New York Times spotlights NYU Wagner's 'Visual Explorer' application tool

New York Times spotlights NYU Wagner's 'Visual Explorer' application tool

When NYU Wagner reviews applications for admission, we try to add up the many components that make up an applicant and ask ourselves: Who is this person? Two years ago, we added an optional Visual Explorer essay to our application. This essay section provides all applicants with an opportunity to offer information about themselves that is not always captured through the standard essay question on the application. They are asked to select a photograph from an archive of two dozen conceptual images and then write about it. The process draws out their creativity, while grounding them in a moment of reflection about their motivation to study and work in public service.

"Too often," notes Wagner's dean, Ellen Schall, "applying to graduate school is transactional. We added Visual Explorer because we wanted to signal that the Wagner experience is transformational. Visual Explorer calls for people to slow down enough to reflect on their own experiences, connect their passion for public service to their professional goals, and offer their own perspectives on how to change the world."

On Nov. 1, 2009, the Education Life supplement of The New York Times spotlighted Wagner's pattern-breaking application tool, the images for which are provided in collaboration with the nonprofit Center for Creative Leadership, or CCL.

View the interactive feature at the New York Times.

NYU Wagner Adjunct Professor Writes Handbook on 'Leading Change'

NYU Wagner Adjunct Professor Writes Handbook on 'Leading Change'

Leading change is a topic of paramount importance. But a missing ingredient for many leaders has been how to translate concepts into actions, continuous improvements and sustainable results.

Now, the Wallace Foundation has just published NYU Wagner Adjunct Professor Jody Spiro's "Leading Change Handbook: Concepts and Tools."

This toolkit by Dr. Spiro, who is the Wallace Senior Education Program Officer, was developed to help leaders address several key areas of the change process: assessing and improving participants' readiness; engaging stakeholders; planning "early wins"; minimizing resistance; using collaborative planning methods; and developing ways to bring initiatives to scale and sustain them over time.

The handbook is  available for free downloading and posting -- visit the link listed below.

For more than 24 years, Dr. Spiro, Adjunct Professor of Public Administration at Wagner, has served as a senior organizational change agent in a wide variety of public and nonprofit settings, including her current education reform work in countries undergoing dramatic transition. Dr. Spiro holds a master of public administration from NYU Wagner and an Ed.D. from Columbia University.


NYU Wagner congratulates the Class of 2009, and celebrates Convocation at BAM

NYU Wagner congratulates the Class of 2009, and celebrates Convocation at BAM

In a Convocation speech to Wagner's Class of 2009, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan said he attended the 1977 World Series game when sports commentator Howard Cosell, observing a column of rising smoke in the vicinity of Yankee Stadium, told a national television audience, "Ladies and gentleman, the Bronx is burning." The wave of arson, crime, and abandonment afflicting much of New York City less than two years after the city government had narrowly avoided municipal bankruptcy captured Donovan's attention even then, as an 11 year old baseball enthusiast. And it's probably no accident that as someone who came of age in the 1970s and '80s in New York, he went on to devote his education and distinguished public career to understanding and innovating policy steps that helped rescue and transform New York and many other American cities in the wake of that "urban catastrophe."

Donovan quoted former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton in addressing the proud and excited graduates and their families gathered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on May 15: "Public service is not just a way of life, it is a way to live life fully."

According to Donovan, the rise of New York and the restoration of its once-strained civic bonds show that public-sector work - his own path-has enormous potential value, even though the challenges were amply demonstrated by the government's response to Hurricane Katrina. Citing President Obama's call to service, as well as his recently signed national service bill, Donovan said the mission of public employees and others embarked on public service work of all kinds is to give us "a reason to believe in public service again"  in our neighborhoods and across the nation and world.

"Wagner Class of 2009," Donovan said, "we need you to make it possible to believe again!...Together, we can put our shoulder up against the wheel and change the course of history."

Dean Ellen Schall enumerated the impressive accomplishments of the graduating students and faculty members, including Professors of the Year Shanna Rose and Anthony Kovner. She contended that the work of public service requires more than technical and analytical capabilities, as critical as those are, but also "artistry," saying, "Public service is as much about art as about science." Artistry is what is required to find bold new answers to problems that resist technical solutions, whether those are ending poverty, overcoming racism, ensuring equal health outcomes for all, creating public school systems that work, or building cities that are sustainable.

The dean told the graduates that she wrote an essay for the Convocation as if she were applying for admission to the school. She based her thoughts on a photograph she selected from a catalogue of visual images, just as many Wagner applicants are asked to do. The image she selected was that of a person bringing a pot to life on a pottery wheel, as it reminded her of an introduction to pottery class she took last fall.

"I showed up every Monday night from 6-9, much the way you showed up for a class," she told the graduates. "And it was very hard. It was the worst in the class, a fact clear to me and to everyone else. Yet I stayed and kept on trying. I knew there was learning in the trying, in sticking with what didn't come easily. I never actually cracked the code or became a potter. Yet at the end, I have these small little pieces of ‘pottery' in my house and the odd thing is, I display them...and they make me smile when I walk in. They remind me to take myself seriously, but not too seriously, to stretch even in the face of initial resistance, mine or others, to find pleasure in small wins."  

She referred to the image on a large screen on the BAM stage.

"This captures a simple visual image that I wish for each of you as you go forth. That you embrace the boldness of seeing yourself as artists, as creators and change makers, as people who bring passion and the fullness of yourselves to the critically important challenges of public service. And that you have the discipline and energy and commitment to keep on going, even if you don't get it right the first time around, that you learn from what works as well as what doesn't, and that you find joy in small things as well as big moves."

Michael C. Alfano, executive vice president of New York University, offered spirited welcoming remarks, while class speaker Tracey Gardner, who earned an MPA in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy, introduced Donovan, noting, "He's not beaten down, not jaded, and ever on the lookout for policy changes to improve how things are done and make our lives better."


NYU Wagner Convenes Race Dialogue

NYU Wagner Convenes Race Dialogue

More than 50 Wagner students, faculty, and administrators gathered at the Puck Building on Sunday, April 22, to work on deepening the community�s capacity to talk about and listen � across racial lines � to experiences of race.

Public service work requires the ability to work across multiple boundaries, including those of race. Dean Ellen Schall is committed to creating a community where highly charged issues are discussable, and where people with varying experiences and perspectives can talk to and learn from each other. The �Race Dialogue� framework views the ability to engage in these types of conversations as a competency that people frequently have to work at in order to master. The recent session serves as a positive foundation from which to add and similar dialogues may be held in the coming months.

NYU Wagner EMPA student John White is quoted in the New York Times

NYU Wagner EMPA student John White is quoted in the New York Times

John White is the deputy chancellor for talent, labor, and innovation at the New York City Department of Education. In the New York Times article, he talks about why fewer NYC public school teachers received tenure this year.

NYU Wagner Ranks in Top 10 According to US News & World Report

NYU Wagner Ranks in Top 10 According to US News & World Report

The U.S. News & World Report rankings of policy schools, which come out only every three or four years, were released March 28, 2008 -- and out of 269 master's programs across the country, NYU Wagner ranks in the top 10 overall this year!

That's a huge leap forward from Wagner's US News ranking of 17 overall in 2004, and 26 overall in 2001. In addition, NYU Wagner is top-ranked in five of nine specialty areas.

The latest rankings are based on a survey of deans, directors and department chairs of master's programs nationally.

The survey was completed during 2008. These new results are thrilling confirmation that Wagner is indeed on the rise.


Subscribe to Management