of justice—including racial inequality, unconscious bias, and systemic racism—our students, faculty, and staff all felt a deep desire to see change both nationally and in our own community. Read More






As Co-Chief of Mental Health for New York City Health + Hospitals, Correctional Health Services, alumna Virginia Barber-Rioja, Ph.D., ’02, ’09 oversees the clinics, programming, and dedicated team providing mental health treatment services to system-involved individuals in New York City’s correctional facilities. With nearly two decades in the forensic psychology field, she knows how vital this work is. Read More






Professor, author, composer, and Grammy-nominated musician, Benjamin Lapidus, Ph.D., isn’t afraid to show his love for music runs deep. On the stage he comes alive playing with his Latin jazz band Sonido Isleño. And in the classroom, he teaches his students about the intricacies of musical instruments, the plight of musicians, and the history of music. Read More






Over the last several months Leanna Wells ’22, a Political Science major from Brooklyn, New York, has been living her dream, working as a Talent Development Intern at NBCUniversal’s CNBC network. Having a career in the television news industry has always been a goal for Wells, who fondly remembers how that dream began. Read More






Have you ever seen a LinkedIn profile, resume, or e-portfolio with a digital badge “stamped” in the corner? These badges indicate that the person behind the profile, resume, or portfolio has verifiable skills that could be important to an employer. Understanding just how important it is to catch the eye of a potential employer, John Jay is offering Credly digital badge opportunities starting in January 2022. Read More






As a member of the U.S. Army National Guard, Billy Azurin ’23, a Private First Class, was called on to protect our nation’s capital on January 6, 2021. Navigating a tense atmosphere, Azurin and his fellow guardsmen were confronted with verbal taunts and even racial slurs. “When I got to the Capitol, there were some people who made it obvious that they were not okay with my race,” says Azurin, a Forensic Science major. Read More





The Continuing Education Association of New York (CEANY) honored John Jay College’s Division of Continuing & Professional Studies with two prestigious awards earlier this year at its 50th-anniversary conference in Saratoga Springs, New York. The first award, the 2021 Exemplary Crisis Management, Marketing & Enrollment Program, was awarded to the whole unit for its exemplary efforts in maintaining and expanding critical programs for essential workers, and first responders at the height of the pandemic. The second award, the 2021 Outstanding Continuing Education Professional, went to Fern Chan, Director of Continuing & Professional Studies, for her leadership and continuous contribution to the field of continuing education.


Mark Chubb, an Adjunct Lecturer for Security, Fire, and Emergency Management, and an affiliate of the Christian Regenhard Center for Emergency Response Studies, was elected as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Institution of Fire Engineers, a global organization dedicated to the advancement of fire safety.



Class Notes


Benjamin B. Tucker (B.S. ’77), First Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) will retire at the end of the year, capping a distinguished career of more than 50 years with the department. Tucker joined the force in 1969.


Gregory J. Spaun (B.A./M.A. ’96), partner at Welby, Brady & Greenblatt, was named “Best Lawyer in the Hudson Valley” by Hudson Valley Magazine.


Christian M. Wood (B.S. ’03), who was ordained in the Episcopal Church in 2013, has been named the Rector of Saint John’s Parish and Day School in Tampa, Florida. 





Thursday, January 6

8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. | Zoom

Dispute Resolution: Boundary Between Protected and Unprotected Speech

This talk will focus on how law and policy inform the distinction between protected and unprotected speech. Those in attendance will gain an understanding of the law and institutional policies governing free speech and harassment/discrimination; and they’ll learn to distinguish between protected and unprotected speech, and review when and how public actions may act formally to address inflammatory, offensive, or provocative speech. The guest speaker is Robert “Bob” Kim, a writer, consultant and leading expert on education law and policy in the United States, and former Senior Title IX/EEO Investigator at John Jay College. To RSVP, email


Thursday, January 27

9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. | Zoom

Spring 2022 Faculty Development Day

John Jay Faculty Development Day is an opportunity to come together as a faculty community, discuss things that affect our work lives, and share effective practices in teaching and scholarship. We invite faculty to share their pedagogical innovations with others. The overall theme for Spring 2022 Faculty Development Day is "Fresh Ideas, Practical Approaches.” Visit the website to view the program.











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