In 2000 the Zicklin faculty began formal discussions on how to improve student readiness for the advanced business curriculum. Focusing on successful models at other institutions, an integrated pre-business core curriculum was developed and implemented. A key factor in the decision to implement the pre-business core was a study of student performance that revealed that poor performance in particular freshman and sophomore courses had a very high correlation with unsatisfactory progress towards the degree. Students who did not receive grades of C or higher in certain courses rarely graduated with a BBA, often because the students and the institution did not place adequate emphasis on these foundation courses.
The pre-business core requirement consists of eight foundation courses: Principles of Accounting, Introduction to Information Systems and Technologies, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, English Composition, Fundamentals of Business Law, Calculus, and Business Statistics. Students are required to complete the pre-business courses with a minimum GPA of 2.25, meet an overall GPA requirement of 2.25, completed either the second course in a 3-semester English sequence or Communication Studies, and have completed a minimum of 45 credits before declaring a business major and taking upper level courses. This took effect in fall 2001 for new freshman and in fall 2003 for new transfer students. (Grades earned by transfer students at their prior institution are counted towards the GPA requirement.)
Over the past year, with the help of the CUNY Office of Academic Affairs, Baruch has been working with the six community colleges to develop pre-business associates degree programs that map with Baruch’s program. This systematic articulation is viewed as a model for other degree programs by the Central Administration and has spurred similar work in the field of education.
The development of course and program learning goals, coupled with a substantive outcomes assessment effort, are central to this initiative. As the College clarifies its learning goals for the BBA, the establishment of AA/AS pre-business programs at the community colleges will provide the framework for Baruch faculty to work in tandem with faculty from sister CUNY institutions. Together senior college and community college faculty will determine how to best integrate essential learning experiences into the BBA so that all students earning the degree, whether native Baruch students or transfer students from CUNY, will share comparable opportunities and experience. This effort, begun seriously in fall 2004, provides us with a mechanism for assessing our graduates’ ability to meet the learning goals established by the faculty, and an imperative to continuously improve our curriculum in order to better prepare our graduates.
In fall 2002 the Weissman School launched a new masters program, an MS in Applied Mathematics for Finance. This program provides students with the mathematical skills required for modeling and solving problems that arise in the financial services industry. The program combines a rigorous treatment of the underlying mathematical concepts with strong emphasis on computational techniques and their practical application in finance. The program benefits from coursework and collaboration with the Zicklin Department of Economics and Finance. The quality of the students drawn to this program has been exceptionally strong, with average quantitative GREs of 756 (524 verbal and 626 analytical) for the most recent cohort; currently more than 50 students are enrolled.
Joint Program in Public Administration and Nursing
The program with Hunter College addresses the critical need for educating nurses who will assume managerial responsibilities. Students in the program will receive an MPA from Baruch College and MS in nursing degree from Hunter College. CUNY has made a major commitment to upgrading nursing education, and this program takes advantage of a natural synergy that exists within the University by pairing its preeminent public administration program with its preeminent nursing program.
BBA in Real Estate
In fall 2005 Baruch plans to offer a new BBA in real estate in a new department of real estate in the Zicklin School. Demand for the BBA in real estate is high. Zicklin currently offers an undergraduate minor in real estate, as well as a 3-course graduate concentration. Total enrollments at the undergraduate level reached a new high this spring of 461.
Real estate accounts for nearly half of the wealth in the country, and the industry is among the most dynamic, especially here in New York City. Searches are underway to hire additional faculty to support these programs. The new department will also work closely with the Newman Real Estate Institute that is well known throughout the area for its innovative studies and conferences.
One relatively new program, the MA in Business Journalism, is being phased out in light of the opening of a new Graduate School of Journalism by CUNY. Demand for graduates of the program, while initially strong, has dropped significantly.
Middle States recently approved a number of Executive MS programs currently being offered in several overseas locations. The first of these was an MS in Finance launched in Tel Aviv. This program proved to be quite successful and the graduates of that program were very strong. As described earlier, the onset of 9/11, SARS, and heightened immigration requirements, had a significant impact on the number of international students coming to Baruch for graduate programs in business. One way in which the College has chosen to combat this is by an expansion of our international programs, adding sites in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. These are areas from which the College had drawn many students in the past and where Baruch’s reputation was well known. Planning has begun regarding additional possible sites, including China proper and Paris.
These programs were developed in such a way that an intermediary bears the financial risk while the College receives a flat fee per student. The direct costs of delivering the instruction (i.e., faculty salaries, travel costs, and facilities) are the responsibility of the agent. This model has allowed the programs to expand without a significant investment on the part of the College. Nevertheless, Baruch maintains control over faculty, curriculum, admissions, and grading.
Common Core Curriculum
Since the last Middle States review, the College implemented in fall 2001 a new common core curriculum for all undergraduates. This common core is divided into three tiers. Tier I focuses on communication and quantitative skills, including writing, speech, mathematics, and foreign languages. Tier II provides breadth in the arts and sciences with requirements in the areas of the humanities (Fine and Performing Arts, History, Literature, and Philosophy), the Natural Sciences, and the Social Sciences (Anthropology/Sociology, Economics, Psychology, and Politics and Government). Tier III provides students with an in depth concentration in a discipline outside the student’s major. Each Tier III path requires completion of three courses, two of which are at the junior level or higher, the last of which is a capstone course. These capstone courses are research-oriented and communication-intensive..
In July of 2003, the National Science Foundation formally notified the College that the School of Public Affairs’ proposal to create a U.S. Census Bureau Research Data Center (RDC) here at Baruch had been approved. Under the College’s leadership, a consortium of other institutions will guide the RDC operation, including CUNY, Columbia University, Fordham University, Russell Sage Foundation, New York Federal Reserve Bank, SUNY Stony Brook, Pace University, NYU, The New School, the National Bureau for Economic Research, Princeton, and Cornell. This center will increase the opportunities for Baruch faculty to use census data (both public and unpublished series) for research, as well as attract outstanding scholars that work with these data sets to spend time at the RDC and the College. We join a select company, as there are only seven other RDCs in the U.S.
Aspiring Leaders Program
The Aspiring Leaders Program to train school principals at the School of Public Affairs became the model for the New York City Leadership Academy. Baruch’s innovative approach marries theory and practice by having courses team-taught by practitioners and theorists and by requiring students to experience training under guidance of a seasoned and successful principal. The Carnegie Corporation was so impressed with Baruch’s program that they awarded it $465,000 to develop a special program for high school principals.
Fiscal Archives Project
The Fiscal Archives Project recognizes that there are many lessons to be learned from New York City’s 1975 fiscal crisis that are relevant to the financial problems cities in this state and throughout the country face today. Archives from government agencies, mainly from the Municipal Assistance Corporation (MAC) and oral histories from the public and private participants involved are being housed in the Newman Library at Baruch for scholars and others to use.
The study of ethics is now “hard wired” within Baruch’s curriculum. All students are required to take at least one course that includes a significant ethics component, and many other courses throughout the curriculum and across disciplines emphasize ethics. Indicative of this emphasis is a decision by the Zicklin faculty to require that all new and revised courses include an ethics component.
In spring 2003, a faculty seminar, “Ethics Across and Beyond the Curriculum,” brought together a group of College faculty from all three schools to present ethical issues in their disciplines and discuss how they teach them. The sessions were video taped and are available in several locations across the campus, including the library, and online in the Faculty Handbook. In 2004, as an outgrowth of the seminar, the College held its first “Ethics Week,” during which faculty were encouraged to raise ethical issues in classes, and several public forums were held on ethics, featuring prominent representatives from the business and other professions. In spring 2005, in addition to classroom discussions and public events, the second Ethics Week featured an “Ethics Bowl,” in which teams of students from each school competed in a debate.
The Academic Integrity Initiative at Baruch underscores our commitment to ethics. Since spring 2003, members of the Academic Integrity task force have met regularly with faculty from each department to insure that they are aware of the college’s procedures for dealing with cheating and plagiarism and to gather their input. A wide variety of resources related to these issues have been placed in the Faculty Handbook. The taskforce has communicated to faculty members the need to discuss academic integrity issues in classrooms, to write about them in syllabi, and to design and proctor examinations with care. A bookmark outlining “Myths and Facts” about academic integrity and another that outlines the college’s policies and procedures were distributed in spring 2004. In fall 2004 the task force was reformulated as a standing committee. AStudent Guide to Academic Integrity, written by a student subcommittee of the original taskforce, was distributed in fall 2004, as was a brochure entitled Creating and Administering Exams: Best Practices in Support of Academic Honesty. Upcoming plans of the committee include sponsorship of the College’s participation in the national assessment of academic integrity sponsored by the Center for Academic Integrity at Duke University.