July 2019 Faculty Spotlight
Faculty Spotlight with Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Professor, Patria de Lancer Julnes
The Marxe School offers a warm welcome to Dr. Patria de Lancer Julnes who has just begun her new role as Associate Dean of Academic Programs. In this spotlight, Dr. de Lancer Julnes discusses her plans to grow the Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs program and manage curricula review in new and exciting ways, and tells us why the prospect of working at the School holds so much appeal for her.
Welcome to the Marxe School! How do you plan to grow the Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs (BSPA) program?
The BSPA is a wonderful program with very impressive graduates. The curriculum is strong and its focus on community is what many of today’s prospective students are looking for. I think we need multiple strategies to grow the program and one of them should be leveraging these strengths to promote BSPA across the College, the CUNY system, and, to the extent possible, high schools. I would love to see us develop more collaborations with high schools and community colleges in our area and bring to them activities that showcase faculty and alums in the context of what our curriculum offers. These activities could include skill-building workshops, lectures, campus visits, service learning projects, etc. Another strategy will be to tweak our curriculum to align with current trends with regard to skills and competences needed to succeed. Related to this, we will work with faculty to help them freshen up their courses, as needed, as well as explore ways of teaching introductory courses to increase the interest of prospective students. Finally, for now, at more operational level, we will work on communication strategies to identify and stay connected with prospective students.
What areas of curricular development will you address?
I am looking forward to taking a deeper look at our curricular offerings in all the academic areas of the school. I will be talking with our faculty, students, and alums, as well as taking a look at trends in higher education.
Two things come to mind in part because of our location in NYC, which provides a great laboratory where students could put what they learn in the classroom to practice. First, I think that it will be important for us to enhance our service learning opportunities for students at all levels. I would love to develop more connections with local agencies and nonprofits to open the door for our students to work side by side with these organization to solve administrative and social policy issues. Second, we already have great courses when it comes to quantitative analysis, but I think we need to strengthen students’ ability to work with big data, present analysis in a meaningful way, and use data in decision-making. At the same time, since we have a great focus on community building, empowerment, advocacy, and leadership we should ensure our programs provide students with more opportunities to conduct and use qualitative research.
Another thing that comes to mind is building capacity for ethical thinking and acting. Thinking and acting ethically are part of the foundation to building a better society. I was pleased to see that our programs offer students the opportunity to take at least one course on ethics. However, it would be great if we could make ethics a centerpiece of our curricular offerings.
What appealed to you about the Marxe School and why did you accept the offer to become Associate Dean of Academic Programs?
First it was the way the position was described in the ad; it emphasized building and strengthening academic programs, which are areas in which I have extensive experience and enjoy doing. The ad also mentioned the opportunity to develop international programs, which is also something I have done and continue to be interested in. I think being involved in international higher education is a form of soft diplomacy that goes a long way not only in building capacity but also in increasing our understanding of people and cultures.
The position also offered the opportunity to work in partnership with others across and outside the College to fulfill the mission and vision of the School. I have enjoyed working with partners to create opportunities that help to advance the professional aspirations of faculty, staff, and students as we work together to make the world a better place.
Then it was the interview and the people I met. The faculty here does great work and are known in their field of expertise. Also, when I visited I got the feeling that the faculty were committed to the mission and vision of the School. The staff was also very friendly and appeared committed to the success of the students they serve. I also saw that the faculty and staff seemed to really like Dean Birdsell and that was a huge selling point for me.
At a more personal level, coming to Baruch felt like an opportunity to come back home. My husband and I have lived, worked, and study in NJ and NY. I have friends, relatives, and colleagues in the area. Thus, taken together, all of these things told me that accepting the offer to become Associate Dean of Academic Program was the right decision for me and my family.