Mission and Vision

A Tale of Teachers, Writers, Artists, and Musicians

"What was good for me at NYU was that I spent a lot of time with kids in the classroom and learned a lot about their psychology," says Steinhardt graduate Judy Blume (B.S., '61). Blume earned a degree in early childhood and elementary education, and her novels have become required reading for generations of children and adults. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt (B.S., '57) spent 27 years teaching in New York City public schools. His life as a Steinhardt student is colorfully documented in his memoir, 'Tis. Steinhardt counts among its distinguished alumni artists Romare Bearden and Larry Rivers, jazz musician Wayne Shorter, playwright John Patrick Shanley, and lyricist Betty Comden.

Romare Bearden A 1935 graduate of the Steinhardt School, Romare Bearden (1911-1988) broke social and artistic barriers with his painting. He is best known for his collages that use African American culture to explore the complexities of history, music, family, home, women, and the modern condition.

above: The Shepherdess, 1946 © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

The NYU Steinhardt Story

Founded in 1890 as the School of Pedagogy, NYU Steinhardt was the first professional school devoted to teacher education to be established at an American university. The School's early mission was to educate school administrators and prepare men and women for work in colleges of teacher education. By 1921, the School was educating teachers at all levels and across all fields--including the arts and health--offering them undergraduate through doctoral degrees. As the education field expanded, the School broadened its focus to incorporate new knowledge and scientific developments, and new programs emerged.

Today, through its 11 departments, Steinhardt offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Students prepare for professional and scholarly careers in education, media, music and performing arts, nutrition, physical and occupational therapy, psychology, speech pathology, and the visual arts. Throughout its history, Steinhardt has been a vibrant institution responding to social change, yet it has always maintained a singular focus: to research and serve the pressing needs of children, families, and communities in this world of dynamic change.

Changing Times, Changing Fields

From the outset, NYU Steinhardt recognized the importance of diversity and innovation. Sixteen of its first doctoral candidates were women. Before the civil rights era, prominent African Americans were invited to join the School's faculty. When African American teachers in Maryland were barred from graduate study because of segregation laws, Steinhardt created a program that allowed them to earn their degrees at NYU during summers and weekends. When the nation worried about the rehabilitation of its soldiers after WWII, Steinhardt began preparing health professionals in the emerging fields of professional psychology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, nutrition, public health, and speech pathology. When the "medium became the message" in the 1960s and the media arose as a powerful educative force, the study of communication and new technologies became part of the School. Recognizing the transformative power of the arts in education, Steinhardt integrated the arts into its curricula. Today, world-class artists, musicians, actors, and dancers teach, perform, and offer master classes at the School as a way of preparing the next generation of educators, scholars, and performers.

The NYU Steinhardt Mission

At the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, we believe that complex problems cannot be solved by one discipline alone. Interdisciplinary collaboration can help us find answers to perplexing questions. We celebrate the fact that physical therapy research can inform dance education, global media studies can provide insights for counselors working with immigrant youth, and scholarship in cognition can inform our understanding of music.

At this critical moment in history, when change on every level of society is affecting even the well-being of our planet, Steinhardt has defined its mission to address the challenges of this new era.

NYU Steinhardt advances knowledge, creativity, and innovation at the crossroads of human learning, culture, development, and well-being. Through rigorous research and education, both within and across disciplines, the School's faculty and students evaluate and redefine processes, practices, and policies in their respective fields and, from a global as well as a community perspective, lead in an ever-changing world.

At NYU Steinhardt, we produce social and educational research, inform policy and practice, and develop new models for enhancing the life chances of people of all ages and backgrounds. We seek to connect our fields in ways that enlighten and enhance our local, urban, and global society.