Messages to the Community

A Playbook for Community-Engaged Strategic Planning

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

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Since the work of Strategic Planning began in earnest at the March information session following a reset at the beginning of the semester, the Steering Committee has been building a Playbook for Community-Engaged Strategic Planning that will guide our work over the coming months. As part of this, we have piloted a process of Compassionate Critique as a way to gather feedback from our community members about how they experience, perceive, and assess each of the pillars of Fearless Progress, which are the framework for our process. Our objective has been to take advantage of critique as the pedagogical approach used by many disciplines at The New School, and adapt it as a process that will be integral in seeking community input on how we will live into the values the pillars embody.

Today, we’d like to share what we have learned and heard from these sessions and the many conversations we have had across campus with faculty councils, the faculty and staff senates, and informal conversations with colleagues over the last several weeks:

  • It is clear and essential that we run the process at a pace that allows for deeper connection and engagement with the vast majority of our 14,000 community members across students, staff, and faculty. The original timeline felt too fast-paced and this new timeline allows for more gathering of insights into the fall. We will continue to adjust as needed.
  • There is a need to articulate how this work aligns with and yet should be differentiated from the work we’ve been doing this spring on UBC+, Middle States, and long-term planning for financial sustainability. We are working on a visualization intended to offer clarity on how this work is intersecting to ensure a strong future for The New School.
  • Many have expressed the desire to see how their work is reflected and aligned with the pillars of fearless progress. In our Miro board you can now view a matrix that articulates how research, scholarship, creative practice, teaching and learning, and other areas stretch across each of the pillars. This will inform our work this summer and will continue to be refined by the Steering Committee and Working Groups.

What’s Next
Earlier this month we shared the full roadmap of the updated process, which you can find here. In the coming months continuing into the beginning of the upcoming academic year, we will invite community members to join us in partnership with the Steering Committee and Working Groups to co-design and engage in the following sessions and initiatives:

May 2023
Post-Commencement Virtual Compassionate Critique sessions

Summer 2023
Summer Planning with Steering Committee & Working Groups

Fall 2023
Call and process for additional student members to join Working Groups. If you are a student who would like to get involved please reply to this email so we can register your interest.  

Compassionate Critique sessions continue – A series of virtual and in-person facilitated conversations intended to surface gaps and opportunities in the current work of The New School.

The ‘Big Questions Summit’ – A virtual and in-person summit that will take place at each college to activate their unique communities in identifying answers to themes/inquiries that emerged during the compassionate critique sessions.

Our goals and intended outcomes for Strategic Planning continue to be:

  • A more connected community at The New School that has renewed inspiration for our mission and vision
  • A set of of community-determined strategic priorities and recommendations for The New School to guide all work from 2024 – 2029
  • An evaluation framework that allows for assessment and opportunity to pivot the strategy midway through, in 2027
  • Assets to support leaders at all levels across campus in aligning their work with the strategy to ensure successful implementation

Thank you to everyone who has engaged and informed the process to date. We know we have only heard from a small number of voices and need to hear from many more. Please be sure to check out our website for ways to get involved and to interact with our asynchronous feedback tools.

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