By Emily Richardson, Lang ‘14
The spring semester began with President Henry David proposing a 25-student limitation on the workshops. His motive was to “beef up a few smaller classes,” even at the risk of losing the students they turn away. Then Dean Birenbaum sent out an inter-office memorandum on January 28 saying that a key problem was in bringing most classes up to 20-25 students per class. The issue of class limitations was again brought up in a memo from Julian Levi to Dean Birenbaum begging him to keep registration limited to 20, maximum 25, students per class on February 4. In the previous year, David expressed concerns of some failings with the courses, which sounded as if there were troubles with registration. These documents confirm that suspicion.
Then on May 13, the issue of faculty pay was given attention with a memo that stated Art Workshops faculty would be paid on a once-a-month basis effective the 1963 fall semester. As for the other main concerns, such as integration of the art department, records from the Dean’s office began to crop up showing administrative communication regarding curriculum. This enhanced communication between dean and faculty was due to the addition of an art director. For example, a letter from Dean Birenbaum to Julian Levi demanded Levi to confirm the curricula for summer 1964 term and fall-spring 1964-65 terms by December 31, 1963. Birenbaum also stated that course proposal forms would be distributed to the faculty within the week. These proposal forms were to be submitted directly to the Dean’s office, and not to Levi or Austill first. The proposal forms may have been a solution to getting faculty opinion without imposing outside-of-class-time meetings. In this November 5 letter, Dean Birenbaum informed Levi that he asked Associate Dean Austill to work with him and his staff in their planning effort, and of a presentation Levi was to deliver in writing to Associate Dean Austill in order to confer with him about a complete course schedule. Levi was urged by Birenbaum to utilize his staff and “embody [his] best thought.”
The presentation was supposed to include:
1) “courses and teachers you recommend conclusively; course titles, descriptions, and hour schedules recommended; biographic material where necessary for the faculty involved”
2) “courses and teachers about whom there may be reservations, but which you wish to consider and to discuss.”
3) “courses and teachers you conclusively reject”
“program gaps or voids which require further development”
This presentation was to be all about cuts, and full of thoughts of moving forward. With a new department comes departmental changes, and as many additions and improvements are made by those changes, there are also setbacks and bureaucratic challenges.
Another memo in 1963 dated October 29 and directed at the entire Art Workshops faculty confirmed Levi’s appointment as full director on a continuing basis. It took a year of working and convincing, and perhaps catching the bug for it, but Julian Levi finally conceded in becoming Director of the Art Workshops at the New School. This memo also stated that they teaching schedules for the summer 1964 term and fall-spring 1964-65 semesters needed to be confirmed by December 20. Finally Levi called for an important staff meeting in November. These memos demonstrate a strengthening of the administrative efforts in the Art Workshops. [B. 1, F. Art Workshops, NSPE Executive Dean’s files, NSA.]