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Columbia UniversityThe President's Report 2002-2007
Curricular Enhancements
The University strives continually to enhance its offerings to reflect the most important developments in academic inquiry. Several key trends have emerged in Columbia’s recent efforts to develop new programs and course offerings and improve existing ones.

Internationalizing Course Offerings
In the past five years, both the number of study-abroad and foreign-exchange programs and the number of participating students have increased at Columbia. New exchanges have begun with the University of York in Great Britain and Bogaziçi University in Turkey, for example. The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science has been particularly active in pursuing relationships with many universities in Europe and East Asia, and the Graduate School of Business now has partnerships with twenty-five institutions worldwide.

Various schools have also added international components to their curricula, courses, and activities. The School of Social Work, for example, has created a Center in Central Asia for student study and faculty research. In 2003, the Mailman School of Public Health took a leading role in using funds donated by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to create a School of Public Health at BRAC University in Bangladesh. Find out more about study-abroad and exchange programs. >

Integrating Public Service
Public service has always been an integral part of the curricula of certain schools, such as Social Work and Law. Recently, other schools have incorporated public service initiatives as well. SEAS has developed a program placing students in agencies seeking engineering solutions to social problems—such as reducing greenhouse emissions or improving public housing—in the United States and abroad. One project its students have undertaken is to improve the potable water in a district in Ghana.

Enhancing Pedagogy Through Technology
Technology is driving many recent improvements in pedagogy at Columbia: The number of electronic classrooms has grown, and a central facility, the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning, has been created to train faculty in the best uses of new technologies in teaching.

Strengthening the PhD Programs
The PhD programs have enriched their curricula in a number of ways, helping to make them more competitive for the best candidates. Enhancements include stronger faculty mentoring and new degree requirements.

Expanding the Continuing Education Program
In 2002, the School of Continuing Education began to offer programs leading to a master of science degree. It has since added significantly to its offerings, while continuing to expand its rich range of non-degree programming. Find out more about new degree programs. >

Journalism School Reform
After an extensive two-year review of the future of journalism education led by President Bollinger, the Graduate School of Journalism inaugurated a master of arts program in 2005 to offer intensive subject-area training in four broad academic disciplines.

The first substantial change to the school’s curriculum and structure since 1934, when it switched from offering an undergraduate degree to an MS, the new degree addresses the changing role of the journalist in today’s society. With journalism growing in importance in the modern world, and concerns about commercial and other interests becoming too dominant, the University’s response is to strengthen journalism as a profession, with stronger standards and values that will provide its members with an innate resistance to other competing values that have the potential to undermine the public responsibilities of the press.

“Given today’s rapid scientific discoveries and global transformation, it is important to equip journalists with the specialized knowledge needed to comprehend complex subjects and to report on them with accuracy, clarity, and insight,” said President Bollinger when the new degree was announced.

Read more about the new Journalism MA. >

Reexamining Undergraduate Education
“Every decade or so, we must reflect on what we are doing well and consider opportunities for improvement of this essential part of our intellectual community.”

—President Bollinger on the Core Curriculum

In October 2006, Bollinger launched the Task Force on Undergraduate Education, a University-wide initiative to evaluate the current state of undergraduate education and how well our students are being prepared for the future.

Find out more about the Task Force’s mission and its members >

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