Start of the New Semester
With spring classes underway, it is energizing to have faculty and students back on campus, and I extend a special welcome to the new students and faculty members who are beginning at The New School this semester. You are joining a highly creative, collaborative, academically rigorous community of thinkers, makers, and doers.
Over the winter break, we continued to learn about the impressive research, projects, and achievements of our faculty and students. There was this piece in the New York Times about a Parsons project to redesign the hospital gown and a Washington Post article on Professor Darrick Hamilton’s bold proposal for “baby bonds” as a way to bridge racial and economic inequities. CoPA faculty member and seven-time Grammy Award nominee Bobby Sanabria received the prestigious JEN “LeJENds of Latin Jazz Award.” We also heard the powerful testimonies of Parsons Executive Dean Joel Towers, TEDC Director Michelle DePass, professor Ana Baptista, and alum Kartik Amarnath at the “People’s Hearing on the Repeal of the Clean Power Plan,” a forum we hosted at The New School. These are just a few examples of the people and ideas that make The New School so remarkable. There will be many more to come this spring.
Engaging with Issues that Connect to Our Mission
As a university community, we continue to read, learn, watch, and participate in the broader national dialogue about issues and policies that connect to our mission as a higher education institution—including immigration, racism, sexual harassment, the environment, the rising costs of education, and access to technology. As we address these issues on our campus, both within and outside of the classroom, we all must remain oriented to challenging the status quo, respectfully engaging in critical analysis and debate, and collaboratively solving problems. These values are the core of our identity and history and are as alive and necessary as ever.
In this vein, the work we began in the fall to address the issue of sexual misconduct continues. Our goal is to ensure that each member of our community can pursue intellectual, creative, and professional endeavors free from harm, discrimination, or misconduct. As a key step, we recently welcomed Rhonnie Jaus as our new Vice President for Equal Employment Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Compliance. Rhonnie will be an important member of the team leading efforts to strengthen our Title IX policies and practices and improve access to information and resources related to Title IX complaints. In the coming weeks, you will hear more on this important topic.
Reviewing Our Progress and Planning for Our Future
This year marks the fifth and final year of the first university-wide strategic plan. It is based on a vision of our university as a home for engaged innovators who seek to use their talents, intellect, and ambitions to design a better world, and as a global center addressing the issues of our time. Our achievements in the past five years have included the consolidation of our campus in the West Village; the introduction of a transdisciplinary educational approach that encourages collaboration and innovation; significant improvements in services and infrastructure; and major enhancements to our campus, from the University Center to the Making Center and the newly renovated Lang building. These efforts have put us on the path to a bright future, and I am excited to begin work to identify and prioritize our goals for the next five years. This is a process that will solicit input from across the university. Watch for more information soon.
Celebrating 100 Years of New
At a time when The New School’s mission and values are more relevant than ever, we look forward to celebrating our centennial in 2019. Beginning in the fall and continuing through 2020, we will recognize the singular history of the university, drawing inspiration from our proud legacy of academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. Planning for our centennial is well underway. Please keep an eye out for future communications about how you can get involved.
I hope your semester gets off to a wonderful start. Stay engaged in the vibrant life of our university—including our many public programs, campus organizations and their activities, and other opportunities to collaborate, build relationships, and experience the very best of The New School.