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Forbes featured President Marvin Krislov's latest column "The Pandemic Has Been Tough, But We’re Ready For What Comes Next"

02/18/2021

Forbes featured President Marvin Krislov's latest column "The Pandemic Has Been Tough, But We’re Ready For What Comes Next"

Last week, I delivered a State of the University address. The annual speech is a chance for me to look back at where we’ve been and look ahead to where we’re going. This year, it felt especially important to gather our community and take stock. And I realized that what we’ve gone through over the last year at Pace University is a microcosm for what we’ve gone through over the year as a country.

The past year has been hard—hard for us as individuals, hard for higher education, hard for our country. At colleges and universities across the country, we’ve dealt with remote education and remote life, with social distance and occasional lockdowns, with the risk of infection and, in some cases, positive cases. We’ve worried about keeping students on track in their studies, about maintaining enrollment, about balancing our budgets amid decreased revenue and increased costs.

And yet when I sat down to reflect on the year behind us, and to look at the one ahead, I found myself optimistic. What I saw was, in fact, a year of triumph. As it turns out, 2020 was a year that leaves me deeply optimistic for our future—not despite what we went through, but because of it. 

The last year reminded me that the people of Pace, like people across the country, are tough.

We didn’t give up. We didn’t give in. Some members of our community dealt with truly terrible situations—sickness, lost work, loneliness, even the loss of loved ones. We mourned the losses, we supported each other—and, most important, we kept working to meet our goals. I suspect this is what happened at colleges and universities nationwide.

Faculty had to pivot in the space of days to entirely new ways of teaching, even while dealing with enormous new obligations in their own lives. Staff and administrators kept the University operating, even as some had to come in every day to keep our systems running and our buildings secure. Our students never forgot the importance of working toward their degrees. Some faced barriers to travel, some faced financial hardship, some tested positive and had to be isolated. But they kept working, and they kept learning. 

And, looking back, I see that we got so much done.

Despite the pandemic, last spring we graduated 2,224 students.

Over the summer, nearly 2,200 new students went through virtual Orientation. And close to 700 faculty members signed up for training to learn how to maximize the possibilities of virtual instruction.

In the fall semester, we processed nearly 10,000 COVID-19 tests through our community testing program. So far this spring semester, we’ve processed another 5,000 and counting.

We hosted 224,714 Pace Zoom meetings since March of last year, with participants connecting from 168 countries and logging a total of 131,879,669 meeting minutes.

Across the country, everyone did what had to be done to make it through this tough year.

We all also kept doing everything we normally do. At Pace, faculty won grants. Students won awards. We recruited a new class of students. We brought on new deans. We raised money. We expanded our online offerings.

Taking stock of all those accomplishments, I know we’re ready to take on the challenges of moving forward. I think that’s true for all of us in this country.

Nationally, we’re ramping up vaccine distribution, and we’re raring to restart our economy. Here at Pace, we’re building an ambitious new strategic plan to move us forward. We’re renewing our commitment to building a University where everyone is included, and everyone is valued. Just last week, thanks to the tremendous generosity of our trustee Barry Gosin, CEO of the global real estate firm Newmark, we announced the Barry M. and Jackie Gosin Center for Equity and Inclusion at Pace University, which will serve as a hub for our work on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

We’re all ready to move forward.

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy promised to send Americans to the moon not because it was easy, he said, but because it was hard. Because it was a goal that would, he said, “serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills.”

This last year was hard, and it brought out the best of our energies and skills. Now it is time for our moonshot: To leverage that strength, to value our people, and to lift everyone up. To join together, focus our energies, and boldly move forward.

The lesson of the last year is that we can do it.

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Forbes featured Haub Law student Wycliffe Okoth in "This Could Be The Future Of Dining In The Age Of COVID-19"

01/22/2021

Forbes featured Haub Law student Wycliffe Okoth in "This Could Be The Future Of Dining In The Age Of COVID-19"

If you want to know the future of dining in the age of COVID-19, go back to school. Some of the most significant changes have happened during the spring semester of 2021, which just started. At least that's the assessment of students like Wycliffe Okoth. He's a third-year law student at Pace University in New York. "In our campus dining hall, various things have changed," he says. Officials are strictly enforcing social distancing rules. They moved the tables even farther apart. There are only two seats per table instead of four. And no one may enter the dining hall without a mask.

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Forbes featured President Marvin Krislov's latest column: "New Year’s Resolutions From A College President"

01/04/2021

Forbes featured President Marvin Krislov's latest column: "New Year’s Resolutions From A College President"

It’s a virtual holiday season, and we’re getting ready for a social distant New Year’s Eve. There are some silver linings: Thanks to the magic of Zoom, I’ve been able to light Hanukkah candles with my kids scattered around the county. But, mostly, the dark and cold weather, with renewed lockdown restrictions and soaring infection rates, serves to underline what a long and rough year it’s been.

I’m also reminded again and again just how much I’m missing human connection. An out-of-the-blue email last minute prompted a new pang of regret, when a faculty colleague mentioned in passing that his parents had been sick with COVID. I hadn’t known, I hadn’t sent him my well wishes, and I felt terrible. I realized that without the everyday chats in corridors and on quads, walking into conference rooms and on the way out of receptions, we’re left with plenty of formal meetings but few person-to-person catchups. We’re losing track of each other, and what’s going on among friends, colleagues, and acquaintances.

In that spirit, I’m making some new year’s resolutions that I hope will reconnect me to all my communities—whether colleagues, congregation members, family, or old friends.

  1. Reach out. I’m going to make time to get in touch with the people I’ve missed seeing or speaking with. For me, that will mean reaching out to faculty, staff, students, and alumni, as well as family and friends. It doesn’t have to be a Zoom, although it could be. I’ll make phone calls, write emails, maybe even send some letters. Over the next two weeks, I’m going to make a list of people I miss connecting with, and in the new year I’ll try to reach out to at least one person a day.
  2. Seek other perspectives. We know it’s important to be open-minded and understanding. This year, it has become clear how much more work we all must do to fully live the values of diversity, equity and inclusion. At Pace University, we have our Presidential Task Force at work, identifying ways to make our institution anti-racist and ensure an improved experience for everyone in our community. On a personal level, I will commit to getting outside my comfort zone. Whether that means talking to new people, reading different publications, visiting new communities (once we can do so safely), I’ll make the effort to gain new perspectives.
  3. Be attentive to the world around me. It’s not just that we don’t understand other people and cultures; all too often, we slip into our habits and don’t really get to know the world right around us. In the new year, I want to make sure I break out of tunnel vision. That could mean volunteering in the community or getting involved in local organization. For me, as a college president, it means recommitting to involvement with local high schools, because we know education is most effective when it’s connected to the community. It means talking to employers and understanding their needs, because college students are the workforce of the future. I want to make sure I actively engage with the people and places around me.
  4. Break down international barriers. While the pandemic has kept so many of us safe at home, it has also served as a reminder that the world is irrevocably interconnected. Understanding other perspectives also means understanding other cultures. At Pace, we welcome students, faculty, and staff from around the world. As borders re-open and travel resumes, I want to make sure I’m doing everything I can to understand the wider world. And in this country of immigrants, I want Pace as an institution—and higher education everywhere—to recommit to the critical importance of international exchange.
  5. Be supportive. Even before the pandemic, college students were facing a mental health crisis. This grueling year has been emotionally draining for all of us. I know I, like all of us, need to take the time and focus to take care of myself. And I also know I need to look out for others, and listen to each other’s concerns. I want to be supportive for my friends and family, and for students, faculty, and staff. This semester, I taught two undergraduate courses. In the new year, I’ll be sure to reach out to those students, check in, and see how they’re doing.
  6. Read more, unrelated to work. I’ve done some of this, though not enough, and it has real helped preserve my own mental health. My 13-year-old cousin organized a Zoom family book club, and it has been a joy to watch for me to watch everyone in my extended family from my 90-year-old uncle and to my 6-month-old cousin on a regular basis while we discuss Animal Farm or the novel The Queen’s Gambit, set in the Kentucky town where I grew up. The key is to spend more time engaged with ideas—and away from screens.

Read the full Forbes article.

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Forbes featured Darren Rosenblum's latest column: "Carrots And Sticks: Why Nasdaq Adopted Its Radical Board Diversity Quota"

12/03/2020

Forbes featured Darren Rosenblum's latest column: "Carrots And Sticks: Why Nasdaq Adopted Its Radical Board Diversity Quota"

Nasdaq announced that they have submitted a proposal to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to require listed companies have one woman board member and one other board member from an underrepresented group. Firms that fail to comply with this requirement must justify their failure or risk delisting from the exchange. This comply-or-explain rule is radical for a securities exchange. While it deserves praise for innovation, what happens next will be fascinating to watch. Will the SEC approve the Nasdaq initiative? If so, how will Nasdaq’s new rule affect companies? Will it improve equality and inclusion at the upper levels of the corporate sector?  To answer these questions, we have to first understand the proposal and why it was adopted. 

Though it may seem like a minor imposition, it is both novel and will affect firm governance in important ways. First, Nasdaq would be the first of the very top exchanges to adopt a board representation diversity requirement. What Nasdaq also adds here however is the inclusion of a person from an underrepresented group. Its proposal combines California’s largely sucessful 2018 quota for women and its recent quota for underrepresented groups, by which they meant certain racial and ethnic groups and LGBT people. 

Nasdaq’s effort to encourage diversity deserves our recognition. Diversity, as many recognize, not only advances the firms’ interests by fostering better governance and reducing groupthink. It also serves as an investment in society overall.  

Yet Nasdaq’s effort here is not just about virtue signaling. How did we get to the point where one of the world’s top exchanges, in the generally anti-quota United States context, adopted a quota?  Surely Nasdaq, as the exchange that includes some of the world’s largest technology firms, would rather get ahead of this movement rather than pull up the rear. What motivated Nasdaq’s choice?  

As with most choices, it probably involves a combination of carrots and sticks. For most private sector endeavors, the carrot is profits and money. This decision on Nasdaq’s part is no different. Over the past decade, key private equity investors and pension funds have initiated their own diversity efforts. Nasdaq’s decision follows their efforts, all of which reflect the market’s acceptance of quotas as a technique for realizing diversity.

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Forbes featured President Marvin Krislov's latest column: "Lessons Learned From A Semester On Campus During The Pandemic"

12/03/2020

Forbes featured President Marvin Krislov's latest column: "Lessons Learned From A Semester On Campus During The Pandemic"

We did it. We made it through the Fall 2020 semester.

In normal times, simply surviving is no great feat. But in this deeply unusual year, achieving something resembling normalcy is a real accomplishment. At Pace University, after a remote spring and a summer of planning, we welcomed students, faculty, and staff back to campus for the fall — and we’re completing the semester as planned.

How did we do it? With preparation, communication, and a commitment to success.

To start, we took seriously all the warnings we received. Back in March, we moved all our classes to remote before we were required to do so by the state, and soon thereafter we told all employees to work from home and students that they wouldn’t be able to continue living in our residence halls. (We made exceptions for students with extenuating circumstances who needed to continue in university-provided housing.) 

Then we spent the spring and summer improving our operations and planning for a new kind of future. 

Our faculty quickly pivoted to remote instruction in March, and then over the summer they worked hard to learn not only how to deliver classes online but how to leverage the advantages of digital technology for even better instruction. Our support services — counseling, tutoring, advising, Career Services — all moved quickly online in the spring, too, and then worked to optimize for digital delivery. 

Our COVID-19 Task Force met every day through the spring and summer, coordinating efforts across the University. We upgraded air filters and purchased Plexiglass barriers. We prepared directional signage and brought in tents to create outdoor spaces. We rethought our academic calendar, moving up the start of the semester and eliminating all holidays, so we could have on-campus instruction finished by Thanksgiving and the anticipated new wave. We developed testing regimens, and, as New York State imposed a 14-quarantine for those arriving here from many parts of the country, we made arrangements to put up hundreds of students in area hotel rooms, and test them all, to make sure they were healthy when they arrived on campus. We made sure we were prepared for different scenarios, and we regularly updated our community on what we knew —and what we didn’t — and what we were planning.

Our students, our faculty, and our staff respected our guidelines. We offered classes in-person, online, and in some combination of the two, so that we could reduce density, maintain distance, and allow those classes that need to meet in person —like labs and performance studies — to do so. We required everyone in our community to complete a health questionnaire every day in order to come to campus, and we selected a random 25 percent of those coming to campus for testing each week.

Read the full Forbes article.

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