In 1998, writer and City College alumnus Walter Mosley, like Saint Paul, was struck by a proverbial bolt of lightning: he realized that if more people of color worked in publishing, diversity among published writers would increase.
And that’s the beginning of the Publishing Certificate Program (PCP) at CCNY. Mosley contacted then CCNY President Yolanda Moses, who was co-member with him on the Board of the National Book Foundation. They met with publishers on the NBF board and encouraged them to support the creation of a publishing program at City College. Major companies -- John Wiley & Sons, Harcourt, Little Brown, Bantam Doubleday Dell, and Scholastic – responded to the call with multi-year grants to CCNY.
The PCP offers a comprehensive publishing program with professional training to CCNY students, especially those from underrepresented minorities, so that they can enter the publishing world as successfully as their counterparts from more elite colleges. We did not duplicate the then existing Radcliffe (now Columbia) Summer Institute or the NYU, Stanford, or Denver programs. We seek students from all backgrounds who love books and reading, and have never considered publishing as a career option. When they graduate with a PCP certificate, they are ready to go!
In the 21 years of the PCP’s existence, more than 250 students have earned the certificate by taking a minimum of four publishing courses such as E-Book Publishing, Legal Issues, and Books for Young Readers. They also complete internships in publishing houses or literary agencies. In addition to their coursework, this robust internship program gives our students the hands-on experience or apprenticeship necessary to succeed.
Along the way, we have partnered with Book Expo America and the Women’s Media Group to give our students additional support and mentoring. We are proud to say that approximately 50% of our graduates have worked in publishing for at least one year and that today at least 20% of our graduates are employed editors, designers, and publicists in publishing—some with over 14 years of experience.
We have an amazing faculty comprised of Lisa Healy (Simon & Schuster), John Jusino (HarperCollins), Tanya McKinnon (McKinnon-McIntyre Agency), Steven Weissman (formerly of Time, Inc), Philip Rappaport (Open Road Media) and veteran independent editors Carol Taylor and Rakia Clark. They also act as mentors to our students.
PCP has been a great success story, and we look forward to expanding the program over the next few years.
David Unger, Director