Public Engagement

Message from the Dean

  • The New School has been engaged in new ways of thinking about higher education for nearly a hundred years. Today, we remain committed to the open exchange of ideas, engaging adult and continuing learners across the lifespan, and facilitating education that brings meaning to the lives of students, our communities, and the world at large.

    Our signature approach to learning in action at the Schools of Public Engagement, the contemporary name for the founding division of our university, has perhaps never been so relevant or so sorely needed. As headlines proclaim the profound challenges facing higher education, we continue to develop programs and approaches to learning that reimagine its definition. Our degree programs reflect the diverse ways in which higher learning can be put to use meaningfully in the world. International affairs, creative writing, public and urban policy, media studies, management, and language learning and teaching are just a few of the fields positioned at the crossroads of design and social research. We offer degrees, certificates, and noncredit courses, including programs at the undergraduate, master's, and PhD level. Our students are challenged to truly engage: to engage with the learning process, to engage with our city, and to engage with the defining issues of our time.

    Much of our curriculum is delivered through engaged learning in applied projects: the newly launched Impact Entrepreneurship Initiative, our university-wide program to support early-stage entrepreneurs, in which students develop the mindsets, skills, and sense of purpose needed to thrive in a rapidly changing world; The New Historia, a digital platform aimed at documenting and promoting the achievements of women in history that have gone unnoticed or unrecognized by society; our Engage Media Lab, which brings students together with local communities to share the power of storytelling; our International Field Program, which places students in applied fieldwork throughout the world; and WriteOn NYC, our fellowship program that connects our graduate writing students with underserved students in New York City schools through creative writing-based mentorship.

    At once boldly imaginative and eminently practical, these initiatives exemplify the way our programs and schools continue to uphold the founding values of our institution. In the Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment; the School of Media Studies; the Creative Writing Program; the Julien J. Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs; the Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students; and our MA program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, as well as our public programs and Open Campus continuing education courses, we offer an academic community that continues to define itself through innovation, risk taking, and civic engagement. These values inspired our founding almost a century ago, and they continue to motivate us as we challenge notions of what a university can be in the 21st century.

    Our students are animated by the urgency of the impossible — courageously dedicated to generating ideas that transcend contemporary approaches to change. We invite you to participate.

    Mary R. Watson, Executive Dean