The Way Ahead

By President Sian Leah Beilock

Image of Sian Leah Beilock

When you visit the campus this semester, you might notice that it looks a little different. Just a few weeks ago, as I made my way to Milbank Hall, I couldn’t help but pause as I reached Futter Field. The tents, which had been erected during the height of the pandemic to give our students and faculty a safe and comfortable space to convene outdoors, had been taken down, and in front of me was an open expanse.

At that moment, I was reminded of how far we’ve come and how much we’ve achieved just this past year. We have demonstrated a unique ability to be not only adaptable but courageous when it comes to tackling new challenges. And above all, we have forged ahead, providing students, faculty, and staff with the resources and support they need to flourish and reach their full potential.

More recently, we’ve focused our efforts on fostering a number of leadership development opportunities for members of the Barnard community. It is critical that our staff and faculty feel encouraged and empowered to pursue their interests and grow their skill sets at the College. With the help of Emma Wolfe ’01, Associate Vice President and Senior Advisor to the President for External Relations and Leadership Development, we’ve been able to accomplish this in myriad ways: offering pathways to internal promotions, launching leadership workshops for department chairs, holding monthly training and community-building sessions for staff managers, and more. We recently kicked off a monthly series called Barnard Pro Tip, in which faculty and staff come together in a TED Talk-style forum to share their insights and expertise with fellow community members. These conversations have been edifying and inspiring, and I look forward to more of these thought-provoking presentations.

We’ve also made great strides in expanding the programming around physical, mental, and financial wellness at the Francine A. LeFrak Foundation Center for Well-Being, thanks to the leadership of Dr. Marina Catallozzi, our Vice President of Health and Wellness and Chief Health Officer. From emotional and mental health workshops to a host of course offerings on financial planning and investing, students now have access to a number of resources and tools that address the many dimensions of health and wellness.

In the past few weeks, I have passed by Futter Field many times. I eagerly watch as our groundskeepers and staff work hard to restore the patches of dirt back to fresh grass. I can imagine students gathering on the lawn this spring, locked in conversation, and it feels emblematic of something more — of all the progress we’ve made, from the quiet day-to-day feats to the larger, groundbreaking initiatives. And what becomes clear to me is that Barnard is always striving for more, always ready for the next challenge.

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