Dear M.S. Students:
Please read and digest the important memo below from Vice Dean David Klatell.
He will be addressing you on your first day here. He is also doing an online
chat this Thursday at 1 p.m., along with Evan Cornog, Associate Dean for
Academic Affairs; and Elizabeth Fishman, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs.
- Dean Sreenivasan
From: David A. Klatell, Vice Dean
Welcome to the Graduate School of Journalism, where the world’s finest
journalism faculty and curriculum await you. Each of us is looking forward to
working with and getting to know you, so please feel that you are a valued
member of our community. I know that your year here will be challenging, full
of new and deeper responsibilities and a truly impressive work load. We expect
to treat you as adults and young professionals, following the dictates of
university life as well as the behaviors of working journalists.
One of the cardinal rules of the school and the professional journalist is that
you show up on time, where and when assigned, and that you take seriously all
work, whether or not you may have chosen it for yourself. So, at the risk of
beginning our relationship on an authoritarian note (I really am a friendly
fellow), I must remind you that the August program is not some sort of
orientation, nor is any part of it optional. It is the beginning of the school
year, with carefully-selected mixture of lectures, seminars, writing drills,
reporting assignments and guest speakers. Every part of the curriculum is
required of you, regardless of your personal preferences. So, for example, you
should expect to have assignments every weekday and some weekends. You should
also expect classes or presentations on Friday afternoons, including, I stress,
Friday, September 1 - the day before Labor Day weekend. Some of you (you’ll ask
your individual instructors) will have reporting and writing assignments over
Labor Day weekend itself.
So, do not plan to travel out of town in conflict with our schedule, even if
it’s an old family tradition, or attend other, non-school events that in any
way interfere with your obligations here. You will need permission - in advance
- from your instructors and Dean of Students Sreenath Sreenivasan or Assistant
Dean Melanie Huff to get a waiver from any of these requirements or deadlines.
Please do not attempt to sway us with the plea that you have to miss a class,
seminar, lecture or assignment because of a long-planned vacation, excursion,
friend’s wedding, etc. The only exceptions are legitimate health crises or
family emergencies, but these, too, need to be cleared by the deans’ offices
prior to any waiver or postponement of elements of our schedule.
This school operates on assumptions quite different than those you may
have experienced at other educational institutions. We have not developed
our rules and modes of operation simply to be draconian, or to run a “boot
camp of journalism” (a concept I abhor), but to assist all students to
understand and participate fully in the culture of the school and its
educational processes. You are only here for 10 months; there is much to
do in that short period of time, so you cannot afford to miss any of it.
If you have any questions, reply to Deans Sreenivasan and Huff via
David A. Klatell
Professor of Professional Practice
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
New York, NY 10027