The heart of NYU Wagner's programs is our faculty. An amalgam of full-time, clinical/research/visiting, and adjunct professors, they are outstanding teachers, expert researchers and committed practitioners.
Dear NYU Wagner Community,
As many of you know, I announced last spring that I was taking a semester sabbatical starting January 2013. I have decided that this break will actually be more—that now is the time to step down as dean of Wagner.
I started my deanship in Fall 2002—ten years ago—and we embarked on what we called a History of the Future. We asked ourselves to describe the future we hoped to have created, as if we had already created it. We did this across multiple groups of people committed to Wagner: faculty, both tenure-track and adjunct; staff; students; alumni; and external supporters. There was remarkable consistency across these conversations. And we set ourselves the task of realizing those dreams. Ten years later, it is stunning to look back at those ambitions and realize that we have not only lived up to our aspirations, but exceeded them in many ways. Together, we have created a community we only began to imagine a decade ago.
And it seems now time to dream again, to take stock and create a new set of ambitions and aspirations, with a new person at the helm who can both help shape the future and be in a position to lead the work.
There will be many opportunities in the coming months for me to express my profound collective and individual appreciation. Simply put, I have loved serving as your dean. It has mattered to me that we have aimed high and that we remain committed to both theory and practice; that faculty, staff, and students all care about making a difference in the world; that Wagner is increasingly a place of choice for talent at every level. I am particularly grateful that the University made it possible for us to have a home at the Puck Building and that we are central to NYU as NYU moves forward. And of course I love that the rankings (from 26 to 6 in 12 years) are a concrete manifestation of our academic trajectory, a trajectory no other school of our type can claim.
I look forward to finding ways to say thank you to each of you. For now, I want to say thank you to the full-time faculty who trusted me to lead and who have put so much energy into building the institution as they charted new territory in their research; changed the way people think about issues of critical public importance locally, nationally and globally; and committed themselves so fully to the vital and absorbing work of teaching and mentoring. The adjunct faculty who devote themselves to our students’ academic and professional lives amaze us with their generosity and dedication. They bring deep knowledge and expertise and embody our belief that the most powerful learning comes at the intersection of theory and practice. Deep thank-yous to the extraordinary staff at all levels, who consistently go above and beyond to produce a transformative experience for students and a supportive environment for faculty and for one another. Their commitment to their work and to Wagner has created an amazing community. We describe our alumni as “proof of concept,” as exemplars of our dreams. They continue to do work that inspires us and changes the world. And our students…our students who take a leap in this struggling economy and this ever more complex world, and trust that their time with us will increase their capacity to have enduring impact. They challenge us, they inspire us, they thrill us. And to our external advisory Dean’s Council members, who invest their wisdom and resources in us, I am forever grateful. I want also to call out my university leadership team colleagues for being such wonderful partners over these last ten years. I salute you all.
Wagner has soared in large part as NYU has soared. While my plans are inchoate for now, I know I will remain at NYU in a leadership role, and will assume a new position starting Fall 2013. I look forward to retaining my cherished affiliation as a member of Wagner’s faculty, to teaching, to helping Wagner in every way I can from whatever NYU role I am in, to soar even further.
The President and Provost will soon form a search committee, with the hope that we might have a new dean in place by Fall 2013. I look forward to our continued working together in the weeks and months ahead. I feel confident that we will manage this transition going forward, with the commitment to community and professional dedication so characteristic of Wagner. I also look forward to being with you all at convocation and graduation this spring.
It truly takes a village to lead Wagner. During the transition, the leaders of that village will be Scott Fritzen, Tyra Liebmann, and John Billings. Scott and Tyra will serve as co-interim deans and John Billings, in his role as chair of the elected Faculty Advisory Committee, will be a part of the leadership team. I know they can rely on your support and collective good counsel. Again, I am grateful for the trust you all put in me, for our collective accomplishments and for the privilege of having served as your dean for the past ten years.