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Consistent with the standard protocol and as articulated by the Federal Government Office of Personnel Management, The following five categories qualified me as a finalist for senior executive schedule positions.


David N. Rahni, Ph.D.    Ann# 03-02-0332 Academic Dean ES-1701

Leading People: Graduate Environmental Science Program

Context:  Having spent an ample amount of my academic and professional life on topics of environmental and quality-of-life significance, I have always striven to create and support similar endeavors in the community. It was in this spirit—following a 1993-94 sabbatical leave, during which I served as a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar at the Technical University of Denmark and a visiting professor at the University of Oxford—that I envisaged the merits of an innovative graduate program in Environmental Sciences to serve the needs of the New England region and beyond.

Challenge: Confirmed by the market analysis survey I devised and completed, I was entrusted by Pace University peers and administrative leadership to tackle the curricular and human resource development of a new Environmental Sciences program. From the beginning, I recognized the imperative limitations of such a program, especially regarding financial and faculty participation challenges, and competition from similar established programs elsewhere.  Upon continuous consultations with colleagues, I soon appreciated that in order for the new program to succeed, it needed to be truly interdisciplinary and multi-jurisdictional, thereby benefiting from the intellectual, instructional, and scholarly input of faculty who extend themselves beyond and across a multitude of traditional departments. Specifically, it needed to equip to-be program graduates not only with scientific and technological competencies, but also with legal, ethical, and communicative skills that would enable them to succeed in their professional endeavors.

Action: Before developing the course synopses and syllabi, laboratory experiments, and strategic research visions and directions, the need to assess similar “elder” sister programs became obvious. Hence, I asked for and received an immense amount of information from nearly sixty institutions on their graduate environmental programs, and supplemented it with an extensive Internet-based survey.  Deciphering information through such efforts was especially educational in assisting me to avoid constructing  yet another duplicate program and position our program in a truly unique fashion. Bi-monthly meetings with a select group of faculty who had expressed enthusiasm toward the program, and had pertinent environmentally related track records, provided a nourishing environment that moved the program development forward smoothly for nearly three years, leading finally to its submission to the New York State Department of Education for approval. I then became actively engaged in hiring faculty, staff and students, and in developing budget models and outcome assessment tools for the program. The full-time faculty had dual responsibilities: each was housed in a traditional academic department with teaching responsibilities in both their respective department and our program. The program was instrumental in providing a novel opportunity for our exemplary faculty to shine, while encouraging others to strive for excellence by joining in a win-for-all opportunity. Moreover, talented adjunct faculty from government and private sectors, and from environmental research and policy advocacy organizations, were hired for specialized courses for which in-house expertise was scarce. Subsequently, an external advisory board was set up to oversee the program and provide feedback for continuous refinement, while facilitating cooperative, internship and permanent employment positions for the program graduates. 

Result: Before our program was approved, our Provost reminded me of the rather long waiting period—as long as one year—that we could expect before hearing from the NYS Education Department, and then only with the likelihood of their recommending major revisions if not flatly rejecting our proposed program. Having served as an active faculty member in the accreditation and re-certification processes of the Middle States’ Report, Institutional Strategic Agenda and the American Chemical Society, I was cognizant of the backlog associated with such external procedures. Well, we were all ecstatically surprised to receive an affirmative approval of our program in an unprecedented four months!

Our graduate program is heavily rooted in the natural and physical sciences, but it also has respectable representation in environment law, ethics, engineering, and business. It has attracted talented prospective students of diverse ethnic and undergraduate backgrounds, not only from the New York metropolitan area, but also from across the country and across oceans. Having worked as an adjunct professor at Pace University since the late ‘80s, in both their undergraduate science department and in their internationally recognized LL.M. and J.S.D. environmental law  programs (ranked No. 3 in the nation according to US News & World Report), it is highly gratifying to me to have played a leadership role in the inception and implementation of their graduate environmental science program. Indeed, that program that may have in part led to the recent inauguration of a university-wide Pace Academy for the Environment, a dream-come-true center that should truly enhance our environmentally related programs, thereby conspicuously placing us on the academic map . It is also worth noting my course, entitled  “LAW802: Scientific and Technological Issues in Environmental Law, ” that is offered to postgraduate students who are mostly practicing attorneys from the private and public sectors. Developing a similar sci./tech.- based course for law enforcement personnel, with emphasis on various aspects of forensics, is achievable in a rather short period of time.



David N. Rahni, Ph.D.    Ann# 03-02-0332 Academic Dean ES-1701

Leading Change: Persian American Community Leadership Roles

Context: I immigrated to the US in the late 70’s during an era of volatile political activity and regressive change in Iran. Such phenomenon has led to nearby million Americans of Persian/Iranian heritage living in the US, as quoted by many government officials, including Dr. Madeline Albright, the former Secretary of State. This Iranian-American population is very affluent in terms of its education, capital, and substantive contributions toward the betterment of the broader American society, as evidenced by the US Census and other numerous independent analyses.

Challenge: Due to continuous conflicts in our country of origin, many Iranian-Americans at times feel caught in a guilty contradiction of feelings regarding incidents that they themselves do not approve of, but catch the heat for nonetheless. This has in turn made them by and large apolitical, and has left them sitting on the sidelines of the American political and societal system. The need and merit for the due promotion and recognition of Iranian-American community contributions on the one hand, and facilitating their full participation in the broader American way of life on the other, has long been self-evident. In other words, there was an urgent need to bring the Iranian-American community closer to the mainstream American society by providing suitable educational and learning forums where they could understand and utilize to their advantage, and with a unified voice, the laws, government policies and opportunities in the US. 

Action: Upon consultation with numerous Persian American community leaders, identified mostly from the academic and corporate sectors, I co-developed a series of organizations with strong, interactive, web-based platforms and e-communications for the integration and assimilation of the Persian-American community into mainstream US society. The establishment of the Persian Watch Center (PWC): The Iranian American Anti Discrimination Council (www.AntiDiscrimination.org) has been one of the highlights of my pro bono activities in the past decade. When interviewed a few years ago, I outlined the mission of the PWC organization as follows:

"Persian Watch Council strives to facilitate integration and active participation, while promoting social justice, equity and empowerment for ALL Americans including the nearly one million Citizens of Persian/Iranian heritage by upholding Constitutional, Civil and Bill of Rights. PWC further endeavors to deter and resolve discrimination by the following means, arranged in order of preference:
Education, Information, Communication, Participation, Deliberation, Mediation, Arbitration, Negotiation, Media Dissemination, government articulation, Litigation and last Adjudication."

There are ample number of other organizations I have served as the co-founder and or board members as typified by the National Iranian American Council (www.NIACOUNCIL.org) and (www.antiDiscrimination.org ). Upon running a google.com search on “RAHNI” the majority of the 1300 sites found have my contributions reflected therein.

Result: The Persian Watch Center has become the educational catalyst for the realization of the American dreams and ideals of nearly one million Americans of Iranian heritage by promoting the following agenda:

Facilitating the integration and assimilation of our community into the mainstream

Screening the media for accurate reporting on our community and heritage

Articulating and pluralizing the community’s aspirations as evident, for instance, by my recent petition [regarding what?] and signed by nearly 20,000 in a short period.

Educating the constituency on the US government, and the many opportunities available in the US



David N. Rahni, Ph.D.    Ann# 03-02-0332 Academic Dean ES-1701

Communication/Building Coalition: Partners for Sustainable Development

Context: Ever since moving to Westchester County, New York, after my completion of post/pre-doctoral work in New Orleans, I developed an affinity for working on community -related projects on a pro bono basis. This led to my appointment to the Village of Ossining Environmental Advisory Board, followed by my serving on the Citizen’s Advisory Board for our Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey. In addition, the historical and natural beauty of the lower Hudson River basin provided an excellent backdrop for nearly 800 Non-Governmental Organizations that I strove to learn about.  A commitment to the concept of sustainable development, was endorsed by hundreds of Pace faculty, students and staff across the institution.

Challenge: While participating in meetings held by a few of these organizations, including Westchester Chemical Society (1000-plus members), for which I was elected Chair in 1991, I became cognizant of the minimum amount of intercommunication,  and at times competition and duplication, among some of these organizations.

Action: An on-going dialogue with the founders of Westchester Land Trust, a 501 (c ) (3) institution that has purchased vast amount of lands for the protection of NY City watershed, led to the development of Partners for Sustainable Development (PSD), for which I was again elected first Chair, in charge of coordinating its by-laws and setting its agenda. It was a loose coalition of dozens of environmental groups with representatives from local government, UNEP, EPA, schools’ superintendent, principals, teachers and students. Its goal was to define a set of key indicators to assess the quality of life in our communities from the perspectives of sustainability, through regular meetings, workshops, surveys,  and filed projects. Topics such as local transportation, land use, watershed protection, pest management and pesticide use, Hudson River PCB mitigation, and energy usage and alternative technologies were among the topics tackled. This later led to my selection to serve on another countywide  federation of over fifty organizations, Federated Conservationists of Westchester ( ). FCWC provides advice and analysis to the County Executive and the Board of Legislators and local governments on topics similar topics to those cited above. Fund raising is an integral component of our endeavors. I took a course of study entitled, “Mediation, Conflict Prevention and Conflict Resolution”[at Pace?], which further enhanced my communicative and negotiating skills for building coalitions around common missions.

Result: PSD and later FCWC are credited as having brought the community as a whole much closer to articulating their quality-of-life aspirations; the community is a much safer and better place in which to reside and work, thanks in part to these two organizations.  As the community in the lower Hudson Valley embarks on the possible decommissioning of its now-over- thirty-years-old nuclear reactors, mitigating the PCBs in the Hudson River (through dredging technology and as mandated by the Federal Government and EPA oversight) and building a much more efficient public transportation system (including a new bridge across the Hudson River), it is gratifying to observe the increasing role of organizations in which I play a leadership role.  Another natural component of such activities has led to my serving on a NY State Bar Association ad hoc committee which, after working for over two years, held a conference on economic development, and energy and environmental quality. In the conference, we made forty recommendations to the government and private sector for energy efficiency, alternative technologies, and carbon dioxide and pollution trading. Another aspect of the endeavor dealt with my invitation by the then-Chemical Manufacturing Association to audit the environmental and safety protocols of a an international specialty chemical corporation with an annual gross revenue of over $6 billion dollars.

Finally, allow me to share with you an excerpt of a piece I published in the January 19, 2001 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education:

“Recognizing the Earth's finite natural resources and its limited carrying capacity, we should appreciate that we are merely the guardians of such resources having borrowed them from our future generations, and not the sole proprietors having inherited them from our past ancestors. Therefore, we should perpetually refine and optimize practices, lifestyles, science and technologies and Yes, novel green chemistries that are environmentally benign by design-- that meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the abilities of the future generations to meet theirs. We humans are not the apex of the pyramid of life, but rather an integrated and interactive player of a horizontal web of life. This requires a multijurisdictional paradigm shift with a cross disciplinary approach that almost touches all the "E" curricula: Earth, Environment, Ecology, Education, Energy, Economics, E-Commerce, E-Communication, Ethics, Equity, aEsthetics, and Empowerment....This is the epitome of sustainable development and inter generational equity as a guiding principle in my life."



David N. Rahni, Ph.D.    Ann# 03-02-0332 Academic Dean ES-1701

Business Acumen: American Chemical Society

Context: Volunteerism and the nature of financial contributions have changed considerably during the past decade. While individual donations to specific causes exhibit modest growth, corporate contributions have dwindled. Increasingly, corporations assess direct short-term benefit as the sole criterion for donating to a particular project in the community. Furthermore, corporations and professional organizations provide less merit to community service as provided by their employees. [I’m not sure what you mean by this last sentence.]

Challenge: Recognizing the strenuous nature of obtaining material and human resources for successfully executing professional objectives in a non-for-profit setting, I have become rather savvy regarding how to do more with less, while relying on innovative ways of securing funds.

Action and Result: Back in 1997, I was commissioned to serve as the General Chair of the Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting of the American Society. By building an organizing and hosting committee comprised of 15 talented professional colleagues from academia, industry and government, we were able to hold the four-day conference at Pace University. During the conference, nearly 300 presentations, workshops, short courses and other professional events served the interests of nearly 800 people. I personally took on the challenge of not only overseeing the integrity and quality of the program, but also completing its fund-raising efforts, which far exceeded our expectations [is this what you mean?]. In fact, we were able to supplement the reserve for the subsequent conferences and help set up a student scholarship.  This successful event led to my election as Chair of the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) New York Section , with a membership of nearly 5,000 and a monthly magazine with a circulation of 13,000. In such a capacity, I was again challenged by the needs of our members and our educational outreach to tens of thousands of students. I organized and steered our activities through nearly 30 committees comprised of 200 energized peers for over 400 annual events, and it was my innovative fundraising and other pertinent activities that made the year one of the most financially successful in the 100-year history of the society [is this what you mean?]. (As an interesting aside, the ACS NY section awards the oldest chemistry honor in the nation, the Nichols Medal, and one third of the nearly 100 award recipients are also Nobel Laureates during their lifetimes). My fundraising leadership in 1999 for this specific event not only covered most of the costs of the conference and black-tie banquet for nearly 500 people, but also yielded a surplus. This was only made possible through recognizing talented peers to work with, while providing spotlight opportunities for all to shine.



David N. Rahni, Ph.D.    Ann# 03-02-0332 Academic Dean ES-1701

Results Driven: Inter-collaborative Research

Context: While attending to my doctoral work at the University of New Orleans (LSU), I began to appreciate the student-teaching component of my responsibilities. In retrospect, I realize that that must have added to my growing conviction to select a professorship in a predominantly teaching institution in 1986. A professor in the academe is regarded as a supervisor, managing his students, classes, research team and inter-collaborative scholarly endeavor, instrumentation and grants acquisition, maintenance, etc.

Challenge: After several years of teaching when I was bestowed to a tenured full professorship in an unprecedented period of less than seven years, I recognized the need to remain abreast of the latest developments in chemistry, science, society and policy to bring in first hand relevant real life examples to my teaching. This in turn needed a meaningful level of scholarly endeavors as evidenced by a reputable level of peer-reviewed publications and presentations.

Action: I was able to overcome the material, instrumentation and intellectual limitations of my home institution, along with a heavy teaching load, by establishing inter-collaborations with colleagues from other institutions worldwide (Universities of Oxford, Rome, Florence, New Orleans, Rio De Janeiro, SUNY at Stony Brook and Technical U. Denmark) and corporations (IBM, Universal Sensors, Ciba). That activity was made evident by my scholarly output.

Result: Such inter-collaborations have brought me and our student body [are you talking about the Univ of NO or Pace here?] tangible benefits far beyond our rather prolific level of broad research productivity, spanning analytical chemistry, enzymology, manufacturing quality assurance and control, nano-engineering, forensics, clinical and environmental method development, and organic synthesis. In fact, the breadth of knowledge that I have acquired over the past nearly two decades has now extended itself to the exciting field of neuro-psycho-electro-analytical pharmacology. I have been exploring this novel field since my current sabbatical leave at CUNY Medical School in Harlem, New York, where, in collaboration with NYU School of Medicine colleagues, we are developing and testing in vivo microelectrodes for real-time monitoring of key neurotransmitters in the brain in cocaine and narcotic addictions and for neuro-degenerative diseases. Such activities have given me the opportunity to bring real-life, cutting-edge, relevant examples to a classroom setting, so as to shed light on the rather intricate scientific theories I present to my students. Besides, one might observe the enormous amount of capital and intellectual resources that would have otherwise been needed to accomplish the level of scholarly productivity achieved herein, had it not been for leading such inter-collaborations [I’m not sure what you mean here]. Pragmatism therefore, a philosophical paradigm to identifying realities and then pushing the boundaries to the limit to bring about results that benefits all parties engaged, has become a guiding principle in my professional and private life.

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