Messages to the Community

Summer Updates for Staff

A message from Dr. Dwight A. McBride, President and University Professor

Dear Colleagues, 

Our exuberant commencement ceremony capped an academic year that was successful despite extraordinary challenges. A large part of that success is due to the efforts of our staff. I want to, once again, thank each and every one of you for your hard work this year and your ongoing dedication to the mission of The New School.

Welcoming students back to campus in the fall is another exciting milestone, but it too is a process requiring a great deal of time and energy. That is why it is especially important to carve out time this summer for rest and relaxation. I hope that you are planning to do that, and further want to actively encourage each of you to do so.

We are taking a step to help create some shared downtime following an unprecedented and demanding year and knowing that the fall will hold a new set of challenges. This year, we will extend the July 4 holiday for an entire week. In addition to the university holiday on Monday, July 5, we will add July 6, 7, 8, and 9 as paid university holidays. We chose the week of July 5 because of the adjacency to the holiday and because it is a time when many people are already away. The idea is to try to achieve, to the extent possible, a shared period that is free of Zoom meetings, email, and routine tasks.

We know this is an imperfect gift. The beginning of July is a busy period in some areas, such as those areas that serve our summer program population. As we reviewed the options, we realized that there is no single week when every member of the university staff can be off together. To honor the spirit of the gesture, each supervisor will be prepared to work out equitable arrangements for those who are unable to take time off July 6-9.

We also want to encourage and allow every staff member to use their earned vacation time. Time off is an important part of maintaining a healthy and positive work culture. We recognize that some staff members have found it difficult to take vacation in the past year and are carrying the maximum balance of leave time. To help mitigate this issue, we are offering staff members the option to receive a cash payout for up to five accrued vacation days. Human Resources will follow up with more information about this one-time option for this year only. In the longer term, our aim is to ensure that staff members are taking their earned time off.

We know the extra holidays and option to cash out some accrued leave do not address broader concerns about workload. This challenge is an ongoing one as we continue to recover from the disruptive and exceptionally demanding year and do the significant shared work of reopening the campus. It is an important concern that we are committed to addressing systematically. I will make it a priority for the President’s Leadership Team, Deans, and leaders across the university to lead conversations with you and develop strategies to create more balanced, manageable, and equitable workloads. 

We can all be very proud of what we have accomplished this year, and I know we will be well-prepared for our students’ arrival this fall. Thank you again for your work to advance the shared mission of The New School that is so close to all of our hearts. 

Onward and upward.

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