Steinhardt Makes Progress, Still Has Work


By Anna Pasek and Lauren Lefty, Contributing Writers

A year and a half ago, we wrote an op-ed in this space arguing that Steinhardt’s poor treatment of students and hidden fees needed to end. Today,we’re proud to write that the Steinhardt School has announced a significant step toward taking scholarship in education, culture and human development just as seriously as scholarship in the College of Arts and Sciences. The Steinhardt School has been, since its founding, home to the academic study of professions historically dominated by women — education, physical and occupational therapy, speech and language pathology, food studies, culture studies and others. Just as these professions have long been paid less than professions dominated by men, and just as women in general have been paid much less than men for equal work, Steinhardt has had fewer resources to support its academic work than other parts of the university.

In a December memo to graduate students, Ted Magder, Steinhardt Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, announced that all “fully-funded” Ph.D. students in the Steinhardt School will receive four full years of funding including new minimum stipends, health insurance and tuition waivers starting in fall 2017. He also announced unspecified improvements in aid to support doctoral dissertation completion, travel and research. This change is enormous. Starting in fall 2017, the most poorly funded among us will receive more than a 200 percent increase in their total compensation. For some students, this could well be the difference between leaving NYC and staying, or completing their degrees on time versus not all.

On the whole, however, Steinhardt doctoral students will have minimum funding packages equal to about 80 percent of the typical packages for our peers in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. That brings the gap between Steinhardt and CASinto line with the current estimate of the gender pay gap in the United States—women make about 80 cents on the dollar compared to men.

Should we be proud that in doctoral funding our university now equals the unequal pay of women across professions in the United States? We think yes – kind of. This is a significant step towards what Magder called “equity issues in doctoral funding packages” in his memo. But we don’t think the work is done. In the op-ed we wrote a year and a half ago, we quoted Steinhardt Gale and Ira Drukier Dean Dominic Brewer when he named the founding goal of the Steinhardt School as to raise the “art of teaching to the same dignified plane as the professions of law and medicine.” 80 percent is not yet that “dignified plane.” And so, we salute the administration of our Steinhardt School and NYU for setting the bar of equity and achieving a dignified plane for our fields of study, and we salute the school and university for taking this significant step toward that goal. But we also call on you to continue to build from this progress until that goal is achieved.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Jan. 30 print edition. Email Anna Hasek and Lauren Lefty at [email protected]