Four characteristics distinguish Barnard College: It is a liberal arts college with a long tradition of excellence; it is part of a great research university; it is in New York City, and it is a college for women. Each aspect of the College offers students unique distinctive learning opportunities. The effect is transformative.
Enrolled at Barnard are 2,389 undergraduates from throughout the nation, 48 states and 39 countries, who take degrees in about 50 fields in the humanities, social sciences, arts, natural sciences, and interdisciplinary areas. Thirteen percent of Barnard students are African-American or Latina. Seventeen percent are Asian. The College is known for the achievement of its graduates. In recent years, Barnard has ranked third among more than 1,000 undergraduate colleges for the number of graduates who earned Ph.D.'s between 1920 and 1995; first among graduates of chemistry programs who go on to teach chemistry at the college level; and its 29,000 graduates have written and edited over 4,100 books and earned seven Pulitzer Prizes.
A LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGE
Barnard's intellectual tradition has evolved over more than a century. Founded in 1889 as the only college in New York City, and one of a very few in the nation then, where women could have the same rigorous education as men, Barnard has become known for its distinctive academic culture. At once challenging and nurturing, Barnard enables students to find new ways to think about themselves, their world and their roles in changing it.
At Barnard, intense intellectual discussions don't end at classroom doors, but spill out into hallways, faculty offices, and dorm rooms. Barnard students are excited about ideas and aren't afraid to take intellectual and creative risks, whether the topic is economics, 18th-century American literature, oceanography, Latin American politics, ethnography, or Taoism.
Three hundred and nineteen faculty members animate the adventure both in the classroom and on a personal level. They open new doors for students, involving them in their own research, pointing out unrealized strengths, suggesting new approaches, listening, and guiding - but ultimately allowing each student to make her own discoveries. Seventy percent of the courses that Barnard offers have fewer than 20 students.
The faculty includes editors of leading scholarly journals, prize-winning novelists and translators, and frequent winners of awards from respected foundations, corporations and government agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In the past two years, Barnard faculty members were awarded 85 grants totaling about $9 million. The faculty includes: Mark Carnes, co-editor of the 23,040-page American national Biography; Demetrios James Caraley, president of the Academic of Political Science, Anne Prescott, author of Imagining Rabelais in Renaissance England; James Basker, president of the Gilder Lerhman Institute of American History; and Rae Silver, president of the Society for Research in biological Rhythms.
Through Barnard's General Education program, each student receives an education of both depth and breadth, that builds skills of analysis, independent thought, and self-expression. Students take First-Year Seminar, First-year English, and courses fulfilling the nine Ways of Knowing: Reason and Value, Social Analysis, Cultures in Comparison, Language, Laboratory Science, Quantitative and Deductive Reasoning, Historical Studies, Literature, and Visual and Performing Arts.
President Judith Shapiro notes the requirements "successfully capture the mission of the college to provide an excellent liberal arts education that is intellectually focused, challenging, and responsive to emerging developments in scholarship, pedagogy, and society."
To help Barnard students navigate through the extraordinary range of academic choices available to them, the College has developed an advising system that puts students in close contact with faculty members immediately and throughout their college experience. The academic adviser follows and guides each student's progress during the first two years, explaining curricular requirements, writing recommendations for internships or study abroad programs, listening to concerns, and helping her match courses to her goals interests. Advice at Barnard is both formal and informal and can come from many sources - class deans, faculty members, residence hall directors, and peers, among others. All are committed to helping each student determine her future direction.
THE COLUMBIA CONNECTION
Barnard occupies a unique niche in American higher education. Added to its status as a highly selective liberal arts college for women, it is affiliated with Columbia, the Ivy League university known for contributions in fields from journalism to medicine. Barnard is located just across Broadway from Columbia's main campus and is one of four undergraduate schools within the Columbia University system (the others are Columbia College, the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the School of General Studies). In an arrangement unique in American higher education, Barnard has its own campus, faculty, administration, trustees, operating budget and endowment, while students earn the degree of the University.
Barnard's 2,389 students and 319 faculty members are a vital part of the University community, which includes about 7,400 undergraduates and about 17,000 graduate students in more than 15 graduate and professional divisions. Each year, Barnard faculty, who are tenured both by Barnard and Columbia, teach about 40 graduate courses at the University.
Cross-registration flows across Broadway in both directions, allowing Barnard and Columbia students to take classes on either campus. In a typical year, there are 6,900 Barnard student course registrations at Columbia, and 6,300 Columbia student course registrations at Barnard. Highly motivated Barnard students may take graduate-level courses at Columbia in such as international affairs, business, law, and arts and sciences.
Barnard provides education to all university undergraduates in architecture, dance, education, theater, and urban studies, while programs in music, the visual arts, computer science, and engineering are centered at Columbia.
Barnard women also take leadership positions in many Columbia-sponsored organizations, from the Spectator, the nation's second-oldest student daily, to spearheading Community Impact, an umbrella volunteer action group.
In the sports arena, Barnard varsity athletes compete in intercollegiate athletics through the Columbia University/Barnard College Athletic Consortium at the NCAA Division I Level in 15 sports (archery, basketball, crew, cross-country, fencing, field hockey, golf, indoor and outdoor track and field, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, and volleyball), and in the Ivy League. In the Barnard-Columbia community - always lively, on the move, and definitely coeducational - the ambiance is active, diversified, and highly charged.
With several educational and social environments at their fingertips, Barnard students can create their own paths.
LIFE IN NEW YORK CITY
The Barnard experience is inseparable from the New York City experience. Morningside Heights, home to Barnard and Columbia University, is known as the Academic Acropolis and as one of the city's most diverse neighborhoods. Historic Harlem - rich in African-American history and tradition - Spanish Harlem, and the Upper West Side are short distances from campus. And the 116th Street subway stop near campus means that Chinatown, the East Village, or Lincoln Center are accessible to students in minutes. Add more than 2,500 internship possibilities - two-thirds of all students undertake an internship before graduation - and the result is a matchless college-city synergy.
For Barnard students, New York City is a living text. The College weaves the city into its courses and into the course of daily life. The faculty's involvement with New York makes it easy to call on other experts to lead classes or trade ideas. The exchange between College and city works both ways. In Barnard's own neighborhood, students can take courses at Manhattan School of Music or work toward a second bachelor's degree - in Hebrew Literature - from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Farther afield, at Lincoln Center, The Juilliard School offers instruction to especially talented musicians and, to a few, the chance to earn a master's in music along with a bachelor's degree from Barnard.
Eventually, if not initially, Barnard students are cultured, streetwise, self-assured. That kind of savvy comes with attending a college located in New York City and committed to the achievements of women.
The College's involvement with the city means extraordinary intellectual and cultural opportunities. Barnard students enjoy curricular links and internships with the best New York can offer: law (firms and organizations such as Sullivan & Cromwell and the Legal Aid Society), medicine (Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, Sloan-Kettering), finance (the New York Stock Exchange, Chase Manhattan Bank), publishing (giants such as HarperCollins and Random House as well as numerous small houses), journalism (The New York Times, CNN), art (the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, and many of the nation's most important and influential private galleries), and international relations (the United Nations), among others.
A COLLEGE FOR WOMEN
Barnard is unequivocally dedicated to the success of women. That's immediately obvious in the way issues are considered in almost every field of inquiry, from classical studies to the history of science, or in the prominence of the nationally acclaimed Barnard Center for Research on Women. Perhaps more subtle - but inestimably important to women's success in the long run - is the way Barnard strengthens students' abilities in the sciences and mathematics.
Barnard students soon discover that their classmates are among the principal resources of their undergraduate years. Cosmopolitan in nature, the student population includes residents of nearly every state and some 40 foreign countries as well as those who live within commuting distance. One of the few generalizations that can be made safely about Barnard students is that they are diverse; a mingling of economic, regional, ethnic, and cultural groups is evident in campus life. Nine out of ten students live in college housing and participate in the educational programs, cultural events, and social activities of their residence halls.
More than half of the faculty are women, well above the national average. All of them - men as well as women - believe that the potential contributions of women should be encouraged, recognized, and realized.
Women have led Barnard from the beginning, from Ella Weed in 1889 to anthropologist Judith Shapiro today.
Barnard graduates reflect the College's reputation for instilling confidence and high aspirations. They include; Maria Hinojosa '84, CNN Urban Affairs correspondent; Ellen Futter '71, president of the American Museum of Natural History and the former president of Barnard; Phyllis Grann '58, president and CEO of Penguin Putnam; Jacqueline Barton '74, professor of chemistry at the California Institute of Technology and a MacArthur Fellow; Sheila Nevins '60, executive director of programming for HBO; choreographer Twyla Tharp '63; and Anna Quindlen '74, /Newsweek/ columnist, journalist and novelist.