Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veterans Day 2011

Each year on November 11, we honor the veterans of our armed forces for the enormous efforts they have made to keep our country safe and free.

As Americans, we owe them a debt of gratitude that we can never fully repay.But what we can do is provide our returning veterans with the tools they need to achieve their career goals and make a successful transition from military life to civilian life.

It is a responsibility that we take very seriously here at Berkeley College.
During the past few years, we have instituted a number of programs to provide our returning veterans with the counseling, academic support and financial services they need to earn their college degrees.

Our efforts on behalf of our active military and veteran students have been recognized by GI Jobs magazine and Military Advanced Education Magazine, which has included Berkeley College on its honor roll of military friendly schools for the past three years.

We are also a Servicemember Opportunity College (SOC), which means that we are members of a consortium of colleges and universities that adhere to a set of standards known as the Military Students Bill of Rights. The Military Students Bill of Rights ensures that veterans are treated with fairness and honesty in recruiting, enrollment and academic practices.

At Berkeley College, our admissions officers are fully trained in G.I. Bill regulations. Our two Coordinators of Veterans Support Services are able to provide our military and returning veteran students with the information they need to learn about and apply for the VA benefits to which they are entitled.

Berkeley College has also instituted a unique educational partnership known as CVET, specifically designed to meet the needs of our combat veteran students. Administered by the Berkeley College Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, the program is staffed by retired and current members of the military who are uniquely prepared to offer our student veterans the services they need to succeed.

Participants in our CVET program receive direct counseling and support throughout their academic journeys and are able to choose from a wide variety of academic options that make it possible for them to integrate their career studies with their family and financial obligations.

And, when our CVET students near graduation, they are assigned to an on-the-job internship with one of the many employer participants who are proud to do their part to help our veterans succeed.

Berkeley College is recognizing Veterans Day with a ceremony at our Woodland Park Campus today. We are also marching in the parade in NYC on November 11. How are you celebrating Veterans Day? I would like to hear from you. Please add your comments below.

To all of our staff, faculty and student military/veterans, thank you for your service.

Dario A. Cortes, PhD

Friday, September 9, 2011

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

On September 11, 2001, I was at my desk on the 9th floor of a building in the Chelsea section of Manhattan, 27th Street and 7th Avenue, where I was provost of an academic institution with 12,000 students.

As I worked in my quiet office, I became aware of a lot of commotion in the hallway and asked my assistant what was going on. She told me she had heard that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.

With other members of the staff, I walked out onto our 9th floor terrace and saw smoke rising from the twin towers, 30 blocks away. We went inside and turned on the television, watching with the rest of the world as another plane hit the twin towers. It was clear that this was no accident.

As Chief Academic Officer of this university, my immediate task was to establish a crisis management protocol to ensure the security of our college community. I asked the staff to turn on all the TVs in our large auditorium, where our students and staff gathered to witness the events of the day together in relative safety.

Outside, there were hundreds of people walking like zombies through our stricken city. Bridges and tunnels had been closed down. Manhattan was like a military zone.

Because cell phones were not working, we offered our landlines to students and staff so they could let their families know they were all right. It was about midnight when my staff and I determined that our work for the day was done and that we could safely go home.

The lessons of that day will last a lifetime. From an administrative perspective, we have learned to do things much better in the area of crisis management. I have learned to meet crisis with calmness, logic, planning and pragmatism.

And personally, I have learned how important it is to let our families know how much they mean to us, and to understand, as well, how important we are to them. As we mark the 10th anniversary of this life-changing event, please share your stories of September 11, 2001.


Dario A. Cortes, PhD
Berkeley College

Monday, August 15, 2011

"How has the Uncertainty in the Economy Affected You?"

As I reflect back on the financial economic news of the past few weeks, I recognize that the state of the economy has an impact on all of us. How we spend our money in these uncertain times takes on a whole new dimension when we are making lifestyle decisions.

On Friday, August 5, one of the nation’s largest credit rating agencies, Standard & Poor’s, took the unprecedented step of downgrading the credit rating of the United States government from AAA to AA-plus.

The action dealt a significant blow to what has long been the world’s largest and most stable economy. Wall Street reacted to the news with a roller coaster ride of ups and downs that mirrored the moods of investors shaken by fears of another recession.

The truth is that the state of our national economy affects us all. As we are anxiously waiting for the economy to recover, I am very interested to hear from you about how you are changing your lifestyle to ride out the storm.

Please add your comments in the space below.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Have you been asked “to join my professional network” recently? If you have, you must be a registered LinkedIn network user. At Berkeley College - our alumni, associates, faculty and students are actively participating in the LinkedIn network looking for internships, job opportunities, corporate partnerships, and overall opportunities to connect with individuals. The popularity of the site is growing.

When LinkedIn blasted on to the stock market on May 19, the shock waves resounded around the world and across cyberspace.

After issuing its Initial Public Offering (IPO) at $45 a share, stock in LinkedIn (trading as LNKD) catapulted to the top of the market, ending its first day as a publicly traded company at $94 per share.

In the space of a single day, the value of LinkedIn more than doubled, skyrocketing from $4.3 billion to $8.9 billion -- pretty good for a company that was born not in a board room but in the living room of company co-founder and former Yahoo executive Reid Hoffman, in 2002.

Today, new members join LinkedIn at the rate of more than one per second, and the social networking site for professionals now has 100 million members worldwide, including CEO's of Fortune 500 companies, recent college graduates, entrepreneurs, mid-career professionals, human resources managers and executive "headhunters."

What makes LinkedIn so attractive?

Unlike Facebook, where the emphasis is more on the social aspect of social networking, the emphasis is on networking at LinkedIn. You don’t make “friends,” but you may just find the job of your dreams or make a critical connection.

That doesn't mean you can't find friends on LinkedIn or enjoy the lighter moments that we all need in our working lives. The power of LinkedIn lies in its ability to help its users build or enhance their professional identities by taking the old-fashioned business of networking from horse and carriage to warp speed.

LinkedIn users have access to a worldwide pool of employers, career candidates, business colleagues and professional resources that simply exists in no other place.

As a member of the Berkeley College community, please let us know your experience with LinkedIn so that others can learn the benefits of utilizing this social network. Please add your comments in the space below.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Berkeley Brooklyn Campus Grand Opening Unveiling of Berkeley College Heritage Time line

Photo by Kathryn Kirk
Friday, April 15, 2011 marked a milestone in the history of Berkeley College as we celebrated the grand opening of our Brooklyn campus and the unveiling of the 80th Anniversary Berkeley College Heritage Timeline.

Our distinguished guests at the event included Kevin L. Luing, Chairman of the Berkeley College Board of Trustees; Board of Trustees Timothy D. Luing, Warren J. Martin Jr. Esq., José A. Tavares, and Kenneth L. Weinstein; Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, area legislators, and members of the Brooklyn business community, who joined Berkeley faculty, associates and students in marking this historic occasion.

As the Berkeley College Heritage Timeline so effectively illustrates, the establishment of our Brooklyn campus is only the latest achievement in the proud history of an institution that has been changing lives for 80 years.

Developed as a class project by the Leadership Berkeley Class of 2010, the timeline traces Berkeley’s growth from its origin as a secretarial school established at the height of the Great Depression in 1931 to its present status as a four-year college providing academic opportunities to 9,000 students at eight locations in New Jersey, New York and Online.

The establishment of the Brooklyn campus is particularly meaningful to me because it was in Brooklyn that I began my own academic journey as a community college student, commuting each night from my home in Bayside, Queens. I later transferred to Queens College, where I earned my bachelor’s degree.

Our efforts to establish a campus in Brooklyn began more than five years ago with the idea that Brooklyn was a place we wanted to be. Over the next few years, we made many visits to this borough in search of an appropriate location.

With the invaluable assistance of area legislators, borough officials, members of the academic and business communities and the guidance and leadership of Tom Alessandrello, Berkeley College Vice President of Operations and Conrad Walker, Campus Operating Officer - we were able to find, renovate and open our new facility at 255 Duffield Street (the corner of Duffield and Fulton).

Our new location is easily accessible via public transportation from all five boroughs. The new facility has 10 classrooms, a student support center, a student lounge, bookstore, library, office space and an art gallery that will engage Berkeley students, faculty and associates in the intellectual life of this diverse community.

The largest borough in New York City, Brooklyn hosts people from 150 countries that speak 136 languages. As Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz puts it, Brooklyn is “home to everyone from everywhere.” In short, it is a Berkeley College kind of place.

Today, more than 500 students are receiving the student-centered Berkeley education of which we are so proud right here in Brooklyn. We look forward to changing the lives of students at our Brooklyn campus for many decades to come.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Berkeley College Embraces the iPad

How are you using your iPad?

It has been less than a year since Apple launched its iPad, which literally put the world at our fingertips in a whole new way.

Released in April of 2010, more than three million copies of the little pc sold in the first three months after its release, and by the end of September 2010, the iPad held a 95 percent share of the tablet pc market worldwide. In November, Time Magazine named it among the top 50 best inventions of the year.

Just what is it that makes the iPad such a game-changer? Aside from providing virtually all the advantages of a laptop computer without the necessity of lugging around a screen and a modem, there are more than 350,000 apps now available for the iPad, with more being released every day. The Academy Awards just had a special app for Apple’s iPad that allowed you to access behind the scenes interviews with Hollywood stars.

Berkeley College utilizes the iPad in our Honors Program. As one example, students in the program, with the help of their iPads, will keep a journal that documents the path of their intellectual journey and charts the impact that it has on their own life.

I invite you to share your own experiences with your iPad or tablet pc by writing your comments below.


Dario A. Cortes, PhD

Friday, January 21, 2011


As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, we are facing a critical challenge. Scientists warn that the speed of climate change due to ‘greenhouse’ gas emissions is accelerating rapidly; that the natural resources that sustain us are threatened by manmade pollution.

The problem appears overwhelming. What can we possibly do? Talk alone is not enough. Action is the only answer, and I am proud to say that Berkeley College is already acting to reduce our carbon footprint and heighten awareness about the importance of protecting our environment.

In 2008, Berkeley College became a proud partner in the Mayor’s 2030 Challenge, joining over a dozen universities in the greater New York City area that have accepted Mayor Michael E. Bloomberg’s challenge to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent in one decade.

And in July of 2009, we joined other college presidents across the nation who are participating in the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment. Together, we pledge that our institutions of higher learning will take a leadership role in facilitating a sustainable future for our planet.

At Berkeley, we are actively engaged in reducing our carbon footprint through the introduction of energy conserving lighting and appliances for our campus facilities, motion sensing devices, “power down” protocols for computers, low flow faucets and flushers, and campus wide recycling and/or conservation of paper, plastic, glass, aluminum, toner and ink cartridges and cell phones.

Through Berkeley’s environmental awareness program, Project GreenPath, we are heightening awareness that the ‘Earth is Our Business.’

In addition to all of the recycling activities already in place, beginning the first week of February, Berkeley College will participate in “Recyclemania,” a nationwide university challenge to reduce waste on campus. Please visit the Berkeley College website for details about our activities as well as for events around the nation.

I invite you to share what you are doing to save our planet for future generations by adding your comments below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Dario A. Cortes, PhD