English Department Lecturer Cynthia Jones. Students and faculty in attendance
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) have named Hostos Community College English Department Lecturer Cynthia Jones the 2014 New York State Professor of the Year.

“I am humbled and honored to be recognized alongside so many great educators,” Professor Jones said. “The fact that I was selected for the work I have done at Hostos, a place that I have called my home for more than 37 years, makes it extra special. I would also like to thank all of the faculty, the staff, and the students at this wonderful institution for enriching my life and for allowing me to do what I love most: teaching.”

Professor Jones joins Rees Shad, Hostos Assistant Professor and Chairperson of the Humanities Department, who won the award in 2012.

“I am extremely proud of the honor bestowed on Professor Jones. She has been an integral member of the faculty at Eugenio María de Hostos Community College for more than three decades. In that time, Professor Jones has made an indelible mark on the Hostos community. Her dedication to providing students with the skills and tools necessary to acquire knowledge and further their education has positively affected the lives of countless students. In addition to her impact on students, Professor Jones’ diligence and inspired action has often been the force behind positive change on campus,” said Provost Carmen Coballes-Vega. 

Professor Jones began teaching all levels of English as a Second Language (ESL) reading courses in the late 1970s as an adjunct. Her interest and expertise in areas of high school-college collaboration, developmental education, as well as racial and social issues, have defined her tenure at the College. Serving as a lecturer in the English Department since 1981, she has passionately educated the most vulnerable of Hostos students with wonderful results.

“Professor Jones truly embodies the spirit of Hostos Community College. I am thrilled that she has received this outstanding recognition,” said Hostos Interim President David Gómez. “Her dedication and years of service to Hostos are commendable. Professor Jones is not only a one of a kind educator but is also a great human being and I know that the entire Hostos family is proud of her.”

Professor Jones has taught in the Hostos Community College Early College Initiative program since its inception and she served as an Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) Faculty Fellow from 2011 to 2014. She is also the Chairperson of the General Education Committee, Co-Director of the Honors Program, and Interim Co-Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, and Coordinator of the Quantitative Reasoning Fellows Initiative.

Making a Difference in Students’ Lives
During her nearly four decades of services Jones has impacted countless individual lives. One student, Naomi Strother, was forced to leave Hostos in 2009, but returned last year to continue her studies. All the while, Professor Jones served as her special mentor.

“Professor Jones kept in touch throughout my leave of absence. She became even more dedicated to my success,” Strother said. “Now I am back at Hostos, and I am in very good academic standing. It cannot go without saying that she has played and continues to play a big role in my academic and personal success.”

As a part-time evening student, Strother also took Professor Jones’ advice and became involved with student issues on campus.

“With Professor Jones’ support, I have been attending Student Government meetings, serving as a voice for night students, particularly those with financial challenges. Through these experiences, I have become interested in pursuing a career where I can work with students, just like myself,” Strother said.

Hostos alumnus Luis Torres is now the principal at PS 55 in the Bronx. In 2011, Torres received the Outstanding Young Educator Award by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). He credits Professor Jones for his success.

“The six years I worked under Professor Jones enabled me to learn the skills necessary to be successful in my current job as a principal,” Torres said. “She is a great mentor, educator, and an all-around wonderful person.”

Sarah Delany, a graduate of the Hostos Nursing Program and 2011 Class President who is scheduled to graduate from Lehman College in the spring, said Professor Jones helped shape her into a better student and a better person.

“Professor Jones told me early on that I needed to work on my people skills. I am very polite, but I have a strong personality, and she wanted me to understand the concept of: ‘Do not let your message get lost in your delivery,’ ” Delany said. “She wanted me to learn how to express my opinions articulately and confidently, but with consideration and respect for others. Professor Jones is highly deserving of this award, and she is the reason why I have come this far in my educational journey.”
More about Cynthia Jones
Professor Jones earned a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University in 1976. She was one of 10 educators accepted into the Teacher Corps Program. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood-Elementary Education, Reading from Adelphi University in 1975.

Additionally, she is an active member of the Hostos Black Male Initiative, Mentoring, Scholarship and Awards, and Kwanzaa committees. She has also served as Deputy Chair of the English Department, Coordinator of LIBRA: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Remediation, Director of Continuing Education and Faculty Partner in CUNY’s American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning’s Making Connections Program, which provided professional development for middle- and high-school teachers.

About the NY State Professor of the Year Award
CASE and the Carnegie Foundation have been partners in offering the U.S. Professors of the Year awards program since 1981. Additional support for the program is received from Phi Beta Kappa, which sponsors an evening congressional reception, the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education and other higher education associations.

This year, a state Professor of the Year was recognized in 31 states. CASE assembled two preliminary panels of judges to select finalists. The Carnegie Foundation then convened the third and final panel, which selected four national winners. CASE and Carnegie select state winners from top entries resulting from the judging process. Professor Cynthia Jones was selected from nearly 400 top professors in the United States.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center that supports needed transformations in American education through tighter connections between teaching practice, evidence of student learning, the communication and use of this evidence, and structured opportunities to build knowledge.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in London, Singapore and Mexico City, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education is a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals at all levels who work in alumni relations, communications, fundraising, marketing and other areas.

About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. It serves as a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. The College’s unique "Student Success Coaching Unit" provides students with individualized guidance and exemplifies its emphasis on student support services. 

Recently named one of the top 10 finalists for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, Hostos offers 27 associate degree programs and two certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 500,000 students at 24 colleges.