In September 2004, the University announced the Partners Plan, which, with donations and other resources, would fund the hiring of 250 faculty in arts and science over five years.The Partners’ Plan is an important example of the “first principles” of Framework 2031, in terms of protecting existing strengths and nurturing the arts and science core.
Partners established a fund to increase the size of the Faculty of Arts and Science (FAS), Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, and the Institute of Fine Arts faculty from 625 to 750, or approximately 20%. When normal replacement hiring is added to this increase, the total number of new faculty hires will be approximately 250, which means that one-third of core arts and science faculty will have been hired under the program.
The primary goals of the Partners’ Plan are both to ensure that departments that already are outstanding remain so and to identify another set of departments that are poised to become among the best. In selecting units for investment, emphasis was placed on those where advancing the particular unit also would advance other units or schools, where there was significant student interest, and where there was a deep connection between the department’s research mission and undergraduate education.
An important strategic tool for the development of science has been cluster hiring. Faculty attracted by the opportunity to work together, in turn, inspired leading researchers to bring work to NYU. And, consistent with the overall strategy of the Partners’ Plan, the addition of these senior scholars laid the groundwork for attracting some of the most promising junior and mid-career scholars available.
In support of hiring efforts, the Partners’ Initiative has also funded major capital expenditures in science. For instance, NYU has renovated laboratories in all Washington Square science departments, built the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology (a dynamic cross-divisional program constituting the single largest University investment in science over the past six years), Center for Brain Imaging, Center for Soft Matter Research, and Molecular Design Institute. An important next step in building science is to bring back to NYU a major engineering presence. The continued discussions of an affiliation with Polytechnic University in Brooklyn hold the promise of creating the opportunity for productive synergies not only with the arts and science core, but also with other units and schools (such as Medicine, Dentistry, Tisch, and Steinhardt). NYU can be a key engine of economic development for the local, regional, national, and global economies through promoting its capacity for invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
In June 2008, Framework 2031 was released. In it key concerns, issues, and opportunities that NYU would face over the next two decades as it approaches its 200th anniversary in 2031 were addressed.
To date, 163 faculty members have been hired. One-fourth of the new faculty are senior, about one-fourth are mid-career, and about one-half are junior. A key priority of Partners has been enhancement of the Square’s core science programs. Given the importance of science in modern society and given that all leading research universities need to have strong science programs, success in science is imperative for NYU.
Yet, building science is expensive, significant investment in every aspect of every discipline is impossible, and the fruits of investment can be lost to better-endowed competitors if the areas chosen do not interconnect naturally and deeply with other areas of strength at NYU.
To bolster science, NYU’s strategy has been to continue to support already strong units like mathematics and neural science and to make highly focused additional investments in important and rapidly growing subfields where NYU has the potential to attain and sustain excellence.