Mid-Semester Report on University Developments

March 9, 2005

To the Columbia Community:

As we near the midway point in the semester, I want to take note of several significant developments within the University.

The Graduate School of Journalism, under the leadership of Nick Lemann, the Henry R. Luce Professor and Dean, will launch a new Master of Arts program that provides intensive subject-area training in various academic areas. This is the first new professional degree offered by the school since it introduced its Master of Science some 70 years ago. The program is a further realization of the founder Joseph Pulitzer's vision of teaching journalists to understand complex subjects and to report on them with accuracy, clarity, and insight.

This spring heralds the arrival of the renowned Shakespearean director Peter Brook to Columbia. Through the University Arts Initiative, Barnard College, and the Harlem Arts Alliance, Brook and his international theater company will take up a month-long residency on the Morningside campus at the end of March. Brook's residency will be the occasion of the U.S. debut of Tierno Bokar, a theatrical production intended to illuminate the complex theme of pluralism and tolerance. There will be symposia, lectures, workshops, and class activities as Brook and his company engage Columbia and the community at large in an ongoing analysis about the play and its broader implications. Tierno Bokar runs from March 30 through April 26. Please consult the University Web site for more information.

We also have two major developments in health sciences. Under the stewardship of Mary O'Neil Mundinger, Dean and Centennial Professor in Health Policy, the School of Nursing has created the nation's first clinical doctorate in nursing. Among other things, this new degree reflects the critical importance of nursing in the healthcare system and the role of the school in preparing nurses for clinical practice at the highest level.

At the Mailman School of Public Health, a new program leading to a Masters of Public Health in Global Health will begin this fall. After a course of study with a global perspective on health issues, students will have a six-month practicum in a developing nation. The new program was developed by Allan Rosenfield, Dean of the School of Public Health and DeLamar Professor of Public Health Practice and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Ron Waldman, Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health and Epidemiology; and Pamela Collins, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry (in Epidemiology).

As part of the University's efforts to encourage, nurture, and expand the role of women in the sciences, we will welcome Shirley Tilghman, President of Princeton University and Professor of Molecular Biology, and Nancy Hopkins, Professor of Molecular Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to Columbia on March 24 and 25, respectively, to speak on this critical matter. President Tilghman will inaugurate the Earth Institute's ADVANCE lecture series, and Professor Hopkins will deliver this year's Eric Holtzman Memorial Lecture. For more information about these lectures, please visit the Earth Institute's ADVANCE Web site (www.earthinstitute.columbia.edu/advance/events_current.html).

In closing, I would like to say just a few more words about the controversy surrounding certain aspects of the teaching and study of the modern Middle East at Columbia. This has been a subject of great interest on and off the campus, and I have tried on numerous occasions to speak to the issues raised, including last night with students at Common Meal, a forum developed by Chaplain Jewelnel Davis. It is my deep belief that when, as now, passions run high on a matter dividing the world and, in turn, the University, it is especially important that we chart a course that hews to our basic principles and not allow ourselves to be swayed by other forces. To that end I believe we must commit ourselves to living by three basic values. We must protect the University as a community of scholars free to explore ideas, challenge orthodoxies, and discuss controversial issues. We must adhere to the standard of academic inquiry that respects and acknowledges the full and rich complexity of our subjects. And we must ensure that the principle of academic freedom includes the rights of students to be participants in our academic enterprise. If we do these things, I am confident we will emerge from this controversy stronger than ever.

I expect to receive the Ad Hoc Committee's report soon after classes resume, and I will communicate to the community shortly thereafter about what actions the University will take so that we may move forward thoughtfully and appropriately.

I wish you a safe, happy, and restful break.


Lee C. Bollinger