CUNY Names New Journalism Deans For Craig Newmark, Macaulay

Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism
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Photos: CUNY\Twitter

The City University of New York Board of Trustees Monday appointed two dynamic and innovative CUNY educators to be the new deans of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and Macaulay Honors College, concluding extensive national searches. The board also approved the appointment of a top New York City information technology official as the University’s chief information technology officer.

Graciela Mochkofsky, who has played a key role in advancing the CUNY School of Journalism’s mission of training new journalists from diverse backgrounds for careers in a rapidly changing media world, will become the school’s third dean. Dr. Dara N. Byrne, an associate provost at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, will be the fourth dean of CUNY’s selective Macaulay Honors College, which has grown to become one of the top-ranked public honors colleges in the country since its establishment in 2001. Byrne has a long association with Macaulay and previously directed its affiliation with John Jay. Both appointments are effective August 1.

The University’s new vice chancellor for information technology and chief information officer will be Eusebio Formoso, who has been the chief information officer of the New York City Department of Finance since 2015. His appointment is effective today. “Professors Mochkofsky and Byrne, CUNY’s own, have outstanding records of accomplishment and a demonstrated commitment to providing a first-class CUNY education to all students,” said Chairperson William C. Thompson Jr. “The Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and Macaulay Honors College will be well served by these two impressive leaders.”

“Graciela Mochkofsky and Dara Byrne represent the best of CUNY’s new generation of academic leaders,” said Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “With their talent, passion and vision, they will ensure that two of the gems of our University will continue to serve their students and the city at the highest levels and to blaze trails to the future. In Eusebio Formoso, we are gaining a chief information officer who brings the deep expertise that an institution as large as CUNY needs to navigate the increasingly complex terrain of IT and cybersecurity.”

The appointments of Mochkofsky and Byrne bring to 14 the number of permanent leaders of CUNY colleges or professional schools to be installed since Chancellor Matos Rodríguez began his tenure three years ago. The new leaders will join a group of presidents and deans whose diverse backgrounds and experiences fully reflect the country’s most diverse University as well as the city it serves.

Potent Journalist, Educator & Force for Diversity

Graciela Mochkofsky, the incoming dean of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, has been a leading force in programs that have established the school as one of the most innovative and diverse journalism education programs in the country. A highly accomplished bilingual journalist in the U.S. and South America since 1991, she joined the school in 2016 as the founding director of its Bilingual Journalism Program, the first of its kind in the country. Since 2019, as the executive director of the school’s Center for Community Media, she has launched several initiatives to support newsrooms serving immigrants and communities of color across the country.

Mochkofsky is a long-time contributor to publications including The New Yorker, where she now writes a monthly column on Latinx culture and politics, and the author of six nonfiction books in Spanish. Her first book in English, “The Prophet of the Andes,” will be published by Knopf in August.

Since joining the CUNY journalism school — the only publicly funded graduate journalism school in the Northeast — Mochkofsky has been at the forefront of its efforts to embrace diversity and inclusion in journalism, crucial challenges for both the news industry and professional training programs at universities.

“The news media industry is in the midst of an existential crisis, fragmented and filled with inequity — local and community media, in particular, struggling to survive — with record levels of public mistrust and a growing generational rebellion against old journalistic paradigms,” said Mochkofsky. “A journalism school has an incredibly important role to play in the midst of this crisis, and the Newmark J-School, which I have had the honor to call my home for the past six years, is uniquely positioned to lead the conversation about the ways forward. Our school has a strong reputation as a leader in journalism education, and is one of the most diverse, forward-looking J-Schools in the nation. I am overjoyed at the opportunity to help make it an even greater center of gravity for journalists and news leaders, and to instill in our students a renewed sense of mission and service."

Mochkofsky has been the recipient of numerous prestigious fellowships: She was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, a Cullman fellow at the New York Public Library, a Prins Foundation fellow at the Center for Jewish History, a visiting scholar at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University, and a visiting scholar at the Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life at Columbia University. In 2018, she was the recipient of the Maria Moors Cabot prize for outstanding reporting across Latin America and the Caribbean.

A native of Argentina, Mochkofsky earned her bachelor’s in journalism and communications at Universidad del Salvador in Buenos Aires. She earned her master’s from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism before returning to Argentina to continue her career as a reporter at a scrappy newspaper that was publishing in the aftermath of the country’s long military dictatorship. She later became a political correspondent for one of Argentina’s leading newspapers and in 2003 received international acclaim for her first book, a biography of Jacobo Timerman, a publisher who became a global human rights figure.

Mochkofsky will head a School of Journalism that has won growing national acclaim since its founding in 2006. The school was born as the digital revolution was transforming the news industry, and it has grown each year to prepare new generations of students to reshape journalism in the public interest and to make the profession more relevant, more inclusive and better able to deliver reliable information to communities that need it most. In 2018, the journalism school was renamed for its chief benefactor, craigslist founder and philanthropist Craig Newmark, whose transformational $20 million gift has supported innovative programs, record enrollments and the school’s increasingly diverse student body and faculty. The school has produced more than 1,000 alumni who work in all areas of journalism and in major newsrooms in New York City and beyond. With support from major gifts raised by its nonprofit foundation, the school has also created three grant-funded centers that serve as hubs for education, research, training, events, and professional support for working journalists: the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism, the Center for Community Media and the McGraw Center for Business Journalism.

Mochkofsky succeeds Dean Sarah Bartlett, who steps down this month after leading the School of Journalism since 2014.

A Sharp Focus on Students’ Success

In taking the reins at Macaulay, Dara Byrne brings two decades of experience as a professor, researcher and administrator with special expertise in student success programs. Since 2016, she has been associate provost for undergraduate retention and dean of undergraduate studies at John Jay College, her academic home since 2003. In that role, she has overseen 15 departments with responsibility for the academic success of the college’s 13,000 undergraduates. Most notably, Byrne has developed several student-focused initiatives that are credited with raising the college’s graduation rate by 16% in five years. To support those programs, she raised more than $15 million.

Now, Byrne will be leading a selective honors college that brings together 2,000 of CUNY’s most exceptional students from a consortium of eight of its senior colleges. The college was created 20 years ago to attract high-achieving high school students who might otherwise go to private schools. The college, which was renamed for its benefactor, CUNY graduate William E. Macaulay, in 2006, provides broad educational and extracurricular experiences, along with a host of supports that enable the students to realize their potential and graduate debt-free. In 2019, the University created the Macaulay Bridge Program, opening the school’s doors for the first time to high-achieving transfer students from CUNY community colleges, a move to diversify the student body and expand opportunities to those who have taken indirect routes to college.

The incoming dean has a long association with the honors college: In 2012, John Jay joined the Macaulay consortium and Byrne was tapped to launch the program. She served as director of Macaulay at John Jay for three years.

“I am deeply honored to have been selected to serve as the next Macaulay dean,” Byrne said. “My enthusiasm for its extraordinary community of students, faculty, staff, and the Macaulay foundation board grows out of my experience launching and directing Macaulay at John Jay. A decade later — which also marks my twentieth year at CUNY — this is truly a full-circle moment. Returning to Macaulay is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help steer our world-class public honors college through its next stage of access, excellence and transformation.”

Byrne, who holds a Ph.D. in rhetoric and intercultural communication from Howard University, joined John Jay as an assistant professor in the Department of Speech, Theater and Media Studies in 2003. In 2009, she was a recipient of John Jay’s first Distinguished Teaching Prize. Her research spans the social sciences and she has published widely on civil rights history, including a 2005 book she edited, “The Unfinished Agenda of the Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March,” which is housed in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Byrne exemplifies the philosophy of lifelong learning and growth: Even as she balances the demands of her work as a high-ranking administrator and prepares for her new role at Macaulay, this summer she will finish a master’s in emergency management at John Jay.

Byrne will succeed Mary Pearl, who served as Macaulay’s dean from 2016 to 2021.

An Agile, Adroit IT Leader

As CUNY’s new vice chancellor for information technology and the University’s chief information officer, Eusebio Formoso will lead the team overseeing the broad information systems and cybersecurity needs of CUNY and its 25 colleges.

Formoso comes to CUNY with more than 20 years of experience leading information technology organizations in multiple industries. His background encompasses strategic leadership, execution of complex programs and managing transformative change across enterprises.

As the chief information officer of the New York City Department of Finance since 2015, Formoso oversaw the modernization of systems that annually administer approximately $45 billion in city business and property tax revenues. In implementing large-scale and secure cloud-based solutions, he has focused on improving citizen access to the department’s systems and information. Prior to joining the city, Formoso was with IBM Global Services, where he managed complex IT services contracts for firms such as Konica Business Systems, PepsiCo, Phillip Morris and Terminix/TruGreen.

“I am thrilled to be joining the CUNY team and to have the opportunity to contribute to the largest urban university in the country,” said Formoso. “I am looking forward to partnering with all CUNY information technology professionals to advance CUNY’s vital mission and its ambitious strategic objectives. I am grateful to Chancellor Matos Rodríguez and the Board of Trustees for giving me the opportunity to serve the CUNY community.”

The City University of New York is the nation’s largest urban public university, a transformative engine of social mobility that is a critical component of the lifeblood of New York City. Founded in 1847 as the nation’s first free public institution of higher education, CUNY today has seven community colleges, 11 senior colleges and seven graduate or professional institutions spread across New York City’s five boroughs, serving over 260,000 undergraduate and graduate students and awarding 55,000 degrees each year. CUNY’s mix of quality and affordability propels almost six times as many low-income students into the middle class and beyond as all the Ivy League colleges combined. More than 80 percent of the University’s graduates stay in New York, contributing to all aspects of the city’s economic, civic and cultural life and diversifying the city’s workforce in every sector. CUNY’s graduates and faculty have received many prestigious honors, including 13 Nobel Prizes and 26 MacArthur “Genius” Grants. The University’s historic mission continues to this day: provide a first-rate public education to all students, regardless of means or background.

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