The Macaulay Bridge Scholars program creates a pathway to honors education for CUNY community college students.
In 2017, Macaulay launched a successful pilot to enroll a group of high achieving students from CUNY community colleges into the honors program. Up until that time, the college had a policy (as dictated by its CUNY charter) that restricted admission to students enrolling directly from high school. Transfer students weren’t allowed.
But excluding nontraditional students — those whose lives after high school were sidetracked by life circumstances, for instance, or immigrants who opted to start their American education at a community college — was decidedly inconsistent with Macaulay’s mission of inclusivity and access.
The Macaulay Bridge Scholars Transfer Program, led by Chief Academic Officer Joseph Ugoretz, selected a cohort of talented students from Bronx Community College and Borough of Manhattan Community College to transfer into the Macaulay program at Lehman College after first earning their associate’s degrees. The program included rigorous academics and experiential learning along with and technology assistance, core seminar and student-focused enrichments. The Macaulay Bridge Scholars then conditionally joined the rest of the Macaulay cohort as Sophomores in the class of 2019.
100% of the original cohort were members of minority groups; most were Hispanic or black and a few were immigrants or children of immigrants from countries including India, Yemen and the West African nation of The Gambia. Macaulay’s overall enrollment, in comparison, is currently about 50 percent white, 34 percent Asian, 9 percent Hispanic and 7 percent black.
In 2020, bolstered by our pilot phase of the program, Macaulay Honors College received a generous grant to continue the Bridge Scholars Transfer Program and enrolled a new cohort at the College of Staten Island.
“I have always dreamed of a pluralistic and well-rounded college experience. This has been made possible thanks to Macaulay where I am able to develop deep learning relationships with my professors, receive personal guidance, and assess and meet my learning/social needs through its various services. Best of all, it is a place where I find community despite not being a traditional college student.”
–Carlos Pérez-Valle, Lehman College Bridge Scholar
Extending Honors Opportunities
Macaulay Honors College has received a generous $200,000 grant from GS Humane Corp., a private charitable foundation, allowing the college to expand a program that creates a pathway to honors education for CUNY community college students.
A Successful Pilot Program
For the first time, Macaulay has enrolled a small number of community college students in a bid to add diversity to the honors college and expand opportunities to deserving students.