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April 6, 2010
Tim Marshall
Provost
The New School
66 West 12th Street
New York, NY 10011

Lisa Servon, Dean
Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy
72 Fifth Avenue, Room 707
New York, NY 10011

Dear Dean Servon and Provost Marshall,
We are writing to express our strong support of Karen Merson, who is at present a full-time faculty member of Milanos Organizational Change Management program, and to share with you how important it is that she stay at The New School in a full time role. We recognize that Karens current position as a full-time faculty member came about as the result of changes in the Management department which created a need for an additional full-time faculty member. We believe that the need for her talents and expertise has not diminished. In fact, that need has only grown. This letter explains why Karen Merson brings to life the ideals of scholarship, teaching, learning, and community that are at the core of Milanos mission.

Milano benefits from teachers who bring material alive in the classroom. Karen builds a learning environment in the classroom that is unparalleled. Reviews of her classes are among the best at Milano. She has an exceptional ability to reach students from diverse backgrounds with distinct learning needs, including students with several years of work experience, those who arrived at The New School directly from undergraduate institutions, full-time and part time students, and students in the Urban Policy, Organizational Change Management, and Non-Profit Management programs. Thus, Karens value reaches across departmental and programmatic boundaries; she is an asset to The New School as a whole, not just to any one degree program. Karens impact on students at Milano is reflected in her recent nomination for the Teachers Excellence Award. Her successful career as an organization development consultant, her deep knowledge of formal scholarship in the field, and her emphasis on learning alongside her students make her a unique and invaluable member of the Milano faculty.

Karen's work on social justice at Milano has enriched The New School and made it a more welcoming environment to students. As the course evaluations clearly signaled, Karen is one of very few professors able to successfully teach the challenging material in the course Making a Difference: Global, Organizational, and Individual Perspectives on Social Change which is required of all first-year Milano students. She regularly makes time to help all students enrolled in the course, not simply those lucky enough to be in her sections.

Karens willingness to foster students interest in diversity and social justice helps The New School live up to its reputation as a welcoming environment for students of all backgrounds. Recently she has helped students form an organization aimed at making progress on issues of social justice and diversity at Milano. Without Karen we feel there would be a serious dearth of professors meaningfully engaged in issues of diversity and social justice.

With the population of full-time students constantly growing, Karen's caring for students outside of the classroom is desperately needed. For many of us, Karen has acted as an unofficial advisor, guiding us through our New School experience and helping us to get the most out of our time here. She spends significant amounts of time on the phone with students, responding to our emails and meeting with us in her office. When the Change Forum, a student led group, approached her in September in search of guidance, Karen responded enthusiastically. The Change Forums current leadership team, all of whom have signed this letter, agree that without Karens counsel the group would have struggled to function. (As we are sure you know, The Change Forum is a student-led group which holds events and leads other activities on campus.) Karen also performs a career services function at a time when the Milanos Career Services office is overwhelmed with the influx of fulltime students seeking work. She works with many of us editing our resumes and cover letters, practicing our interview skills and strategizing on our individual career paths. In fact, Milanos Career Services Director Carol Anderson often suggests to students that they contact Karen to for her insight and guidance in this area.

Milano alumni, some of whom have signed this letter, feel that Karen's work at The New School has increased the value of their degree. Former students who have benefited from Karens firsthand experience as a consultant and change agent find themselves better prepared to bring their New School degree into the real world.

Karen brings the Milano community together, uniting learning across degree programs. Karens courses are filled with students from Policy and Non-Profit Management students in addition to Organizational Change Management students, helping students learn from the interests and passions of our peers in other departments. The impending Milano-GPIA integration cannot succeed without faculty like Karen who have demonstrated their ability support the learning of students outside their home department.

In a time of transition for Milano, GPIA and The New School, many of us want to see the school we have invested so much in thrive in the coming months and years. Karen jumped right in to her role as a full-time faculty member in January of 2009, joining faculty and student groups, participating in the Management Departments community building events, supporting student efforts to improve new-student orientation, and engaging in many other on-campus activities. The many changes that Milano currently faces, including the growth in the full-time student population as well as the GPIA integration create a need for a strong teacher and community builder who will help individual students navigate their educational experience and engage in efforts to guide the entire school through change. Karen has played this role at Milano in the past, and we are confident that when given the opportunity, she will continue to do so in the future.

We want to make clear that Karen has had no part in the creation of this letter or any of the coordination of it, and that none of us signing this letter have communicated with her about it or anything relating to it. This letter was initiated by a group of students and alumni and was in no way influenced by Karen.
Thank you for your consideration of our letter and our input in faculty selections. We invite you to reach out to us if you have questions or would like to speak with us about our support of Karen Merson as a full-time faculty member.

Thank You.

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Alicia KelleyBy:
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