David E. Van Zandt, President

August 26, 2013

Welcome to the 2013–2014 academic year! I hope you had an enjoyable summer and are as energized as I am about the year ahead.

This is an exciting time to be at The New School. Our community recently pulled together through some unprecedented challenges, including global financial uncertainty and two "once-in-a-lifetime" storms. Thanks to the commitment of students, faculty and staff, we have emerged stronger than ever. Today, more than 3,200 new students representing 47 states and more than 140 nations join a community whose creativity and desire to challenge the status quo make The New School the world's preeminent intellectual and creative educational center for the new innovative society and economy.

Please join us at our Welcome Back Block Party on Thursday, August 29, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. I also invite you to join provost Tim Marshall and me at the fall Town Hall on Wednesday, October 2, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Theresa Lang Community and Student Center at Arnhold Hall, 55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor. The forum will also be streamed live at for anyone who cannot attend.

Over the coming months, be certain to discover the vibrant culture of our university and our great city. Take a look at our public programs, social innovation projects, volunteer opportunities, and performing arts, and take advantage of all that The New School and New York City have to offer. Read on for information about recent and upcoming improvements and changes across the university.

I wish you a terrific start to the semester.

Best regards,



The University Center
The New School takes a step into the future with the completion of the University Center, the striking campus focal point. Sixteen stories of student living space, classrooms and studios, library and study space, performance venues, and more will provide state-of-the-art resources to the entire university community—in addition to giving our campus and city a wonderful landmark, one Mayor Bloomberg recently praised as "a great addition to a great New York institution."

The official opening is set for January but 600 students have already made the top eight floors their home. Check for University Center updates and stay tuned for news of our opening celebrations.

A New School Vision for Globally Engaged Learning
With an eye-catching design that promotes open, interdisciplinary exchange, the University Center embodies the New School Vision Statement. Developed with intensive community input, the Vision places design and social research at the heart of The New School's approach to socially engaged learning. As an expression of our core values, it is a compass to guide us as we move forward.

Creating meaningful interactions with an increasingly global, urbanized society is part of our Vision. This year, two new ventures will take us further toward realizing this goal: Next week, a new Parsons Paris welcomes its first class of students. Meanwhile, in Mumbai, Parsons' partnership with the Indian School of Design and Innovation will bring Parsons curricula to students in the world's largest democracy. Get ready for more, as a partnership in Shanghai is now taking shape.

Here in New York, we are taking steps to realize our Vision with new courses and programs. We welcome the first undergraduate class in a groundbreaking BFA in dramatic arts, combining top-level theater training with creative technologies and community engagement. ‪This fall, Parsons is launching its revised undergraduate curriculum, an ambitious project that provides students with greater flexibility and more options to take advantage of interdisciplinary, collaborative approaches. And to further foster learning across the university, we are bringing more students closer together: in January 2014, Parsons Fashion will move downtown, and in Fall 2014, and in 2015 Mannes will follow.

Service Improvements
We continue to proactively and responsively make changes to improve everyone's New School experience. Please share your suggestions and feedback at the Service webpage. Recent and upcoming changes include:

  • This fall a New School app will be released that will give students instant mobile access to their course schedule, grades, and all university resources.
  • Several cumbersome paper-based processes, including leave reporting, tuition waivers, and timesheets for hourly employees (including student workers) will be digitized and automated during the fall semester.
  • The New School wireless system will be enhanced to enable one-time login on each of your devices and make guest access easier.
  • Classroom media racks are being upgraded over the next 12 to 15 months with new equipment including Mac Minis.
  • Major improvements have been made to the New School Libraries and Archives. Mannes students will notice renovations to the Scherman Library including a group study space, a reading lounge, and eight new computers. Library users can now request items from any New School library and return them to any branch in the consortium. Also, digital holdings now include complete access to's more than 2,000 video courses in software, creative, and business skills and online access to New School archives, including course bulletins, articles, and other historic materials.
  • Online Continuing Education registration has been improved and simplified.
  • The new Student Employment Office provides a centralized resource for students working or seeking work on campus. Email to learn more.
  • Faculty, staff, and student workers now have the option of being paid with a debit card, which can be used wherever credit cards are accepted, or at ATMs to withdraw cash.

The New School's Re-accreditation Review
The New School is in the final year of its reaccreditation review by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The review process will culminate with the submission of our self-study in early November and a campus visit by the evaluation team in April. A draft of our self-study report, generated by staff, faculty, and students, will be made available on September 4 at Our steering committee will welcome questions and comments through the online form and at a Middle States University Forum on Tuesday, October 15.

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