New School News

Mariana Amatullo, Associate Professor of Strategic Design and Management, Appointed to Board of Aalto University

Much like Parsons School of Design, which collaborates with the other colleges at The New School on a regular basis, the founding of Aalto University in Finland was built upon a deeply collaborative effort. Finland’s second largest university was formed in 2010 as the result of a merger of three universities: Helsinki University of Technology, the Helsinki School of Economics, and the University of Art and Design Helsinki. The coming together of these three former esteemed institutions has allowed for greater interdisciplinary education and research across diverse fields of study.

Now, Parsons and Aalto will have one more thing in common, as Mariana Amatullo, Associate Professor of Strategic Design and Management at Parsons and Vice Provost at The New School, joins the Board of Aalto University. Her appointment begins in January, 2022.

“I feel honored and excited to have been selected for this role,” she shared. “Aalto University is an institution I admire deeply, as I am a big proponent in my academic scholarship and practice for the concept of multidisciplinarity that fueled Aalto’s founding. The outcome of that vision is this incredibly innovative university ecosystem that stands out today as a beacon of excellence in the world. The vote of confidence I was bestowed by being chosen to join its board is one I take with pride and a sense of profound accountability.”

In her role on the Board, Amatullo will help steer Aalto on issues related to the university’s strategy, operations, financial issues, and other far-reaching plans. She plans to help advance the university’s bold approach to multidisciplinarity and entrepreneurial training, and hopes the experiences will also provide her with innovative ideas that she can bring back to her work at The New School and Parsons.

“From a personal leadership and intellectual perspective, I expect my learnings as a Board member of Aalto will enrich my ongoing commitment to serve our university community—both from my responsibilities collaborating with colleagues in our Provost’s office and as a member of the full-time faculty at Parsons,” she explained. “There are terrific flows of exchange between my peers in the faculty of both institutions and I hope to serve as an advocate for the value of these connections.”

For Amatullo, creating partnerships and facilitating collaboration between The New School and other universities, as well as public and private sector organizations, has been part of her professional life for the past twenty years. In addition to her work with Parsons and The New School, she also serves as the President of the Cumulus Association, which is a network of universities dedicated to art and design research and education.

“Engaging with peers beyond one’s institution, whether around commonalities in expertise or by seeking complementary strengths instead from a perspective of difference, is vital,” she said. “Collaboration matters to our universities’ research and teaching agendas. It is also increasingly essential to ensure our institutions can be agile nodes in a global higher education system that is increasingly interconnected and dynamic.”

In addition to her new role with Aalto, Amatullo will continue her work at Parsons and The New School, which includes new courses and programs in Executive Education, as well as the promotion of a book she co-edited called Design for Social Innovation: Case Studies from Around the World.

“I always look forward to the spring semester since it is the time in the academic year I get to teach,” she said. “My graduate students from the School of Design Strategies at Parsons are always a source of inspiration, learning, and joy.”

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