Rebecca Mlynarczyk: The End of Open Admissions at CUNY

Rebecca Mlynarczyk presented another perspective on basic writing at CUNY entitled, “The End of Open Admissions at CUNY? Not With a Bang…”

Mlynarczyk traced the shift in basic writing and open admissions at CUNY. CUNY has shifted from its history as a site for open access in higher education and open admissions to increasingly closed access. A new policy seeks to shift basic skills instruction for students needing triple remediation (writing, reading, math) to auxiliary spaces outside of traditional academic departments. Students will work outside of the college/university in a vacuum completely separate from the college/university. These “immersion” programs will separate basic skills students while they take up to 25 hours a week of instruction.  One positive aspect of the program is that it costs $75.00; the university has committed significant resources to do this. This preserves student financial aid. However, these programs serve as a significant barrier in an institution providing open access and ghettoize basic skills students. This is in contrast to the “vibrant path of choice” that Mary Soliday began the day with. As Mlynarczyk pointed out, community colleges offer hope and access to the American Dream.

Mlynarczyk focused on why faculty have not protested this change and why this is not a significant point of discussion for faculty. There has been little discussion or attention. In fact, the attention has been deafening. What does this say about institutional missions? Shared responsibility? Faculty investment in basic writing students?

See also: “CUNY Adjusts Amid Tide of Remedial Students.” See especially the comments section including comments from faculty and former developmental skills students.

Read more about Mlynarczyk’s work in the Journal of Basic Writing and her 2010 book Basic Writing

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Filed under CBW 2011, Politics of Remediation, What's New in Basic Writing

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