Sunday, October 30

Notes on University Town Hall

The New School's University Town Hall meeting last Wednesday, October 26th was a survey of the latest developments at the school and forward looking in regards to necessary changes. Several successful projects under the school's "service initiative" as discussed by Provost Tim Marshall are the student conversion to Gmail (faculty to come), orientation for all new faculty, and the dining dollars debit system. As for integrated academic support, there is focus on making The New School a more collective whole, showing consistency across the different schools.  There is a new bell schedule that will be used starting fall 2013, an integrated course catalogue online in time for spring 2012, and an expanded digital library, created by joining new consortiums. In order to visually illustrate improvements being made, President Van Zandt showed a series of before and after photos of physical changes made across campus in different locations.
The topic of most needed change that President Van Zandt spent a substantial portion of his presentation discussing was the dependency of The New School on growth and how that dependency is not sustainable. While addressing how the past academic year's growth was more modest than previous years, -5.1% from 2010-2011 throughout the university and less growth than budgeted for, Van Zandt treated the fact as neither starkly bad nor good. The New School is very reliant on tuition, 90% of its revenue comes from student fees. The lower growth rate does affect university spending, but President Van Zandt said this is the direction the university is planning for. He suggested there is a "negative impact of quick growth on the quality of academic programs," and that the school had an "obligation to make it worth it to students to invest in higher education."

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