Newsletter Spring 2015

The Futures Initiative has just celebrated the end of its first year. Many thanks to everyone who helped to make it a success. Read on to learn about what we’ve done this past semester!

The Futures Initiative aims to advance greater equity and innovation in higher education. Housed at the Graduate Center and reaching throughout the CUNY community, the Futures Initiative empowers the next generation of intellectual leaders with bold, public, and engaged teaching and learning. The Futures Initiative fosters greater understanding of the complexities of the higher education landscape by spearheading qualitative and quantitative research in areas such as academic labor practices and reward systems, open-access multimedia publishing, data visualization and interpretation, and institutional change.Map of the Class Mapping the Futures of Higher Education

Mapping the Futures of Higher Education

Taught by Futures Initiative Director Cathy Davidson and Graduate Center President Emeritus William Kelly, Mapping the Futures of Higher Education was a radically interdisciplinary graduate class and network of undergraduate classes involving more than 365 students across ten CUNY colleges. As is the case with the Futures Initiative as a whole, this course focused on both innovation and equity. The course explored new methods of peer learning and teaching, interdisciplinary research collaborations, experiential learning, new digital tools, and public contributions to knowledge. Moreover, the course considered the role of the university in society, especially public education in the U.S. in a time where we have seen declining support for public education nationally, leading both to a student debt crisis and a professorial crisis of adjunct or contingent labor practices. This Spring 2015 course was the first course offered by the Futures Initiative. In the 2015-2016 academic year, we will offer five team-taught courses in a number of different disciplines.

Graduate students in the class, and the colleges where they teach and work:
As part of the CUNY Maps of New York, the Futures Initiative Fellows, along with Graduate Teaching Fellows in the Mapping the Futures of Higher Education course at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and their undergraduate students at individual CUNY campuses created the CUNY Flyover Tour of New York. The tour highlights the graduate and undergraduate classes that took part in the Mapping the Futures of Higher Education course accompanied by a slide show of favorite images of CUNY.

Mentoring Workshop

Thanks to generous support from CUNY Central, The Futures Initiative will host a two-day mentoring workshop this summer. Graduate and undergraduate students from the Mapping the Futures courses will work together to develop peer leadership skills and further explore student-centered learning, creating a network of student support across the CUNY campuses

People and Programs, 2015-2016

We are delighted to welcome two new graduate fellows and eight faculty fellows to our program for the year ahead. The graduate fellows, Allison Guess (Earth and Environmental Studies) and Mike Rifino (Human Development) will apply their experience and research skills to the program’s goals.

In the 2015-2016 academic year, we will expand our program to offer five team-taught courses in a number of different disciplines, reaching as many as 90 graduate students and 1,800 undergraduates. The courses will be taught by CUNY faculty based at the Graduate Center as well as Brooklyn College, City College, LaGuardia Community College, Lehman College, and Queens College. The focus across all of the courses will be Diversity, Access, and Equity Across the Curriculum. We are delighted that the faculty members listed below will be joining the program as Faculty Fellows.

Fall 2015

  • Kandice Chuh (Graduate Center, English) and Sujatha Fernandes (Queens College, Sociology) – “Encountering Cuba” – Global race, postcoloniality, cultural expression
  • Ofelia Garcia (Graduate Center, Urban Education and Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages) and Carmina Makar (City College, Teaching Learning and Culture) – CUNY language diversity and global language learning policies

Spring 2016

  • Anna Stetsenko (Graduate Center, Psychology/Urban Education) and Eduardo Vianna (Social Sciences, LaGuardia Community College) – “Agency and Social Transformation: Increasing Equity in Education and Beyond”- Student-centered pedagogy, psychology
  • David Forbes (Brooklyn College, School Psychology, Counseling, and Leadership) and Gillian Bayne (Lehman College, STEM Education) – Mindfulness in STEM education
  • Cathy N. Davidson (Graduate Center, Futures Initiative and English) and William Kelly (Graduate Center, President Emeritus and University Distinguished Professor),  “American Literature, American Learning”

The Futures Initiative Featured in the Chronicle

“Rethinking the Classroom,” Professor Cathy Davidson’s article about the Mapping the Futures of Higher Education, was featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education in April. Addressing issues of equity as well as the need to reinvent pedagogical methods, Prof. Davidson writes, “Cross-course collaborative projects help students to see themselves as valuable contributors to a much larger whole. We hope that students helping one another succeed in such a diverse and thriving hybrid learning community will be able to envision their own future, with career and life pathways along which they can contribute as productive members of society.”

HASTAC 2015 Conference

The Futures Initiative also serves as a hub for HASTAC, the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory. HASTAC recently held its 2015 International Conference at Michigan State University. The Futures Initiative/HASTAC@CUNY team led sessions on innovative dissertations and student-centered pedagogy and technology (recap here). The conference, which featured emerging scholars as keynote speakers, exemplified HASTAC’s mission of “Changing the Way We Teach and Learn.”

→ Learn more about the HASTAC 2015 Conference or read the recap of the conference in The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy

We Are The Futures Initiative

Cathy Davidson
Cathy Davidson, Futures Initiative Director and Distinguished Professor of English
Katina Rogers
Katina Rogers, Futures Initiative Deputy Director
Lauren Melendez
Lauren Melendez, Administrative Specialist
Michael Dorsch
Michael Dorsch, Fellow
Allison Guess
Allison Guess, Fellow
Mike Rifino
Mike Rifino, Fellow
Danica Savonick
Danica Savonick, Fellow
Lisa Tagliaferri
Lisa Tagliaferri, Fellow
Kalle Westerling
Kalle Westerling, Fellow
Shawn(ta) Smith
Shawn(ta) Smith, Embedded Librarian

SPECIAL THANKS TO Graduate Center President Emeritus William P. Kelly, GC President Chase Robinson, GC Interim Provost Louise Lennihan, GC Urban Education Executive Officer Anthony G. Picciano, CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken, CUNY Executive Vice Chancellor Allan H. Dobrin, CUNY Interim Executive Vice Chancellor Julia Wrigley, and to the Executive Officers at the Graduate Center and the Department Chairs at Queens, City, LaGuardia, and Lehman Colleges for their collaborative spirit and support that make this cross-CUNY initiative possible. A huge thank you as well to Matthew K. Gold and the CBOX development team.

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