Student Development through Arts and Cultural Partnerships
In the fall of 2009, I served as the interim President of Baruch College. One evening attending a gala, I was introduced to Dr Jack Templeton, the President of the Templeton Foundation and Sir John Templeton’s son. After being introduced, he looked me straight in the eye and said: ‘As the President of Baruch College with the largest accredited Business School in the US, how do you teach your students about ethical values?’ I was taken aback by his question, but it made me think. I was aware that Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business had modules about ethics in most, if not all, of its course offerings. Baruch College’s other two schools, the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Public Affairs, also offered ethics courses. But I wondered whether students could really understand the personal issues at stake when faced with an ethical dilemma if they did not experience the moral, ethical and social conflicts that arise in such situations. The more I thought about this question, the more I realised we were not educating the ‘whole’ student. We were giving them skills and knowledge that would lead to careers in business, government or the social sectors, but how were we helping them explore their inner worlds and getting them in touch with who they are, what their values are and, more broadly, what their purpose in life is? I also realised that we talk with students about their roles as future leaders of society, but do very little to prepare them for this aspect of their future. I spent the remainder of my term as interim President contemplating what I could do to change the prevailing paradigm of educating undergraduates at Baruch College. As fate would have it, I met Donald Rubin, and our initial meeting has grown into a strong relationship with him and with the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation. The outgrowth of this relationship is discussed in greater detail later in this chapter.