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Department of SEEK Counseling and Student Support Services/The Percy Ellis Sutton SEEK Program

Sherri L. Rings, Associate Professor and, Chair/Director • Department Office: NA 5/226 • Tel: 212-650-5774

Programs and Objectives

The Department administers the Percy Ellis Sutton SEEK (Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge) Program. Funded by New York State and available at each of the CUNY senior colleges, SEEK is a higher education opportunity program that provides a comprehensive array of services to promote and support the successful academic achievement of qualifying students. The major SEEK services consist of counseling, supplemental academic support, and additional financial assistance.


To qualify for admission to City College through SEEK, students must be New York State residents and meet specific income and academic criteria. The academic requirements vary among the college’s different divisions and schools. Students are eligible for the SEEK Program only as first-time freshmen or as transfer students from another New York State higher educational opportunity program (i.e. CD, EOP, or HEOP).

Students who are interested in applying for the SEEK Program should complete the appropriate section of the CUNY Freshman application (or Transfer application). For further details regarding admission criteria and procedures, contact the City College Admissions Office.

Program Requirements

To help prepare new students for college, all incoming SEEK freshmen are required to attend the summer program, which consists of academic workshops and a college orientation workshop. In their first and second semesters, Program freshmen are enrolled in the department’s mandatory New Student Seminar, a semester-long college development course. Once enrolled, SEEK students must meet the college’s general education requirements and those of their specific majors to earn a degree.


Extensive counseling is a major component of the Program’s services and an important complement to instruction. Each student is assigned a counselor at the beginning of the first semester and continues to receive counseling support until graduation. Counselors work with students individually and in small groups. They address a broad range of issues that impact student success including personal and social concerns, academic planning, study strategies, career selection, and financial management. SEEK counselors also teach the department’s New Student Seminar and conduct a variety of personal development workshops. They also consult with faculty and staff in other departments to develop special initiatives designed to improve student success.

Tutoring and Supplemental Instruction

A range of tutorial and academic support services are offered to SEEK students through the program’s Peer Academic Learning (PAL) Center. Specially-trained peer tutors and graduate students provide one-on-one tutoring in most subject areas and for a wide variety of specific courses. Tutor-facilitated study groups, skills workshops, supplemental instruction, and preview workshops are all offered to augment in-class instruction and enhance student learning. The SEEK Computer Lab, staffed by knowledgeable computer technicians and equipped with state-of-the-art hardware and software, is also available to Program students.

Financial Aid

SEEK students typically are eligible for additional financial assistance in the form of a book stipend, college fees, and additional semesters of tuition support through Tuition Assistance Program  (TAP). The amount of assistance provided is based on need, as determined by financial aid income guidelines.

Departmental Activities

Each year the SEEK department holds several student events. The major ones are the SEEK Awards Program and Salute to Graduating Seniors, the New Student Assembly, Transfer Students’ workshops, Chi Alpha Epsilon National Honor Society induction, and the SEEK Scholars reception. In addition, the SEEK Club, which is open to all Program students, sponsors a variety of activities throughout the academic year.

Departmental Awards

Several awards are presented annually, including the top three departmental awards: Outstanding SEEK Graduate of the Year, Outstanding Scholastic Achievement, and the Exemplary Freshman of the Year. Students may be nominated for an award by any SEEK faculty or staff member, and selections are made by the SEEK Awards Committee.


Debra Kennedy, Lecturer
B.S., Hunter College; M.A., New York Univ.

Marie C. Nazon, Lecturer and Acting Program Director
B.A., Fordham Univ.; M.S., Columbia Univ. School of Social Work; Ph.D. CUNY Graduate Center

Sherri L. Rings, Associate Professor and Chair/Director
B.A., Michigan State Univ.; M.S., Purdue University, Ph.D

Alice Shepard, Assistant Professor
B.A., Brown University; Ph.D., CUNY Graduate Center

Gregory Thompson, Associate Professor
B. A. John Jay College, M.A., Ed.M, Teachers College, Columbia University; Ph. D. Fordham University

Mara Washburn, Associate Professor
B.A., Haverford College; Ed.M., Harvard Univ.; Ph.D. New York Univ.

Ana Zevallos, Associate Professor
B.A., SUNY (Stony Brook), M.S., Ph.D.

Professors Emeriti

E. Maudette Brownlee 

Louis Beckenstein

Lillian Brown

Frances Geteles