Thursday, October 27

University Town Hall

President David Van Zandt and Provost Tim marshall conducted the university town hall meeting on Wednesday, where university faculty, staff, and students came together at Wollman Hall to see the current and upcoming changes that has and will affect the New School.

The university faculty senate began the meeting, followed by the student senate. Nargis Virani and Melissa Holmes explained the purpose of the senates, which I found very beneficial. As a student, I was especially interested in what Holmes had to say--how the senate's purpose is to serve the students and their aim is to get students active in making changes.

After the brief introduction of the senates, President Van Zandt took the stage and presented the new changes that have been approved, like the new course catalog, which has been changed from seven separate college catalogs to one university wide catalog, a new bell schedule that will allow cross-divisional registrations, and the successful e-mail switch from GroupWise to Google Apps. Provost Marshall focused on explaining what most university members are mainly concerned about--the financial situation. Both Van Zandt and Marshall explained how the institution is tuition-based which explains why the cost to attend The New School is so high. There is a slim chance that the tuition will lower, but Van Zandt is aiming to keep the increasing of tuition to a minimum.

What I found most exciting was the Q&A session. When Tony Whitfield, associate dean of Civic Engagement at Parsons, expressed his disappointment in the diversity within the university, it sparked a huge discussion with other faculty members. As a minority in both racial and social class, I found myself satisfied that the issue of diversity was brought up. Many faculty members suggested ways to expand diversity, like recruiting prospective students in towns and cities where the minority population is more prominent. Another suggestion was to have courses that focus on explaining the importance of diversity.

In an hour and thirty minutes, the second university town hall meeting came to an end, but I could tell there was a lot more to be said.

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