The Futures Initiative

The Futures Initiative

The Futures Initiative advocates greater equity and innovation in higher education at every level of the university. 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. With an emphasis on student-centered teaching and learning practices, the initiative redefines graduate student preparation to include translation of specialized research into the best undergraduate teaching, including for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Futures Initiative fosters greater understanding of the complexities of the higher education landscape by spearheading data-driven research in areas such as academic labor practices and reward systems, open-access multimedia publishing, data visualization and interpretation, and institutional change. Through HASTAC@CUNY (a hub of the online network Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory), 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.

Anyone can join, anyone can contribute.  This is a first attempt to describe some principles motivating the Futures Initiative, and you can read more at "Some Initial Thoughts on the Futures Initiative" and in other posts that I and others will contribute to this Futures Initiative Group.  Not everyone will agree with all of these ideas--they are intended to provoke, not to shut down an urgent conversation about the who, what, where, when, why, and how of higher education today.   The Futures Initiative grows out of evolving, collective, collaborative principles that have been discussed widely in the HASTAC network and other hybrid learning communities for several years and, as with other initiatives, the Futures Initiative will be shaped by the community as we develop projects and add members.  The point is not to enforce but to invite, not to prescribe but to inspire and elicit.  We believe this "iterative" model of learning is ideally suited to the world we live in now.  Join us!

About the Director: The Futures Initiative is directed by Cathy N. Davidson.  Davidson is the cofounder of HASTAC and co-PI of the HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competitions.  After a long career holding two distinguished chairs at Duke University, Davidson relocated to The Graduate Center where she is a Distinguished Professor of English and Director of the Futures Initiative.  Davidson's commitments are to peer-to-peer learning and to educational transformation for the world we live in now.

About HASTAC: HASTAC is an open network of more than 13,000 members worldwide.  It is free.  You join simply by signing up.  We do not share your data with commercial or other vendors.  Anyone who joins the network can participate and anyone can participate as long as you share HASTAC's commitment to a respectful, civil, productive, progressive community dedicated to "Changing the Way We Teach and Learn."  Another of HASTAC's mottos:  "Difference is not our deficit.  It's our operating system."  We invite you to add your own thoughts, start your own version of the Futures Initiative and share your ideas and accomplishments in this group or anywhere on HASTAC.  (Anyone can begin a group on HASTAC; the Drupal-based platform is open to all).  One of our founding ideas is "act locally, communicate globally." 

About the Futures Initiative Group on  This group is one venue for sharing your own initiatives on behalf of educational transformation.   You can write a blog post here, add information about your program and events, and HASTAC will communicate it to the membership using social media platforms and, sometimes, highlight major events or blog posts that draw interest from the community in a monthly HASTAC newsletter.  When you post to this group, you can click the final toggle to make your communication "Private," readable only by group members.  If you don't, it will be public. 


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