News and Notes by Date
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Bard College has earned the 2020 Carnegie Foundation Classification for Community Engagement for its commitment to connecting higher education and civic life. The classification recognizes excellent alignment among campus mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy endeavors for the public good. Bard was distinguished for its "exemplary institutionalized practices of community engagement." The College is among a select group of institutions to earn the classification in 2020.
“Receiving the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement is a tremendous achievement for the College,” says Jonathan Becker, executive vice president and vice president for academic affairs. “It is a recognition of our deep partnerships in the community and our many programs providing access for underrepresented communities across the country, including the Bard High School Early Colleges, the Clemente Course, and the Bard Prison Initiative, and in the Hudson Valley with Brothers at Bard and La Voz, among others. We are thrilled that Bard is increasingly seen as a model of a civically engaged institution at home and abroad.”
Civic engagement is at the core of Bard College’s identity as an institution. The College’s curriculum and campus life stress the connections between academics and active engagement outside the classroom. Bard students are encouraged to initiate projects that tackle social problems and provide public service, from regional issues affecting Bard’s neighbors to topics of international importance. Some student-led endeavors have become long-standing commitments, such as the Bard New Orleans Exchange, which has involved nearly 1,000 student volunteers since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Projects that began as student-led efforts have grown into core college programs. The Bard Prison Initiative, for example, which began as a student project in 2001, has awarded 550 degrees and grown to become a national leader in higher education for incarcerated students.
The news of the Carnegie Classification follows last week’s announcement of the Open Society University Network (OSUN). Bard and Central European University are the founding partners of OSUN, a new international network of higher education and research, founded with a pledge of $1 billion in support from the Open Society Foundations. OSUN aims to transform higher education worldwide by integrating network courses, offering joint-degree programs, and reaching neglected student populations around the world, all advancing the values of open society, including free expression and diversity of beliefs. At its core are the principles of liberal education and civic engagement.
The Carnegie Classification recognizes Bard’s civic engagement and higher education innovations at home and abroad; OSUN will expand those innovations through a larger and more established global network of institutions. Bard College students and faculty will have robust opportunities to collaborate with classmates and colleagues from across the globe, and Bard’s model as a private college for the public good will have a resounding international impact.
Shute, founder of the National Young Farmers Coalition, was interviewed by the Mother Jones food podcast Bite about the challenges faced by the rising generation of American farmers, including more extreme weather, stratospheric land prices, enduring legacies of racism, and corporate domination of food markets that weighs down crop prices.
Leon Botstein will serve as the first chancellor of the Open Society University Network, alongside his role as president of Bard College.Bard College and Central European University (CEU) have, with support from the Open Society Foundations (OSF), launched a new international network of higher education, research, and cultural institutions. George Soros, founder and chair of OSF, has announced a commitment of one billion dollars from OSF to create and support the Open Society University Network (OSUN). He made the announcement on Thursday, January 23, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
OSUN will integrate teaching and research across higher education institutions worldwide. It will offer simultaneously taught network courses and joint degree programs and regularly bring students and faculty from different countries together with in-person and online discussions. The network aims to reach the students who need the most support—neglected populations such as refugees, incarcerated people, and displaced scholars and students. OSUN will promote the values of open society, including free expression and diversity of beliefs.
Bard and CEU will form the core of this new network. Members of Bard’s existing undergraduate liberal arts network, including Al-Quds Bard College of Arts and Sciences, American University of Central Asia, Bard College Berlin, European Humanities University, and Fulbright University of Vietnam, will participate actively in OSUN programs, as will new partners including Ashesi University in Ghana, BRAC University in Bangladesh, and Arizona State University, a leader in distance learning.
"The ideals and goals of OSUN reflect key elements of Bard College’s unique educational programs and innovations developed over the past several decades, from its distinctive undergraduate liberal arts curriculum and its focused graduate programs to its international collaborations," wrote Bard College President Leon Botstein in a letter to the campus community. OSUN will provide substantial opportunities for Bard students and faculty to collaborate with other institutions globally through exchanges, network courses, civic engagement projects, and research. Botstein will serve as OSUN’s first chancellor concurrently with his duties as president of Bard College. Jonathan Becker, Bard’s executive vice president, will assume, alongside his current responsibilities, the role of OSUN’s vice chancellor.
"OSUN is the most transformative initiative in higher education I have witnessed in my career," said President Botstein. "It promises robust and diverse partnerships extending critical inquiry, research, and scholarship on an international scale."
As part of the College’s 10th Annual MLK Day of Engagement, more than 300 Bard students participated in volunteer projects, workshops, and a conference on campus.Bard College students, staff, and faculty celebrated the 10th Annual Martin Luther King Day of Engagement last weekend with a host of events on and off campus. Beginning on Saturday, January 18 and continuing on Monday, January 20, Bard students participated in a series of volunteer projects, civic engagement workshops, and a miniconference on campus. Most participants were first-years on campus for Citizen Science; they were joined by 42 Upper College student leaders.
The weekend's events—organized by the Bard Center for Civic Engagement, the Office of Sustainability, and the Citizen Science Program, in cooperation with local nonprofits—take place as part of the nationwide Day of Service that marks the King holiday. Volunteers around the country respond to Dr. King's call, "Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'"
Bard students and staff played a significant role in the popular Red Hook Repair Cafe for the second year. Sixteen students joined other local volunteers at the Red Hook Community Center. The Center bustled with community members sharing their expertise, fixing everything from computers to sweaters. Participants made Valentines for senior citizens who receive Meals on Wheels, learned sewing and woodworking, and connected with local nonprofit organizations.
Participants chose from 16 workshops, trainings, and panels on campus that connected Martin Luther King's legacy as a leader in civil rights and social and economic justice with today's local and global challenges. Facilitators focused on helping students build skills to effect change. Students joined workshops on public speaking, identifying fake news, and how to have difficult conversations about bias with friends and relatives, among others. Panel topics included Reconfiguring Radical Black Politics, Biomimicry: How Learning From Our Biological Elders Could Change Our World, and The Legitimacy and Legacy of Historically Black Fraternities and Sororities.
Bard junior Daniella Mingo, MLK Day of Engagement Fellow and Posse Scholar, was thrilled with how eager and excited the students were to venture out into the community. "These groups of students were able to build up structures, volunteer at food pantries and travel even to Woodstock to participate in the Women’s March, raising their voices to demand equality for all living beings. It has been such a rewarding and inspiring experience. I strongly believe that this first-year class has embodied what it means to show up and show out!"
The organizers included a civic engagement miniconference in Olin Auditorium for the second year, after last year's success, featuring a panel of local leaders who discussed inclusive practices for youth and the community as a whole. The College welcomed to the Olin stage Shaniqua Bowden, outreach coordinator for the Kingston Land Trust; Cammie Jones, associate dean for experiential learning and civic engagement at Bard; Jody Miller, Dutchess County human rights/EEO officer; and L'Quette Taylor, Poughkeepsie community organizer and founder of Community Matters 2, Inc.
"My favorite part of MLK Day of Engagement this year was seeing how much everyone cared about the day as a whole," commented Bard sophomore Mikalah Jenifer, MLK Day of Engagement Fellow and also a Posse Scholar. "From students to professors to workshop leaders, everyone was so invested in perpetuating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy."
Bard's community engagement this month doesn't stop with MLK Day. The Bard STEM Outreach team was also excited to host about 450 8th graders from local school districts in Rhinebeck, Pine Plains, Germantown, and Hyde Park. They also welcomed onto campus the 9th and 10th graders from Woodstock Day School. Throughout all the schools' visits, local students learned about this year's Citizen Science topic: water. They analyzed drought mapping, calculated water scarcity in a game format, made ice cream with freezing point depression knowledge, and learned about the life cycle of a plastic water bottle. All of these lessons and activities were created and facilitated by Bard CCE student fellows, through a course called Scientific Literacy and Inquiry.
Bard Junior Karianne Talks about the UN Sustainable Development Goals on MLK Day
Bard College junior Karianne talks about Bard's commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Accord, and how they're organizing students to write to faculty about incorporating the goals into their curricula.
Two Bard College students were awarded a highly competitive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship by the U.S. Department of State. Art history major Tatiana Alfaro ’21 has been awarded $5,000 towards her studies at Bard College Berlin. “I’m so happy to have received the Gilman award. It’s definitely an honor and was unexpected. My experience with Gilman will enhance my experience abroad. Studying in Berlin will help me have a more global view on the art world, and specifically, what I want my role within it to be. I believe it will be a good opportunity for me to see my personal and academic interests overlap, not only as an art historian but as a global learner.”
Biology major Mary Reid ’21 has been awarded $3,000 for her term at the Lorenzo di Medici Institute in Florence, Italy. “Studying abroad is an aspiration for many students but financial concerns are often an impossible barrier. I am incredibly privileged to reach for my own aspirations as a result of this scholarship, my supportive friends, and my wonderful family. While abroad, I hope to gain a greater knowledge of new cultures and ideas, as well as an increased sense of autonomy and introspection. I am eager to make my study abroad experience live up to my childhood ambitions. Thank you to everyone who has made this possible.”
Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply towards their study abroad or internship program costs with additional funding available for the study of a critical language overseas. The Gilman scholarship supports American undergraduate students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad and, since 2001, has enabled more than 31,000 outstanding Americans of diverse backgrounds to engage in a meaningful educational experience abroad. The program has successfully broadened U.S. participation in study abroad, while emphasizing countries and regions where fewer Americans traditionally study. The late Congressman Gilman, who served in the House of Representatives for 30 years, chaired the House Foreign Relations Committee, and was honored with the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Medal in 2002, commented, “Study abroad is a special experience for every student who participates. Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but also adds an enriching social and cultural experience. It also provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community.”
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