NYU Affiliation, Campus Expansion Covered at Town Hall

The business cards and letterhead will soon look different here at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly). By 2014, as Acting President and Provost Katepalli R. Sreenivasan explained, the institution will formally become known as the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering. Sreenivasan conducted a lively town hall meeting in the Pfizer Auditorium earlier this week to discuss the transformation—and provide information on the process of administrative and academic integration.  

Upon taking the stage, Sreenivasan quickly stressed to the packed hall that NYU-Poly, at more than 150 years old, is participating in the merger with NYU from a position of strength and stability. He gave credit to President Jerry Hultin, currently on sabbatical, for this, noting that the school’s finances are solid and that the quality of incoming students—as evidenced in part by SAT scores—is steadily improving.  The process of administrative and academic integration, he explained, involve many members of the community and is overseen by a committee he has established, with all decisions ultimately approved by him directly. He assured the audience that throughout the effort, NYU-Poly staff and faculty needs and concerns will be addressed thoughtfully, openly and fairly.

The completion of the merger, as Sreenivasan told the large crowd, involves gaining approval from both the New York State Department of Education and federal officials and securing Middle States Accreditation. The entire process is expected to be finalized sometime between January and September 2014, at which time NYU-Poly’s status as the center of engineering for NYU’s entire global network will be cemented.

When his presentation was done, Sreenivasan fielded a variety of questions, covering such topics as admissions (NYU will recruit undergraduate students for the School of Engineering, but graduate admissions will not be centralized); degrees (students who graduate after the merger will be awarded NYU degrees); tuition cost (it will be adjusted to that of NYU, with particular care being paid to the financial needs of Poly’s diverse student body); and transportation between campuses (maybe in the future, if demand exists). Laughter rippled through the auditorium when he related that he had been asked by one former graduate if his NYU-Poly diploma could be amended to read NYU.

Dennis Dintino, Vice President of Finance and Business Affairs, also spoke at the meeting. Discussing the physical transformation of the campus, he detailed improvements that have already been made, including new classrooms and bathrooms, and new flooring and painting in several locations, and the ambitious improvements planned for the future, including the renovation of Rogers Hall and inauguration of a new gaming center. (The fate of the MetroTech Starbucks provided a topic for spirited discussion, but remains undecided.)

“Poly’s commitment to i2e [invention, entrepreneurship and innovation] means that it is willing to experiment without sacrificing its primary mission of academic excellence,” Sreenivasan has stressed. “It means that Poly will embody the spirit of the acronym in all aspects of its operation such as student recruitment, retention, graduation, and job placement; curriculum and teaching; research and dissemination of knowledge; and wealth creation through scientific and technological development. In short, NYU-Poly aspires to educate engineers who will thoughtfully contribute to the building of a better world and to remain a vehicle through which bright and hard-working students achieve the American Dream (which, incidentally, is said to have been coined as a phrase by a Poly alumnus)."