2016-17 in Review

A roundup of news from the past school year.
photo: library stacks in foreground, view out window to washington sq. park in background

And just like that, another school year draws to a close. As usual, it's been a whirlwind, but we think it's important to pause now and again to acknowledge some milestones in the life of the university—and to celebrate the achievements of our hard-working students, faculty, and staff. Here is a (highly abridged!) look back at life at NYU in 2016-17.

This fall brought the official installation of our 16th president, Andy Hamilton, a transition marked with an Inauguration Celebration Week in September. Katherine Fleming, formerly NYU's deputy provost and vice chancellor for Europe, began her new role as provost on September 1. 

President Hamilton and the Affordability Steering Community and Working Group announced several steps toward lessening the financial burden of getting an education at NYU, including developing pathways for some students to graduate in less than four years. A New York Times study published in January ranked NYU fourth among among top colleges enrolling the highest percentage of low- and middle-income students and eighth on the economic mobility index, which measures access and outcomes for students, including the likelihood of moving up two or more income levels.

NYU's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force, created last school year to develop specific actions to ensure that all members of our community feel like they belong at NYU, issued its final report in April 2017, and the University announced Lisa M. Coleman as our first chief diversity officer after an extensive search. She will begin work in September 2017. A committee was formed to administer a campus climate study to evaluate the living, learning, and working environment at NYU.

Throughout a tumultuous political season, NYU students and faculty were on the front lines in reporting and analysis of the contentious presidential election and its aftermath. A post-inauguration educational theatre experiment that restaged the presidential debates with the candidates' genders swapped went viral and then became an off-Broadway play.

Following an executive order limiting travel to the United States from several majority-Muslim nations, President Hamilton reiterated the University's commitment to non-citizen students and our policy of not sharing information about immigration status with law enforcement officials. NYU also submitted amicus curiae briefs in support of lawsuits challenging a revised version of the executive order, and joined other universities in signing a letter to President Trump in support of Dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children. 

In January, President Hamilton announced a plan for a major decade-long investment to make our Brooklyn campus a hub for creative tech, with a new facility for media, technology, and the arts built in the former MTA headquarters at 370 Jay St. NYU's new StudentLink Center—which brings billing and payment, financial aid, registrar, housing, meal plans, and other services together under one roof—opened at 383 Lafayette Street in October. In December, the University released architectural renderings and floor plans for 181 Mercer Street, a new multipurpose building that will be home to 58 classrooms, state-of-the art performing arts spaces, an air-conditioned gym, student and faculty housing, and more.

On Veterans Day in November, we unveiled a monument in honor of all those in the University community who have served in the Armed Forces since NYU's founding in 1831, and profiled 12 currently enrolled student veterans.

President Hamilton joined faculty, students, and staff in a Washington, DC, teach-in and March for Science on April 22 to protest proposed cuts to federal research funding. He also published an op-ed that called the cuts a "blueprint for disaster." 

A record-breaking 67,232 students applied for first-year admission to the class of 2021, and the acceptance rate fell to 27%, the lowest in 16 years. The University also admitted the largest percentage of African-American and Latino/a students in the same period.

Three students—Dubai Abulhoul and Guillaume Sylvain of NYU Abu Dhabi and Melissa Godin of Global Liberal Studies in New York—were named 2017 Rhodes Scholars. NYU students also won a record number of athletics national championships in a single monthbuilt a prize-winning concrete canoe, and raised $403,132 for The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, which provides financial assistance to families with children fighting cancer.

Professors Subhash Khot and Julia Wolfe and alumnus Branden Jacobs-Jenkins all won MacArthur "genius grants." Distinguished writer in residence James McBride received a National Humanities Medal. NYU faculty and alumni were well-represented (as always) among this year's EmmyGrammyOscar, and Tony winners, as well as on Forbes "30 Under 30" and New York Times notable books lists. Three Stern professors—the highest number of any school—appeared on Poets & Quants' "40 Most Outstanding MBA Professors Under 40." President Hamilton made City & State's list of 50 influential Manhattanites, and creative writing alumnus Tyehimba Jess won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

The University itself also earned honors and accolades, coming in at no. 1 among U.S. universities on the Times Higher Education rankings of graduate employability, and ranking no. 27—up from no. 34 last year—on the U.S. News & World Report's Best Global Universities. We topped Playbill's list of colleges with alumni currently on Broadway (of course) and came in at no. 14 on a SaveOnEnergy 2017 Green Report list of universities making progress in sustainability. Individual schools and departments got nods too: Both Steinhardt's music business program and Tisch's Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music made Billboard's list of 12 elite business schools shaping the industry's future, and The Princeton Review put NYU's video game design programs in the top 10 for both graduates and undergraduates. Steinhardt ranked no. 13 on the U.S. News best graduate education schools list—up from No. 20 in 2015.

NYU scholars made headlines for a course on love, a block-by-block project to map all the shadows in New York City, the finding that girls as young as 6 are less likely to think of women as "really really smart," and for research on the microbes living on ATM keypads, noise pollution in New York City, fruit foraging as a factor in primate brain size, pointillism in 38,000-year-old cave art, and the vulnerabilities of smartphone fingerprint security.

The Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute announced that author Ta-Nehisi Coates would join its faculty as a distinguished writer in residence. The year also brought more than its share of famous faces to campus, including Vice President Joe Biden, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Mayor Bill De Blasio, and Hamilton star Javier Muñoz, well as Alec BaldwinSeal, Daveed Diggs, André Holland, and Danai Gurira

You might say it's been a busy year around here.