I’ve been “teasing” upcoming developments at Milano here for months. I wanted to wait to discuss this until some sort of more official, clear, “ta-da!” announcement was made and I was clear on who had been told what, and so I wouldn’t be saying anything that incoming students wouldn’t know about. What can I say? I wanted a clear conscience. Given that, the following is now not “news” but it will affect those of us who are new or continuing students.
Milano’s programs will be merging with the New School’s Graduate Program in International Affairs (GPIA) thus forming a new division of The New School (to be named soon). How this affects your program, how any of us feels about this, etc. is diverse, as you should expect.
In the short term, we can cross-register for courses at each others’ schools/programs. However, many of us have been doing so already for awhile, so I’m not clear on how this represents a change at this time!
There are also two (I would say three) cultures coming together here from the students’ perspective. Having spent more than five minutes of time in two and quite a bit more in my home Urban Policy program, I can tell you that these are three distinct communities in certain ways, and as much back and forth and cross-pollination that occurs, there are certain specific experiences or philosophies binding each of us. For Urban part of it is Lab; I don’t know what my colleagues in other areas would say, but since part of creating community has to do with a shared experience, I’m sure they have a sense of that as well. Part of the process of joining these groups together, then, is figuring out how these merging identities will work and how much of what is most valued for each will be maintained.
I’m not heavily involved in that larger structural conversation. As to the rest: it makes for fascinating observation in terms of group dynamics on many levels.
That doesn’t mean I’m “opposed” to this; far from it. I’ve taken courses at GPIA and find their course offerings as well as the incorporation of more global perspectives to our work a great complement to the expertise being developed by those of us planning to work in policy (or management). So from an academic, intellectual perspective this is absolutely an exciting development.
I am, though, feeling a bit wistful as so many of my friends and colleagues have their graduation ceremony in a few weeks, in small part because I wonder if my diploma will be different from theirs–and we will at least nominally have been separated into two incarnations of this school. That rather disrupts my own personal feeling of community, doesn’t it? So when it is time to return to the [school to be named later] this fall, we will have an exciting new sense of ourselves and will be seeing how much–or how little–change this does mean for us. In the meantime, for a few weeks, I’m getting a little emotional about the fact that so many of the people who have been important to my experience here are leaving soon, or have left already. It really is (oh, god, cue the cliche machine) the end of an era.
The new one for me is going to be dedicated to my work, the pursuit for which continues to be my first priority. Milano has given me a good set of skills, and I’m eager to apply them out in the field.