Testimony of Dr. David W. McLaughlin
Provost (Chief Academic Officer)
New York University
Before the New York City Planning Commission
For the Public Hearing on the New York University Core Project
April 25, 2012
Chair Burden and fellow Commissioners,
My name is David McLaughlin and I am Provost of New York University. As chief academic officer, I am responsible for setting the University's academic strategy and priorities, working closely with the deans of NYU’s 18 schools. The core of my responsibilities is strategic planning to ensure adequate growth of space to address the University’s academic needs – while contributing to the vitality of our neighborhood and our city.
New space is badly needed for teaching, learning, scholarship and research in a range of disciplines. Our long term plan calls for growth across our five academic and research ‘hubs’ – the “Core” at Washington Square, the 1st Avenue Health Corridor, Downtown Brooklyn, Fine Arts on the Upper East Side, and a Midtown/Financial District presence for continuing and professional studies.
In planning for growth across our hubs, we are locating or moving some schools and programs outside the Core when that is appropriate. For example, we are moving Nursing to the Health Corridor. We are establishing our new Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) in Downtown Brooklyn at our NYU-Poly campus. In fact, as part of our 2031 plan, we are locating nearly two-thirds of our projected space needs in remote locations outside the neighborhood.
But, there remain substantial needs for schools and projects that require proximity to academic units and faculty who are located at the Core. For example, we simply do not have enough classrooms to meet academic needs, and many classrooms should be relocated from existing locations on upper floors in heavy trafficked buildings. We have insufficient study space for students whose programs and schools are based at the Core. We need space to develop new initiatives, such as our Institute for Cities, the Environment and Sustainability, and our Global Health Initiative – both of which draw on faculty and research from multiple schools at the Core. In the social sciences, limited space undermines our ability to attract research faculty. In Tisch School of the Arts there has been virtually no growth in space – during a time that the student population expanded by 300%. And, our Steinhardt School, a city - wide resource for teacher training, needs new space to train K-12 teachers, particularly in science and math.
NYU must grow to secure its research excellence – now, and in disciplines and areas we can only begin to imagine. The Superblocks is the best way to build on our strengths at the Core and to meet the academic challenges of the 21st century.