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The Baruch College Faculty Handbook

The Bernard L. Schwartz Communication Institute

Last updated on 8/18/14

Founded in 1997, the Bernard L. Schwartz Communication Institute is an award winning academic service, faculty development, and educational technology research and development unit devoted to developing and supporting communication-intensive curricula and facilitating undergraduates’ development as confident, purposeful communicators. The Institute’s Fellows and staff explore, develop and integrate into curricula innovative practices and technologies for improving students’ abilities to communicate in both academic and professional contexts. The Institute advocates having students encounter as many different forms of communication in as many disciplines as possible over their course of study. The Institute promotes a coordinated effort across the disciplines to encourage students to see themselves as communicators, to value the importance of communicating their ideas well, and to see themselves as life-long practitioners of communication.

The Institute’s principal activities can be divided into several key areas. These include:

Development and Support of Communication Intensive Courses (CICs): CICs at Baruch emphasize at least two of three modes of communication--written, spoken and computer-mediated--and feature substantial written and/or oral communication assignments as an integral part of the course curriculum. Offered in a variety of academic disciplines, CICs are designed to aid students in becoming strong speakers and writers and engage them in a broad range of communication intensive activities.

Faculty development: Institute Fellows and staff organize and conduct a variety of professional development programs for Baruch faculty. These include one-time workshops, workshop series, and ongoing seminars on a variety of topics around the teaching of oral and written and computer-mediated communication.

Instructional Technology Development and Support: The Institute’s innovative Video Oral Communication Assessment Tool (VOCAT, is a web application that is both an assessment instrument and a teaching tool for oral communication. It enables faculty and students to share, evaluate, and reference a portfolio of video and other media files related to their course curricula. Since 2007, over 13,000 Baruch students have benefited from VOCAT in more than 30 courses. Blogs@Baruch ( is an online publishing platform for Baruch College developed and managed by the Schwartz Institute. Blogs@Baruch facilitates new opportunities for students to write and to incorporate multimedia into class projects. The system is now used for a variety of purposes as a platform for a wide range of courses (over 120 sections in the last academic year), department websites, official College publications (including Dollars and $ense and the Alumni Magazine), student publications and numerous professional development initiatives. Blogs@Baruch is among the most active online communities of its kind in the nation. The Institute received the 2009 CUNY Ribaudo Award for Technological Excellence for its work on Blogs@Baruch.

The Schwartz Communication Institute sponsors an annual symposium ( on communication and communication-intensive instruction that brings together leading educators and business professionals from across the country to discuss fundamental issues of communication.


Also see the CIC Guidelines.

Location: 137 East 25th Street, 3rd floor
Director: Heather Samples, 646-312-2068
Telephone: 646-312-2060; 646-312-2061 (fax)