2020 GSB Dean’s Council Report

The Gabelli Dean’s Council has been incredibly productive this past semester and have hosted and enacted several events and policy changes this past fall.  The council welcomed an additional 12 members this semester with plans to add new members for the spring semester.  In addition to these accomplishments, the council has voted in two new subcommittees that contributed greatly these last few months.

The diversity subcommittee was created in July of 2020 with a mission to focus on the development of diverse populations within the Gabelli School of Business and address the unmet needs of these groups.  Through this, the council has launched Donuts with the Deans, a program where students have the opportunity to join weekly meetings, in the form of Zoom calls, with the Gabelli Deans to discuss specific topics related to diversity within the Gabelli School.  So far, these calls have discussed first-generation students, diversity in Gabelli, and specific programming initiatives within the Gabelli School of Business.  In addition to this monthly program, the Diversity subcommittee has researched and proposed the creation of a diversity Edu course similar to the required alcohol Edu course required of incoming first-year students.  The team has met with the organization responsible for creating such a course, compared prices, offered customization suggestions to tailor this Fordham, and presented this to the Deans who were enthusiastic about the proposal.  Currently, the Diversity subcommittee is researching the pluralism course requirement for Fordham College Rose Hill students and is looking to add this distinction to the Gabelli curriculum.  This initiative will carry on into the Spring semester.

The Transfer subcommittee held its annual transfer mentorship program this past fall.  In addition to assisting with transfer orientation for Gabelli students, committee members developed relationships with new students and worked closely with Dean Najdzionek to provide resources for incoming transfer students.  This included connecting incoming transfer students with previous transfer students, providing explanations for different academic and job oriented Gabelli resources, and being available for any questions or concerns.  In the spring, they will continue the transfer mentorship program and begin building relationships with Gabelli spring transfer students.

The Gabelli Vision subcommittee published several new videos to the Gabelli Vision YouTube channel this past semester.  These featured students adjusting to online classes and work from the past spring semester as Fordham moved online, features of Gabelli professors, and a look into Gabelli clubs for viewers.  The intent was for current students, prospective students, and those interested in the Gabelli school to learn more about the school and for students to discover how to better get involved.  The editing and production teams doubled in size this past semester and have 4+ new videos in the work for the coming semester.

The Social Media subcommittee was responsible for the growth of the Gabelli Dean’s Council Instagram and the official launch of the Gabelli Dean’s Council LinkedIn page this past semester.  The committee spent the past semester working closely with all of the Dean’s Council subcommittees to create promotional material for each event and program the council hosted.  While doing this, they also maintained a regular posting schedule on Instagram and LinkedIn.  The social media committee also promoted the council through Instagram takeovers, featured posts of council members, and by maintaining updated lists of committee members, positions, and their posts on all USG and Dean’s Council marketing materials.  They plan to continue this growth in the spring and develop a new marketing strategy focused on engaging content.

The Academic subcommittee developed and presented several proposals this past semester with plans to continue student engagement in the spring.  First, the committee continued to expand on improvements to the freshman Ground Floor class, building on last year’s proposal.  The committee also proposed improvements to the sophomore cohort management class related to course load and offerings of the online and asynchronous components of the class.  Members of this committee worked closely with the deans all semester to address student concerns related to online learning and communicate what worked well for both students and professors.  They specifically addressed online proctored exams, class availability, registration, time zone differences, asynchronous components, and in-person learning.  Many of these topics were developed through office hours and online forums hosted by the academic committee to receive and communicate student feedback to the Deans.  Finally, this committee developed potential improvements and questions for the end of year course evaluations in an effort to specifically facilitate feedback regarding online learning this past semester.  The academic committee has plans to continue hosting forums, questionnaires, and office hours to gain insight into student experience with hybrid and online learning.  They will continue to work closely with the deans to communicate student needs and present proposals based on student feedback.

The mentorship committee hosted several programs and worked closely with other Gabelli offices this past semester.  The committee developed a relationship with the Gabelli Personal and Professional Development team where members of the committee and council at large assisted with workshops and networking amongst students, spoke on past and future experiences in the job market and how they have harnessed their Gabelli education.  The mentorship committee has also facilitated feedback from underclassmen students to best determine their needs and gaps in their practical and academic education where committee members can fill in the blanks in a less formal manner.  This has resulted in regular workshops focused on resume building, job searching, internship experience, and networking assistance, all run by upperclassman students for the benefit of underclassmen.  In the spring, they plan to continue with regular workshops and potentially launch a larger-scale mentor program.

The Philanthropy committee had one of the most productive semesters the council has seen this past fall.  This committee successfully launched their first large-scale program entitled the Bronx Business event with 100+ people in attendance.  This event featured six local Bronx business owners who spoke about their experiences running businesses, working in the community, what they’ve learned and how students can best harness their education and simultaneously benefit their community.  The committee spent all summer and fall researching businesses, contacting owners, and developing this event, particularly after pivoting in April to move the program to an online format.  The committee worked closely to develop t-shirts printed locally to promote the businesses featured, the council, and the event itself while also raffling off prizes comprised of merchandise from each of the businesses featured at the event.  The end of the online webinar led to the launch of the Bronx Business website featuring video testimonials of each business from Gabelli students and online and in-person interactions for students to participate with each business.  These interactions were an integral part of the online passport system, also available on the website, that allowed students to get a “stamp” from each business they engaged with and enter into the raffle to win prizes.  The committee plans to continue to build relationships with each of these business owners and their companies and promote their respective missions to the Fordham community.  In addition to the Bronx Business event, the philanthropy committee raised $300 for the Mercy Center in the Bronx through a tie-dye mask event and volunteered 20+ hours at POTS this past semester.  The committee plans to host a business clothes drive in the spring and continue developing and hosting large and small-scale events to engage the Gabelli community.

The Gabelli Speaks committee ran the Dean’s Council’s first official speaker event in lieu of previously hosted Ted Talks this past semester.  This event featured distinguished speakers in a series of online workshops where students could attend, listen, and engage with speakers throughout the evening.   This event had 60+ students in attendance who participated and engaged with the evening’s speakers including many of the Gabelli Deans.  This event, Gabelli Speaks on the Essence of a Changing World, was the culmination of a year and a half of planning and the committee admirably pivoted to an online platform in the summer as in-person restrictions became apparent.  The committee will become dormant in the spring until the following year.

The commuter subcommittee was voted in this past fall with plans to grow and develop in the spring.  With no Gabelli commuter students on the council this fall, the committee and council at large thought it best to delay programming and other initiatives until commuter students could be onboarded.  This committee will officially activate this spring.

In addition to committee specific updates, the Gabelli Dean’s Council again hosted the Joint FCRH and Gabelli Town Hall this past fall with 70+ students in attendance. The Town Hall featured Dean Mast and Dean Rapaccioli and both schools were well represented in both Dean and student attendance.  The Town Hall addressed specific online learning concerns, the Gabelli Centennial, updates from each respective school, COVID 19 restrictions, and guidelines, and plans for the spring semester.  The Gabelli Dean’s Council plans to host an additional Town Hall this coming semester focused particularly on Gabelli updates in conjunction with the Gabelli Lincoln Center Dean’s Council.  Currently, the council is onboarding new applicants for the spring semester and plans to expand the council to account for the additional subcommittees added in the fall.  With a large outgoing senior class, the council plans to begin transitioning leadership positions within subcommittees and the council itself to prepare underclassmen members for their new roles.  If you would like any additional updates on the council, its initiatives, or its members, please contact the Gabelli Dean’s Council Chair, Reilly Keane at gsbdcrh@fordham.edu.

Reilly Keane