David E. Van Zandt, President

January 26, 2012

Welcome back to The New School. I hope you had a refreshing break.

In the year since I arrived, I have been amazed by the creativity, the innovation and the public engagement of our faculty and students. These reflect the core principles of The New School and make us unique in higher education.

As the world continues to transform, those fundamental New School values have never been more important. This school is, at its core, about change that is socially relevant. And to compete in a rapidly evolving world, you cannot simply respond to change—you must create and lead it.

Our commitment to change is not limited to classroom discussions, research, or fieldwork; it also informs the way we operate. This semester, you will see The New School evolving in a number of different ways:

  • Understanding that we are not immune to economic challenges facing all of higher education and society, and the pressures those challenges put on our students and their families:
    • We will keep tuition increases as low as we responsibly can.
    • In doing this, we will seek opportunities to decrease costs while maintaining core academic and related services for students.
    • In order to ensure the academic experience of our current students, we will dramatically slow the rapid growth in enrollment we have experienced over that last ten years.
  • The world and its needs continue to transform and we are meeting those changes with new programs in emerging disciplines, such as the new master's degrees in:
    • Strategic Design and Management
    • Design and Urban Ecologies
    • Theories of Urban Practice
    • Design Studies
    • Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management
  • The University Center, our campus's future focal point, continues to rise at 65 Fifth Avenue. If you walk by this week, you can see the auditorium taking shape.

In addition to these broader developments, our Service Initiative I announced last year continues with, among others, the following improvements:

  • Students, faculty and staff have completed the transition to Gmail.
  • The New School has been further integrated with a comprehensive online course catalog.
  • In the fall, the new university-wide bell schedule will make it easier for qualified students to take courses in any New School division.
  • The Online Degree Audit System (available now to Eugene Lang College students, and to others by Spring) will allow students and advisers to easily track degree progress and plan a course of study.
  • The online payment option has streamlined the student billing process.

These efforts will continue in a range of areas, and we can use your help to identify other areas needing improvement. Please do not hesitate to e-mail me directly with ideas and suggestions at Good service is all of our concern.

For those who are beginning their last semester, congratulations! You are almost there. Remember that the school-wide Commencement takes place on May 18 with divisional celebrations occurring around that date.

Finally, discussions about the future of The New School will continue. Once the dates are finalized, I will let you know more about two opportunities to learn about our strategy and finances. There will be a special conversation about finance and higher education with insight from Milano Dean and former college president and provost Neil Grabois and Frank Barletta, Senior Vice President of Finance and Business. In addition, Provost Tim Marshall and I are looking forward to hosting another Town Hall, where you can hear directly from us and we can hear directly from you.

Have a happy, healthy and productive semester.


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