School of General Studies Welcomes Its New Students

September 09, 2020

Dear GS Students,

I am writing to welcome our returning students to the fall 2020 semester and to once again welcome the more than 800 new undergraduate and Postbac Premed Prehealth students who just completed our first-ever virtual orientation week.

As we begin the semester with most classes and support services delivered virtually, I want to take a moment to thank our extraordinary Columbia GS staff and the Columbia faculty for the tireless work they have done throughout the spring and summer and the significant progress we have made in delivering world-class education and student support services to our students all over the world. Through their patience and determination, we enter the fall excited to offer GS students a robust, engaging semester that will challenge and enrich them academically, while offering an amazing array of support services and community-building opportunities, including the continuation of my Dining with the Dean “virtual” meetings, the dates of which I will soon be announcing.

On the subject of community, I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate President Bollinger’s message from September 4 on the need to abide by the terms of the Columbia Compact—for those GS students who will be coming to campus—and the importance of continuing the work we began in March of slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. I have been so proud of the response that the GS community has had to the unbelievably difficult circumstances presented to us and am confident that we will continue to be an exemplar within the Columbia community on how to work together to protect each other and our neighbors.

As we begin a new semester unlike any other, I am happy to introduce you to two new members of the Columbia GS team who will play a significant role in supporting you. Patrick Smith, our new Director of Operations for Student Services, joined GS toward the end of the spring semester and has already made invaluable contributions, particularly in leading the launch of the Columbia GS Student Success Portal. I am also pleased to welcome Jonathan Wiggins as our new Assistant Director of Residence Life & Housing. Wiggins will play an integral role in creating opportunities for GS students, both those in Columbia housing and those living elsewhere in New York and the world, to connect with each other and enhance the incredible sense of community that makes GS so unique.

Finally, I would like to remind all of you of the many co-curricular opportunities that are being planned for this fall, many for the first time, that offer new ways to interact with faculty, and your classmates, on the most pressing issues of the day, including the new Justice and Pandemics Preparedness Academy, spearheaded by Deans Delva, Colgrove and me.

I wish you all a healthy, successful, and rewarding fall semester.


Lisa Rosen-Metsch, Dean, Columbia University School of General Studies and Professor of Sociomedical Sciences