A Message from the Provost, Fall 2019
To: The NYU Faculty
From: NYU Provost Katherine E. Fleming
Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2019
Please join me in welcoming our nearly 200 new colleagues.
Lots of you told us that our back-up homecare / childcare service needed improvement. We have contracted with a new provider, Bright Horizons, whose service is available locally and nationwide.
NYU Langone Health has begun construction on a multi-specialty ambulatory center on La Guardia Place that will open in the spring and will provide convenient primary care, pediatrics, and other medical specialties.
New Faculty Fellowships
The 19 Washington Square North Faculty Fellowship program aims to foster connections between NYU faculty in New York and Abu Dhabi and to enhance academic activity at the building. Full-time faculty have until an extended deadline of October 20 to apply.
This fall’s freshman class is the most diverse, the most selective, and most academically qualified NYU has ever admitted. Approximately 20% are first-generation college attenders. We need to ensure that our overall quality and diversity increase along with that of our student body.
Time to doctorate
Shortening the time to degree for doctoral students has been a priority. GSAS, for instance, reports that since 2008-09 the average time to degree has been reduced by more than a year. GRI dissertation workshops, the updating of various departmental procedures, and other provostial and GSAS efforts will be ongoing in support of further shortening the time to degree.
We still have more work to do to achieve a 90% graduation rate by 2026, but our record first-year retention rate—94%—sets us in the right direction.
CAS and the Center for Data Science have collaborated to offer an interdisciplinary major in data science beginning this year.
Academic And Provostial Initiatives
We start the year with several new colleagues in leadership roles.
- Kristen Day, Vice Provost
- Susan Greenbaum, Dean of the School of Professional Studies
- Antonio Merlo, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science
- Pamela Morris, Interim Dean of Steinhardt
- Mariet Westermann, Vice Chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi
I just spent a few days in Zurich for the THE World Academic Summit. European everyday sustainability practices cast ours in a shockingly backward light. I will be looking to have NYU lead on this, not follow, including:
- Phasing out bottled water from campus use (we eliminated 25,000 on Move-In Day alone).
- Reducing or eliminating single-use items. Paper is better than plastic, but it’s still trash.
- Installing photovoltaic panels on Bobst.
- Buying an electric vehicle for buildings and grounds crews.
- New efforts at waste reduction and sustainability by our new food vendor, including reducing red meat.
- Conducting a transportation survey to look for new green opportunities.
The Report of the Disabilities, Inclusion, and Accessibility Working Group
The Working Group has presented its report. We are grateful for their efforts.
Bobst Library welcomes a sound art installation, titled RETU(R)NINGS, created by three colleagues.
Lastly, there are some broad issues and questions on which I am focused:
- How can we do better at supporting the full lifecycle of a faculty member—from on-boarding to mentoring, from support for family life to promotion to retirement?
- Tenure is intended to mark scholarly excellence and work that is at a discipline’s leading edge. In the abstract, should it be a concern that NYU’s tenure rate has been above 90% for the last seven years, significantly higher than that of institutions we think of as peers?
- Scholarly output now takes many forms. Do we have mechanisms in place to properly honor work such as digital publications, artistic output, and the like?
- Should we have an honor code for students? And, if so, why?
With best wishes for the coming academic year,
Katherine Fleming, Provost