Public Engagement


  • Innovative, Action-Oriented, and Engaged

    The Milano School is widely recognized for its innovative approach to educating leaders who make a measurable difference. Its activities focus on addressing complex real-world problems in cities, organizations, and communities. Milano's approach is both comparative and global, with a commitment to the achievement of a just and equitable world.

    Milano blends critical theory with hands-on practice, progressive thinking with social engagement, and research with reflection in action. The unparalleled faculty of scholars and practitioners engage in multidisciplinary, critical approaches that challenge prevailing wisdom. Milano graduates lead public, private, and nongovernmental institutions around the world and in New York City.

    The Milano School's Center for New York City Affairs and the Observatory on Latin America conduct applied research and convene public programs, promoting dialogue on pressing issues of interest.

    A Brief History of Milano

    Robert J. Milano (1912-2000) grew up in the Hell's Kitchen area of Manhattan and attended public school and university in New York, majoring in business administration and financial law. He later attended classes at The New School for Social Research.

    Mr. Milano served on the Board of Trustees of The New School from 1976 to 2000. Previously he had been a member of the advisory board of the J.M. Kaplan Center and was vice chair of the Visiting Committee to the Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy from 1975 to 1983.

    Mr. Milano was involved in transforming The New School into a major urban university with a distinctive orientation to public service and the arts, providing financial support for increased undergraduate scholarships, paid faculty leaves, venture capital grants to stimulate innovative academic programs, a student residence hall, and an undergraduate student center.

    The Center for New York City Affairs was founded in 1964 as the first teaching and research center in the United States devoted to the study of a single metropolitan area. Part of the center evolved into The Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy, which in 1996 was renamed in honor of long-time New School trustee Robert J. Milano. The Milano curriculum has always encouraged creative thinking designed to effect progressive social, economic, and political change. The school's nearly 8,000 graduates lead organizations, programs, and policymaking entities in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

    About Michelle J. DePass

    Michelle J. DePass is the dean of the Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment and Tishman Professor of Environmental Policy and Management.

    She came to Milano in November 2013 from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), where since 2009 she had served as assistant administrator for International and Tribal Affairs. In this presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed position, Ms. DePass was responsible for all aspects of environmental policy involving the EPA and other nations, federally recognized tribal nations, and multilateral institutions and donors.

    Before joining the EPA, Ms. DePass was a program officer at the Ford Foundation, with a portfolio focused on the environment and community development, most notably green economy and climate change, environmental health and justice, and indigenous environmental rights. In her two-decade career in sustainability and public service, Ms. DePass has also served as founding executive director of the New York Environmental Justice Alliance, senior policy advisor to the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and environmental manager of the City of San Jose. A lawyer by training, Ms. DePass was a Kunstler Fellow for civil rights at the Center for Constitutional Rights here in New York City. She is a sought-after civil society leader and has served on dozens of boards and advisory committees to government, NGOs, and international organizations. Ms. DePass holds a bachelor's degree from Tufts University, a Juris Doctor from Fordham Law School, and a Master of Public Administration from Baruch College, where she was a National Urban Fellow.

  • Accreditation

    The New School is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE, 3624 Market Street, 2nd Floor West, Philadelphia, PA 19104; 216.284.5000). MSCHE is a regional accreditor and federally recognized body. The New School has been accredited by MSCHE since 1960. All degree programs at the New York City campus of The New School are registered by the New York State Department of Education (NYSED, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, New York 12234; 518.474.1551). Both NYSED and MSCHE provide assurance to students, parents, and all stakeholders that The New School meets clear quality standards for educational and financial performance. For more information, visit Accreditation and State Regulatory Authorizations.

    The Urban Policy Analysis and Management Program is accredited by NASPAA (National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration).