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Colin Powell School

Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership
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Colin Powell School

Gen. Powell with students

Colin Powell School Mission Statement

The mission of the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership is to transform students, faculty, communities, and the traditional university experience by adopting problem-based approaches to education. By promoting the values of service, engagement, and leadership, we enable our students to energetically address the challenges of the 21st century. By fostering creative and public scholarship, we ensure that our faculty produces and disseminates scholarship that is both relevant and in-touch. 

About the Colin Powell School

General Powell, who graduated from City College in 1958, established the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies in 1997. Its original mission was to provide a base for the study of social and economic forces and conditions that impact New York City, by encouraging students and faculty to engage and partner with community organizations.

Over the years, the Center's mission expanded to forward more fully the goals and vision of General Powell: to develop leadership skills and encourage service-learning and to address five key outcome areas: international development and global security, education, the environment, community and economic development, and health.

The name was changed to the Colin L. Powell Center for Leadership and Service in 2011 to reflect the shift toward this greater and more dynamic mission. In 2013, it merged with the Division of Social Sciences to form the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership.

The Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership (formerly the Division of Social Science) comprises of five departments:

  • Anthropology, Gender Studies, and International Studies 
  • Economics and Business
  • Political Science
  • Psychology 
  • Sociology 

and dynamic interdisciplinary programs including:

  • International Relations
  • Latin American and Latino Studies
  • Mental Health Counseling
  • Legal Studies
  • Public Service Management
  • The Skadden Arps Honors Program for Legal Studies

The School offers a wide variety of traditional and interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate degrees and houses the Dominican Studies Institute and the Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology in partnership with the CUNY Graduate Center.

Located in the vibrant New York City neighborhood of Harlem, the Colin Powell School, builds upon an exceptionally strong tradition in the social sciences at City College, and offers students a living laboratory in which to study and conduct research in their chosen fields. The Powell School’s hallmark values of service and leadership permeate every aspect of our work and animate City College’s unflagging and historic commitment to access and excellence.

At the Colin Powell School, faculty and students promote the highest standards of intellectual inquiry while examining patterns in our cultures, worldwide economic activity and reasoning, the relations and institutions of power, and the dynamics of cognition and social interactions. They study why individuals, groups, governments, institutions, tribes, classes, men, women, and children do what they do... and use the knowledge they gain to further powerful, positive change. The internationally recognized scholarship of the Colin Powell School’s diverse faculty addresses critical topics of societal concern from multiple intellectual perspectives.

Specifically, the school:

•  provides rigorous degree programs that integrate service, leadership training, and mentoring into the curriculum, ensuring that students engage with real-world challenges and develop the capacity, drive, and public spirit to serve as responsible leaders and stewards of the common good;

•  maintains and supports a faculty dedicated to the highest standards of research and to the university’s democratic and public obligations, including the responsibility to disseminate research in usable forms to concerned audiences, particularly to those striving to redress injustice or disparity;

•  serves as a forum for experts, policymakers, community leaders, and others dealing with the major challenges of our time in ways that dismantle traditional barriers between the academic world, proximate communities, and the broader public.

Our students constitute one of the most unique academic communities in the country. Intellectually curious and highly motivated, they come from broadly diverse national and ethnic backgrounds, united in the mission to improve the world they will inherit. Colin Powell School students are characterized by the desire to dedicate their education to the service of others and to contribute to progress through their endeavors. They connect aspiration to inspiration, undertaking challenging internships—from the White House to the country’s leading think tanks. They serve in community clinics, international development projects, local advocacy organizations, and communities at home and abroad. They also matriculate at top law schools and pursue graduate degrees at highly ranked universities around the globe.