Dean Eggers highlights the many exciting events and initiatives underway at SPS this fall.
Dear SPS Students, Faculty, and Staff,
I am thrilled to open the doors of Lewisohn Hall to everyone—finally, everyone!—in my first academic year officially serving as your dean. Whether you are new to Columbia, are continuing your academic journey, or are a member of our dedicated faculty and staff, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to the 2021 – 2022 school year.
Our Student Government (SPSSG) is currently open for nominations for new representatives and I encourage any students interested in working closely with the School administration to campaign. I am continuously impressed by this group’s shared insights and track record of making Columbia a better place for all of us. The efficacy of the SPSSG to identify and realize our shared goals is a testament to the quality of our professional education and verifies the qualities shared among strong leaders, even across our wide variety of industries and programming.
Our School is unique in its scholar/practitioner model. SPS faculty members are experts at the top of their fields, informing the world’s leading organizations with best practices culled from Columbia’s research and scholarship.
We are welcoming three new program directors this fall. John Parkinson, who has taught on our faculty for many years, will lead our Construction Administration program. Dr. Braddock Linsley joins Dr. Arthur Lerner-Lam to co-direct Sustainability Science. Dr. Christoph Meinrenken has taken the helm of our Information and Knowledge Strategy program. I look forward to seeing how this group will bring their unique backgrounds and strengths to grow and evolve these popular Master’s programs.
There are many ways to connect and engage across the School at our events and through co-curricular programming. Examples include a yearlong event series on organizational agility through a collaboration between the Technology Management, Information and Knowledge Strategy, Human Capital Management, and Negotiation and Conflict Resolutions programs. In the spring, the Sports Management program will hold its annual conference and engage the industry’s leading experts on evolving business models, disruptive technologies, and how to enable data-driven decision making. And the Nonprofit Management program looks forward to welcoming alumni, students, and faculty to its vibrant annual Open House.
The Career Design Lab supports our students in all phases of their career development through holistic and innovative coaching and programming. The CDL recently hosted a Think-a-Thon in partnership with the United Nations and students worked throughout the summer to develop real-world solutions to advance the UN’s sustainable development goals. This fall, the CDL is asking students and alumni to compete in the Greater Good Challenge.
The Columbia HBCU Fellowship Program is celebrating its fifth year, with a continued mission to prepare talented, high-performing HBCU graduates to lead, drive community impact, and advance their professional industries through program engagement, mentorship, and career development opportunities. Please join me in welcoming the incoming cohort of students.
Our popular Academic Year Immersion program will convene on weekends this fall and spring, and continue to offer exploratory courses and college preparedness to talented high school students from all over the world. Columbia’s long-running American Language Program will continue its important work with international students who have been meeting regularly to perfect their English as a second language.
I encourage you to keep up with the School’s blog, Tomorrow’s Minds at Work, and submit your own writing. Read Senior Vice Dean Dr. Steven Cohen’s personal reflection on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, or an interview with Dr. Greg Witkowski, Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Nonprofit Management, on how the nonprofit sector united to quickly mobilize funds and services following the tragic events.
SPS launched many innovative new courses over the past year. Bioethics students can now take Disability and Bioethics, which offers a context from which to examine "disability" and "disability studies" from the perspectives of the field. In Climate Finance and Sustainable Development, Sustainability Management students learn the opportunities in finance to support investments intended to address climate change. The Narrative Medicine program added a class in Advocacy and Organizing: Narratives of Activism, Social Justice, and Community Health.
We are welcoming many new part-time faculty members this fall. Jerry Cutler, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for The New School, will teach Foundations of Labor and Employment Law to our Human Capital Management students. Lauren Glover is teaching The Compelling Communicator and Dr. Lilian Ajai-Ore is teaching Digital Communication Strategy in the Strategic Communication program, and Dr. Vinay Mahadeo is teaching Analytics Frameworks and Methods I to our Applied Analytics students. Aaron Alley is a Strategic Communication alumnus and will teach the Wealth Management class The 3Cs: Communications, Counseling and Client Relationship Management. Joanna Levy, Director of Sportsbook Analytics at DraftKings, Jennifer Duberstein, Head of Sports Business Affairs at CAA Sports, Michael Parker, Director of Financial Operations at the New York Yankees, Portia Archer, Chief Operating Officer of the NBA G League, and Kristin Connelly, VP of Global Brand Marketing of Activision Blizzard Esports are joining the Sports Management program. Dr. Joanne Mantell will teach Empirical Methods in Bioethics and Dr. Molly Lucas will teach AI and Ethics in our Bioethics program. Wendy Hapgood, Director of the Wild Tomorrow Fund, and Laura Kavanagh, First Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Fire Department, have joined the Sustainability Management program, and Dr. Jerry Paul Sheppard has joined us in Sustainability Science. Soubhagya Parija, Fabrice Fiol, Tom Kartanowicz, and Hafsteinn Gislason will teach in Enterprise Risk Management.
Our Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Erwin de Leon, encourages us to look through the DEIA lens, to assess continuously how we treat each other and what we are doing to ensure each member of our community flourishes. The School’s inaugural DEIA Committee, led by Dr. de Leon, is working diligently and passionately to recommend policies to institutionalize DEIA in our hiring, curriculum development, learning and development programs, support networks, and other practices. Read what each of our committee members hopes to accomplish this year.
I am so glad to continue a series I call “Talking with Troy” in person this term. These conversations are an informal venue for me to meet with our students and address their questions and concerns. It’s proven to be an invaluable opportunity to learn about the ways our talented students are leveraging their Columbia experience in the world and in their careers, and to generate new ideas for how the School can better support them.
While there is much to be joyful about in our return to in-person instruction, we are proceeding with the utmost caution. Please know how committed we are to keeping you safe as we continue to navigate the pandemic. The University has put a comprehensive COVID-19 safety plan in place for the fall semester. Columbia is mandating masks indoors, enforcing vaccine adoption, conducting surveillance testing and contact tracing, and restricting visitors. We will be nimble and evolve our policies as we monitor the public safety situation.
The future at SPS is bright and potent with the curiosity and energy needed to take full advantage of this historic return to campus. I look forward to learning alongside you throughout the semester.
Dean, School of Professional Studies