Date: October 1, 2018
To: NYU Faculty
From: Katherine Fleming, Provost
Re: From the Provost
Dear Faculty Colleagues,
Welcome to you all.
Here’s an update on some priorities and progress of which I’d like faculty to be aware.
During the past three hiring cycles, I’ve challenged school deans to make specific progress toward ensuring that the composition of our faculty more closely resembles both our increasingly diverse student body and the world in which we live. We’ve got a lot of work to do in this area. The Being@NYU assessment report will provide us with guidance on concrete ways that we can make NYU more diverse and inclusive.
There’s already some good news to report from Steinhardt, FAS, and Tisch. Faculty from underrepresented groups make up 20% more of Steinhardt's and Tisch's as well as 10% more of FAS's total full-time faculty than they did in 2015–2016.
Greater diversity also depends on accessibility, and to that end my office has been working with graduate students, faculty, and administrators to assess our major buildings for ease of accessibility and usability of all lobbies, public spaces, and bathrooms. Their findings have been incorporated into the NYU mobile app. Through the Provost’s Disabilities, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DIA) Working Group, we continue to work to incorporate the experience of all community members into the design of new spaces.
With the opening of the Work Life Office at 245 Mercer Street, this academic year we're launching two initiatives that junior and mid-career faculty have told us are important in helping them better balance the demands of family and career:
An email about email: My life could be swallowed whole reading and responding to emails. I suspect that many of you feel the same. To some extent, this is inevitable—email is the principal tool for communicating at NYU. Still, we could all think more about when we email, our expectations for response time, how many people we copy, and the length and necessity of emailing in the first place. I don’t want to discourage any faculty colleagues from emailing me and, no, the irony of raising this topic in a mass email isn’t lost on me. Many workplaces have, however, found ways to improve work life successfully by reducing email. I’d like us to join them.
The National Science Foundation’s most recent HERD survey of university research and development expenditures found that NYU had climbed to 23rd place nationally and that our rate of increase exceeded that of the other top 40 universities in the survey.
Our Mega-Grants Initiative, launched in 2015 to support faculty in their efforts to secure funding for high-impact, transdisciplinary research, began last academic year with the goal of supporting at least 100 submissions for grants of at least $1.75 million. Our faculty blew past this, submitting 155 mega-grant proposals across 14 schools and units.
We’ve seen a concurrent significant increase in the number of mega-grants awarded to NYU researchers since 2015. Overall, total project funding received indicates a 43.5% rise from the base year of FY15, from $78.5 million to $112.7 million.
NYU has immense strengths in the social sciences across our schools. To showcase these strengths, this year we will launch a new event series; and to enhance our research we will foster new collaborations between social scientists and data scientists, among other things.
The NYU Abu Dhabi Research Institute has announced a 2018–19 request for proposals for new research center applications that emphasize collaboration across diverse areas of expertise in addressing issues of national or global interest. View information, guidelines, and the full announcement.
Thanks to our recently concluded $1 billion Momentum Fundraising Campaign, over the last five years we've seen significant enhancements of financial aid for NYU students, for example:
On the admissions front, the news is good across the board.
Not only does the Class of 2022 have the highest average SAT scores in NYU history, but our acceptance rate is at an all time low of 22% across all campuses.
We also welcomed the most diverse class: 20% are first-generation, 29% identify as underrepresented, 24% are international, and 22% are Pell eligible.
Thanks to a campus-wide effort and a great deal of proactive and focused work over the past two years, our first-year retention rate has risen from a 10-year plateau of 92% to a new all-time high of 94%. NYU’s graduation rate—currently at 85%—is substantially above the national average, but our goal is to reach at least a 90% six-year graduation rate by 2026.
To reach this goal, we need to create stronger connections and communication among the various people at NYU who advise, teach, and support students. In September, the Office of Student Success launched NYU Connect, a platform that enables faculty and advisors to flag students who may need support and to connect students with the resources that they need to succeed.
This new system does not replace the important work of the Wellness Exchange. As always, if a student expresses any kind of mental health concern, please contact the Wellness Exchange 24/7 at 212-443-9999.
We should all consider how best to foster the most productive academic environment possible for our graduate students as well as how to maintain appropriate and professional boundaries with students. Not everything in human interaction can be captured by a policy or procedure—and it shouldn’t be. But faculty should remember that their students are first and foremost just that—students. They are here to learn and to build careers. The role of their faculty mentors is to help them do that.
Katherine E. Fleming