A Conversation with President Wallerstein

Baruch’s new president Mitchell Wallerstein met with GSA representatives this Monday evening.  Your correspondent along with Andres Garcia, Mo Shamim, Anthony Esposito,  Emily Rotella and Leon Fischman  spoke with Mr. Wallerstein on his background, views and plans.  His background is eclectic and non-traditional.  His views are that Baruch has tremendous potential.  His plans are to maintain the excellence, to prepare for big cuts and to step up fundraising efforts.

Mr. Wallerstein is well informed on the strengths, history and culture here at Baruch.  He spoke at length about the accomplishments and the high standards.  Keeping that status quo will be no mean feat in the coming years.  Mr. Wallerstein is perfectly aware of the massive cuts coming from Albany.  We were assured that there will be no retrenchment (i.e. layoffs) but specifics on how ends will be met were vague.  It seems there may be more reliance on adjuncts — a mixed blessing.  Certainly that would mean a lower ratio of full-time instructional staff.  However, additional adjuncts would mean more practitioners and instructors with contemporary industry experience.

The good news our President delivered were actual dates on when the escalators repairs would start.  Yeah!  In just a few weeks work will start in the basement and move up one floor at a time.

In the teeth of budget woes, Mr. Wallerstein keeps optimistic on plans for new degrees.  One in particular is a graduate degree in international relations.   Baruch has able faculty in existing programs and we certainly have a very international student body.  Continuing on the development of a curriculum seems like a good and importantly, a doable, idea.

He closed by speaking of a growing consensus among business leaders that graduates from public institutions make great hires.  (well, we coulda told ya that!)  Mr. Wallerstein recounted conversations where employers commented on the high quality of recent public-institution graduates.  These new hires hit the ground running and made a great impression on their superiors.   It seems that students who struggle to get through college  and have to balance work and study are better equipped to handle a stressful and complicated workplace.  Sounds a lot like my favorite allegory of struggling vines that make superb wine.

Welcome to Baruch Mr. Wallerstein.  I genuinely hope it’s not too much of a struggle in these tough times, but enough to make great  leadership.  The GSA will be here to help you and your office.

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