Where I work
I teach at The New School, a university located in Greenwich Village in New York City. The university has five colleges, and I teach in two of them: the Schools for Public Engagement and Parsons School for Design. Most of my teaching is devoted to the suite of urban programs available at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
The New School was founded in 1919 by a small group of intellectuals affiliated with The New Republic magazine and inspired by the work of philosopher John Dewey. Resigning from Columbia University in protest over loyalty oath requirements, the economist Thorstein Veblen and historians Charles Beard and James Harvey Robinson. launched The New School for Social Research as an experimental space for adult education, public lectures, and relevant, real-world curriculum. In 1933, The New School created the "University in Exile" (see photograph above), and hosted the École Libre des Hautes Études, for refugee intellectuals fleeing persecution in Nazi Germany. These extraordinary thinkers formed the nucleus of the Graduate Faculty and an advanced center for the social sciences.
Throughout the twentieth century, the scrappy little institution grew by providing shelter to renowned independent colleges and schools that would have otherwise closed down, including Mannes School of Music, Parsons School of Design (which has a wonderful campus in Paris), and the Actor's Studio (today's New School for Drama). The New School also created new divisions, such as the Seminar College (today's Eugene Lang College), the School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, and Milano School of Management, Urban Policy, and International Affairs. Along the way, the university also launched internationally renowned programs in Writing and Media Studies, as well as experimental ventures such as the Institute for Retired Professionals. Meanwhile, the founding ethos of The New School continues today in the free-form Bachelor's Program for Adult and Transfer Students.
Beyond the hype and self-promotion that characterizes any university, there really is something special and unique about The New School. Its open character has attracted an incredible collection of faculty over the years, from Berenice Abbott and John Cage, to Hannah Arendt, Charles Abrams, Janet Abu-Lughod, Eric Hobsbawm, Charles Tilly, and Martha Rossler. Whether it is best described as a bold site of experimentation, or the 'wild west' of higher education, or the last refuge of the damned, it is always a fascinating and quirky place.