A Message from Dean Jessica Lang

Dear All,

I write to welcome back returning faculty and to welcome, for the first time, 40 new full-time faculty—the largest cohort of new faculty ever to join the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences at one time. Their expertise in a wide array of research disciplines and teaching will deepen and broaden our ability to advance our mission.

On Friday we also welcomed approximately 2600 first-year students and 1500 transfer students. Many Weissman faculty attended orientation meetings with these students and their peer mentors—their excitement in starting their Baruch careers is palpable!

I want to share with you some exciting updates involving Weissman: the Mathematics Department has won a National Science Foundation S-Stem grant of nearly $1 million. This grant will offer meaningful financial and academic support to a cohort of new majors each year for its duration and further solidify Weissman’s reputation as a math destination.

Congratulations to Professors Pablo Sobreron-Bravo, Guy Moshkovitz, and Tim Ridenour for this fabulous win!

I also want to congratulate Professor Lisa Blankenship (English) on her new role as Interim Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). A growing area of interest for the CTL is the use of AI and its potential role in the classroom. Keep an eye out for its upcoming series of workshops about incorporating and responding to AI in the classroom.

In the coming weeks and months, the College will be sharing our new Strategic Plan. In Weissman, we will use the launch of the College’s Strategic Plan to kick off our own WSAS Strategic Planning process. I look forward to collaborating with faculty, staff, and students as we gather input on our collective priorities for the next five years.

This is truly a time of change and transformation in the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences and in higher education. I feel so fortunate to be part of a community known for its productivity, generosity, and dedication. I look forward to the year ahead.

With my very best wishes for every success,


Jessica Lang, Dean
Weissman School of Arts and Sciences 
Baruch College, CUNY

Prof. Katrin Hansing Wins NEH Grant to Document Untold Stories of Cuba’s Involvement in Angola Civil War

The echoes of war reverberate long after the final shots are fired, and for the more than 450,000 Cubans who participated in the generation-long Angolan Civil War from 1975 to 1991, some are just now being heard. Recognizing the significance of the many untold personal narratives from this conflict, Katrin Hansing, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Baruch College, and her colleague Maria de los Angeles Torres of the University of Illinois, have embarked on an unprecedented undertaking: the process of collecting and disseminating them. With the generous support of a prestigious and highly competitive grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, they will be able conclude their research project and manuscript, “Democratizing the Past: Cubans Remember the Angolan Civil War.”

“Our project delves into memory at the individual level, countering the state’s dominant racialized and heroic war narratives with grassroots testimonies gathered both in Cuba and its diaspora. These accounts will offer a more intricate and contradictory understanding of the war and its remembrances,” Hansing said.

The Cuban state’s official narrative proudly recounts a tale of heroism and sacrifice to settle the debt of slavery and assist in ending apartheid in South Africa. But Hansing, a South African who has extensively researched Cuba over the past 25 years, often encountered anecdotal fragments from Cubans during her visits to the island that challenged this tidy historical saga. And it astonished her that despite the involvement of nearly half a million Cubans – an impact on almost every other Cuban family – an eerie silence still broods over the topic on the island and abroad. 

“As someone from a country with a violent and complex history, I firmly believe that confronting and understanding our personal, familial, societal, and national memories is crucial to prevent history from repeating itself,” Hansing emphasized.

With the grant’s assistance, Hansing and Torres will travel on a final journey to Angola to complete additional interviews, followed by the development of an academic book, organizing exhibitions, and conducting workshops and talks. The project aims not just to shed light on a suppressed chapter of Cuban history but to initiate broader conversations about war, trauma, memory, and their impacts on society.

“Look at the war in Ukraine,” Hansing said considering the project’s timely resonances. “We have a war raging right now in the middle of Europe. In the end, Nations win or lose, but the people on the ground are the ones who experience a lifetime of collateral damage. And not just the generation that went through it. It’s still there for the second, the third, and beyond.”

For many Cuban war veterans, this project may provide a long-awaited platform to give voice to their experiences, replacing the authority of a singular war narrative with a rich tapestry of personal accounts. As Hansing says, “It’s about time these stories are heard. Especially now, before they disappear forever.”