About the Futures Initiative

Our Mission

The Futures Initiative was founded in 2014 at the Graduate Center, CUNY, to offer a new model for graduate education. Focusing on equity and innovation in higher education, the Futures Initiative develops new engaged, collaborative pedagogies that empower the next generation of intellectual leaders with bold, creative, and independent methods for confronting the problems in the world today and thinking through effective, democratic solutions. The Futures Initiative connects research, teaching, and social justice. The Futures Initiative also co-directs, in partnership with Dartmouth College, HASTAC.org (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory, or “Haystack,”), one of the world’s first and oldest academic social networks. Through this 18,000-member network, the Futures Initiative extends its collaborative peer-to-peer practices across institutions, disciplines, national boundaries, and economic and social disparities, promoting reinvestment in higher education as a public good.

Our Work

  • Student-centered pedagogy: Non-hierarchical learning structures that emphasize peer learning, peer mentorship, and student agency.
  • Technology: Using network and communications tools to build community and foster greater access.
  • Leadership: Equipping graduate students to expand career horizons and connect their learning to the wider world.
  • Research: Conducting meaningful, high-level research and connecting it to the wider world in creative ways. All funds for grants are raised by private individuals and are not tax-funded
  • Advocacy: Promoting institutional change, social justice, and the reinvestment in higher education as a public good.

Learn more about the Futures Initiative’s work through our Annual Reports


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2018-2019 Annual Report front cover


Futures Initiative Annual Report (2017-2018)


Futures Initiative Annual Report (2016-2017)


Futures Initiative Annual Report (2015-2016)



The Futures Initiative shares announcements, event information, and news from the community in a monthly newsletter. Read our past issues below and sign up to receive monthly updates.

Summer 2015
Spring 2015
Winter 2015 (PDF)
Fall 2014 (PDF)


The Futures Initiative is deeply grateful to CUNY and the Graduate Center—and, by extension, the people of New York—for their ongoing support of our work.

The Futures Initiative is also grateful for the support we have received from foundations and donors:

The Graduate Center, CUNY logo
Mellon Foundation Grant

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, 2016-2020

The Futures Initiative and HASTAC are deeply honored to be part of a visionary $3.1 million Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant dedicated to humanities education at the nation’s community colleges and introductory humanities education for the “new majority” of college students entering universities in the U.S. today. Read the press release announcing the CUNY Humanities Alliance project, and visit the program’s website.

Teagle Foundation Logo

Teagle Foundation, 2016-2019

Thank you to the Teagle Foundation for generously supporting our multi-layered peer mentorship program, which reconnects liberal arts teaching and learning with the mission of public higher education and the needs of what has been called the “new majority” of undergraduate college students. The CUNY Leadership Fellows program also supports graduate students’ development as both teachers and learners. Thank you also to CUNY Central office for generously funding the first round of the Peer mentoring program. Read the project announcement.

Thank you to all of our grantors. Your past and ongoing support is key to the Futures Initiative’s success in innovating higher education.

Learn More

Mapping Futures - Map of Undergraduate Courses