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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

The Central Park Conservancy Partners with the CUNY School of Professional Studies to Create Professional Education Programs

Press Release – New York, NY — After a rigorous selection process, the Central Park Conservancy is pleased to announce a partnership between their Institute for Urban Parks and the City University of New York School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS). The Institute and CUNY SPS will collaborate to develop an Urban Park Leadership Program, geared toward executives and leaders of public-private park partnerships, and a non-credit Urban Park Professional Certificate Program for current and aspiring urban park management personnel. This program is made possible by the generous support of The JPB Foundation.

The partnership will draw on the Conservancy’s 37-year management of Central Park and the expertise of the larger CUNY system to create the two programs over the next two years. The New York City Labor Market Information Service (LMIS) at the CUNY Graduate Center will play an integral role in market research and assessment prior to program development. CUNY faculty and practitioners will join Institute staff to contribute subject matter expertise to develop the programs, which will be evaluated by the Office of Research, Evaluation & Program Support (REPS) in the Office of the Senior University Dean for Academic Affairs.

The new professional education programs will facilitate hands-on guidance and capacity building to urban park leaders and executives and standardize, professionalize, and assess skills for current or aspiring urban park professionals. The program will also explore the feasibility of a degree program for those wishing to enter the field, while also promoting occupations in urban parks as a viable career path for youth.

“The Central Park Conservancy and CUNY share many of the same goals, and are both embedded in and committed to our City,” said CUNY SPS Dean John Mogulescu. “The competition for this grant opportunity was formidable: proposals were submitted by several distinguished academic institutions from across the country. As you can imagine, I am delighted that we were selected as the Institute’s partner from among such a renowned field of competitors. I am happy that we will be working together to support the field of Urban Park Management and I look forward to the implementation of this new project at CUNY SPS.”

“The Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks was created in 2013 to more effectively share what we’ve learned since 1980 with other parks,” adds Douglas Blonsky, President & CEO of the Central Park Conservancy and Central Park Administrator. “It took us 37 years of learning to get to where we are. We hope that by sharing our knowledge through case studies, peer exchange, and CUNY’s academic strength and faculty, other parks can experience the same success more efficiently.”

“Partnering with the City University of New York is the most logical choice to me,” said Ira M. Millstein, Chair of the Institute Advisory Board and Life Trustee of the Central Park Conservancy. “This is the first executive program dedicated to urban parks. What could provide a more urban experience than a partnership between two leading New York organizations?”

“I’ve personally witnessed the benefits that a well-managed urban park provides, socially, economically, and environmentally. Central Park is a prime example of that. This program will help other urban parks, here in New York City and elsewhere, thrive in the same way as Central Park,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP.

About the Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks

The mission of the Central Park Conservancy — a nonprofit organization founded in 1980 — is to restore, manage, and enhance Central Park in partnership with the public, for the enjoyment of all.

The Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks educates urban park professionals, visitors, students, and educators on best practices that promote public stewardship for, and world-class management of, urban parks. The Institute for Urban Parks provides opportunities for people of all ages to better understand, experience, and enjoy urban parks. Institute programs underscore the role urban parks play as cultural and environmental treasures that have extraordinary capacity to educate, enrich, and inspire people in the development of healthy, vibrant urban communities.

About the CUNY School of Professional Studies

The CUNY School of Professional Studies originated the first fully online degree program at The City University of New York (CUNY). Offering bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, dual degrees, undergraduate and advanced certificates, and professional non-degree programs, the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) provides online and on campus programs that meet the needs of adults who are looking for a seamless way to finish or transition into a bachelor’s degree, earn a master’s degree or certificate in a specialized field, advance in the workplace, or change careers.

Drawing on CUNY’s nationally and internationally renowned faculty and practitioners, as well as industry and education partners, the School’s programs provide opportunities for personal growth, job mobility, greater civic participation, and new ways to advance knowledge.


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