Messages to the Community

Strategic Planning Community Update and Kickoff Info Session March 21

A Message From Dr. Renée T. White, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Co-Chair, and Dr. Lara Penin, Professor of Transdisciplinary Design, Parsons School of Design, Co-Chair

To The New School community:

When we initially began the university strategic planning process in earnest at the beginning of the fall semester, we entered into the process in consultation with the Faculty, Staff, and Student Senates, as well as the Faculty Councils. This input was essential in developing our approach to a community-based process that must be inclusive and reflective of the many perspectives that make up our university community of students, faculty, and staff. We engaged a community partner, FLOX Studio, to collaborate with us on designing a transparent and equitable process that would inform the many levels of community engagement critical to creating a thoughtful, actionable and sustainable strategic plan for The New School.

This process was paused during the negotiations and the strike in the early stages of our planning, which allowed us to reflect on what’s next for strategic planning. We are writing today to share a brief update on how this work will move forward and hope you will join us to learn more at our kickoff information session on Tuesday, March 21 from 11:30am – 1:00pm. An invitation to this session will follow in the coming days.

Strategic planning is often understood as a technical tool used to clarify the strategic use of resources for an institution. At this moment, and for us, strategic planning refers to a process of learning through critique and preparing for the continuous adaptation these fast changing times demand. We view strategic planning as being a project that fosters connections and strengthens community. When we began our planning process, we were anchored in our commitment to do things differently by following these principles, which we remain committed to:

  • To fully engage with the entire New School community;
  • To do so with a lens and process that are equitable, just, and transparent;
  • To be future-oriented and considerate of our past by ensuring this work accounts for the active conversations, priorities, and current initiatives alive in our community.

In resuming this work, it has been important to us as co-chairs to re-engage stakeholders, beginning with the Strategic Planning Steering Committee. This group will carry forward some of our initial vision to meet us where we are today, and lead the work of those that wish to continue as part of the previously formed working groups. We are working together to develop a guiding framework and principles that will inform a cycle of compassionate critique and learning that we will co-design, pilot, and learn from this semester. This period of learning will allow us to take these insights and input them into an adaptive strategic planning process that will fully launch this fall 2023.

We are committed to communicating consistently and clearly across various channels as our planning advances this semester. This work will require wide involvement and must be forward-thinking and mission-focused as a complementary but separate process that aligns our engagement with key initiatives underway from our Middle States Self-Study that informs our accreditation, and the work of the expanded University Budget Committee (UBC+).

As acknowledged on the Strategic Planning website and in Provost White’s extended reflections from September 2022: this process is complex work for complex times. The Strategic Planning Steering Committee is eager for your questions, reflections and concerns and can be reached at any time via a new email address, With all of our insights, we can chart a path forward that feels authentic, meaningful and powerful. Since the strategic plan will emerge from this community, this work is reliant on a spirited, collaborative, and inclusive process. This is a conversation and a dialogue, not a directive.

Thank you for all of your engagement and commitment to our shared future.

We look forward to sharing more information about a dedicated space where we can gather on campus, as well as more opportunities for our community to play an active role in imagining, shaping and participating in this process. Please save the date for the upcoming community engagement opportunities listed below that connect to this work:

  • The Moment is Now: In Dialogue with Changemakers featuring Tracie D. Hall as Scholar in Residence
    • How to Read the Room: Healing as Literacy, Literacy as Agency, Agency as Disruption of EDISJ Performativity (4/4)
    • Henry Cohen Lecture Series: Compulsory (il)Literacies: Intersecting Race, Information Redlining, and Limitations on the Right to Read (4/11)
  • Facilitated engagement by FLOX with the University Faculty and Staff Senates

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