CUNY launches new online education initiative

Jahlil Rush

CUNY is investing over $8 million in stimulus funding to create CUNY Online, a new educational initiative aimed at constructing online degree capacity in the public college system. The goal of the initiative is to create more high-quality online classes and programs that meet students’ needs.

The program will be led by the CUNY School of Professional Studies. It will have affordable services to support all 25 CUNY campuses create online programs, while expanding current online options.

CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez paid a visit to the CUNY SPS on March 16, where he announced the new online initiative and spoke about the importance of programs like CUNY Online.

“The shift to online instruction that took place during the pandemic demonstrated the great promise of technology to help us meet students quite literally where they live, but course materials need to be optimized, and best practices incorporated, to realize the full potential of these tools,” Rodríguez said. “We are fortunate to be able to lean on the great expertise of CUNY SPS to lead this effort that makes a long-term commitment to the success of students who can benefit from the flexibility of online degree programs and courses.”

CUNY SPS Interim Dean Jorge Silva-Puras released a statement, calling CUNY Online a “forward-thinking investment.”

“CUNY SPS has long known the need for quality online programs that enable busy students to access their classes and complete their coursework at a time and place that is convenient to them,” Silva-Puras said.

CUNY said the program was developed because of a mass response of students demanding more online options.

CUNY Online will be the main stage for the promotion of CUNY’s online programs.

New York City’s public college system is no stranger to online programs. In spring 2020, CUNY SPS created a series of awardwinning workshops. The workshops drew 3,400 faculty members from all CUNY campuses, as they moved to remote learning during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CUNY Online is currently in the pilot stages of development, with plans to release seven to 10 online associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs by the end of 2022. The $8 million investment is the latest program created with these federal stimulus funds, the first being CUNY’s mental health service expansions in October 2020.

“With CUNY Online, the University has made a forward-thinking investment in online education to ensure that all CUNY colleges may be able to offer more flexible and accessible online learning opportunities,” Silva-Puras said. “We look forward to bringing our 15-plus years of online expertise to CUNY Online and therefore other campuses within the CUNY community.”