SFSU Public Affairs Press ReleasePublished by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Diag Center.
Contact: Christina Holmes
phone: (415) 338-3803 or (415) 338-1665
SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 30, 2001 - Residents of the Delancey Street Foundation, a nationally recognized self-help residential center, are working toward bachelor's degrees in urban studies through a program offered by San Francisco State University.
The San Francisco State University Urban Studies Program at Delancey Street began last year and next month the14 students will resume their studies for the fall semester. A celebration recognizing the partnership will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6 at Delancey Street Foundation, 600 Embarcadero, San Francisco.
This semester students will take three upper division urban studies courses and one history course. Classes are held at Delancey Street and taught by University faculty, education and civic leaders and Mimi Silbert, founder, president and CEO of Delancey Street Foundation. Last year State Sen. John Burton, an SFSU alum, taught a course in politics and this semester Emilio Cruz, former chief of the San Francisco Municipal Railway, will lecture on urban transportation.
"At San Francisco State, we pride ourselves on making higher education accessible to students from a wide variety of life circumstances, at any point in their lives where they seek us out. Through this collaboration with Delancey Street, we've found a way to bring university education directly to a group of people who are working very hard to turn their lives around. It's a perfect fit between our two organizations, a real joining of our missions and values," said President Robert A. Corrigan.
Various academic departments at the University approve all curriculum taught at Delancey Street. Courses comply with SFSU standards regarding contact hours, appropriateness of class requirements, quality of student work and grading. In addition, faculty in the Urban Studies Department work closely with Delancey Street instructors on course outlines and materials handed out in class. Delancey Street students are held to the same rigorous academic standards as those taking classes on campus.
"We're absolutely delighted to have been offered this opportunity which reflects our mission to serve the San Francisco community and more importantly to produce a diverse group of urban planners and policy analysts who reflect the complex urban issues of California," said Raquel Pinderhughes, director of the urban studies program at Delancey Street. "This cohort, with their diverse experiences, will bring new insights and perspectives to the issues in which they will engage as professionals."
For more than 30 years Delancey Street has worked to move America's "underclass" into the mainstream of society. Using no taxpayer dollars or payment from clients, the residential educational center provides academic, vocational, interpersonal and personal skills to transform the lives of former substance abusers, ex-felons and the homeless into successful, legitimate citizens with lives of purpose and integrity. More than 14,000 clients have graduated from the program.
Six years ago Robert Mansfield had the choice of returning to prison, where he spent the last decade of his life for fraud, embezzlement and drug charges or joining the Delancey Street family where he would live a life without crime. Today, he remains at Delancey Street with the dream of earning a college degree.
"For so long I threw away everything in my life but that has changed and soon I will be a graduate from San Francisco State University," said Mansfield, 51. "The whole point at Delancey Street is to get your life together and move on. Now I hope to find a career in urban studies."
Mansfield also has been quite impressed with the faculty.
"You get really spoiled when you learn city politics from John Burton," he said.
Students complete about 12 units a semester and classes are held around the clients' 12- to 15-hour workdays. During the Christmas tree sales rush, a major business project requiring help from nearly all Delancey Street clients, classes are occasionally held at unusually late evening hours to accommodate the working students.
"When you want something bad enough you fit it in," Mansfield said.
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Last modified April 24, 2007, by Office of Public Affairs