Mary Brabeck — who so ably and energetically served as the Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development since 2003– will step down as dean in May 2014, after having served 10 years as dean, which followed 10 years as dean at Boston College’s School of Education.
Dean Brabeck’s tenure as dean has had a transformative impact on Steinhardt, and she has done much to advance the school and support its faculty and students. From the outset, she focused on building Steinhardt’s academic and research profile, and she has built an impressive record of successes. Under her leadership, a number of research-active and well-funded centers were launched, including:
- The Institute for Human Development and Social Change (with a portfolio of 44 grants totaling over $40 million)
- The Center for Research on Teaching and Learning, which has expanded its work and is now reconstituted as the Center for Research on Higher Education Outcomes
- The Research Alliance for NYC Schools – which works with the New York City Department of Education to explore and identify educational issues with data from New York City schools
- The Institute for Globalization and Education in Metropolitan Settings – which focuses on the development and education of children and families in global cities
- The Center for the Promotion of Research Involving Innovative Statistical Methodology – which is dedicated to improving the caliber of research in quantitative social, educational, behavioral, allied health, and policy science
She has increased the number of faculty by 33 percent, while the student to faculty ratio has decreased. Steinhardt faculty are acknowledged as leaders in their respective fields, receiving honors and public acknowledgement for their research, scholarship, and creative works. They have received MacArthur Grants, Grammys, and Fulbrights, among other awards, and funded grants rose 46% during her deanship. In addition, she greatly improved doctoral study, leading to exceptional growth in applications for Steinhardt’s doctoral programs and a 7% selectivity rate. The academic qualifications of both undergraduate and graduate students also improved.
One of Dean Brabeck’s greatest priorities has been to articulate the Steinhardt mission—advancing knowledge, creativity, and innovation at the crossroads of human learning, culture, development, and well-being—and its shared core values. She has partnered closely with the faculty over the last two years to create a long term, faculty-driven strategic plan that will set the school’s direction and goals for the next five to ten years.
Dean Brabeck has helped foster collaboration and growth within and across Steinhardt’s eleven departments. She has supported the creation of new or developing academic initiatives within Steinhardt, including an MS program in games for learning (the first of its kind in the country); an interdisciplinary doctoral program in rehabilitation sciences and an undergraduate program in public health, both building upon Steinhardt’s strong health departments and programs; a master’s program in Applied Statistics; and a number of dual degree programs. She has also engaged with other NYU schools to foster important new initiatives, including the MAGNET gaming center in Brooklyn. Under her leadership, faculty have created academically integrated programs in nearly all of NYU’s global sites. At the same time, Steinhardt has remained “in and of” New York City, as faculty and students have created new and deepened existing partnerships with schools, clinics, agencies, arts organizations, and communities throughout the city.
Dean Brabeck also dedicated extraordinary effort toward increasing the resources available to Steinhardt to support its faculty and students. Total annual giving as well as the school’s endowment have both nearly tripled during her tenure. She has increased the number of chaired professorships and student scholarships. Last year, she launched the annual Steinhardt Vision Award Gala, which raised nearly $1.2 million toward financial aid. And significant improvements to Steinhardt’s academic and departmental space have been made or are underway, including the creation of the James L. Dolan Music Recording Studio and new rehearsal space for Jazz and Piano Studies, upgrades to art studios in the Barney Building, the state-of-the-art S. Jhumki Basu STEME Center for Research and Education, a nearly completed total renovation of the East Building and plans for renovations of the Education Building, and new academic spaces for many departments.
A leader in the fields of applied psychology and higher education, Dean Brabeck has served on boards and councils for organizations that include the New York Academy of Sciences, National Society for the Study of Education, the Holmes Partnership, the Carnegie Corporation’s Teachers for a New Era Research Review Committee, the APA Education Directorate (and other APA elected positions), and the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education.
After a sabbatical, Dean Brabeck, a professor in Steinhardt’s Department of Applied Psychology, will teach, advise, and pursue her own research. She will continue her work as Board Chair of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), a newly formed nonprofit that aims to improve teacher education programs.