August 31, 2011
Welcome to the Fall Semester
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
Welcome back. Our Fall semester has gotten off to a roaring start, quite literally—with a category one hurricane! The Baruch College community responded in extraordinary fashion to Hurricane Irene. The Newman Vertical Campus was opened as an evacuation processing center, and our gyms later were pressed into service as a shelter for about 150 people and pets. I visited the NVC on Saturday as the storm was moving in, and I was extremely proud of the way everyone from the College pitched in to help, giving selflessly of their time. Of course, the storm required flexibility on everyone’s part, as we were forced to postpone classes after the transit system was shut down. But we are now fully operational, and I am excited about the great students who are joining us, both the first year students who are members of the Class of 2015 and all of our great transfer students.
And the news just keeps getting better regarding Baruch’s academic quality. The excellence I discovered when I joined the College a year ago continues to be recognized by national news outlets and ranking organizations. For example, the College once again is ranked in the Top 15% of U.S. Schools by the Princeton Review. And for the first time, the Zicklin School of Business has been ranked among the nation’s "Best Business Schools" by Forbes Magazine. This year, Zicklin is ranked 50th on the list, which is higher than some nationally recognized programs like Boston College, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Arizona State University. Moreover, this past March Zicklin was also rated by U.S. News & World Report as the #1 MBA program for financial value at graduation. This parallels the findings of a noteworthy recent report by The Education Trust that identified Baruch as one of only five schools, of the nearly 1,200 four-year colleges and universities nation-wide that were surveyed, which is fully successful in serving the needs of low income students—and of the five institutions named, Baruch has the highest graduation rate (60.3%) and the highest Pell enrollment (44%)!
We take this affordability/excellence equation very seriously, which is why it was difficult to see the cost of a Baruch education for our students increase this year. For the Fall semester, all CUNY institutions have a $300 tuition increase for in-state, full-time undergraduate students. The Baruch leadership team saw the need as early as two years ago to increase revenues, especially for our graduate programs; and we began working with the CUNY chancellery to develop new funding approaches. We realized that without an additional resource infusion, our graduate programs would run the risk of stagnating. For example, they would have a decreased ability to provide career advising services and professional development activities, including travel to conferences, etc. that is available to students at most of the universities with whom we compete. In August of this year, the CUNY Board of Trustees gave final approval to our proposals for (a) a new differential tuition for the MPA program, and (b) a new “Academic Excellence Fee” to help support our Masters programs. Baruch attracts many talented students, who come expecting not only an outstanding experience in the classroom, but also outstanding support services. The differential tuition and academic fees will be used directly in support of such services, while still maintaining Baruch’s traditional affordability in comparison to similar programs at peer institutions in the region.
I welcome your ideas for further improving the overall quality of Baruch, as well as your suggestions for maintaining the great services we provide and/or resolving any problems that come to your attention. Please feel free to send me a message at: firstname.lastname@example.org; or sign up for my Friday office hours, which are scheduled by appointment by contacting Ms. Kenya Lee in the president’s office.
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