Dear Barnard Community,

Welcome back! I hope you had an enjoyable and productive summer and are ready for the start of the 2018-2019 academic year. 

Last week I had the honor of greeting our returning and transfer students—and meeting the wonderful Class of 2022 who come to Barnard from across the country and across the globe. I look forward to getting to know this accomplished group of young women who will add their unique and powerful voices to our community. 

As a College, we are here to help our students succeed in a diverse and rapidly changing world. With all that is happening nationally and globally, I want to reiterate Barnard’s unwavering commitment to building a diverse and inclusive student body. Empowering our students to think critically and to learn across different viewpoints and lived experiences enhances the educational experience for us all. 

With that as a goal, our Council on Diversity and Inclusion is continuing the important work it started last year. For one, the Council has created an Inclusion Fund to support programming aimed at building an accessible and equitable campus where our community can come together for civil discussion and debate in an inclusive setting. Faculty, staff, and students are invited to submit proposals on any topic and in any forum, from speakers and performances to seminars and workshops. More information on all that the Council is doing can be found here.

In another significant update, more than 1,500 students and alumnae have used the services of Beyond Barnard since the launch of the office last spring. Beyond Barnard is breaking down the false dichotomy between the classroom and the world outside Barnard's gates, in an effort to lead the national conversation on the preparation and advancement of women in academia, industry, nonprofits, the arts, and government. One exciting upcoming event is Beyond Barnard's re-imagined Opportunities Fair, which will take place in the Diana Event Oval on Friday, September 7. The event, which will begin with a faculty and employer breakfast discussion on advancing and supporting student careers after Barnard, will include more than 55 employers. Organizations from a diverse range of industries and occupations—from Human Rights Watch, Simon & Schuster, and Google, to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Teach for America, and the International Rescue Committee—are enthusiastic about recruiting Barnard students.

I am also pleased to report that we are committing more than $1 million over the next three years to expand internship opportunities for students who would otherwise take unpaid positions. This represents an important step toward ensuring that any Barnard student who wants an internship can afford to pursue the opportunities that align best with their academic and professional goals.

Also of note, we have several significant searches occurring this year. First, we are embarking on a search for a Dean of the College. Information on this search and how faculty, students, and staff can be involved and make nominations can be found here. In the interim, Dean of Studies Natalie Friedman and Executive Director of Residential Life and Housing Alicia Lawrence will co-lead the Dean of the College area. Students will be hearing more from them shortly. We have also begun the search for a new Vice President who will provide leadership in promoting an institutional culture that values, supports, and advances our diversity, inclusion, and equity agenda(s)—including learning from and with our broader New York City community. More information on this search is forthcoming.

Of course, the most sensational Barnard news is impossible to miss: The Cheryl and Philip Milstein Center for Teaching and Learning is now open, as of today, and I hope that you will take time to explore this incredible academic hub. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the grand opening celebration on October 3. In addition to a ribbon cutting ceremony, there will be tours of the building, demonstrations in our new academic centers, and, of course, refreshments. More information about the Milstein Center can be found here.

And, as a reminder, I do hope to see you all at Convocation on Thursday, September 13, at 4:00 p.m. in Riverside Church. We are honored and proud that one of our own, award-winning journalist and National Public Radio anchor and executive producer Maria Hinojosa '84, will deliver the keynote address. Everyone is invited to attend.

Meanwhile, let me welcome you back.  I look forward to a successful year ahead. 

Sian Leah Beilock