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Experiential Education Benefits Students, Community

New Rochelle, NY (May 18, 2016) Ten Iona College students experienced learning through action, discovery and exploration and were designated student consultants as they presented their recommendations after a semester of in-depth research working closely with various organizations.

This distinctive semester-long external consulting program gave the juniors and seniors a chance to collaborate on projects for the Department of Education’s Information Technology Service Management Transformation, New Rochelle Downtown and Transit Oriented Development, and It Takes a Village to Educate a Child (TAVTEC).

“This experience offered students the opportunity to tackle real-time business challenges that, in some cases, the host firms would have otherwise contracted with professional consultants,” said John A. Politi, Jr., adjunct professor and director of Iona’s Action Learning Program.

The results, a culmination of the team’s semester-long projects, were delivered in a final presentation, in Iona’s Romita Auditorium.

“In specific circumstances, our host firms were also required to engage with professional consulting firms due to the complexity of their projects,” said Politi. “Our student consultants offered alternative recommendations, which in some cases became ‘bolt-ons’ to the master project.”   
ALP Team AProfessor John Politi, Kevin Smith, Gina Carbone, Matthew McClean, Dr. Michael Jordan
Team A: NYC Dept. of Education – IT Service Management Transformation
Student Consultants: Gina Carbone '17, Kevin Smith '17, Matthew McClean '17 

Consulting Project: The team worked with host firm liaison James Lombardi, founder/CEO of Level Next, Inc., and the Division of Instructional and Information Technology (DIIT), which supports world-class teaching and learning in the NYC schools by providing information and technology solutions. The DIIT Project Management Office (PMO) standardizes project execution and project oversight through the adoption of methodologies, resources, tools and techniques – the DIIT PMO focus includes portfolios, programs and projects. 

The PMO has identified the strategic goal of transforming the DIIT organization utilizing a best-practices-driven discipline. 

Project Objectives:
  1. Develop a business case for transforming the current DIIT organization towards adopting a IT Service Model discipline
  2. Current state analysis
  3. Future state analysis
  4. Develop a transformation plan recommendation
ALP Team BThomas Walsh, Franchesca Alba, Joshua Demetrius
Team B: New Rochelle Downtown and Transit Oriented Development
Student Consultants: Franchesca Alba '17, Joshua Demetrius '17, Thomas Walsh '17

Consulting Project: The team worked with host firm liaison Suzanne Reider, senior project manager, City of New Rochelle and Department of Economic Development. The overarching concept is the creation of an active, mixed-use district with safe and pleasant access to the New Rochelle Transportation Center, incorporating the development of economically diverse high-quality housing, modern retail, commercial, office and hotel space integrated with a well-designed pedestrian-friendly streetscape and by an abundance of greenspace.

Project Objectives:
  1. Select a City-owned parcel(s) to redevelop using the newly created zoning districts that have previously gone through a rigorous environmental review process called NY State Environmental Quality Review process (SEQR). 
  2. Utilize a “triple bottom line approach,” which considers the social, economic and environmental effects the project will have on the community.
  3. Review selected projects through pre-development, state and local approval process and project construction.
  4. Gain hands-on experience in both urban and project development in a market-driven economy.
ALP Team CRaita Omurha, Jacqueline Talbot, Nicholas D'Aleo, Kyle Urbanowski
Team C: It Takes A Village To Educate A Child (TAVTEC)
Student Consultants: Jacqueline Talbot '17, Nicholas D’Aleo '17, Raita Omura '17, Kyle Urbanowski '17

Consulting Project: The team worked with host firm liaison Sonia Marshall-Brown, founder and CEO of this 501(c)(3) nonprofit, whose work has been recognized by several leading national organizations including the Clinton Foundation. TAVTEC focuses on improving the lives of children with ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome and has been implemented in four New Rochelle schools – Ward, Trinity, Barnard and Columbus.  The program includes empowerment, esteem building, family training/support groups, leadership development and self-regulation strategies, all purposed in a professional environment with professional educators. As with most nonprofits during these challenging economic times, fundraising is its greatest hurdle.   

Project Objectives:
  1. Create a marketing plan to raise $50,000.00.
  2. Raise awareness in the local community as well as on the county and state levels.
  3. Recommend a CRM and select fundraising platform
  4. Revamp the website
  5. Create a social media plan
  6. Plan new fundraising events and become involved in the organization of the October 2016 TAVTEC Gala to be held at the VIP Country Club in New Rochelle.
About the Action Learning Program (ALP)
ALP is Iona’s first experimental learning course offered within its business school curriculum. As described by the Association for Experiential Learning, “Experiential learning is a philosophy and methodology in which educators purposefully engage with students in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills, and clarify vales.”  It is learning through action, discovery and exploration. Iona’s Action Learning Program was introduced in 2013 and developed by current Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Vincent J. Calluzzo, Ph.D., and John Politi, adjunct professor and program director.  At other institutions of higher education throughout the United States, ALP is offered only at the MBA-level -- Iona is the first to offer it at the undergraduate level.

About Iona College:
Founded in 1940, Iona College is a four-year private Catholic coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers and American Catholic higher education. Located just 20 miles from Midtown Manhattan, it is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science, and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona College is the second largest private sector employer in New Rochelle. Iona’s School of Business is accredited by AACSB International – a highly acclaimed distinction awarded to just 5 percent of business schools worldwide.

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