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U.S. News Ranks Fordham Law No. 34, Evening Program No. 3

In the 2011 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools,” released on April 15, U.S. News & World Report ranked Fordham Law no. 34 among 188 accredited U.S. law schools. The school’s evening program, which has a distinguished 99-year history, was again ranked no. 3 out of 84 such programs across the country.

The trend over time for the law school in terms of the U.S. News ranking’s objective and subjective measures of excellence, has been positive. The student-quality data (GPA, LSAT scores, acceptance rate) that U.S. News analyzes was even stronger this year than last year.

In the 2011 edition, Fordham Law remained among the country’s most diverse law schools, and several specialty programs were nationally ranked:

• Dispute Resolution: No. 8
• Clinical Training: No. 13
• Intellectual Property Law: No. 15

U.S. News altered its method for calculating the law school rankings last year by combining admissions data—a major factor used in the rankings—for day and evening programs. This year, the magazine modified its methodology for the evening program rankings to use a different formula for peer assessment and to incorporate factors such as selectivity and an index of “part-time focus.”

—Carrie Johnson

IT Security Executive Receives Award From CIO Magazine

 

Jason Benedict, executive director of IT security at Fordham, has received the 2010 Ones to Watch Award from CIO Magazine.

The annual award honors rising stars in IT as identified and sponsored by the chief information officers (CIOs) of leading organizations, according to the magazine’s website.

Benedict was nominated by Frank Sirianni, Ph.D., vice president and CIO at Fordham. He was selected from more than 4,000 nominations worldwide to receive one of 25 awards.

“Jason’s passion for his work and his contributions to Fordham drove him to a rapid and successful development of his area—a new department at the University,” Sirianni said. “He is caring and careful in the development of his team, creating the desired multiplier effect of his efforts.

“We are proud to celebrate his recognition for his role in Fordham’s stature as a world-class IT organization. I congratulate Jason and the entire IT team,” Sirianni said.

Benedict received the award at a gala presented by CIO Magazine on May 3 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“The notion of protecting something you care about is what drives me,” he said. “Still, I couldn’t do this job as well or as effectively if I wasn’t protecting an organization that hits so close to home. I have a genuine love and concern for all things Fordham.”

As the chief of technological security at Fordham, Benedict and his team are responsible for protecting the University from hackers, viruses, worms, spam, phishing schemes and identity theft.

More importantly, Benedict said, he oversees the mitigation of all risk to University data and spends a good deal of time championing the strategic value of IT security as a mechanism for Fordham to differentiate itself and gain competitive advantage.

He is a long-time partner with the New York Electronic Crimes Task Force, a consortium between the New York City police department and the U.S. Secret Service. He is also a member of the FBI’s InfraGard, in which private institutions and the FBI collaborate on homeland security issues.

Benedict said that his job at Fordham is done well when no one has any reason to notice it. In the past decade, however, many people have begun to think more about IT security, thanks to identity theft.

“Facebook and eBay and e-mail—these things are not what people are talking about anymore,” he said. “Today, everyone’s thinking about how to protect themselves online.”

Although he is a veteran of IT security, Benedict’s career has always focused on protecting people and the items they hold dear. Before working with computers, he was a locksmith for the New York Police Department, and before that, he was an alarm and security specialist for a private company.

“I’ve always tried to figure out how to get around obstacles, and then spent my time mitigating those risks,” he said.

Benedict came to Fordham 18 years ago, and has held several positions, including director of computer services and assistant director of information systems and planning at Fordham Law.

He remains a licensed and bonded locksmith in the State of New York.

—Joseph McLaughlin

GSS Workshop Stresses Shift from Outputs to Outcomes in Social Work

Abe Wandersman, Ph.D., spent many years as a program evaluator of well-funded social service projects that were supposed to help curb drug use among young people.

The problem, said Wandersman, was that even though various coalitions were spending millions of dollars on program funding, “I wasn’t seeing much happening.”

“The funders were disappointed, the community was disappointed, and I was disappointed,” said Wandersman, professor of psychology at the University of South Carolina. “So I asked myself what would it take—what would coalitions have to do to reach outcomes?”

Wandersman’s experiences inspired him to develop a 10-step accountability program called Getting to Outcomes (GTO), an approach he co-founded to help social service agencies and practitioners evaluate their own programs in order to achieve results. The 10-step program starts with a needs and goals assessment and ends with an analysis of the program’s potential sustainability beyond receiving funding. It has been adopted by both federal and private agencies.

“There is a shift away from measuring results in service units, or outputs,” said Wandersman, who led a workshop on April 26 sponsored by Fordham’s Graduate School of Social Service (GSS). “For many years, practitioners have been accountable for things like how many families they saw in a month. But one could have doubled the number of people they serve and not made any difference.”

Today, Wandersman said, both social work practitioners and their funding sources are measuring a program’s effectiveness through objectives achieved.

“Now, especially, with the tighter economic times, people want to know that their funding to a social service agency is making a difference,” Wandersman said.

The workshop attracted more than 30 professionals from 25 community-based organizations in the New York City area.

“Outcomes are incredibly important, and it’s an issue that we are still struggling with in the field,” said Martha Sullivan, D.S.W., executive director of the Fordham Tremont Community Mental Health Center in the Bronx. “Those of us providing human services must be able to speak to what difference we are really making in quantifiable terms, and many of us have not been trained to do that.”

Held on the Lincoln Center campus, the workshop also attracted two dozen Fordham faculty members.

“Our mission as a school is to serve our community,” said Chaya S. Piotrkowski, Ph.D., professor of social work and the director of research at GSS. “This workshop offers a chance to forge stronger partnerships between faculty and social service organizations.”

Piotrkowski added that Wandersman’s program was a perfect fit for GSS because it offers a systematic, empirically based approach, and because it is based on empowerment evaluation, which includes a commitment to democratic community participation and social justice.

“We all have a common interest, which is making good things happen for communities,” Piotrkowski said.

—Janet Sassi

 

 

 

 

 
 

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