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New School Office of the President records, Office of the Provost sub-group

Identifier: NS-01-03-04


This group of records comprises a set of files maintained by the Office of the President of the New School, consisting largely of internal correspondence between the President's Office and the Office of the Provost at the university between 1973 and 2003, with the bulk of the material coming from 1983 to 2001 during the terms of two provosts: Judith B. Walzer and Elizabeth Dickey. The documents primarily concern academic planning, partnerships, student and faculty grievances, hiring and employment, and academic initiatives housed in the different divisions of The New School.


  • circa 1973-2003
  • Majority of material found within 1983-2000



3.91 Cubic Feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

This group of records kept by the Office of the President of the New School consists largely of internal correspondence to and from the Office of the Provost and the Office of the President dating from 1984 to 2003. The bulk of the files date from the tenure of New School President Jonathan Fanton, who held the position from 1982 until 1999, although some records here date from the terms of presidents preceding and succeeding Fanton, John Everett and Bob Kerrey, respectively. The files roughly span the terms of two provosts: Judith B. Walzer (the first provost at The New School), who served in that role from 1985 until 1997, and Elizabeth Dickey, who served from 1998 until 2002. A few additional documents appear to be from the office files of Robert Gates, associate dean of the Graduate Faculty, and Jack Kytle, deputy provost from 2002 until 2004.

The Office of the Provost is an administrative unit at The New School whose personnel carry out the functions of the office under the leadership of the provost, the university's chief academic officer. The files are organized by the division of the school that the files concern, with series for Eugene Lang College, Parsons School of Design, the Graduate Faculty (now The New School for Social Research), the Jazz and Contemporary Music program (now the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music), Mannes College of Music, Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy (now, Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy), a single file related to the shortlived Teacher Education program, the New School Undergraduate division, and a small series concerning the university as a whole, labelled "The New School." The majority of these files contain administrative correspondence, especially concerning student and faculty issues, hiring decisions, development and fundraising, university policy, partnership programs with other educational institutions, and curriculum planning.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use, except for certain files that are restricted for reasons of student and employee privacy. Please contact for appointment, or to inquire about access restrictions and The New School Archives and Special Collections' access policies.

Conditions Governing Use

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the New School Archives and Special Collections. Please contact:

Historical Note

The Office of the Provost was first added to the administration of The New School in 1985 by President Jonathan Fanton. The office was added amid an expansion of administrative roles at the university and shifted managerial oversight of deans from the president to the provost. Under the previous president, John Everett, the number of deans had increased substantially, alongside the rapid expansion of the university and its divisions in the 1970s. The creation of the Office of the Provost also spelled an end to Everett’s policy of divisional autonomy, making the deans of each division more accountable to central administration.

Joseph Porrino was appointed first acting provost by President Fanton in 1985 and served until the following year, when Judith B. Walzer was named the first official provost of the university. Walzer served until her resignation in 1997, when she was replaced by Elizabeth Dickey. During the early years of the office, the responsibilities of the provost were frequently redefined by the administration. The office itself was also significantly smaller and less powerful when compared with later periods.

During Bob Kerrey’s presidency, from 2000 until 2011, there was exceptionally high turnover in the Office of the Provost, with five individuals holding the position. After Dickey’s departure in 2002, Jackson Kytle, then deputy provost, was named interim provost. In 2004, Kerrey appointed the anthropologist Arjun Appadurai as provost. Appadurai was followed by Benjamin Lee in 2006, who resigned in 2008 over disagreements with Kerrey. Joseph W. Westphal came next, but resigned after three months to join the United States Presidential transition team of Barack Obama. After Westphal’s resignation, Bob Kerrey appointed himself provost, a move that led New School faculty to deliver an informal vote of no confidence to the Board of Trustees. Kerrey reversed this decision and in 2009 Tim Marshall, then dean of Parsons School of Design, was made provost.

The powers of the office expanded considerably under university president, David Van Zandt, who succeeded Kerrey in 2011. After Tim Marshall’s departure in 2020 to become deputy vice-chancellor of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Stephanie Browner was made interim provost. In 2021, Renée T. White, formerly provost of Wheaton College, was appointed provost.


amNY. “Noted scholar Appadurai named provost at New School University.” The Villager, September 30, 2006.

Audio Interview with Elizabeth Ross by Carmen Hendershott, March 10, 2015, The New School Oral History Program, NS.07.01.01, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, NY.

Course Catalogs, 1985-1986, New School Course Catalog Collection. The New School Archives Digital Collections, New York, New York.

Foderado, Lisa W. “New School Faculty and President Still at Odds,” New York Times, February 10, 2009.

Senior, Jennifer. “Bob Kerrey’s Ivory Tower War.” New York Magazine, February 20, 2009.


Organized in nine series. The series are arranged alphabetically according to three-letter acronyms assigned prior to transfer to The New School Archives. The files within each series are also arranged alphabetically: 1. ELC: Eugene Lang College; 2. GF: Graduate Faculty; 3. JAZZ: Jazz and Contemporary Music Program; 4. MCM: Mannes College of Music; 5. MGS: Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy; 6. NSA: Teacher Education; 7. NSU: New School Undergraduate; 8. PSD: Parsons School of Design; 9. TNS: The New School.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

These files were identified as a discrete group of records and separated from a large accession of records transferred from The New School President's Office in 2015.

Related Materials

The New School Archives holds a number of other groups of records documenting the work of the Office of the Provost at The New School. These include, but are not limited to: Adrienne Marcus Provost Office records (NS.01.03.02); New School Office of the Provost collection (NS.01.03.03); New School Office of the Provost, Judith B. Walzer correspondence (NS.01.03.01). Contact for more information.

Processing Information

The files in this sub-group were part of a large accession of records transferred from the Office of the President to the New School Archives in 2015. This sub-group of files bear similar typewritten labels and date ranges, and employ a distinct color coding scheme for file folders representing academic division, together forming a discrete group of files composed of memoranda and correspondence sent to and from the Office of the Provost, predominantly during the terms of Judith Walzer (1985-1997) and Elizbeth Dickey (June 1998-2002). Some folders contain documents spanning both Walzer and Dickey's tenures.

Many of the documents herein are stamped as received by the Office of the President or Office of the Provost, and folders are labelled with closed date ranges, suggesting that the files were assembled subsequent to or towards the end of Dickey's tenure. There are notes in several folders referencing an "archive," most likely referring to a records management project undertaken by the Office of the President in the 2000s. These notes, together with the fact that the files came to the New School Archives as part of a large collection of records managed by the Office of the President, suggests that the files may have been removed from their respective offices and the files relabeled and reorganized some time in the 2000s. Once transferred, the files were put into boxes with a large group of other non-current records in the Office of the President and sent to an offsite storage facility. The New School archivists speculate that files were moved at intervals in this way from various offices. Walzer's files may have remained in the Provost's Office during Dickey's tenure and then both sets retired together, with an administrator either in the Office of the Provost or the Office of the President subsequently creating labels and determining file order, and possibly even combining contents of certain files. This would explain files that hold documents from both Walzer's and Dickey's tenures. Alternatively, it may be that Dickey or an administrator on her staff contemporaneously brought together relevant material from Walzer's files into Dickey's own.

Guide to the New School Office of the President records, Office of the Provost sub-group
Jack Wells and New School Archives staff
January 3, 2024
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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