“The arts enhance students’ imagination and creativity. They teach students that there are multiple answers to complex questions and allow them to experience the unfamiliar,” says Weissman School of Arts and Sciences (WSAS) Dean Jeffrey Peck. Through the Weissman School, the College offers over 50 areas of study within the liberal arts. Even so, WSAS has fostered an initiative to further integrate arts programming into all facets of study. “It is interesting to see how the arts contribute to the well-rounded education of a business student,” says Peck, who has helped to cultivate greater collaboration between the College’s curricula and its arts resources. “We now have many different components at work that give the arts a stronger role in a Baruch education,” explains Peck.
In fact, just this year, three exciting new ventures have come about, two of which partner Baruch with external organizations (the Rubin Museum of Art and the Theatre Development Fund [TDF]) and the third, an in-house effort titled Performing Diasporas, designed to enrich course work with campuswide performances and events. “What we’re seeing is a renewed commitment to undergraduate education, not just from a course perspective,” says Public Affairs Professor Stan Altman, who helped spearhead the Rubin Museum collaboration.
This year’s freshman class is the first to experience innovative programming through Freshman Seminar course work; in a conversation with Charles Li, author of this year’s Freshman Text, The Bitter Sea; and with museum representatives. Through these opportunities, students develop a richer understanding of cultural diversity while developing communication and critical thinking skills. More important, says Altman, “students get a better sense of who they are.”
CUNY’s partnership with TDF also provides opportunities to attend theater, meet industry professionals, and become more informed audience members. According to Peck, these collaborations “put Baruch on the map as a school with a dynamic developing arts program that enhances education.”
—Adrienne Rayski (’07)