This morning, President Bollinger announced the next phase of Columbia’s expansion plan, effective immediately, which outlines Columbia’s immediate absorption under Barnard into a new parent university.

In a recent email sent to the Columbia community, President Bollinger announced…something! Bwog is not really sure.

We think there’s something happening with school administration and organizations. Listen—you need multiple degrees in comparative literature to extract a line of clarity from these emails. There might even be a change from prose to metered poetry in there. Please read the email yourself to try and digest it. We’re only on paragraph two trying to find the definition of some of the words.

What is understood is that Columbia and its schools—undergraduate and graduate—will be absorbed by Barnard College, thus bolstering Barnard University. Furthermore, this comes with the creation of a new institution to inaugurate the budding education era: Barnumbia University. An administrator who would wish to remain anonymous, said that “The name was an obvious choice. As many of you know, my personal philosophy as Dean of the College uplifts Shoshin, the Zen Buddhism idea meaning “beginner’s mind.” It is an attitude of openness, a lack of preconceptions, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner would. But the name needed no discussion of that. There was only one, perfect, and obvious choice. Barnumbia. It’s a term that everyone already uses. You can’t take one step on college walk without hearing a student pronounce that perfect portmanteau. I’d say it’s used most heavily by the male students.”

It is uncertain what the unison of these schools might mean for housing, the core, and most importantly, LinkedIn profiles.

This article is not a developing story. We will not update it with new information as it is discovered. Enjoy the marriage of these two institutions.

Email sent out to Columbia Students by President Lee C. Bollinger on April 1 at 4:20 am EST: 

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

I am writing with an update, this time primarily to begin thinking ahead to the future academic years. Under the extraordinary connection and conditions of the current day, our minds are fixed on responding to the present. But, by inclination and by the sheer march of time, we also have to make plans for the future. We have collectively discussed this for this semester, and then even years before that, and now we need to bring our attention to the fall semester, the next academic year, and the many years afterward. The purpose of this message is to say that this process is now underway.

I prevaricately announce the launch of the next stage of Columbia University’s organizational Plan. Barnumbia University. Barnumbia University outlines a series of carefully devised and tangible goals to be reached over the next ten years, but implemented immediately. Grounded in increased collaboration, much of it originating here at Columbia, this plan will put our campuses on a path towards eliminating distinctions. As a part of this, all of Columbia schools will be under the administration of Barnard University, which, in turn, is under the guidance of a newly established and innovative parent institution, Barnumbia University.

I know I do not need to make an elaborate case for this significant institutional change. Columbia’s commitment to the support of its students is already deeply instilled in our collective being. It begins with our longstanding policies at the heart of social justice. These commitments to ensure access to a Columbia education unconstrained by family wealth carries on through every school and program at the University. And in many of our professional schools, we do our very best to support student career choices that serve the public good but are not sufficiently remunerative.

It is true that in a time of change, such as the one we are now experiencing, the almost incomprehensible variables and uncertainties that characterize the moment often make definitive decisions debatable. That said, I want to affirm that Columbia, despite changes, will continue to be a leader in higher education. Over the next two months, I and others will write with more detail about how we will do that. I have no doubt, however, that whatever form our pursuit and application of knowledge takes we will be called upon to manifest a steady and determined effort and to achieve the highest levels of creativity we can summon. We are open, but we are and will be open in new ways, including those we have not yet discovered. Some of what we will do will be new but will change back when normality returns, and for good reason, because these activities and practices have been developed and refined over centuries. I’m thinking here especially of the art of personal intellectual discussion. Other things, however, we will invent afresh, and keep, and the Columbia decades from now will be richer for them. You will hear from me soon about ideas that are emerging.

Columbia is many parts. The colleges, schools, departments, institutes, and centers each will have somewhat different plans for the future given the different impacts of the circumstances in which they find themselves. These parts will only be bolstered as members of a newly unified, larger community of Barnard University. Our new and exciting challenge, however, will be accommodating the merge of undergraduate populations and administrations. As I indicated, we will know much more in the next several weeks. I want to express our shared gratitude to the members of the administration and faculty who are literally devoting themselves to these institutional issues.

Just one more thing. While Columbia is no longer independent, that does not mean that Columbia is by no means not an individual with free speech. I try in these notes to add something about what the University is doing so that we can all have a fuller sense of pride in Columbia. I’d like to speak about our nearby communities. We are trying our best. Our faculty are lending their expertise in their fields and other urgent issues. I want to give a special focus to a leading educator, and your next school President. 

While I asked Sian Beilock to step down as President of Barnard University, she refused. Fair. After a long series of talks and meditation, a leading compromise package was reached. Beilock will remain in her role and I will maintain my salary in a new role. Her term as President of both schools will begin on April 20, 2022, when Columbia University assumes its role as one of the schools underneath Barnard. 

Beilock has had a rich career in her broad academic and administrative responsibilities. At the University of Chicago, her scholarly expertise in helping students learn at their best, and her success in bridging liberal arts disciplines within an urban context made her an exceptional leader for Barnard college, and now Barnard University.

As executive vice provost and an officer of the University of Chicago, Sian has had a large portfolio aimed at advancing the University’s research and educational mission. In 2015, she created and launched UChicagoGRAD, a university-wide initiative designed to ensure that Chicago’s 9,000-plus graduate students and postdocs develop the skills necessary to be leaders in academia, government, industry and the nonprofit sector. In this role, she oversees integrative efforts to bridge urban scholarship, practice and engagement via meaningful collaborations, and innovative programming with Chicago’s Southside neighborhoods and cities around the world. Sian is also responsible for major academic centers ranging from the university libraries to the University of Chicago Press, academic space planning and allocation, and the development and implementation of several major building projects.

As the Stella M. Rowley Professor in the Department of Psychology, Sian has focused her research specifically on girls’ and women’s success in math and science and how performance anxiety can either be exacerbated or alleviated by teachers, parents and peers. She works to understand the brain and body factors that influence learning and performance, and how simple psychological strategies can be used to ensure success, from test taking and public speaking to athletics.

Additionally, Sian has authored two books, the critically acclaimed Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal about Getting It Right When You Have To (2010) and How the Body Knows Its Mind: The Surprising Power of the Physical Environment to Influence How You Think and Feel (2015), and more than 100 publications. She has received funding from the National Science Foundation (including a CAREER award), the Department of Education, and several foundations. She also works extensively with educators and those involved in public policy, including serving on a National Research Council committee on decision-making and stress.

Among her many awards, Sian recently won the 2017 Troland Award from the National Academy of Sciences. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the National Academy of Kinesiology. She received a Bachelor of Science in cognitive science from the University of California, San Diego, and doctorates of philosophy in both kinesiology and psychology from Michigan State University.

On behalf of the Board and the unification committee, we are thrilled that Sian Beilock will be Barnumbia University’s 1st President. I hope you all will join me in welcoming her to Barnumbia University, Barnard, and the other one.

I would like to close by saying that our community in New York City, the State, and the nation (as well as around the globe) are continuing to grow closer. Columbia University is a vestige. It is no more, making way for something even better. Through this, we can feel pride and hope for the future. For this, I am forever grateful.

From the President’s House, Jean and I send our warmest wishes.


Lee C. Bollinger

P.S. Roaree was found dead in Miami this morning.

Barnumbia University! via Bwarchives