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Our History

Our institution was founded back in 1964 by educational pioneer Audrey Cohen.

Driven by a holistic vision of a better world, she created a succession of organizations to address the dual issues of economic development and social improvement. Through her lifelong commitment to the interconnected ideals of social justice, educational excellence, and economic opportunity, Audrey Cohen continues to be esteemed as one of the most innovative and respected educational reformers in the world.

Ms. Cohen's enduring commitment to create employment and educational opportunities for all stemmed from her activism during the civil rights and women's movements in the 1950s and 60s. It was also rooted in her conviction that education must empower individuals to take charge of their own lives and to make positive change in organizations and communities.

In 1958, Ms. Cohen, recognizing college-educated women's need for productive and flexible work that could be accomplished while they cared for their families, co-founded PartTime Research Associates, the first corporation employing only women.

In addition, Ms. Cohen also turned her efforts to helping economically disadvantaged women who depended on public assistance for their income and she founded the Women's Talent Corps in 1964. Through the Talent Corps, ten, new, above-entry-level paraprofessional positions, were developed. Ultimately, the Talent Corps created employment for hundreds of thousands of people. It was this organization that inspired the development of Metropolitan College of New York. The Women's Talent Corps was renamed the Talent Corps, to reflect its inclusion of men, and then became The College for Human Services.

During this time, Ms. Cohen began the process of rethinking education so that it would prepare people for work in the growing field of human service, an idea that was revolutionary then, but is now accepted. She led research to develop a unique model of higher education that focuses rigorous academic study around achieving a complex and meaningful Purpose each semester. The trans-disciplinary curriculum that resulted incorporates knowledge from all disciplines. From the moment they enter the College, students take charge of their learning and concentrate on achieving each semester's Purpose.

Ms. Cohen was an eloquent spokesperson for educational reform and was frequently consulted on the issue. She appeared on the McNeil Lehrer News Hour, Good Day New York, CNBC's Money Wheel and The Today Show, as well as numerous radio programs.

Ms. Cohen also received numerous awards in recognition of her many contributions including the Outstanding Leadership in Higher Education Award from the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, the Certificate of Achievement Award from the Academy for Educational Development, and the George Champion Award from Chase Manhattan Bank. She remained dedicated to the challenges of education, social invention, and the advancement of Purpose-Centered Education until her passing in 1996.

The College has contributed to service improvement in hundreds of organizations. In the for-profit sector, it has influenced such fields as financial services, insurance, retailing, banking, and the media and entertainment industry. In the not-for-profit arena, the College’s students and graduates have made a significant impact on fields such as mental health, developmental disabilities, teaching, daycare, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, criminal justice, and work with the elderly. The Master in Public Administration (MPA) program provides trained administrative staff for not-for-profit and public agencies throughout the country, the new Emergency and Disaster Management Program is at the forefront of its field, and the nationally NCATE-accredited Master of Science in Education (MSED) programs prepares students to qualify for New York State teaching certification. The nature of the educational programs and the contributions that MCNY graduates have made in the public and non-profit sector clearly demonstrate the college’s mission as an institution that fosters personal and professional development, promotes social justice, and encourages positive change in workplaces and communities.

Since its inception, the College has demonstrated its commitment to helping nontraditional students achieve educational and professional goals through unique, progressive methods. In 1984, the College was granted full regional accreditation by the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges. That designation was reaffirmed in 1989 and again in 1999.

To honor its founder and president, and to recognize the growing number of academic program offerings, the College was renamed Audrey Cohen College in May 1992.Stephen R Greenwald was appointed Third President in May 1998. In 2002 in order to  more accurately reflect the growth, vitality, diversity, and motivation to achieve that it shares with the New York Metropolitan Region, the College was renamed Metropolitan College of New York (MCNY). In 2002, the College re-registered its Master of Science in Administration as a Master of Public Administration to better reflect program objectives. In early 2004, the New York State Board of Education registered two new MCNY graduate degrees: a Master of Public Administration in Emergency and Disaster Management, the first of its kind in the state, and a Master of Science in Education (Childhood Education). Later that year, the College’s first liberal arts degree program – the Bachelor of Arts in American Urban Studies – was approved. The Master of Science in Education: Mathematics Grades 7-12 was registered and in 2011 the Master of Science in Education: Dual Certification Childhood 1-6/Special Education degree by the New York State Education Department. In 2009, under the leadership of Dr. Vinton Thompson, fourth President of MCNY (appointed 2008) the College’s Middle States Accreditation was reaffirmed. In 2010, the Master of Science in Education Program was accredited by NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education).

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Mailing Address MCNY (431 Canal Street New York, NY 10013 · 529 Courtlandt Avenue Bronx, New York 10451)
Phone Number  (800) 33 THINK | 212 343 1234