'Stanford in New York City' to launch autumn 2015

Under the new program, 20 Stanford undergraduates will live and study in New York City and spend four days a week working in internships related to their interests.

Songquan Dong/Shutterstock Manhattan skyline

The Stanford in New York City program will offer students an immersive educational experience.

Stanford will accept applications in early December for the inaugural quarter of Stanford in New York City, an undergraduate program in which students will use the city as their laboratory – taking courses; working in internships in the arts, design, architecture and urban studies; going on field trips and attending cultural events.

The program, designed for one academic quarter, will open in autumn of the 2015-16 academic year with its first cohort of 20 students. The program, which is aimed at juniors, will later add finance and media to its list of disciplines.

Stanford in New York City will be offered autumn and winter quarters in the 2016-17 academic year, and all three quarters during the 2017-18 academic year.

Harry J. Elam Jr., vice provost for undergraduate education at Stanford, said the university is thrilled to launch the three-year pilot program and excited about the immersive experience it will offer students.

"Living, studying and working in New York City, which is the vibrant center of a variety of disciplines, will be of great benefit to our students," Elam said. "Our program in New York will make an excellent complement to the superb Bing Stanford in Washington program, which also combines internships and classes."

Students in the program will have the opportunity to apply lessons learned in the classroom to real-world problems and situations – a powerful way for them to develop adaptive learning skills, one of the key aims of a Stanford undergraduate education.

The program has recently achieved several milestones: Stanford received permission to operate the program from the New York State Education Department; hired a director with experience designing and leading a similar program; and selected Doug McAdam, a Stanford sociology professor whose research focuses on political sociology, to live in residence and teach courses next autumn.

Since Stanford does not own a building in New York City, the program's housing, classrooms and offices will not all be located in a single location – as they are in Washington, D.C., home of the Bing Stanford in Washington program. Currently, the university is exploring options in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The director of the new program is Rosina Miller, who most recently served as executive director of The Philadelphia Center, an experiential education program founded by the Great Lakes Colleges Association.

"Rosina's expertise in designing and leading an undergraduate program that combines class work, internships and an urban immersion experience will be invaluable as we launch our new program," said Shari Palmer, associate vice provost for undergraduate education at Stanford.

"We have been very impressed with her enthusiasm and thoughtfulness about the transformative potential of this work, as well as her readiness to tackle the practical challenges that await. She also brings valuable start-up educational experience to our program."

McAdam, the Ray Lyman Wilbur Professor at Stanford, will teach two elective courses during the program's inaugural quarter. His research focuses on political sociology, with a special emphasis on race in the United States, American politics, and the study of social movements and "contentious politics."

McAdam is the co-author of a new book, Deeply Divided: Racial Politics and Social Movements in Post-War America, along with Stanford sociology graduate student Karina Kloos.

"If you're interested in politics, it would be hard to imagine a more exciting place to be in the fall of 2015 than New York City," McAdam said.

"The 2016 presidential race will be heating up in earnest, and as the center of the country's news media, New York is sure to be ground zero for lots of events connected to race and politics more generally. It's also a fascinating city from which to observe and reflect on the deep divisions that characterize contemporary life in the United States."

Electives will be offered in several of the following areas: the arts, architecture, design and urban studies.

Students in the program will enroll in a full course load of about 15 units (courses range from 1 to 5 units), including a required city seminar that will help them integrate the learning from their classes, the city and work, as well as several electives in the thematic areas. Internships will account for a portion of the units.

They will work in internships four days per week. During autumn quarter 2015, students may be placed in cultural institutions, community arts organizations, design or architecture firms, government offices, not-for-profit organizations or other groups working in these fields.

While students pursuing any major are eligible to participate, Stanford in New York City may be especially appealing to those studying in certain departments and programs, including urban studies, architectural design, product design, art and art history, theater, music, creative writing, economics, communications, and management science and engineering.