Welcome to the Faculty, Academic Year 2017-2018
Date: October 6, 2017
To: NYU Faculty
From: Katherine Fleming, Provost
Re: From the Provost
Dear Faculty Colleagues,
Best wishes for the start of the academic year.
In my first year as Provost, I met directly with over 350 faculty members in formal and informal settings. There are a few priorities — largely shaped by what I’ve heard — that I’d like to mention.
Last year I asked the Deans to examine faculty hiring practices to improve diversity. There’s a lot left to do, but through greater guidance to search committees, we’ve begun to see more diverse applicant pools, and greater diversity among those offered positions and those hired.
Separately, feedback from faculty has led me to create a new position within the Diversity Office to address a set of issues that have been overlooked for too long: Director of Disability Services for Faculty.
Junior and Mid-Career Faculty
Many faculty who’ve talked to me have emphasized that NYU needs to do a better job of supporting junior and mid-career faculty. To that end:
- Hiring of a Work/Life Director in January: In line with the Senate’s recommendations, we expect to name an Executive Director for Work/Life by early Spring 2018, if not earlier. While the job will encompass all faculty and administrators, there will be a particular focus on improving conditions for junior and mid-career faculty, including efforts toward more affordable, high-quality, accessible child care for faculty families.
- Creation of a Work/Life Office: One of the first tasks of the founding Executive Work/Life Director will be to create and build a Work/Life Office.
- This year we will be reviewing increasing the subsidy for adoptive parents.
- This past year, we established what I hope will become an ongoing tradition for residents in faculty housing: friendly, informal, family get-togethers that help build our faculty community. With the creation of the Work Life Office, there will be broader programs to meet the needs of all faculty. I hope I’ll see many of you at this year’s events.
Research and Scholarly Collaboration
Supporting Faculty Seeking Large Grants
Over the past couple of years, we’ve improved support for faculty seeking large, complex grants. Last year, some $550,000 in seed funding was provided to faculty, and 95 grant proposals (70% more than the previous year) of $2 million or more — totaling more than $560 million — were submitted.
Areas of Scholarly Strength
In a number of fields, NYU has significant scholarly strength that crosses school boundaries. This year, we’ll continue to support initiatives to foster scholarly collaborations in four areas: Urban, Aging, Inequality, and Entrepreneurship.
NYU’s graduation rate considerably exceeds the national average, but lags behind that of peer institutions. Dozens of administrators have been enlisted in the effort to help change this; in the past year our graduation rate has risen to 85%.
This year’s freshman class is our most selective on record, has the highest average SAT scores, and includes the largest number of underrepresented minorities in our history.
Women in STEM
This year’s freshman class at Tandon is 40% women — a record. Tandon recently hosted a series of events focused on women in STEM fields, and this year the Provost’s Office will convene a series of "summits" across the University on enhancing diversity in STEM fields at the undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral levels.
New Academic Leadership
We begin the new year with a number of new deans and directors in place:
- Russel Caflisch, Director, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences
- Clay Gillette, Director, Marron Institute
- Neil Guterman, Dean, Silver School of Social Work
- Phillip Brian Harper, Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
- Gene Jarrett, Dean, College of Arts and Science
- Julie Mostov, Dean, Liberal Studies
- Christine Poggi, Director, Institute of Fine Arts
In addition, Lisa Coleman joins NYU as our first Chief Diversity Officer, and Clay Shirky has returned to New York from Shanghai, and will help map our online and digital strategy as Vice Provost for Educational Technologies.
I’m acutely aware that this message is being sent at a moment full of tragedy and sorrow, from Houston, to Puerto Rico, to Las Vegas. My sincere best wishes for 2017-18 are accompanied by a sense of solidarity with those affected by the tumult of the past weeks.
CUSP and the Institute for the Study of Decision Making (including the Human Project) will move into 370 Jay St later this semester, the building's first occupants. The other units — including Tandon's Departments of Computer Science and Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering; MAGNET; and Tisch's ITP and Clive Davis departments — are projected to move in by January 2019.
708 Broadway /404 Lafayette will become the first permanent home of the College of Global Public Health. Planning is well underway, and the renovation is projected to be completed by summer 2019.
Later this year, the new Bonomi Admissions Center will open on West 4th, allowing us to accommodate thousands of requests to join tours and info sessions that now go unfulfilled.
The Physics Department is currently moving from Meyer to newly renovated facilities in 726 Broadway. This will allow for much needed, phased renovations of Meyer Hall for the expansion of the Center for Neural Science and Psychology Departments. This is projected to take two to three years.