A. Description of New York University
The opening of the University of London in 1828 convinced New Yorkers that New York, too, should have a university, and in 1831 a group of prominent citizens founded New York University. This was an historic event in American education. At the time, most students in American colleges and universities were members of the privileged classes. The founders of New York University intended to enlarge the scope of higher education to meet the needs of persons from other strata of society who aspired to careers in business, industry, science, and the arts, as well as in law, medicine, and the ministry. The first president of New York University’s governing council was Albert Gallatin, secretary of the treasury in Thomas Jefferson’s cabinet. Gallatin and his cofounders said that the new university was to be a “national university” that would provide a “rational and practical education for all,” regardless of national origin, religious beliefs, or social background.
While the University’s commitment to these ideals remains unchanged, Albert Gallatin would scarcely recognize NYU today. New York University is one of the 60 institutions, of the more than 3,000 US colleges and universities, that are members of the Association of American Universities. It is the largest private university in the United States, and perhaps the world, and is recognized nationally and internationally as a center of research, scholarship, and teaching. There are approximately 21,000 undergraduate students, the same number of graduate and professional students, and 20,000 non-credit students. Students attend from all 50 states and more than 130 countries. The University includes numerous schools, colleges, institutes, and programs, a major center in Abu Dhabi (UAE), and 13 study away sites. In 2013, NYU and NYU Abu Dhabi will be joined by a third portal campus in Shanghai, China, and a study away site will open in Washington, D.C. in fall 2012.
NYU’s schools and colleges are the College of Arts and Science, School of Law, Graduate School of Arts and Science, (which includes the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, the Institute of Fine Arts and the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World), Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, Silver School of Social Work, Tisch School of the Arts, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, School of Medicine and Post- Graduate Medical School, and the College of Dentistry (which includes the College of Nursing). In addition, the University operates a branch campus program in Rockland County at St. Thomas Aquinas College. The Nelson Institute of Environmental Medicine is located in Sterling Forest, near Tuxedo, New York. Although the University is large, most of the divisions are small to moderate-sized units, with its own traditions, programs, and faculty. Enrollment in the undergraduate divisions of the University ranges between 130 and 7,672. While some introductory classes are large, many classes are small. Nearly 4,600 undergraduate courses are offered. The University grants more than 25 degrees.
The University provides housing for over 11,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Its eight libraries hold over 4.5 million volumes. The Elmer Holmes Bobst Library and Study Center at the main campus on Washington Square alone holds over 3.3 million volumes.
The faculty totals over 7,200 full-time and part-time members. Among them are 12 MacArthur fellows, 4 Nobel and Crafoord Prize winners, 21 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 68 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and 7 Howard Hughes Investigators. There are over 9,000 administrative and staff employees.
B. NYU Mission Statement
Great cities are engines of creativity, and New York University takes its name and spirit from one of the busiest, most diverse and dynamic cities of all. The University lives within New York and other great cities, from Abu Dhabi to Shanghai, Paris to Prague, Sydney to Buenos Aires—all magnets for talented, ambitious people.
Thriving beyond borders and across academic disciplines, NYU has emerged as one of the most networked and extensive worldwide platform for learning, teaching, researching, building knowledge, and inventing new ways to meet humanity’s challenges. Its students, faculty and alumni feed off the stimulating power of swirling intellectual and cultural experiences by mastering academic disciplines, expressing themselves in the arts, and excelling in demanding professions.
New York University’s mission is to be a top quality international center of scholarship, teaching and research. This involves retaining and attracting outstanding faculty who are leaders in their fields, encouraging them to create programs that draw outstanding students, and providing an intellectually rich environment. NYU seeks to take academic and cultural advantage of its location and to embrace diversity among faculty, staff and students to ensure a wide range of perspectives, including international perspectives, in the educational experience.
C. Recent Developments
Several significant recent developments relate to the Self-Study. In March, President John Sexton announced the inauguration of the NYU Global Institute of Public Health, which will help “…galvanize the existing intellectual critical mass in global public health at NYU, [and] also…serve as a model for other mulit-university initiatives that seek to create bridges across traditional academic disciplines and units.” In April, the Mayor of New York announced that NYU’s proposed Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) was a winner of the Applied Sciences NYC Initiative. CUSP, which is being developed in conjunction with several other educational institutions and with the support of corporate partners, is “…an applied science and engineering institute that will conduct research, support graduate study, and fashion real-world technologies to address the challenges of an increasingly urbanized planet….” [CUSP] will be located adjacent to the Brooklyn campus of the Polytechnic Institute of New York University.
New York University will continue to evolve as a global network university. Provost David McLaughlin pointed out in a September 2011 letter to the faculty: “The developing research programs in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, coupled with the excellence of our academic programs in New York, will open a whole new range of possibilities for future developments…. [C]oordinated development within and across schools and campuses…is intended to create the kind of synergies and interdisciplinarity that will make the most of our resources and bring them to bear on the complex issues of our time. Accordingly,...NYU will focus its attention on multi-school initiatives….” Among the initiatives he cited were the humanities, global public health, the future of the cities, and statistics and bio-statistics.
Arrangements continue to progress for the Polytechnic Institute of New York University to become the school of engineering and technology of NYU. Several administrative systems have been intergraded and academic integration has begun.
In terms of physical facilities, the main development at the Washington Square campus will be the implementation of a twenty-year expansion plan, NYU2031: NYU in NYC, which has been approved by the New York City Planning Commission and City Council. This will provide new and increased facilities for academic purposes, research, student uses, and housing.
E. Preparation for the Self-Study
In the summer of 2011, President John Sexton asked Professor Norman Dorsen of the School of Law, and Counselor to the President, to chair the 2014 Middle States Self-Study, and Assistant Provost Barnett W. Hamberger to serve as Self-Study Coordinator, as both had done for the 2004 Self-Study on undergraduate education and the 2009 Periodic Review Report. As was the case for previous Middle States self-studies, it was decided to choose a topic of importance to the University (what Middle States classifies as a Selected Topics Report). During the ensuing months, Professor Dorsen and Assistant Provost Hamberger had a series of meetings with the president, provost, other senior University officers, and several deans about the possible focus of the self-study. Eventually, the University selected the theme of multi-school programs because of the many important University initiatives of this kind. Four areas were selected for primary study: cities and the environment, data science and statistics, humanities, and public health. In April 2012, President Sexton appointed members of the Self-Study Steering Committee and subsequently Professor Dorsen appointed four Steering Committee members to chair the working groups, which were then constituted. Over the course of the 2011-12 academic year, the deans of individual schools made presentations about their multi-school programs to the University’s senior leadership. Professor Dorsen and Assistant Provost Hamberger drafted charges to the working groups, which were reviewed and affirmed by the group chairs and the Steering Committee in July 2012.