[Cross-posted from futuresinitiative.org. See the original post for photos and more!]
As the 2015-2016 academic year comes to a close, the Futures Initiative team is reflecting on what an incredible year this has been, thanks to our colleagues at the Graduate Center and across CUNY. We feel lucky to have had the chance to work closely with so many students, faculty members, librarians, and staff members across the CUNY colleges. Everyone worked unbelievably hard this year on a wide range of projects with the goals of connecting with and learning from CUNY’s community colleges, supporting the next generation of college professors and intellectual leaders, and advocating higher education as a public good. Here are a few of the things we’re most excited about as we look back on the year:
- We are deeply honored to be part of the Humanities Alliance, 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. Spring 2016 has been an intensive planning phase with our partners in the Provost’s Office, the GC Teaching and Learning Center, and LaGuardia Community College. We can’t wait for the program to officially launch in Fall 2016.
- Our Peer Mentoring program provided leadership training to thirty undergraduate students from seven CUNY colleges (Brooklyn College, City College, Hunter College, John Jay College, Kingsborough Community College, Lehman College, and Queens College) during a two-day summer workshop. Thanks to a generous grant from the Teagle Foundation, we will run a second iteration of the workshop in July 2016 and will equip participating students to extend their peer mentoring activities throughout the 2016-2017 academic year on their home colleges.
- Our first year of innovative team-taught courses brought together faculty members from the Graduate Center, Brooklyn College, City College, LaGuardia Community College, Lehman College, and Queens College to teach interdisciplinary graduate courses. Every course addressed issues related to access, diversity, and equity in higher education. Students and faculty shared their work in a year-end symposium. Next year, we’ll sponsor another five courses with different faculty members from different colleges and disciplines—watch for an announcement soon to learn more!
- The University Worth Fighting For, our public programming series for the year, fostered many important discussions—in person and online—connecting student-centered, engaged pedagogical practice to institutional change, inclusion, equality, and social justice.
- New research from Futures Initiative faculty and graduate fellows connected languages spoken across New York City with programmatic offerings at the CUNY colleges through the CUNY NYC Language Mapping Project. The results highlight not only CUNY’s incredible linguistic diversity, but also opportunities for greater support and new scholarship.
- Futures Initiative faculty, staff, and graduate fellows have presented work at a wide range of events across CUNY and at national and international conferences and workshops.
Thank you to everyone who has joined us in this work! It is incredible to see how much the program has accomplished in its second year thanks to deep engagement by students, faculty, and staff across CUNY. We have been especially pleased to partner more deeply with so many programs throughout the GC and CUNY, including the Graduate Center Digital Initiatives, the Teaching and Learning Center, the Office of Career Planning and Professional Development, the Pipeline Program, and many more. The year has been successful in ways we never could have imagined, thanks to the insights, energy, and generosity of so many wonderful colleagues.
As we look ahead, we’ll be working to build in even more support for CUNY’s incredibly hardworking students, faculty, and staff as we come together to work for a university that is truly worth fighting for, even as CUNY faces ongoing fiscal challenges. We’ll be strengthening many of the programs that we piloted this year, and exploring new opportunities as well. Most importantly, we welcome suggestions from the CUNY community as we develop new initiatives and programming.
Thank you to everyone who has joined us this year!