Admin to guide Agenda for Lang
Doug Wood, Lang’s new associate dean of administration and planning, has a plan—or rather a plan to come up with a plan.
Wood, a South Carolina native who comes to Lang after five and a half years at Columbia Teacher’s College, joined the Lang administration on January 11.
Wood has been dealing with eight different areas of planning, each represented on a shelf full of thick, white three-ring binders. Wood’s portfolio may seem daunting, ranging from overseeing strategic planning, facilities, and capital budget requests; budget planning, enrollment management, and hiring procedures; and working with senior leadership on the strategic aspects of university relations, grants and fundraising, and departmental procedures.
Wood took over for Amos Himmelstein who, after 15 years at Lang, left in August to work with former Lang Dean Jonathan Veitch at Occidental College in Los Angeles.
Dean Neil Gordon expressed satisfaction that the replacement search found such a qualified replacement, and that Lang was able to hire someone with a fresh perspective from outside The New School. “Doug stood out as the person who most understood what we’re doing,” Gordon said.
At present, Wood is working on developing a five year plan for the college to work toward goals and align the budget with these targets. But these goals remain undetermined, Wood added, because he hopes to include as much of the college’s community as possible in the decision-making process.
“My style of leadership is very participatory, collegiate, and inclusive,” he said.
Because Wood only began last month, he is still learning the ins and outs of the community. He has set a personal goal to meet with every faculty member at Lang—a target he hopes to reach by next fall—in order to incorporate faculty opinion into the strategic planning process.
As executive director for the Tennessee State Board of Education and chief education officer of the State of Tennessee under two governors, Wood visited each of the state’s 95 counties, staying in the homes of parents and educators in Tennessee’s public school system. This experience helped Wood to understand the needs of Tennessee’s K-12 students.
Wood is from South Carolina, where he got his bachelor's in history at Wofford College in 1990. He earned an master's in English at Middlebury College, an experience that encouraged his love of the liberal arts. “My heart is really close to the liberal arts, having gone to two liberal arts institutions myself,” he said. “I have a keen interest and a love for and a belief in a liberal arts education.” After Middlebury, Wood went on to earn a second master’s and a doctorate from Harvard in administration planning and social policy.
In 2004, after four years working for the Tennessee Board of Education, Wood came to New York to work at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College as director of the National Academy for Excellent Teaching and as a faculty member in the department of organization and leadership.
“The institute that I ran worked very closely with high schools in challenging areas like Brooklyn, the South Bronx, and Harlem,” said Wood. “Our goal was really to work with teachers.”