The university’s formal application for city zoning approval to build a 160,000 square foot laboratory building over the FDR Drive has been approved by Community Board 8, a key step in the city’s multi-agency review of the project. The “River Building” proposal grew out of the university’s recent master planning process and has been under development for over a year. Several city agencies with a stake in the project have already signed off on it, and the university’s application was formally certified on November 4 by the Department of City Planning, beginning a process that ultimately takes it before the city council. The January 8 vote of Community Board 8, which serves as an advisory body to other city agencies and represents a large swath of the Upper East Side, was 25 to 3, suggesting that the proposal has strong neighborhood support.
As many of you know, a major activity during my first year at the university was the development of a strategic plan that will guide the university over the next several years. This plan, which reflects many months of intensive work by the strategic planning committee as well as essential input from faculty, staff, postdocs, students and trustees, was approved by our Board in June.
Following nearly a year of development, the university’s strategic plan titled “Transforming Biomedicine” has been approved by the Board of Trustees. The plan, which will guide the university’s activities over a nine-year period ending in 2020, was authored by a 13-member strategic planning committee that has met weekly since September. Themes developed by the committee were previewed before several audiences, including the Board, Academic Council, inBenchMarks and at a town hall meeting for the university community held in May, and the plan itself was fully reviewed by the faculty and by the Board this month. As legal trustees of the university, the Board has the final say over its operations.
At Marc Tessier-Lavigne’s first town hall meeting, the new president discussed his thoughts on the university’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as its place in science and in history. Dr. Tessier-Lavigne outlined his initial priorities, particularly concerning faculty recruitment, and sketched out the process by which he will develop a strategic plan. Printed here is a condensed version of Dr. Tessier-Lavigne’s remarks in several important areas that will provide a framework for discussion as the process moves forward.