Baruch, Our Momentum Forward
September 13, 2021
Dear Faculty and Staff,
My sincere gratitude to the Baruch community for your hard work as we see the campus coming alive again. With the dedication and ingenuity of many staff in student-facing offices, campus facilities, and public safety, our campus reopening was extremely smooth. Together with volunteers from around the College, they orchestrated the very successful Days of Welcome, held mostly outdoors on the Clivner=Field Plaza. The weeklong event featured pop-up ID centers, a one-stop shop to serve student needs, a mobile vaccination van, on-site Covid-19 testing, and more.
There were many challenges, and some were daunting. For example, more than 6,000 students lacked ID cards, and all students’ vaccination information needed to be manually verified and integrated into the ID card system for campus access. With about 80 percent of students taking some hybrid or in-person classes, the potential for long lines at the turnstiles was very real, but thanks to advanced planning and teamwork it did not materialize.
As we overcome the initial hurdles and settle into the fall semester, I want to share with you key priorities for the College in the coming academic year.
College Focused Goals for AY2021–22
In AY2020–21, I shared with you six key priorities that build on the College’s Strategic Plan: 2018–23 and integrate recommendations articulated by the Task Force for the Future, given the new realities of our world. The pandemic-induced budget stress during AY2020–21 forced the College to focus on detailed planning for these priorities. For AY2021–22, we will start the implementation phase for the six College-Focused Goals:
- Goal 1: Launch multifaceted institutional transformation to elevate and enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Goal 2: Complete institutional structure and planning toward an integrated model for student success: increase student engagement, academic momentum, degree completion, and post-graduation success
- Goal 3: Promote faculty and staff innovation to fully leverage Baruch’s intellectual horsepower and capacity as a learning organization
- Goal 4: Migrate from virtual instruction to a mixture of in-person, hybrid, and HyFlex, as well as synchronous and asynchronous online courses, all while facilitating and maximizing experiential learning
- Goal 5: Initiate multiyear effort toward an incentive-based budget model: align institutional priorities and resource allocation; create incentive for collaboration and entrepreneurial program innovation
- Goal 6: Expand visibility and philanthropy while strengthening and building external partnerships
Why These Priorities?
All six goals are fundamentally about investing in our people. Starting with our commitment to create an equitable and inclusive environment, we pledge to systematize Baruch’s student-centric culture and enhance our students’ academic experience leading to their ultimate success.
By promoting cross-college faculty research and curricular innovation, we empower faculty to leverage Baruch’s intellectual horsepower and elevate academic and scholarly excellence. By developing and implementing professional development opportunities, enhancing work-life balance and mental health support, and supporting collaborative and flexible work environments, we empower staff to develop innovative programs, processes, and opportunities that enhance Baruch as a learning organization.
In the post-pandemic world, we have a unique opportunity to leverage multiple instructional modalities and create truly novel approaches to instruction and learning. As I shared in my blog, it is our distinct advantage as a major urban institution to develop hybrid-experiential learning, offering students a mix of online lectures and field work with experts and inspiring changemakers in business, nonprofits, community-based organizations, and more.
Baruch is in a resource-constrained environment, but at the same time, our environment is ripe for innovation and growth. An incentive-based budget model puts people at the center of the process—promoting greater transparency and informed financial decision-making, while aligning resources with our strategic directions.
Our final goal turns to the broader Baruch community: our alumni, friends, supporters, and partners. Because of their generosity, we successfully completed the Stand Up for Baruch initiative: raising funds that allowed the College to address pressing student needs brought on by the pandemic. We will continue to strengthen Baruch’s philanthropic support, enhance our external positioning and national standing, while advancing College-wide strategic partnerships to enhance corporate, alumni, and community relations.
Moving Forward as a Community
We should all be proud that the overwhelming majority of our students opted for some degree of in-person instruction. Students I met told me how much they love to be on campus—thanks to the rich and engaging environment we work hard to create. To extend that in-person vibe, Provost Linda Essig and I sat down with Alison Lee, president of the Undergraduate Student Government, for a three-part video series called “Explore Baruch: A Student’s Guide to…” New Opportunities, New Campus Spaces, and NYC. I invite you to watch and share on Baruch’s YouTube channel.
I also look forward to having deeper conversations with you when I resume my blog later this month—and to seeing you in person and at some of the virtual events that are happening for Latinx Heritage Month. This is an exciting time for Baruch as we experiment with new ways of working, teaching, learning, socializing, and serving others while building an equitable, inclusive, and collaborative community.
S. David Wu
President, Baruch College