Karen Nercessian

Associate Vice Provost - Strategy and Chief of Staff

Karen Nercessian is Associate Vice Provost for Strategy and Chief of Staff to the Provost, where she oversees the Provost’s strategic initiatives and priorities, with a particular focus on faculty well-being and the faculty lifespan, supporting the needs of faculty as community members, parents, and caregivers through sustainable, accessible, and equitable programs and initiatives. She serves as primary spokesperson for the Provost, promotes mission integration within administrative units, and manages the administrative components and communications interface for the Office of the Provost. Karen is also responsible for the strategic direction and priorities of the Work Life Office.

In her role, Karen serves as the Provost’s designee on various committees and working groups and helps coordinate efforts with the Office of the President. She identifies opportunities, removes obstacles, increases accessibility, and connects diverse needs with realistic solutions through partnerships and collaborations, acting as the point of contact with and the coordinator for schools and various units such as Campus Safety, Facilities, Office of General Counsel, University Budget Office, Human Resources, Compliance and Faculty Housing. Karen also helps guide the many Provostial committees and working groups mostly around Disabilities, Inclusion and Accessibility, Work Life, and Art in Public Spaces. Karen is also the Global Inclusion Officer for the Office of the Provost, and is part of the Global Inclusion Officers Council, working in partnerships with other units and leading the charge to uphold and advance inclusion, diversity, belonging, and equity at the university.   

Since joining NYU in 2006, Karen has held a variety of senior leadership roles, working with deans, faculty, and senior administrators across all the schools and gaining a wide-ranging understanding of both academic and operational components of the University. Karen served as senior project manager for NYU Abu Dhabi, leading to the development of its interim campus, as well as the planning and space programming for the Saadiyat campus. She led Faculty Housing, where she focused equally on supporting schools’ recruitment efforts, improving the move-in and housing experience for newly recruited faculty and the quality of life for all faculty in university housing. As Associate Vice President in Public Safety, Karen was responsible for the execution of the strategic plan for the unit, including technology integration, budget management, personnel support, data analysis, and transportation services in New York, as well direct management of overall public safety for the 11 Global Academic Centers; in that role, she launched a set of strategic initiatives to improve operations across the department. Karen’s most recent role was Interim Vice President for Global Campus Safety.

Karen holds a Master's in Public Administration from NYU|Wagner, a Master's in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness from NYU|Steinhardt, and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from American University. Karen is also a Mental Health Counselor and focuses her clinical work on cultural identity and research around the importance of cultural competence in mental health counseling.