Rachel Schreiber has been named executive dean of The New School’s Parsons School of Design. She succeeds Joel Towers, who will step down after a 10-year tenure.
Most recently, Schreiber was provost and senior vice president of San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI). She will formally join Parsons, one of the world’s leading art and design schools, on July 1.
Schreiber’s appointment follows a robust international search for a strong leader to advance Parsons’ mission and integrate design more broadly throughout the New York area and beyond. In her role, she will serve as Parsons’ principal academic and strategic leader, overseeing an innovative curriculum; financial growth and resource management; fundraising and partnerships, and administration and culture.
Towers will take on new responsibilities as a university professor and director of The New School’s Tishman Environment and Design Center. He initially revealed he was stepping down as executive dean in October 2017 and would stay in the post until June 2018. But he is staying an extra year.
“Rachel’s strength as a leader comes at a crucial moment for Parsons and the university as we continue to evolve, innovate and imagine the school’s next stage of development,” said David E. Van Zandt, president of The New School.
“Drawing on her deep experience in disciplines that are central to Parsons and the university, Rachel brings a fresh and distinctive perspective that will guide the ongoing success at Parsons,” said Tim Marshall, provost of The New School.
Schreiber, who has more than 20 years of experience in higher education and design, is an American gender historian, artist and designer. Before joining SFAI, where she also served as interim president in 2016, Schreiber was dean of humanities and sciences at California College of the Arts for five years. She earlier was a graduate program chair at the Maryland Institute College of Art for eight years.
“I am deeply honored to be joining Parsons School of Design as executive dean. Parsons’ rigorous and innovative curriculum, situated within The New School with its emphasis on social research, emphasizes the value of design to a just and civic society. I look forward to working closely with the faculty, administration, students, and the broader community to help shape the next generation of leaders in design and other creative professions.”
Schreiber has taught design, studio arts, and interdisciplinary humanities at all levels from first year through graduate studies. She holds a Ph.D. in history from Johns Hopkins University, an MFA in art and critical writing from California Institute of the Arts, and a BFA in graphic design from Rhode Island School of Design.
Her research explores histories of gender, labor, activism and visual and print culture, and her visual works have been screened and exhibited internationally. She has published two books with academic presses.