Guttman Awarded $2.9M Grant to Advance Latinx and Underrepresented Students by Strengthening Financial Literacy, Transfer Performance & Career Preparation.



October 6, 2021 | Academics, Advancement, Awards, Career Development, Ethnographies of Work, Experiential Learning, Faculty, Grants, Research

Drs. Nicola Blake and Niesha Ziehmke

Drs. Nicola Blake and Niesha Ziehmke

Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Niesha Ziehmke and Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs Dr. Nicola Blake have been awarded a U.S. Department of Education Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Title V Grant for Project Adelante: Advancing Latinx and Underrepresented Students by Strengthening Financial Literacy, Transfer Performance & Career Preparation. The Project aims to offer Latino/a/x and underrepresented students a coordinated set of culturally responsive experiences designed to improve their financial literacy, preparation to transfer to a four-year institution, and preparation to enter a career, and in so doing boost their academic performance and degree completion, thereby advancing their economic security and mobility.

Guttman President Dr. Larry, Johnson, Jr., said, “Project Adelante signals a marker of intentionality undergirded by an equity-centered lens. Guttman students are poised to make a significant contribution in society, and this award will provide the holistic and requisite support that will further increase student access, success and completion. Guttman faculty and staff are committed to eliminating barriers that impede student success of which the foci of this award demonstratively represents.”

The bold and visionary initiatives at the core of Project Adelante will reinforce Guttman’s effective educational practices and pathways, institution wide. This 2.9 million, five-year effort will guide students in making purposeful and informed decisions about their educational and career prospects and financial resources. Project Adelante also includes a transfer partnership with Lehman College and applies key insights from the work of Dr. Gina Garcia, who challenges Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) to implement her ‘Servingness’ framework in order to intentionally become Hispanic serving, as opposed to merely Hispanic enrolling. The principles of ‘Servingness’ act as an organizing framework for the project and keep the needs of our Latino/a/x students at the center.

Niesha Ziehmke, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, earned her Masters in Education from the New School for Social Research and taught Spanish in a NYC public high school. She then completed her Ph.D. in linguistics at the CUNY Graduate Center. Dr. Ziehmke went on to serve as Director for First College Year Programs at Brooklyn College, and Executive Associate for Academic Affairs at LaGuardia Community College. In Dr. Ziehmke’s current role as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Guttman Community College, she oversees the Center for Career Preparation and Partnership and is Co-Director of the Center on Ethnographies of Work. The EOW Center champions career education grounded in the curriculum, which explores the meaning of work in human lives and helps students develop a critical lens on the systems at play in the labor market and workplace. Dr. Ziehmke is an innovative, solutions-focused leader and an alumna of the Higher Education Leadership Programs for Women (HERS).

Nicola Blake, Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs, is also Associate Professor of English at Guttman Community College of the City University of New York, where she has served as Faculty Advisor to the Provost, Special Advisor to the Provost for Faculty Development and Mentoring, Liberal Arts and Sciences Coordinator, Chair of the Faculty Personnel Committee, the College Personnel Committee, and the Curriculum Committee among other senior leadership roles. Prior to joining the founding faculty at Guttman, Dr. Blake taught at Rutgers University, New Brunswick and The City College of New York, CUNY for over 10 years. At CCNY, she was Director of the Samuel Rudin Academic Resource Center and led numerous presidential initiatives on student success. Dr. Blake was awarded the prestigious and highly competitive American Council on Education (ACE) Fellowship for 2016-2017. As an ACE Fellow, she focused on student success initiatives, strategic planning, communication, and community partnerships. Dr. Blake has extensive Leadership training and is an alumna of the Higher Education Leadership Programs for Women (HERS), Harvard Institute for Higher Education, and the AACC Future Presidents Institute.