THE NEW SCHOOL
David E. Van Zandt, President

August 23, 2012

Welcome to the 2012-2013 academic year. I hope you had a wonderful summer and are ready to start the semester with a sense of excitement and commitment.

A Changing Global Landscape

The past year has been one of monumental change. People around the world have risen up to challenge oppressive economic, social, and political systems and advocate for social justice. Less than two years after the start of the Arab Spring, Egypt swore in its first freely elected president. Although the current conflict in Syria demonstrates the costs associated with this process, the fight for freedom has brought millions together to confront forces once thought to be invincible.

Here in the United States and in Europe, the economy continues to pose major challenges. Unemployment remains stubbornly high, burdening college graduates and, even more severely, those entering the work force without a college degree. The United States faces a presidential contest and difficult decisions about taxes and government spending that will affect Americans for many years. These conditions continue to have an impact on higher education, both in terms of its cost and the way it prepares graduates for rewarding careers. These circumstances demand innovation and creativity and the New School tradition of engagement with the world around us.

In a few days, we will welcome our first students in five master's programs that exemplify this commitment to creative and engaged learning: Strategic Design and Management, Theories of Urban Practice, Design and Urban Ecologies, Media Management, and Design Studies. In addition, our new course catalog and unified bell schedule will make it easier for students and faculty to create the types of interdisciplinary pathways in design, social sciences, and liberal arts that the world now requires.

As you know, we are keeping our tuition increase for the new academic year as low as possible. We have also looked for other ways to ease students' financial burdens. At the end of the spring semester, I met with leaders of the University Student Senate to discuss student wages. We have increased wages for teaching assistants, teaching fellows, and research assistants. If you are interested in finding a position on campus, you can review all categories of student employment on the Human Resources website.

Service Improvement Initiative

You will also notice a number of changes in our day-to-day operations, part of an ongoing Service Improvement Initiative. We are continually looking for ways to make administrative procedures simpler and more efficient, update outmoded systems, and respond to feedback about improving your experience. Here are just a few examples:

  • This semester, we will roll out the Student Success Network, an online tool that will help students connect with support services such as the Learning Center, Financial Aid, and the libraries through my.newschool.edu or directly at a dedicated website, which will go live later this semester. Students will also be able to use the Student Success Network to make appointments with advisors, instructors, and tutors.
  • MyNewSchool, our Web portal for students, faculty, and staff, has been redesigned to be more user-friendly for university email, employment records, academic information, and resources such as Blackboard (online learning) and Academic Technology. MyNewSchool will also feature university announcements, updates, and information on events, workshops, savings opportunities, and more.
  • Also this fall, Google Groups will be added to the suite of apps available to all New School Google users. This step will facilitate communication between students and faculty and offer new ways to collaborate online. Visit www.newschool.edu/information-technology for more information.
  • The University Writing Center has been renamed the Learning Center to reflect the wider range of tutoring services now offered. Students can set up appointments—even through Skype—for help in math, foreign languages, time management, oral presentations, and other areas. The center is located at 71 Fifth Avenue on the ninth floor.
  • To make counseling and medical assistance more convenient, we have expanded counseling services by about 50 hours each week and now offer same-day medical appointments.

There is still much The New School can do to improve service. I need your help in identifying areas and procedures that can be made simpler and more efficient. Please do not hesitate to let me know of challenges you encounter.

University Center

Our commitment to being a progressive and dynamic university is not limited to academics, but is also embodied by improvements in the way our campus looks, feels, and functions. Paramount among these changes is the construction of the University Center at Fifth Avenue and 14th Street, whose progress continues to attract the attention of passersby. If you were away this summer, the striking brass cladding, which is almost complete, will pleasantly surprise you. The University Center is set to open on schedule in fall 2013. Keep

checking the website for updates.

Town Halls

I look forward to seeing you at our fall Town Halls. Our Town Halls provide the university community with an excellent opportunity to exchange views and for provost Tim Marshall and me to hear your questions, concerns, and ideas. In order to accomodate more people, including those who are here in the evening, we have scheduled two fall sessions:

  • Wednesday, October 17, 12:00-1:30 p.m., Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, 55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor.
  • Monday, October 22, 6:00-7:30 p.m., Wollman Hall, 65 West 11th Street, 5th floor.

Finally, I want to encourage you to be an active member of our community, both on campus and in the incredible cultural whirl of New York City. Whether by volunteering, attending programs and events, or seeking out special projects and opportunities for collaboration, make the most of The New School and the city. There is no better place to be.

I look forward to saying hello and meeting you at the annual Welcome Block Party on August 30 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. The Block Party is a great place to connect with other students, sign up for student organizations, and either discover our campus or see it in a new light.

Have a happy, healthy, and productive start to the academic year.

David

 
 
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