Staff Spotlight: Peter Altman, Coordinator of Admissions & Recruitment
Interview by CUNY BA Student, Karl Taps (AOC Ancient Mediterranean Religions, Hunter College ‘22)
Karl Taps: What professional path or experience brought you to CUNY BA?
Peter Altman: I worked as a student ambassador while at Queens College in 1998. Using the experience from that job, I worked part-time at Queensborough Community College, then moved to New York City Tech, returning to Queensborough to work full-time in 2001, and finally joined CUNY BA in July of 2004. I have always worked in admissions and recruitment ever since my days at Queens College. This job brings me in contact with some of the most interesting and motivated students that our university has to offer, and I feel grateful to be part of the CUNY BA family.
KT: How is your role similar or different from your counterparts at the CUNY “home campuses”?
PA: Unlike my counterparts, I am a one-person admission and recruitment office. I do all the application processing, corresponding with students, hosting information sessions, and transfer evaluations. Things are always busy over here. Luckily, I do have the assistance of my team members, who help take on some of the work right before the start of each semester when things get super-hectic.
KT: What has surprised you about being a member of the CUNY BA team?
PA: CUNY home colleges can be possessive of their students. They know we attract some of the best and brightest the University has to offer, and some feel as if we are stealing them away. I wish the University more widely embraced the program and realized that we provide their students with unique opportunities and a more personalized experience at no extra cost. As a university, we should be working collaboratively to inform students about the unique opportunity of CUNY BA.
KT: What would you want prospective and current students, as well as staff and faculty, to know about CUNY BA?
PA: We are a very small office working to provide our students with the best the University has to offer. We provide students the ability to customize their CUNY degree by allowing them to bring together coursework offered at different academic departments and colleges within the University. All our students have an assigned CUNY BA academic advisor who gets to know them personally and is there to answer questions as they progress towards their degree. Additionally, all our students have at least one faculty mentor who supervises their areas of study. It’s a unique experience to be part of the program, and I hope everyone realizes how much effort is put into making sure they have an amazing educational opportunity.
KT: What is the most indispensable thing on your desk?
PA: My triangular architectural ruler is the most indispensable thing on my desk. Transfer evaluations are completed by pencil and paper before being entered into the CUNYfirst system. Things get complicated trying to give each student the best evaluation possible. It involves a lot of institutional memory (remembering the rules and exceptions for how each course may be applied) as well as a lot of crossing out to make sure courses accepted do not exceed the transfer credit maximums. The architectural ruler helps me focus on the page. Each evaluation is like a mini tax return. The ruler keeps me on target.