Washington Square Park

Date: October 1, 2018
To: NYU Faculty
From: Katherine Fleming, Provost
Re: From the Provost

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

Welcome to you all.

Here’s an update on some priorities and progress of which I’d like faculty to be aware.

Faculty Issues

Faculty Diversity

During the past three hiring cycles, I’ve challenged school deans to make specific progress toward ensuring that the composition of our faculty more closely resembles both our increasingly diverse student body and the world in which we live. We’ve got a lot of work to do in this area. The Being@NYU assessment report will provide us with guidance on concrete ways that we can make NYU more diverse and inclusive.

There’s already some good news to report from Steinhardt, FAS, and Tisch. Faculty from underrepresented groups make up 20% more of Steinhardt's and Tisch's as well as 10% more of FAS's total full-time faculty than they did in 2015–2016.

Greater diversity also depends on accessibility, and to that end my office has been working with graduate students, faculty, and administrators to assess our major buildings for ease of accessibility and usability of all lobbies, public spaces, and bathrooms. Their findings have been incorporated into the NYU mobile app. Through the Provost’s Disabilities, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DIA) Working Group, we continue to work to incorporate the experience of all community members into the design of new spaces.

Work Life Improvements for Our Faculty

With the opening of the Work Life Office at 245 Mercer Street, this academic year we're launching two initiatives that junior and mid-career faculty have told us are important in helping them better balance the demands of family and career:

  • Expanded childcare support through a new Child Care Fund for Faculty. This fund provides NY-based, full-time tenured, tenure-track, and continuing contract faculty with an annual award of $2,000–$3,500 for each eligible child, dependent on salary. This level of support puts NYU on par with—and in some cases ahead of—peer institutions.
  • A revised and expanded Tenure Clock Stoppage policy that allows tenure-track faculty to take up to two one-year clock stoppages for up to two “eligible events.” This will strengthen our ability to recruit and retain top faculty, and signals NYU’s commitment to the work life and family needs of our faculty.

Office of Work Life

An email about email: My life could be swallowed whole reading and responding to emails. I suspect that many of you feel the same. To some extent, this is inevitable—email is the principal tool for communicating at NYU. Still, we could all think more about when we email, our expectations for response time, how many people we copy, and the length and necessity of emailing in the first place. I don’t want to discourage any faculty colleagues from emailing me and, no, the irony of raising this topic in a mass email isn’t lost on me. Many workplaces have, however, found ways to improve work life successfully by reducing email. I’d like us to join them.

Research and Scholarly Collaboration

NSF’s Higher Education Research and Development Survey

Line Chart: NYU’s Year-over-year growth in R and D expenditures was 121 percent compared to the top thirty universities' average of 17 percent

The National Science Foundation’s most recent HERD survey of university research and development expenditures found that NYU had climbed to 23rd place nationally and that our rate of increase exceeded that of the other top 40 universities in the survey.

NYU’s overall ranking among top universities in R and D expenditures rose to number 23 in 2016, from number 55 in 2010

Large Grants

Our Mega-Grants Initiative, launched in 2015 to support faculty in their efforts to secure funding for high-impact, transdisciplinary research, began last academic year with the goal of supporting at least 100 submissions for grants of at least $1.75 million. Our faculty blew past this, submitting 155 mega-grant proposals across 14 schools and units.

We’ve seen a concurrent significant increase in the number of mega-grants awarded to NYU researchers since 2015. Overall, total project funding received indicates a 43.5% rise from the base year of FY15, from $78.5 million to $112.7 million.

Social Sciences

NYU has immense strengths in the social sciences across our schools. To showcase these strengths, this year we will launch a new event series; and to enhance our research we will foster new collaborations between social scientists and data scientists, among other things.

NYU Abu Dhabi Institute Request for Proposals

The NYU Abu Dhabi Research Institute has announced a 2018–19 request for proposals for new research center applications that emphasize collaboration across diverse areas of expertise in addressing issues of national or global interest. View information, guidelines, and the full announcement.

Student Issues

Financial Aid

Thanks to our recently concluded $1 billion Momentum Fundraising Campaign, over the last five years we've seen significant enhancements of financial aid for NYU students, for example:

  • tuition-free medical education for all students at the School of Medicine starting in August 2018;
  • a 32% increase in the average undergraduate scholarship grant, from $26,202 to $34,462;
  • more help for more Pell students, as NYU simultaneously increased the number of Pell students in the freshman class by 21% and increased by 34% the average grant to Pell students; and
  • a major increase in scholarship aid for veterans, as Yellow Ribbon scholarship grants for veterans nearly tripled, from $3,500 to $10,000.

Freshman Class

On the admissions front, the news is good across the board.

Bar Chart: The median SAT score of applicants rose 70 points to 1420 in 2018 from a median score of 1350 in 2014.

Not only does the Class of 2022 have the highest average SAT scores in NYU history, but our acceptance rate is at an all time low of 22% across all campuses.

Bar Chart: Total applications to NYU in 2018 rose to 75,329 from 52,624 in 2014; while the acceptance rate has fallen to 22 percent in 2018 compared to 35 percent in 2014.

We also welcomed the most diverse class: 20% are first-generation, 29% identify as underrepresented, 24% are international, and 22% are Pell eligible.

Improving Retention and Graduation Rates

Thanks to a campus-wide effort and a great deal of proactive and focused work over the past two years, our first-year retention rate has risen from a 10-year plateau of 92% to a new all-time high of 94%. NYU’s graduation rate—currently at 85%—is substantially above the national average, but our goal is to reach at least a 90% six-year graduation rate by 2026.

To reach this goal, we need to create stronger connections and communication among the various people at NYU who advise, teach, and support students. In September, the Office of Student Success launched NYU Connect, a platform that enables faculty and advisors to flag students who may need support and to connect students with the resources that they need to succeed.

This new system does not replace the important work of the Wellness Exchange. As always, if a student expresses any kind of mental health concern, please contact the Wellness Exchange 24/7 at 212-443-9999.

The Graduate Student Experience

We should all consider how best to foster the most productive academic environment possible for our graduate students as well as how to maintain appropriate and professional boundaries with students. Not everything in human interaction can be captured by a policy or procedure—and it shouldn’t be. But faculty should remember that their students are first and foremost just that—students. They are here to learn and to build careers. The role of their faculty mentors is to help them do that.

New Academic Leadership

  • Stacie Bloom has been appointed vice provost for research
  • H. Austin Booth has been appointed dean of libraries
  • Georgina Dopico has been appointed vice provost for undergraduate academic affairs
  • Susan Greenbaum has been appointed interim dean, School of Professional Studies
  • Anthony Jiga has been appointed vice provost for resource planning
  • Julia Kempe has been appointed director of the Center for Data Science
  • Jelena Kovačević has been appointed dean of the Tandon School of Engineering
  • Charlton McIlwain has been appointed vice provost for faculty engagement and development


Katherine E. Fleming

Katy Fleming and Andy Hamilton at ribbon cutting

GRI in Athens

Andy Hamilton cut a mean ribbon at the grand opening of our newest Global Research Institute in Athens, bringing the total number of GRI sites around the world to nine.

Attendants at new faculty reception

New Colleagues

Please join me in welcoming our excellent cohort of new faculty to the NYU community.

Distinguished Teaching awards recipients

Faculty Honors

Congratulations to our many colleagues who have been honored for their achievements in scholarship and teaching.
Distinguished Teaching Awards ›
2017–2018 Faculty Awards ›