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Westchester Magazine featured Pace’s strong response to the pandemic in "Higher Education – A sea change in student life"

02/18/2021

Westchester Magazine featured Pace’s strong response to the pandemic in "Higher Education – A sea change in student life"

– Higher Education –

A sea change in student life

College campuses in Westchester adjusted to pandemic-related challenges relatively well over the course of 2020, with some embracing innovations in learning and student life that will likely last for many years to come.

In October,College Magazine touted Pleasantville-based Pace University as having the fourth-best response to COVID-19 among higher educational institutions in the nation. The magazine praised the university’s impressive response plan, prorated housing and meal refunds, pass-fail grading, and random testing linked to the college’s “Pace Safe” security app. The university also launched the New York Recovery internship program, which placed and funded 65 students at 24 different nonprofit organizations conducting pandemic relief work in the region. “We helped organizations that were struggling — and some students have even secured jobs out of this, as well,” notes Pace University president Marvin Krislov. “We’ve also learned that we can do a lot remotely.”

Krislov adds that for 2021, the spring semester will likely look very similar to the fall. “It’s an uncertain situation,” he adds, with shifts that occur based on infection rates and the status of the pandemic. “But we are hoping to have more in-person activities and hoping to have athletics up and running.”

Read the full Westchester Magazine article.

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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.

Read the Forbes article.

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Bustle featured Dyson Professor Sally Dickerson in "The Guilt And Shame Pandemic"

01/14/2021

Bustle featured Dyson Professor Sally Dickerson in "The Guilt And Shame Pandemic"

Considering the damage that stress can do to the immune system, could feelings of intense guilt and shame also put you at greater risk during a pandemic? “There is some evidence linking either chronic or short-term experiences of shame with inflammation,” writes Sally Dickerson, a professor of psychology at Pace University who co-authored a study on the subject in 2004, in an email. But, she adds, it’s not clear whether these changes in inflammatory activity would be enough to alter disease course for someone with COVID.

Read the full Bustle article.

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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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Press Release: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY PRAISES PACE UNIVERSITY FOR SUSTAINABLE ENERGY-SAVING PRACTICES DURING PANDEMIC

11/17/2020

Press Release: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY PRAISES PACE UNIVERSITY FOR SUSTAINABLE ENERGY-SAVING PRACTICES DURING PANDEMIC

Pace to reduce its energy consumption by 20% by 2023

NEW YORK and PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. (November 17, 2020) – The U.S. Department of Energy has praised Pace University and highlighted its efforts to save energy and reopen its buildings safely. Through quick action and a commitment to reopening all three campuses — its undergraduate and graduate campuses in Lower Manhattan and Pleasantville, and the Elisabeth Haub School of Law in White Plains—in a safe and sustainable manner, Pace was able to achieve 30% to 40% energy savings compared to the same period in 2019.

Ryan McEnany, director of energy and resiliency at Pace’s Department of Facilities and Capital Projects, noted that the unexpected realities of the pandemic demanded flexibility and innovation.

“This showcases the hard work that we undertook including additional responsibilities such as becoming experts by researching the ever-changing Centers for Diseases Control and New York State recommendations, filtering through new and effective technologies to improve indoor air quality, and setting up campus with signage to allow for proper social distancing,” said McEnany.

Notably, Pace has emerged as a key leader in the Department of Energy’s “Better Buildings Initiative,” which involves over 950 commercial, public, industrial and energy organizations. The idea behind the initiative is for innovative organizations like Pace to share their sustainable energy strategies and practices, thus providing a blueprint for others to follow that lead.

Collectively, Better Building Initiative organizations have saved close to 1.8 quadrillion B-T-U’s of energy, equivalent to nearly $11 billion, and more than 105 million tons of carbon dioxide. As a participant in the Better Buildings Challenge, Pace has pledged to a 20% energy reduction campus-wide by 2023 and is well on its way to achieving that goal.

In a blog post on the Department of Energy website, the Better Buildings Initiative highlighted Pace’s commitment to its mission and praised many of the strategies the University implemented, which included productive and efficient air-conditioning cycling during the summer months, continuous energy audits to ensure standards were being met, and an overhaul of steam traps and steam system distribution.

Additionally, the Better Buildings Initiative praised the manner in which Pace maintained sustainable energy use while also implementing necessary COVID-19 safety measures that include, but are not limited to: installation of ultraviolet lights in bathrooms to help sterilize air, installation of bipolar ionization in some large public spaces on the New York City Campus, reorganizing the traffic flow of buildings, and installation of non-septic elevator buttons.

Ibi Yolas, vice president of facilities and capital projects, credited Pace’s accomplishments in this area to the tireless work of staff, and the University’s overall commitment to a sustainable future.

“I am thankful for my team who worked tirelessly to find the right solutions and keeping their focus on the best and most effective existing and emerging strategies,” said Yolas. “And also thanks to the diligent work of the COVID task force and others who made it all possible.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, Pace remains committed to exploring and implementing strategies focused on improving both campus health and campus-wide energy efficiency.

Pace University has for decades been a leader in environmental stewardship. The university offers a number of undergraduate and graduate degrees in environment studies, environmental science and environmental policy, as well as a professional certification in ecology. Additionally, The Elisabeth Haub School of Law (Haub Law) is one of the top ranked programs in the country for environmental law, a signature program at the school, and The Pace Environmental Policy Clinic has gained a national reputation for its work developing innovative environmental protections on a range of issues.

Pace University was recently featured in The Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges: 2021 edition and earlier this year, in partnership with Con Edison, Pace University installed a Solar Tree on its Pleasantville campus. In 2015, Pace also unveiled its Environmental Center Complex that includes classrooms and a replica of the former farmhouse building which serves as a key facility for faculty and students.

About Pace University
Pace University has a proud history of preparing its diverse student body for a lifetime of professional success as a result of its unique program that combines rigorous academics and real-world experiences. Pace is ranked the #1 private, four-year college in the nation for upward economic mobility by Harvard University’s Opportunity Insights, evidence of the transformative education the University provides. From its beginnings as an accounting school in 1906, Pace has grown to three campuses, enrolling 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in more than 150 majors and programs, across a range of disciplines: arts, sciences, business, health care, technology, law, education, and more. The university also has one of the most competitive performing arts programs in the country. Pace has a signature, newly renovated campus in New York City, located in the heart of vibrant Lower Manhattan, next to Wall Street and City Hall, and two campuses in Westchester County, New York: a 200-acre picturesque Pleasantville Campus and the Elisabeth Haub School of Law in White Plains. Follow us on Twitter or on our news website.