Messages to the Community

Strengthening the Academic Core: Timeline and Principles

A Message from Dr. Renée T. White, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dear Colleagues, 

‌Last week, I shared with faculty and staff that, at the direction of the Board of Trustees and President Shalala, the Executive Deans and I will be working together over the coming weeks to develop and propose a plan for a new academic structure for The New School. 

‌As many of you begin participating in discussions within the colleges, it is our goal to ensure the proposal enhances the student experience, reduces structural barriers for teaching and learning, and acknowledges our history and commitment to welcoming all learners. We are aware of the immediate concerns our community has regarding the impact and timing of this project at this point in the semester, as we are charged with delivering a proposal by May 1, and we appreciate the time and effort you are putting into this imperative work. 

‌Continue reading to learn more about our timeline, core responsibilities and principles, data methodology, and the Enhancing Our Academic Core website. Read last week’s updatedetailing the work ahead. 


‌The Executive Deans have begun convening conversations within their respective colleges to solicit faculty and staff input and ideas on how we can identify areas of alignment across our academic offerings. The next step will be engaging faculty and staff in cross-college conversations, some of which have already begun, through April 16. Executive Deans have been asked to work with programs to identify the relevant program leadership, full-time and part-time faculty, and staff to contribute to these conversations. 

‌The chart below outlines our working timeline for this project, with important dates and deadlines. We will continue to share updates as this work progresses.

Core Responsibilities and Working Principles 

‌The Executive Deans and I have identified the following responsibilities and principles that will guide and shape our work over the coming weeks: 

‌Core Responsibilities: 

  • ‌Support the well-being of faculty and staff 
  • ‌Manage questions and concerns 
  • ‌Lead faculty and staff through this process to final outcomes 
  • ‌Support cross-college discussions and exploration 
  • ‌Gather input from faculty and staff whose programs may be affected 
  • ‌Propose ways to protect faculty review process for any faculty rehomed into another college 
  • ‌Ensure college-specific data and other data resources are available to faculty and staff 

‌Working Principles:

  • ‌Communicate consistently and transparently; share regular updates with faculty and staff
  • ‌Encourage and foster cross-college collaboration 
  • ‌Create pathways for consensus around proposed programmatic changes 
  • ‌Directly address generalized rumors and speculation 
  • ‌Consistent engagement with full-time faculty, part-time faculty, and staff is essential 
  • ‌Develop ways to ensure feedback considers power differentials (e.g., between faculty and staff; full-time faculty and part-time faculty; supervisors and direct reports) 
  • ‌Participate with other colleges and demonstrate shared leadership 
  • ‌College engagement strategies and governance regarding proposal development are college-specific; these are led, managed, and “owned” by deans and their offices 
  • ‌Be clear with others about what the work is at this stage and what it is not 
  • ‌Track issues that require future consideration and planning (e.g., governance questions, who leads programs that are aligned, etc.) 
  • ‌Work timelines are managed by the Provost and college-level work has to complement the overarching schedule 

Data Mapping the Work Ahead 

‌Utilizing existing data to guide decision-making has been a key goal of the Provost’s Office. The Office of Institutional Research and Decision Support (IRDS) supports academic planning and policy through the analysis of current data, historical trends, and industry benchmarks. College-based, program-level data sharing and education will be part of my mapping of the work ahead. As we work toward sharing data after the spring semester, I wanted to highlight current data resources available to our community: 

  • ‌IR Digest: Data, Insights, and Stories – a monthly publication that speaks to the university’s priorities, challenges, and strategies using data collected from across The New School. 
  • ‌Retention Minute – a weekly series designed to strengthen knowledge about student retention and efforts to provide a student experience that supports persistence. 

Enhancing Our Academic Core Website 

‌The university has created a dedicated webpage to keep the community informed about the progress of this work. I encourage you to visit our Enhancing Our Academic Core websitefor the latest updates and information.

Take The Next Step

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