The Bernard L. Schwartz Communication Institute’s mission is to help provide Baruch students with as many meaningful opportunities to practice writing and public speaking as possible within the curriculum and co-curriculum. Much of what we do in fulfilling our mission is aiding faculty in all aspects of communication intensive instruction. We do this through the following:
Communication Intensive Courses (CICs)
Communication Intensive Courses (CICs) emphasize at least two of three modes of communication: writing, speaking and computer-mediated communication. Offered in a variety of academic disciplines, CICs are designed to engage students in a broad range of communication intensive activities.
The Undergraduate Curriculum Committtees of the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences (WSAS) Zicklin School of Business (ZSB) and the School of Public Affairs (SPA), approved the following basic guidelines for the development of CICs:
1) A central objective of a CIC is the improvement of students’ written and/or oral communication skills.
2) The course’s syllabus will include substantial written and/or oral assignments as an integral part of the course’s curriculum.
3) Writing assignments and/or oral presentations will be guided by the appropriate learning goals for communication skills as well as by the learning goals of the course.
4) The instructor and/or communication consultant will provide substantial feedback on the student’s written and/or oral work, and the students will have opportunities, as appropriate to the course design, to revise written work based on that feedback.
Baruch College does not yet require all students to take a particular number of CIC. The Zicklin School of Business, however, now expects its BBA students to take at least four CICs before graduating.
The Institute offers support for CICs in the following ways:
Individual Consulting Support for Faculty: Assigned to individual sections of most CICs, the Institute’s Communication Fellows are available to advise faculty on all aspects of curriculum development. Our Fellows are academic professionals, skilled in developing communication-intensive activities for courses in various academic disciplines and consulting faculty on all aspects of syllabus and assignment design as well as on effective use of educational technology tools and resources.
Workshops for Students: Institute staff facilitate regularly scheduled student workshops meant to supplement course content. Depending on the instructor’s needs, workshops can address specific assignments or focus on any course- or discipline- specific concerns regarding oral, written or computer mediated communication. At the instructor’s request, workshops also can be conducted during a class session.
Individual and Group Work with Students: Our staff works with students individually and in groups on writing assignments and individual or group presentations. For Business Policy 5100, for example, Fellows videotape and review student rehearsals in preparation for a final team presentation.
Instructional Technology Support: The Institute supports its CICs with a wide range of technologies aimed at improving student communication, from online publishing tools like blogs, wikis, and discussion forums, to online oral presentation assessment, to audio and video. Fellows are trained in the use of these technologies and are able to assist faculty in their application.
Writing Assessment: The institute administers writing assessments in select CICs. Students are asked to respond to a writing prompt at the beginning and the end of a term. Student writing samples are then evaluated by the Institute staff for changes in the quality of writing. A pilot of a discipline/course specific assessment is currently underway in Great Works of Literature courses.
If you are interested in developing a CIC in your discipline or would like more information about the Institute’s support of CICs, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (646) 312 2060.
Curricular Design Consultation
Institute staff are also available to advise faculty not currently teaching CICs on communication intensive curricular design. Our staff will be glad to meet with you and discuss any concerns regarding communication intensive instruction, including strategies for developing innovative writing or speaking assignments, responding to student writing, or the use of instructional technology. If you would like to arrange a consultation for your course, send an email to email@example.com. In your email, let us know your name, department, course number and title, your email address, what you’d like to discuss, and how urgent your request is.
Members of our Business Advisory Council (BAC), all leading executives and professionals in a variety of fields, are available to visit your classroom to observe student presentations or to speak on the importance of effective communication to success in business. To arrange a classroom visit, please contact Herbert R. Brinberg, chair of the BAC. For a list of BAC members, visit our “About the Institute” page.
The Institute sponsors sustained professional development for full- and part-time faculty, graduate students who run student recitations and workshops, the Institute’s Fellows and undergraduate peer tutors. Venues vary from one-on-one meetings with faculty as well as meetings at the departmental level, to monthly college-wide Seminars, to an annual national Symposium on Communication and Communication Intensive Instruction as well as multi-media tutorials and seminars available online.
Educational Technology Development and Support
The Schwartz Institute actively develops and supports Blogs@Baruch, an online publishing platform for the Baruch Community that is among the largest and most active academic blogging communities in the country. Blogs@Baruch now hosts course sites, individual faculty pages and sites for a variety of curricular and co-curricular projects and programs. Institute staff aids faculty members in creating and customizing sites on Blogs@Baruch for their courses or other projects and advises faculty on effective uses of online publishing tools like blogs and wikis for both traditional and online instruction. For information on Blogs@Baruch, contact Dr. Lucas Waltzer at Lucas.Waltzer@baruch.cuny.edu.
The Institute’s Video Oral Communication Assessment Tool (VOCAT) is an innovative web application designed as a teaching and assessment tool for oral communication. Currently used in a variety of courses including THE1041C, COMM1010, ACCT2101 and BPL5100, VOCAT offers faculty members an easy and powerful way to give students feedback on live or recorded presentations. This feedback can be both quantitative, based on a custom rubric developed by faculty, and/or qualitative, via a narrative comment or audio appended to the student’s video. Students can review their presentations and can respond to their instructor’s feedback. The system also aggregates content over time into a portfolio, giving students an easy way to review their growth as public speakers. For more information on VOCAT or to arrange a demo, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.