Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME) Mission

For almost forty years, IUME has used advocacy, demonstration, evaluation, information dissemination, research and technical assistance to study and seek to improve the quality of life chances through education in the communities of urban and minority peoples. The Institute continues to focus on the implications of population diversity in the context of the demand for pluralistic competencies for the design and management of teaching and learning transactions in schools and other environments for education. The central goal of IUME is to understand and uncouple the relationship between the social divisions to which persons are assigned and outcomes of education.  


For more information please contact the office via email at iume@tc.columbia.edu or via telephone at 212.678.3413


Program Instructor


Mr. Edmund Adjapong, a native of the Bronx, NY, is a student at Teachers College, Columbia University. He is currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Science Education and received a Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry with a minor in Africana Studies from SUNY Plattsburgh. Mr. Adjapong believes every student learns differently. He also believes that engaging young men with media–despite its unconventional method–is an effective way to educate. Mr. Adjapong enjoys working with and mentoring young men of color as they are our future. Following the completion of his masters degree, Mr. Adjapong plans on teaching science in a New York City public school and pursuing his Doctorate of Philosophy in Science Education. His ultimate goal is to become a science educator and researcher. His research will focus on improving education in urban areas. 

 Community Producers!





Blake Pressley is currently a student at Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual Arts. He’s a senior and enjoys writing short stories, playing games and listening to music. Blake’s newest hobby is playing the piano and he’s been playing since his junior year of high school. Blake became involved with Beyond the Bricks when his history teacher, Mr. Klung, recommended him. He’s looking to try new things and he hopes that this program he will help him express his inner self. Blake plans on attending Full Sail University and studying Computer Programming and Computer Engineering.






Brandon Bennett is a student at Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual Arts. He is a senior and gained interest with Beyond the Bricks after his school’s librarian encouraged him to apply. Brandon is very creative and enjoys producing music, he believes music allows him to connect with others and sparks his creativity. Brandon freely expresses himself through music and plans on developing that same outlet with film. Brandon plans on going to college to study Computer Science.






Jimmy Cacho attends Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual Arts. He became involved with Beyond the Bricks through his advanced art teacher, Mr. Jabradally, who encouraged him to apply. Jimmy is artistic and enjoys drawing and painting. On his free time he enjoys hanging out with friends, and watching movies and television shows. Jimmy is currently a high school senior and his goal is to attend Ithaca College to study either Business or Psychology.

Kurtis Archibald is a junior at The Marie Curie High School for Medicine, Nursing, and Health Professions. He was introduced to Beyond the Bricks by his principal, Dr. Fisher, who encouraged him to apply. Kurtis enjoys playing basketball and soccer. He also likes to cook and travel. Kurtis’ goal is to study Cardiology at Columbia University.

Marquis Luther is currently a student at Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual Arts. His yearbook teacher, Mr. J, introduced him to Beyond the Bricks. Marquis has many hobbies, which include acting, game designing and writing poetry. He enjoys discovering different ways to express himself. Marquis plans on attending college and being successful in the field that he chooses to pursue. 

Ground Rules

1.  Be respectful - Respect yourselves, each other, and the equipment.
2.  Be collaborative - We are a team.
3.  Be teachable - Each one, teach one.
4.  Be open - No thought or opinion is wrong.
5.  Be on time!
6.  Be imaginative - Use your imagination and creativity.
7.  Be ready to contribute - Be a participator, not a spectator.
8.  Be attentive.
9.  Be presentable - Come to class appropriately dressed.
10. Be responsible - If you can't come to a class or are going to be late, let someone know.

TIps for Shooting (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1japlhKU9l)

1) In most cases- unless you're recording a meeting or event -- limit length to 1:30 minutes or briefer.  That makes for easier downloading and tighter bites.  As you're shooting, look for a moment that seems like a natural stopping point.  Cutting the clips off at the right time helps in the editing process.   

2) Avoid unnecessary and fast pan shots.  Instead, stay with an image and let the action move through the scene you are taping.  When panning a scene, hold the camera steady and move it very slowly.  Keep the subject in focus.  In all cases, keep the camera steady as much as possible and avoid jerky movements.  Bracing your elbow with your non-shooting hand, or keeping your "shooting elbow"  close to your body, can help steady the camera.  A tripod, sold separately, can also keep the camera stationary.  

3) Avoid using the zoom features unless necessary.  The digital zoom wil result in loss of image resolution.  Though magnified, the image has less quality than what you would get from a camera with an optical telephoto zoom.  Instead of zooming, stay at the wide part of the lens and move your whole body closer to the subject.  This will also make the image more stable.

4) In an interview setting, be as close to the person as possible for the camera microphone to sound good.  This means you do not use the zoom on the camera but you hold the camera and stand close to the interviewee for the recording.

5) Adjust for ambient noise.  Make sure the sound around you is not distracting.  In particular, try to stay away from or minimize your exposure to street noise or lots of talking.  If you cannot get away from intrusive background sound, then make sure to include the source of noise in the shot behind your interviewee.  That way, the image explains where the extra noise is coming from.  This makes the distraction more acceptable to the viewer.

6) Avoid  high-contrast scenes as much as possible.  Dark shadows will go black in the transfer, and shadows across someone's face will not transfer well.  Try to put your interview subject in even light so their face is in an even light level throughout.  Also avoid backgrounds behind the subject that are too bight or too dark, since this will increase the image contrast and make the image hard to see on the Web.  If you are inside a building, try to avoid bright walls behind a dark-skinned person when doing interviews or b-roll.  The contrast could be too extreme.  Also avoid the fluorescent flicker of lights on the wall behind someone, particularly overseas, where the electrical power is a different voltage and produces a light flicker with cameras set for United States electrical current settings.

What to Shoot

Remember, less is more if you plan your shots and the interview ahead of time.   You can do your interview first and then take what you heard and decide what cutaway shots (b-roll) to get.  Always try to cover a scene with a wider cover shot for location identification, and then go in to get close-ups, which give the viewer an intimate feel for the setting and the action.

An effective use of the camera is to record a standup of someone relating an anecdote or explaining something that is happening in the background.

Before you begin shooting, coach the person to think for a moment about what they are to say - and who the audience is.  Tell her or him to stay within a specific time limit -- 1 minute is good.  That limit will help them focus their thoughts and keep their comments to the point.  Once you turn the camera on, the first thing the person should do in a standup situation is say who they are - "Hi, this is Jane Doe and I am the parish nurse here at First United Methodist Church in Anytown, Arkansas."

Direct the camera in such a way that your subject doesn't fill the frame, and the viewer can get a sense of place from the background.

Tuesday, February 5th

Today Beyond the Bricks Harlem, USA met Teachers College Columbia University and welcomes a BTBP graduate from the first cohort, Luis. The Community Producers will have class at Teachers College, Zankel hall from now on. They were excited to actually be on a college campus and sit in a college classroom.

Tuesday, February 12th

Derek from the Beyond the Bricks Project and his colleagues Pedro and Steven came to the classroom to teach the Community Producers how to edit their footage with the program iMovie. The Community Producers learned about frame rate, transitions, titles, special effects, and more. They were excited and learned a lot from Pedro, they also got a chance to practice what they learned and had fun editing their own footage.

Saturday, February 16th - STEM Saturday

The Community Producers participated in the first Saturday of the STEM Saturday series. During STEM Saturdays, our goal is to engage science through the use of media and to develop and cultivate the science mindedness of the young men. The Community Producers participated in an activity where drew their depiction of a scientist. Above they are holding up their drawings of their perceptions of scientist. 

Thursday, February 21st

We had a few special guests at today’s program, Dr. Elliot Gann who is the CEO of Today’s Future Sound and Steve Tyson, a graduate student at Arcadia University. Steve Tyson interviewed community producer, Jimmy, for his perspective on Hip-Hop Culture for his thesis project. Dr. Gann is visiting New York City from California presenting workshops on beat making and DJing. One community producer, Brandon, who is a developing music producer, was extremely excited because had the chance to network with another producer who had connections to musicians on the West coast who he idolized. It was great seeing the heads of the young men nod in affirmation after a beat was played or after a mix was created. 

Beyond the Bricks - Harlem, USA thanks Today's Future Sound for the music production workshop. 

Saturday, March 2nd 

The community producers spent time planning their month 2 major project. They learned how to search scholarly journal articles using Google Scholar and why it was important for researchers to publish their research and findings. 

Tuesday, March 5th

The community producers are working diligently on creating a plan and laying out what they want to include in their public service announcement (PSA) video. Every student’s PSA should include:

  • An issue you care about
  • A way to get people’s attention
  • A slogan that will be easy for people to repeat
  • Powerful images and videos 
  • An interview with someone who has knowledge about the topic
  • A way to improve the selected issue
  • Supporting information from at least two scholarly articles

Thursday, March 7th 

Each student created a Twitter account and their assignment is to tweet a fact, daily, about their community issue with the #BTBPHarlem hash tag. 

Tuesday, March 19

We had a discussion regarding representation of African American men in American history to the present. Zip Coon, Pick a Ninny, Sambo, etc., were some of the images we discussed with a hand-out that provided descriptions for each image.

Thursday, March 21

We completed the discussion regarding representation of African American men in American from the present to the future (the 21st century). Rap artists, nerds, outcasts, gay males, etc., were some of the men and their representation presented images we discussed, at the same time the students were asked them what category did they feel best represents them? In addition, the students were asked which category best fits their own description and how they see themselves (sagging pants, sneakers, glasses, smiles vs no smiles, etc.,)? In conversation about the future, the students were asked if they thought (if any) president Barack Obama (as the first black president) would have on the 21st century in America? In a word, they were extremely positive and thought that those in America (in the south or wherever they are) who are racists will get left behind America's march towards no color lines.

This week the young men were very excited about having the Nature Valley's bars - they all gave a very healthy thank you to the Beyond the Bricks Family for the supply.

Tuesday, March 26th

Today we started off today’s session with a recap and reflection about what the students learned last week. The students were able to clearly articulate the lessons from last week and share what they learned and took away from the sessions. They fed off of each others responses and bounced back and fourth with their reflections. Today we spent most of the session editing the public service announcement videos.

Thursday, March 28th 

Today Angel Acosta, program manager for CFES (College for Every Student), came to our session to talk to the students about college readiness. Angel’s presentation focused on college acceptance, college success, college completion and career pathway. The students were very receptive to the presentation and asked many questions. The students were mainly focused on the college experience and ways to pay for college. All of their questions were answered and the Harlem instructor, Edmund Adjapong, shared his college experience with the students. The community producers had a boost of energy after having an engaging conversation about college and the possibilities.

The Beyond the Bricks Project would like to thank Angel Acosta for taking the time out of his schedule to engage the Harlem community producers in a fun conversation on college readiness. 

Beyond the Bricks Project - Harlem Graduation

Join the Beyond the Bricks - Harlem participants, as they celebrate their completion of the Create! Innovate! Produce! program. For the past four months these young men have been working hard and diligently addressing issues that directly affect their community, interrogating how Black men are represented in media and creating their own stories, all through multimedia production. During this celebration the young men will premier their videos and participate in a panel discussion where they will address issues that are prevalent in their communities and  talk about their experience as participants in the program. Speakers include Ouida Washington, Co-Excutive Director of Beyond the Bricks and Ricco Wright, Doctoral Student at Teachers College, Columbia University. Refreshments will be served. 

Teachers College, Columbia University, is the oldest and largest graduate school of education in the United States, and also perennially ranked among the nation’s best. Its name notwithstanding, the College is committed to a vision of education writ large, encompassing our four core areas of expertise: health, education, leadership and psychology.

Teachers College sees its leadership role in two complementary arenas: One is as a major player in policy-making to ensure that schools are reformed and restructured to welcome all students regardless of their socio-economic circumstances. The other is in preparing educators who not only serve students directly but coordinate the educational, psychological, behavioral, technological, and health initiatives to remove barriers to learning at all ages. For more than 100 years Teachers College has continued to:

  • Engage in research on the central issues facing education
  • Prepare the next generation of education leaders
  • Educate the current generation of leaders in practice and policy to meet the challenges they face
  • Shape the public debate and public policy in education
  • Improve practice in educational institutions


Edmund S. Adjapong, B.S.
Daniel Tisdale, M.F.A.
Assistant Director
Veronica Holly, M.A.
Program Associate
Sandra Overo, M.Ed.

For further information and inquiries regarding the Beyond the Bricks Project at Teachers College, Columbia University please contact the Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME):  iume@tc.columbia.edu