The former School of Continuing Education, henceforth the School of Professional Studies

The former School of Continuing Education, henceforth the School of Professional Studies

Yes, the sad rumors are true: the School of Continuing Education is no more. The School of Continuing Education has been laid to rest. The School of Continuing Education may live on in our hearts, but will no longer live on in official Columbia promotional materials. Instead, it will continue under the guise of the School of Professional Studies.

The name shift supposedly reflects a change in the emphasis of the school’s courses of studies. While “Continuing Education” conveyed a focus on non-degree offerings, the school’s former structure, “Professional Studies” has more of a focus on specific, targeted professional degree offerings, now more common for students at the school. Still, it’s a little jarring to have the rug pulled out from under us so suddenly, with just one succinct email from Prezbo on a Thursday morning as warning.

Bwog has many questions about this change of costume for one of our most beloved facets of Columbia. Were former SCE students able to vote on this name change? Will former SCE students now have to wear black tie to class in order to cultivate a more “professional” aesthetic in their working environment? Must we all start referring to former SCE students as SPS students? Doesn’t that make them sound like middle-school-aged girls who attach too many postscripts to their emoji-laden emails?

Alas, Prezbo’s email does not answer any of these questions. He only informs us of the change in traditional concise Prezbo fashion, leaving us to speculate at will.

The email reads as follows:

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

I am pleased to announce that the School of Continuing Education has been renamed the School of Professional Studies. The name change reflects an evolution that has occurred since the newest of Columbia’s schools was established within the Arts and Sciences in 2002. In the period after its founding, the School of Continuing Education predominantly focused upon helping people pursue additional educational opportunities in their chosen fields, and the name appropriately conveyed an emphasis on non-degree offerings. For several years now, that focus area has been shifting. Under Dean Jason Wingard, whose appointment I announced in April, the School is changing in order to better meet the needs of a new generation of professionals and organizations facing a rapidly evolving global marketplace.

The designation “School of Professional Studies” accurately describes the School’s current targeted professional degree offerings available through 14 master’s degrees and a comprehensive portfolio of pre-professional and post-professional programs. These curricular options are strengthened by a variety of interdisciplinary research centers unique to the Columbia academic community. In short, the name change announced today recognizes the School’s current status and future role as one of the premier destinations in the world for innovative professional education.

As we look forward to the next chapter of Columbia’s School of Professional Studies, I want to thank Dean Wingard and David Madigan, Executive Vice President for Arts and Sciences, for their leadership and guidance, and to wish continued success to the community of faculty, students, alumni, and staff who make this School exceptional.


Lee C. Bollinger

Lewisohn Hall via the Columbia website