The New School for Public Engagement
|The New School for Public Engagement|
|President||David E. Van Zandt|
|Location||New York City, New York, USA
|Dean||Mary R. Watson|
The New School for Public Engagement is one of seven academic divisions that compose The New School, a private university located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City.
The New School for Public Engagement is the direct successor of the original institution making it the oldest division of The New School having been founded in 1919. The school’s founding members wanted to create a “center for discussion and instruction for mature men and women” and by 1934 it was chartered as a university by the state of New York and began conferring degrees. The division was restructured in September 2011 after it would include both Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy and what was then called The New School for General Studies.
Growth and Change
Dean Allen Austill led the division from the 1960s to the 1980s. Austill's dedication to the liberal arts (he had previously spent many years at the University of Chicago) and his humanistic vision sustained the New School through the turbulent waters of this fractious era, as the curriculum expanded from "Old Left" areas such as politics and economics to include more aspects of relevance to the "New Left" such as mystical experience and homosexuality. Austill was assisted by Albert Landa, who directed publicity for the New School while also informally acting in many other capacities, and Wallis Osterholz, who was responsible for much of the day-to-day administration. Austill also added such comparatively non-intellectual areas as guitar study and culinary science to the curriculum, indicating that, even though these areas were not central to the New School's mission, including them was an important means of serving the adult learner community of New York City. In 1962, Austill initiated the Institute for Retired Professionals, a community of peer learners from 50 to 90 who develop and participate in challenging discussion groups; the institute, now headed by Michael Markowitz, still exists today. Austill's subordinate as Chair of Humanities for many of these years was Reuben Abel, a philosopher (he wrote a book on the pragmatic thinking of F. C. S. Schiller). Abel was succeeded by Lewis Falb, a specialist in interwar Paris who broadened the humanities curriculum further. Prominent teachers in this era included the philosopher Paul Edwards; the literary scholars Hasye Cooperman, Justus Rosenberg, and Margaret Boe Birns; the political scientist Ralph Buultjens; and the visual arts instructors Anthony Toney, Minoru Kawabata, and Henry C. Pearson.
The 1990s and after
The New School, for most of its history, operated as a noncredit institution, serving largely white, middle-class, often politically progressive, often Jewish adults living in Manhattan who were interested in intellectual stimulation and self-improvement. In the early 1990s, the institution, sensing demographic changes and needing to supplement its revenue, began to encourage credit students to matriculate at the institution, a trend which culminated in the establishment of the adult BA program in the mid-1990s. The credit students generally represented a younger and more diverse population.
The New School possesses a prestigious MFA program in creative writing, directed by poet and biographer Robert Polito, that has featured such authors as Rick Moody, Colm Toibin, and Marie Ponsot as instructors. The division also has an MA program in International Affairs, directed by Michael Cohen, and, until 2007, hosted the World Policy Institute, a well-regarded foundation devoted to the study of foreign affairs and formerly led by Stephen Schlesinger.
Several important developments occurred at the institution in the early 2000s. A strong advising program guided the curriculum's transformation from an intellectual free-for-all of courses often taught by teachers with sharply varying credentials to a smaller, more rigorous set of offerings taught by professionals, often bearing the highest degree in their fields. In 2005, as part of the rebranding of the entire university envisioned by President Bob Kerrey, the division was renamed The New School for General Studies, to clarify its mission and perhaps to invite comparisons with Columbia University's prestigious, similarly named School of General Studies. Also in 2005, the New School agreed to a contract with Local 7902 of ACT-UAW, an affiliate of the United Auto Workers, guaranteeing job security to part-time faculty who had taught at the New School for more than ten semesters.
Following the part-time faculty's success in gaining recognition and security, New School students set about creating a university-wide representative body. Many efforts had been made to establish a student legislative body, to address student grievances and concerns, but they were stymied by disconnected university divisions and an unenthusiastic administration. However, the long-standing efforts finally paid off in the Fall 2006 term when a University-wide Student Senate was formed involving representatives from all of the school's divisions. The USS gained administration support and funding from the board of trustees and is set to ratify a new constitution. Beginning during the Spring 2007 semester, representatives were elected from each division.
The New School for Public Engagement offers undergraduate programs designed specifically for transfer students, including working adults of all ages, as well as graduate degree and certificate programs.
The New School for Public Engagement is composed of four schools:
- School of Undergraduate Studies
- Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy
- School of Media Studies
- School of Writing
NSPE also offers open-enrollment continuing education courses and certificate programs including Media Management, Film Production, Organization Development, and English as a Second Language.
All undergraduate programs and several graduate programs at The New School for Public Engagement can be completed entirely online or through a combination of online and on-campus study.
Crain’s New York Business wrote that The New School has “the most sophisticated online learning program in the city” and that it was “fast becoming the national model.”
- 66 West 12th Street
- University Center
The New School and its degree programs are fully accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Its credits and degrees are recognized and accepted by other accredited colleges, universities, and professional schools throughout the United States.
- The New School website
- The New School for Public Engagement website
- The New School for Public Engagement Facebook page
- The New School for Public Engagement YouTube page
- Education in New York City
- The New York Intellectuals
- The New York Foundation
- Project Pericles
- National Book Award
- "A Century of Cutting Edge Adult Education". Newcombe Foundation.
- Hartmann, Rob. "New Face for Student Gov't". Retrieved 2007-05-08.
- "New School Goes to Head of Class: NYU Plays Catch Up". Crain's New York Business. Retrieved March 4, 2007.
- "Accreditation and State Regulatory Authorizations". The New School.
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