Message from the Dean |The New School for Public Engagement

Public Engagement

Message from the Dean

  • The New School has been engaged in new ways of thinking about higher education for nearly a hundred years. Today, we remain committed to the open exchange of ideas, engaging adult and continuing learners across the lifespan, and facilitating education that brings meaning to the lives of students, our communities, and the world at large.

    Our signature approach to learning in action at The Schools of Public Engagement, the contemporary name for the founding division of our university, has perhaps never been so relevant or so sorely needed. As headlines proclaim the profound challenges facing higher education, we continue to develop programs and approaches to learning that reimagine its definition. Our degree programs reflect the diverse ways that higher learning can be put to use meaningfully in the world. International Affairs, Writing, Urban Policy, Media Studies, Management, and Language Studies are just a few of these fields positioned at the crossroads of design and social research. We offer degrees, certificates, and noncredit courses, including programs at the undergraduate, masters, and PhD level. Our students are challenged to truly engage: to engage with the learning process, to engage with our city, and to engage with the defining issues of our time.

    Much of our curriculum is delivered through active learning in applied projects. Through The New Challenge, our university-wide student innovation and ideas competition, students sharpen their creative competencies by developing their own approaches to social change; our Humanities Action Lab connects action-oriented programs like the Global Dialogues: Incarceration project with thematically based courses across the university; our Engage Media Lab brings students together with local communities to share the power of storytelling, our International Field Program places students in applied field work in cities around the world; our Writing and Publishing Lab engages external partners in exploring the future of writing across existing platforms and those not yet created.

    At once boldly imaginative and eminently practical, these initiatives exemplify how our programs and schools continue to uphold the founding values of our institution. In The Milano School, The School of Media Studies, the Creative Writing Program, the Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students, and our MA program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, as well as our public programs and continuing education courses, we offer an academic community that continues to define itself through innovation, risk taking, and civic responsibility. These values inspired our founding almost a century ago, and they continue to motivate us as we challenge notions of what a university can be in the 21st century.

    Our students are animated by the urgency of the impossible – courageously dedicated to generating ideas that transcend contemporary approaches to change. We invite you to participate.

    Mary R. Watson, Executive Dean