Ensuring Academic Excellence at SPS

As graduation day approaches, we have an opportunity to reflect on the past year and plan for the future. While our priorities are numerous, the top of the list remains a steadfast focus on providing a best-in-class academic experience for our students. I want to share with you how the School of Professional Studies has and will continue to ensure academic excellence for all of our students.

First, it is important to note that our goal at SPS is to prepare students for achievement, progress, and success in the competitive global marketplace of today and tomorrow; a marketplace that is shifting priorities and demands at an exponential rate, and one that demands a relevant, interdisciplinary, challenging, and customized curriculum and instructional design.

We realize this goal by employing three key strategies: 1. developing and evolving programming that is academically rigorous and continuously market-driven; 2. bridging academic theory and professional practice through an integrated approach; and 3. providing unparalleled interdisciplinary education that spans the continuum from pre-college students through post-retirement learners.

Throughout this process, we are wholly committed to ensuring the highest level of education with a scholar-practitioner faculty model that features an average of 15 years of experience in industry-leading corporate and nonprofit organizations and 50% representation of doctorate degrees—many from Ivy League and other top institutions. This model enables our students to learn from both research-focused, full-time faculty, as well as executive experts who are directly engaged in the imminent challenges and opportunities facing leading organizations across sectors—finance, pharmaceutical, media, and technology, among many others. Further, the realization of multiple delivery modalities—traditional and flex—allows content to reach and connect global learners while maintaining academic rigor and standards.

Core to realizing an effective teaching model, rigorous academic oversight is a crucial area of focus at SPS. To ensure a high-quality, competitive education, we have implemented a robust academic governance structure that includes a Dean’s Council (comprised of senior, tenured faculty members from the Faculty of Arts & Sciences), a Faculty Advisory Committee (made up of tenured faculty and administrative representatives from across the University), a Committee on Instruction (includes faculty and administrators from SPS), and a Standing Committee on Appointments and Promotions (consists of tenured and practice professor faculty from across the University).

The results have been striking. This year, the Fulbright Scholar Program awarded four grants to exemplary alumni and students from SPS. Our Actuarial Science and Sports Management programs are each ranked #2 in the world, with Actuarial Science also ranked as the top program of its kind in North America. Our student approval ratings fall between 95 and 99 percent across all programs, and a high percentage of our graduates obtain coveted positions at top companies and organizations after completing their SPS degree.

The thoughts of our many, many students, faculty, and alumni speak for themselves:

“…my professional network, skill set, and confidence are growing exponentially...”,
“...a well thought-out and expansive curriculum that has been tailor-made for us...”,
“...unparalleled industry connections...”,
“...tremendously rewarding...”

We are proud to have developed a model that reflects and represents the best of Columbia University—in quality, value, and excellence—and look forward to continuing to help our students accomplish their academic and professional goals while maintaining a position, among our peers and against the University’s rigorous standards.