|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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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