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State of the Institute 2024: President Frances Bronet Addresses the Pratt Institute Community


The mission of Pratt Institute is to educate artists and creative professionals to be responsible contributors to society. Pratt seeks to instill in all graduates aesthetic judgment, professional knowledge, collaborative skills, and technical expertise. With a firm grounding in the liberal arts and sciences, a Pratt education blends theory with creative application in preparing graduates to become leaders in their professions. Pratt enrolls a diverse group of highly talented and dedicated students, challenging them to achieve their full potential.

Dear Pratt Community,

As I begin this State of the Institute report for 2024, I must acknowledge the threats we all face as academic freedom in colleges and universities across the country and the world is being called to task. In my six years here, we have navigated and emerged through a pandemic, as well as complicated national and domestic events. With the valiant work of our faculty, students, and staff, we have seen extraordinary teaching, research, learning, and service prevail. The work we do here prepares our students for creative and disciplined practice, from city development, cultural investigation, sustainable engagement, to civic responsibility. It is done through rigorous and inclusive inquiry around complex and controversial issues. We will disagree, and it is in understanding the other that our own footing is enriched. Our community, in embracing difference, has built powerful relationships that form the foundation of trust—which is what we need in these tumultuous times.

We, at Pratt, seek to support students and the academic community by providing an  environment for us to learn, teach, and indeed argue, to engage with each other, to be able to express openly with respect, and to be empathetic at a time when horrific events have taken place and continue to occur, and by which many of our community are deeply personally affected. There will be times of extreme discomfort when we disagree, when our positions collide. We may need the space to process when direct engagement is too hard. This is a place where we can work to understand why our colleagues can hold polarizing views—a college is where critical perspectives can be examined and tested.

Campus Climate

Our community has struggled to make that place together. As in the fall, a number of students and faculty continue to participate regularly in on-campus activism, including featured guests and speakers, teach-ins, walkouts, and vigils. At the same time, Jewish, Muslim, and Palestinian students, faculty, and staff have expressed concerns about feeling unsafe. Pratt is committed to fostering a welcoming, safe, nondiscriminatory, and harassment-free educational, living, and working environment for its community.

  • We have offered workshops and training for faculty and students, on subjects from activism to academic freedom and free speech. 
  • We have clear practices to support harassment-free educational, living, and working environments for Pratt, and all filed reports are addressed promptly. Messages have gone out to the community to raise awareness of protocol and reporting. 
  • The director of legal affairs developed written guidance on academic freedom in the classroom in response to faculty requests. 
  • The new director for institutional equity and Title IX recently joined Pratt, and the office launched a series focused on community awareness of our policies, including bias, harassment, and hate incidents. They also held stalking-awareness programs and workshops on student activism. 
  • The Center for Equity and Inclusion, in collaboration with the Provost’s Office and Student Affairs, is also continuing proactive and regular workshops for faculty and staff on understanding nondiscrimination and anti-harassment, and relevant laws, such as Title VI policies and procedures, ensuring that faculty and staff are equipped to navigate these important issues effectively. Title VI training is also being delivered by counsel.
  • Antisemitism training and Islamophobia training are being held, as well as training for faculty on how to handle difficult conversations in classrooms. 
  • The Center for Teaching and Learning has set up events, materials, and conversations addressing the current teaching environment for faculty. Their goals are to build faculty capacity and skills for addressing difficult conversations with colleagues and students; to create space for faculty to connect and share their experiences in a supportive environment; and to provide self-paced learning resources for faculty to access as needed.

These and other “Critical Conversations” are listed on the Pratt website at

Our campuses also remain places of extraordinary student and faculty activity. Exhibition openings on the Brooklyn campus, at Pratt Manhattan Gallery, and in the MFA gallery at Pfizer, the Pratt Presents Food Equity event, the Research Open House at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and most recently Admitted Students Weekend and the viewing party for the April 7 eclipse have all been heavily attended and exciting. 


Spring 2024 enrollment is 4,850, exceeding initial projections. This is an expected drop from the 5,060 we reached in 2023, as we graduate the large numbers that enrolled post-pandemic. We are working to maintain an overall enrollment of 5,000. As of the end of March, undergraduate applications are up 13 percent over last year, moving from 7,669 to 8,638. With a large and qualified pool of applicants and the use of our recently implemented admissions customer relationship management system, our admit pool can provide the depth needed to meet our enrollment goals. 

The admissions pool represents significant increases among key BIPOC audiences. Black applicants have increased 42 percent over last year, moving to 649, and the number of Black applicants offered admission has grown by 63 percent, moving to 244. Latinx applications have also seen growth, up 30 percent from last year, moving to 1,374. The number of Latinx applicants offered admission has increased 84 percent, moving to 709. We will not know how many will ultimately enroll and attend Pratt for a few months but are working hard to build these communities.

The federal government’s rollout of the new, “simplified” Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) continues to experience delays that affect colleges’ and universities’ ability to prepare financial aid packages for their incoming classes. At this point, early deposits are up 14 percent over last year. As of the end of March, 60 percent of our admits have received their need-based awards, and the other 40 percent are ready for when the federal government reopens FAFSA. We have also stepped up communications to our families to help manage their expectations and guide our deposit pool.

As of the beginning of April, graduate applications are up 16 percent. Within this growth, we see a restoration of our domestic applicant pool. Domestic applications dropped 25 percent from FA22 to FA23. This year, domestic applications are up 31 percent. This is likely due to the website work provided by Communications and Marketing (PCOMM) and the aggressive outreach work of the departments. International applications have declined 13 percent between FA22 and FA23, and another 5 percent from FA23 to FA24. 

Enrollment trends for the eight largest AICAD graduate schools show domestic enrollment declining 29 percent between FA14 and FA22, while international enrollment increased 64 percent. At Pratt, domestic enrollment dropped 19 percent while international grew 64 percent. We will focus on graduate communication flows and funnel conversion strategies to increase the domestic yield. 

In Pratt’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS), as of mid-March revenue was up 24 percent. Total enrollment is up 18 percent. The retention rate for noncredit, full-time programs (Fashion New Media and Digital Design) is 93 percent. SCPS’s PreCollege collaboration with Success Academy has continued to grow.

Reaccreditation and Academic Initiatives

Pratt’s Middle States reaccreditation process is nearing completion this spring with the evaluation team having just presented a very positive preliminary recommendation with a final decision from the Commission projected for June.

Preparation for reaccreditation of programs within individual schools includes Library and Information Science and the School of Architecture. The Master of Landscape Architecture program will be reviewed for approval of candidacy for full accreditation.

Searches are ongoing for our next vice provost for research and strategic partnerships, and for three new chairs—in Fashion, undergraduate Communications Design, and Social Sciences and Cultural Studies. The first cluster hire received upwards of 400 applications for five new tenure-track lines across the Institute (further details below). The first director of academic assessment recently joined the Provost’s Office.

The Center for Interdisciplinary Study has developed recommendations for “The Future of Interdisciplinarity,” including structures to support interdisciplinary teaching and learning. Interdisciplinary learning is flourishing, with more than 500 students registered in 30 sections of Pratt Integrative Courses offered in fall 2024. Over 550 undergraduates have declared at least one minor.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a steadily growing focus of attention across the Institute. The Center for Teaching and Learning continues its conversations about “AI in the Classroom,” the School of Information hosted “AI in the Classroom and Beyond,” a professional development event for its faculty, and the School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS) offered a public lecture on “Reimagining Design Work in the Age of AI.” The inaugural School of Art Dean’s Workshop Series invited students to engage with the question “Whose AI?” in four Ethical AI Workshops; the School of Architecture is planning an exhibition of work from multiple AI and robotics studios and seminars; and in the School of Design, faculty in several departments are testing how AI can help in the design and execution of projects. The School of Liberal Arts and Sciences (SLAS) held a daylong symposium on “AI in Arts and Humanities” and the Academic Senate’s ad hoc committee on this topic continues its work.

New Winterim courses create flexibility for students by extending the academic calendar and provide students additional pathways to success (both strategic goals). Small adjustments to our academic calendar next year will assist in this effort (Spring 2025 will begin Monday, January 27, and conclude Friday, May 16), and the Provost’s Office continues to consider how astute use of our academic calendar can enable more pathways to on-time or quicker completion.

The MFA in Fashion Collection + Communication will launch in fall 2024 in the Pfizer Building. The undergraduate minor in UX/UI launched this term. Participation in the Entrepreneurship minor has grown with expanded focus.

The School of Information is offering a new Advanced Certificate in Children’s and Young Adult Library Services within their MSLIS degree or as a standalone certificate.

SLAS, in partnership with SCPS, will offer for-credit summer courses that can be counted toward the MA in Media Studies or Advanced Certificate in Media Studies. These are also pathways to completion.

A focus on retention has led to a set of initiatives including, but not limited to, 

  • First-Year Cohorts/Students program places students in small learning cohorts that bridge Foundation, Humanities and Media Studies, and History of Art and Design courses, allowing for maximum overlap and collaboration; 
  • certain departments are creating advisory boards that connect students, programs, and curricula to professional leaders; 
  • the Center for Teaching and Learning increased programming to support student success through faculty professional development; and
  • the Higher Educational Opportunity Program (HEOP) continued to provide overall support and development opportunities for HEOP and diverse students. It served over 100 HEOP students and students in the Diverse Scholars Program (DSP) in 2023–24 and piloted the Diverse Scholars College Immersion Experience (alongside its HEOP five-week summer program), significantly increasing student success. In fall 2023, 71 percent of HEOP/DSP students achieved the high academic standing of a 3.0 GPA or higher with President’s and Dean’s List recognition. The NY State Education Department (NYSED) renewed support for Pratt’s HEOP with a grant of $3,547,244 for the 2024–2029 cycle.

With placing students in jobs as a high priority, the Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) hired its new director. The 2022 First Destination Survey has an employment/continuing education response of 91 percent with a knowledge rate of 65.7 percent.

Diversity and Inclusion is deeply embedded across the institution. A top priority in the Provost’s Office is to increase the number and diversity of Pratt’s full-time faculty, and the Institute’s first cluster hire—centered on “Diverse Voices Creating Just Futures”—marks a significant step in that direction. The cluster hire will conclude over the next few weeks. In the same spirit as the cluster hire, Foundation welcomed three new BIPOC faculty this year, with a strong focus on interdisciplinary practice. Curriculum development and learning outcomes assessment continue to address questions of diversity, with, for example, the incorporation of DEI program-level learning outcomes in the MS Library and Information Science program’s core curriculum.

The achievements of our faculty have been recognized by many honors and awards. Sample kudos to our community include: Pratt in the Venice Biennale 2024, Visiting Assistant Professor in Film/Video Maya Edelman’s (BFA Animation ’08) second Emmy, and Pratt being ranked among Fulbright’s top-producing, special-focus institutions in 2023–2024. The Center for an Urban Future published 50 bold ideas from Brooklyn leaders to build a more just and equitable borough, and the publication listed Pratt Institute first in the shoutouts. Pratt Institute is once again #6 in the world for Art and Design in QS rankings.

The MFA in Photography and the MFA in Fine Arts are moving to a customized educational, studio, and exhibition space in Dock 72 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard (BNY), opening in fall 2024.

Support for Students

Over 800 students participated in our most recent Career Day, including Connections Classes focusing on leadership for social change. Student success continues to be a priority in the Student Affairs division as well, and examples of models include addressing barriers to success, monitoring student alerts, and integrating Zoom-based/remote peer advising. Supporting students with mental health concerns and those with approved accommodations continues to be a high priority. Appointments at the Counseling Center continue to grow. The Learning/Access Center received funding from the NYS Department of Education to hire one-to-one coaching/learning specialists for students who are impacted by their disabilities. 

Student Affairs’ visibility on the Pratt Manhattan campus now includes counseling staff, social events, a food pantry offering, and resources for students experiencing food insecurity. 

The Office of Student Involvement provides a robust amount of social, cultural, and educational programming including a spring club fair, a Diwali celebration, an art of leadership conference, the Black History Month Art Show, a visit to the Spike Lee exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum and a trip to D.C. to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Students have been highly engaged and attendance at programs and events has been strong. 

The Center for Equity and Inclusion, in collaboration with other units on campus, has held a number of events including the annual Racial Healing Workshop; the annual Black History Month Art Show; Artist Spotlight Series: The Art of Social Justice; the inaugural MLK Jr. Legacy Week Faculty and Staff Lunch; two training sessions focused on antisemitism, Islamophobia and xenophobia; Research as Ceremony with Shawn Wilson; the School of Art’s Creative Art Therapy Department and DEI Faculty Fellow; and the Center for K–12’s community-based, drop-in parent and child dance and movement therapy sessions.

Civic Engagement and Partnerships

The “Pratt as a Force” initiative shares Pratt’s impact with builders, planners, influencers, elected officials, community partners, and creatives in New York City and beyond. The initiative is supported by projects like The New Village: Ten Years of New York Fashion exhibition, which was covered in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Time Out. The Design Equity public program series, demonstrating how design can help create a more just and equitable future, continued with Pratt Presents Food Equity, with celebrated chef Marcus Samuelsson; Tony Hillery, founder and CEO of Harlem Grown; and our very own Assistant Professor Amanda Huynh working at the intersections of community-building, social innovation, and sustainable design.

The Office of Research and Strategic Partnerships works with the campus to develop grant proposals, coaches development of the narratives, budgets, and staffing/support structures required by the various projects proposed. Notable successes include the development of a new Provost’s Center (the Center for Climate Adaptation) and a three-year, $5 million National Science Foundation grant for AquaSteady, a sustainable approach to better water usage for crop growth. 

We are saying goodbye to our great colleague and inaugural Research and Strategic Partnerships leader, Allison Druin. Dr. Druin’s successes are many, from supporting individual faculty to building the Pratt Research Yard at the Navy Yard, to launching the Design Works High School, and leading Pratt’s effort to become a founding academic partner at the New York Climate Exchange on Governors Island.

The annual Research Open House (ROH) at the BNY hosted hundreds of local community members, Pratt students, alumni, industry leaders, advisors, and potential partners on tech transfer, elected officials, and K–12 school groups. Over 50 projects on climate innovation, sustainability, new materials, and research on creativity, wellness, and student learning were presented. 

Based on the success of the research presenters, entrepreneurs, investors, tech transfer leaders, and innovation center directors have been selected to advise on whether Pratt should move forward in developing and investing in commercialization, entrepreneurship, or tech transfer pedagogy and ventures.

The Design Works High School was designated by the Department of Education (DOE) as a “career-ready” school, funding the match of high schools with colleges and underwriting college credits for the students to increase access for low- and moderate-income BIPOC students at Pratt. Examples of internships include 12 positions at the world renowned architectural firm Skidmore Owings and Merrill.

Increasing Pratt’s visibility and impact through targeted communications is building partnerships and increasing access to general funding support for Institute initiatives focused on the physical plant, sustainability, and Pratt’s many collaborations with and services to public schools. Pursuing our current legislative strategy, the president was in Washington, D.C., for lobbying visits on climate change, sustainability, education and careers, and design/build/arts initiatives. Similar visits occurred in Albany in the New York State Assembly and Senate.

Administrative Projects

We welcome Stephanie Cook as our new VP for institutional advancement. Continued work by our Institutional Advancement team includes stewarding three candidates to become new Pratt trustees, increasing major gift asks, substantial bequests, and planned giving, corporation, and foundation grants. Family Fellows, those with family members studying at Pratt, support our annual fund, as do the advisory members of Deans Council. We have met the current goals to raise $30,000,000 by 2025, and are preparing for acceleration in fundraising with Trustees Kathryn Chenault and Bill Hilson as campaign co-chairs.

The inaugural assistant vice president for finance, who started work on April 1, 2024, will provide additional support to the finance function (budget, treasury, investments), ensure implementation of internal audit recommendations, and participate in the implementation of a campuswide enterprise risk management program. Preparation is underway for the proposed operating and capital budgets for FY25. Tuition revenue is projected with a fall ’24 enrollment of 5,009.

Installation of the new boilers is complete. Work for the new East Hall Plaza continues through the winter and spring with final completion slated for June 2024. North Hall elevator pit and foundation excavation will begin in the next few weeks.

The ISC Building has been redesigned to become a health and wellness center. The configuration of space is based on an integrated model of care as the Student Health Center moves to the ISC Building. We are currently in design and budget review for this renovation project with construction expected to begin in fall 2024/spring 2025.

In the fall semester, the Campus Climate Committee (C3) was established and met regularly to ensure that the campus is safe and that clear processes and ongoing programming are in place to build a respectful community. Comprehensive campus safety program evaluation and analysis is ongoing. Active assailant response training sessions are being offered throughout campus on a regular basis. The Risk Management Department has been restructured to implement an enterprise risk management framework to help prioritize and mitigate institutional and operational risks. 

We are working closely with our local representatives and the neighborhood community, including the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (where the president serves as board co-chair) to support our students, faculty, and staff. We are also engaged with the Hall Street shelter, where several thousand people are temporarily housed. Pratt volunteers from the Student Community Service Board, student athletes, and our faculty and staff have provided donations and aid, including preparing weekly snack bags for upwards of 150 children, in partnership with our food service company AVI. 

In response to the network outage experienced in December, the Cyber Security Department implemented the latest industry standard safeguards across our networks. Data access and security, and computer management and support have also been bolstered. Other projects related to cyber security, infrastructure resilience, and data storage technologies are ongoing. In addition, the Information Technology division is employing AI for data mining and reporting, service delivery, and knowledge management practices.

Pratt’s Communications and Marketing division continues to focus on visibility, reputation, and recruitment through event promotion, careful analysis of website utilization, design and creative services, and Prattfolio. Institutional communications have also focused on crisis communications for the last years. Cultural reputation and media/public relations, representing our students, faculty, and alumni, are growing with the number of placements in key outlets, from Archinect to Vogue and from Inside Higher Ed to the NYT. This work demonstrates the spectrum of what we do at Pratt, from creating messaging and space for critical current issues to building our position in the world.


Pratt continues to do remarkable work as demonstrated by the teaching, research, awards, public engagement, rankings, and a highly positive accreditation review. Thank you all for the daily work you do to make us as strong as we are. This is a difficult time for academic institutions nationally as we face emerging restrictions to and even legislation against fundamental principles that Pratt and much of higher education stand for: from work on diversity, equity, and inclusion, to ownership of our curricula, free speech and academic freedom, democracy, institutional autonomy, and accountable citizenship. Agencies and agents with agendas and incomplete understanding of our goals and accomplishments are fomenting sanctions and opposition to the very missions of colleges and universities. These intrusions are intended to undermine critical inquiry, equity, and, ultimately, excellence. This is vexing. It is more important than ever, as we hold multiple perspectives, as we champion nuance and deep questions, and as we investigate and express, that we stand together with civility in our commitment to higher education. We are setting models to address what seem like intractable positions in a time of deep pain and concern. I implore us all not to get distracted by these misleading political agendas.

As I wrap up this message, I want to again thank this community for its equanimity and respect. Your care is steeped in curiosity and commitment to excellence in learning and teaching. Your practice keeps us whole. We know our work and we are doing it. We create healthy environments for learning where all of us are empowered. Stay courageous. 


Frances Bronet