September 9, 2014
The calendar may tell us when summer officially becomes autumn, but each of us probably has our own moment when the shift of seasons becomes apparent. Mine came last week, when the late afternoon sun streamed across my desk. I fussed with my monitor for a minute or two before grasping the obvious: the sun was now much lower in the western sky. The sharp angles of autumn were replacing the sweeping arc of summer.
With autumn comes renewed energy, and what better way to inaugurate the academic year than by recognizing recent achievements within our community. Summer at 365 Fifth Avenue may have been relatively quiet, but news of prestigious awards flowed in:
As always, our students and alumni earned accolades in the U.S. and around the world. For example, the American Association of University Women awarded four $20,000 fellowships to Megi Gogishvili (Public Health), Akemi Nishida (Psychology), Jane McAlevey (Sociology), and Jessica Valiente (Music). This month, Primatologist Pat Wright (Anthropology, 1985) will receive the $250,000 Indianapolis Prize for her work in conservation in Madagascar, and Puleng Segalo (Psychology, 2013) was designated a Distinguished Young Woman Scientist for 2014 by the South African government.
Our faculty continued to attract substantial external funding, such as the $4 million National Institutes of Health award to a consortium led by Professor Doug Whalen (Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences). The result will be groundbreaking work in improving speech remediation with ultrasound technology. And, just this week, Distinguished Professor Dennis Sullivan, who holds the Albert Einstein Chair in Science (Mathematics), was named by the International Balzan Prize Foundation as 2014 prize recipient, citing his “exceptional results in many fields of mathematics.” Half of the $800,000 award will finance research projects by young scholars or scientists. These and other awards document the scale and significance of our research undertaken for the public good.
On a broader scale, the Graduate Center won major recognition as a locus for innovation and educational reform. New York State awarded $15 million in August to a CUNY big data consortium led by the Graduate Center and the College of Staten Island, which will allow us to establish a data visualization lab at 365 Fifth Avenue. Meanwhile, colleagues in the Center for Advanced Study in Education are engaged in a $3.2 million project, funded by the New York State Department of Education, to conduct a state-wide assessment of the Common Core. In a very challenging funding environment, our reputation for research and initiatives grows.
The new academic year holds great promise. We are joined by some 680 students, most embarking upon doctoral education, but a growing number—some 185—pursuing master’s degrees. We also welcome to our doctoral programs just over 110 CUNY faculty. Hailing from nearly every campus in the university, they are a remarkable group of scholar-teachers who reflect CUNY’s commitment to excellence and diversity.
Moreover, three outstanding GC-based faculty start this fall: Cathy Davidson (English), Eric Lott (English), and David Waldstreicher (History). And the Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC) welcomes no fewer than 17 Distinguished Fellows, 10 of whom come from sister campuses within CUNY, and seven from universities across the United States and Europe. Working alongside a total of 27 student fellows, they are making the Graduate Center not only a hub of interdisciplinary research within CUNY, but also an international center of advanced research and doctoral training.
We are privileged to work in such a distinguished community, and our public programming is just one of the ways that we enlighten New York City. Among the many public events listed here are the Graduate Center’s Keynote Events. I look forward to seeing you at these occasions in the coming months.
Until then, best wishes for another productive and rewarding year.
Chase F. Robinson