From the Provost - Archive

Message from the Provost

GC Provost Joy Connolly
Greetings once again to everyone, early in the fall term!  

To all students, faculty, and staff new to the Graduate Center, I am especially pleased that you have joined us: thanks for bringing your energy and talent to the GC.  To those of you involved in our Middle States accreditation review, special thanks for contributing your time and thoughts to this important work.  

It’s been a busy summer, and I’d like to update you on four areas of special interest in the Provost’s office where we’ve made significant progress: more to come soon.

We are opening up space for innovation and change in doctoral education.  The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded us $2.265 million late last spring to support our new initiative, “Transforming Doctoral Education for the Public Good.”  The grant’s work revolves around two goals: through curricular innovation, to blaze a path for graduate schools all over the country in preparing humanities PhDs for a variety of careers inside and outside academia; and to continue the GC community’s historic efforts to dismantle the walls separating the academy from the world, by fostering publicly oriented scholarship in the new PublicsLab.  The grant will make available to everyone at the Graduate Center skills in public writing and speaking as well as advice on choosing research topics with a view to advancing the public good.  My own personal hope is that everyone depositing a dissertation this year will also “deposit” a two to three minute video summarizing their research for a general audience, which we will archive on our website.  

We are ramping up services for students.  Our work never ceases on improving funding and support for students.  This past year Vice President Matt Schoengood hired additional staff in disability services and the Wellness Center. The Quantitative Research Consulting Center, very ably started up last year by GC Linguistics PhD Christen Madsen II, offers statistical and research design consultations for all interested students, faculty and post-docs.  We’ve now formally established QRCC (pronounced “Quark”) in its space on the third floor. Humanists, social scientists, and scientists asking questions at all levels are equally welcome.  Make an appointment or learn more about the QRCC at www.gc.cuny.edu/qrcc. We are also expanding our capacity to help students express themselves in scholarly writing with eloquence and ease.  Both QRCC and the Writing Center to be established this academic year will report to Dr. Jennifer Furlong in the Center for Career Services and Professional Development. Students who wish to use this service can email careerplan@gc.cuny.edu or call 212-817-7425.

You’ve likely heard a great deal about the growth of master’s programs at the Graduate Center over the past year, with six new degrees opening their doors this year.  These degrees diversify our curriculum and student community, offer our faculty new opportunities to teach, and help students advance in career or education or both.   With our new Dean for Master’s Programs, Professor Julie Suk, who joined the Provost’s Office and the Sociology PhD Program this summer from Cardozo Law School, I’m working to integrate all master’s students into the fabric of the GC.  This involves a range of projects, including establishing master’s study lounges, providing administrative support and advising for new programs, creating internships, and helping students meet faculty, choose the right courses, and enjoy the company of fellow students.  

Science at the Graduate Center entered a new era when the Advanced Science Research Center joined us in 2017.  Led by Dean for Science Josh Brumberg, the ASRC is almost fully staffed and is welcoming four new faculty this year, two each in Photonics and Neuroscience. We are looking to further facilitate ways in which the ASRC can advance the research goals of CUNY scientists, both faculty and students.  GC Science was selected as a finalist for a Clare B. Luce Fellowship to increase gender equity in the quantitative sciences: we are hopeful our submission will be selected in the final round as we continue to focus on the all-important issue of equity and diversity in the sciences.  

You’ll hear more about additional projects in the near future: the Object Library, starting with the bright new flooring by artist Richard Woods along the Mina Rees Library frontage, and which is kicking off a GC participatory art project in mid-October; urban studies, now established in the Advanced Research Collaborative and soon to receive a boost in the form of a new fellowship opportunity; growth in the Digital Fellows program; the arrival of the new School for Labor and Urban Studies in the University Center; our effort to establish an array of paid internships; and a new approach to interdisciplinary study we are informally calling “pods.”

Until then, see you in the Dining Commons, a committee meeting, or (when I can find a spare moment) in the Segal Theater or at a colloquium or workshop.

Best wishes for the start of term,

Joy
God's Frieze

Welcome with Fall Updates (September 17, 2018)


Greetings once again to everyone, early in the fall term!  

To all students, faculty, and staff new to the Graduate Center, I am especially pleased that you have joined us: thanks for bringing your energy and talent to the GC.  To those of you involved in our Middle States accreditation review, special thanks for contributing your time and thoughts to this important work.  

It’s been a busy summer, and I’d like to update you on four areas of special interest in the Provost’s office where we’ve made significant progress: more to come soon.

We are opening up space for innovation and change in doctoral education.  The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded us $2.265 million late last spring to support our new initiative, “Transforming Doctoral Education for the Public Good.”  The grant’s work revolves around two goals: through curricular innovation, to blaze a path for graduate schools all over the country in preparing humanities PhDs for a variety of careers inside and outside academia; and to continue the GC community’s historic efforts to dismantle the walls separating the academy from the world, by fostering publicly oriented scholarship in the new PublicsLab.  The grant will make available to everyone at the Graduate Center skills in public writing and speaking as well as advice on choosing research topics with a view to advancing the public good.  My own personal hope is that everyone depositing a dissertation this year will also “deposit” a two to three minute video summarizing their research for a general audience, which we will archive on our website.  

We are ramping up services for students.  Our work never ceases on improving funding and support for students.  This past year Vice President Matt Schoengood hired additional staff in disability services and the Wellness Center. The Quantitative Research Consulting Center, very ably started up last year by GC Linguistics PhD Christen Madsen II, offers statistical and research design consultations for all interested students, faculty and post-docs.  We’ve now formally established QRCC (pronounced “Quark”) in its space on the third floor. Humanists, social scientists, and scientists asking questions at all levels are equally welcome.  Make an appointment or learn more about the QRCC at www.gc.cuny.edu/qrcc. We are also expanding our capacity to help students express themselves in scholarly writing with eloquence and ease.  Both QRCC and the Writing Center to be established this academic year will report to Dr. Jennifer Furlong in the Center for Career Services and Professional Development. Students who wish to use this service can email careerplan@gc.cuny.edu or call 212-817-7425.

You’ve likely heard a great deal about the growth of master’s programs at the Graduate Center over the past year, with six new degrees opening their doors this year.  These degrees diversify our curriculum and student community, offer our faculty new opportunities to teach, and help students advance in career or education or both.   With our new Dean for Master’s Programs, Professor Julie Suk, who joined the Provost’s Office and the Sociology PhD Program this summer from Cardozo Law School, I’m working to integrate all master’s students into the fabric of the GC.  This involves a range of projects, including establishing master’s study lounges, providing administrative support and advising for new programs, creating internships, and helping students meet faculty, choose the right courses, and enjoy the company of fellow students.  

Science at the Graduate Center entered a new era when the Advanced Science Research Center joined us in 2017.  Led by Dean for Science Josh Brumberg, the ASRC is almost fully staffed and is welcoming four new faculty this year, two each in Photonics and Neuroscience. We are looking to further facilitate ways in which the ASRC can advance the research goals of CUNY scientists, both faculty and students.  GC Science was selected as a finalist for a Clare B. Luce Fellowship to increase gender equity in the quantitative sciences: we are hopeful our submission will be selected in the final round as we continue to focus on the all-important issue of equity and diversity in the sciences.  

You’ll hear more about additional projects in the near future: the Object Library, starting with the bright new flooring by artist Richard Woods along the Mina Rees Library frontage, and which is kicking off a GC participatory art project in mid-October; urban studies, now established in the Advanced Research Collaborative and soon to receive a boost in the form of a new fellowship opportunity; growth in the Digital Fellows program; the arrival of the new School for Labor and Urban Studies in the University Center; our effort to establish an array of paid internships; and a new approach to interdisciplinary study we are informally calling “pods.”

Until then, see you in the Dining Commons, a committee meeting, or (when I can find a spare moment) in the Segal Theater or at a colloquium or workshop.

Best wishes for the start of term,

Joy

Welcome (September 11, 2018)


Welcome back to the fall term – though it hasn’t been feeling like fall outside. To all students, faculty, and staff new to the Graduate Center, I am especially pleased that you have joined us: thanks for bringing your energy and talent to the GC.  And to those of you involved in our Middle States accreditation review, special thanks for contributing your time and thoughts to this important work.

I am delighted to announce that Dr. Yun Xiang has joined the Provost’s Office as the Associate Dean for Institutional Effectiveness. Yun received her Ph.D. in Educational Research, Measurement and Evaluation from Boston College and her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Boston University. Prior to joining the Graduate Center, Yun served as the Director of Institutional Research and Assessment at the University of New Hampshire. She will be responsible for designing, implementing and evaluating the effectiveness of an integrated program of institutional research and assessing student learning, organizational effectiveness and the GC's 2017-2022 Strategic Plan.  She will also serve as the GC's Middle States Commission on Higher Education Accreditation Liaison Officer and ensure the accurate and timely completion of all federal, state, regional and specialized accreditation compliance requirements.  Her office will coordinate academic and administrative external reviews; lead internal assessment, institutional research, and evaluation efforts; and facilitate data-driven decision-making across the institution.  With her knowledge of data strategy, skills in providing analytic support, experience in transforming data into actionable information, and entrepreneurial spirit, she will bring energy and focus to the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness and the GC community at large.

Please join me in welcoming Yun Xiang to the Provost’s Office.

Best wishes for the start of term,

Joy

Academic Year End (June 6, 2018)


All,

As we come to the close of the academic year, I want to introduce two new colleagues who will help the Graduate Center broaden its reach. 

One of our key goals as a school, expressed in our Strategic Plan, is broadening our impact by teaching new subjects and attracting new, diverse kinds of students in master’s degree programs and new non-degree programs. We’ve already made strong progress on the master’s front in 2017-18, with six new degrees approved by New York State. Now over five hundred strong, our master’s students have dedicated staff and space (the lounge in 7405). GC doctoral students now work as advisers for students in the Master’s of Arts in Liberal Studies program.  We established several scholarships for MALS students this year and next year will also offer a similar number to students in programs outside of MALS.  We created an annual fund to support master’s students travel and research.   

Now I am very happy to announce the arrival of Professor Julie Chi-hye Suk, currently Professor of Law at the Cardozo School of Law – Yeshiva University, as Dean for Master’s Programs and Professor of Sociology, with affiliations with Liberal Studies and Political Science.  She will work with program directors to meet master’s students’ needs in a systematic way and to advocate for their distinctive interests.  With a law degree from Yale and master’s and doctoral degrees in Politics from Oxford, she will bring an interdisciplinary background to her work with faculty at the Graduate Center encouraging curricular creativity and experimentation. Her years of experience in law schools will help her relate to students who seek a master’s degree to enrich their professional paths. Her commitment to the liberal arts, expressed in her wide-ranging, cross-disciplinary record of publications, makes her an ideal advocate for students in all disciplines across the arts and sciences. As a scholar of gender, race, and class inequality, Professor Suk possesses intellectual passions that match her commitment to diversity and to the public mission of CUNY.

Master’s students are one important growing group we are welcoming into the GC.  Our vision embraces other audiences as well. We have skills and knowledge to offer that transcend traditional courses or degrees and that draw new people through our doors.

I am very happy to announce that Brian Peterson joins us on June 1 as Dean for Academic Initiatives and Strategic Innovation.  A seasoned administrator who played a key role in building the CUNY School of Professional Studies, he will lead new academic programming, including an enlarged CUNY BA, certificates, hybrid courses, and non-degree offerings.  Working closely with faculty and staff, he will develop innovative educational experiences that will serve diverse partners including city agencies and NGOs — with whom the Graduate Center already has a range of ties and he has deep experience. Second, he will support the Graduate Center’s Executive Officers, program directors, and other academic and administrative leaders to improve our strategic planning and implementation.  Third, he will establish relations between the Graduate Center and international institutions, allowing for greater numbers of international students to join us and smoothing the way for our doctoral students to study and do research abroad.
 
I want to express gratitude for the diligence and commitment of the current master’s programs’ administrators, both faculty and staff, as well as the designers and directors of our new programs.  I also want to thank those faculty who have worked above and beyond to create and support internships, summer institutes, and other unconventional experiences for all our graduate students. Finally, I want to express my sincere gratitude to Interim Dean for Master’s Programs and Professor of Sociology Julia Wrigley, who has brought her wisdom and deep knowledge of CUNY to the assistance of students and faculty for the past year. 

With a growing master’s population and a range of new programs, the Graduate Center is moving into new terrain while at the same time we work harder to improve doctoral education. With the goal firmly in my mind of better serving all students and faculty, I am excited by the prospect of these additions to our strengths.  I am delighted to welcome new Deans Julie Suk and Brian Peterson to the Graduate Center.

Best wishes for a restful and recuperative summer.

Joy

Scam Journals (May 13, 2018)


The challenges presented by quasi- or non-academic publications that lack rigorous peer review are increasing.  At first glance, this phenomenon may mean little to us here at the Graduate Center, which is fortunate to have more than its share of faculty who set the standard rather than seek to meet it. However, in addition to exacerbating a cultural crisis in which preferred ideas are treated as facts and facts are disregarded, predatory publishers and conference organizers pose a particular danger to emerging scholars -- our students.
 
Deceptive scam journals that pretend to a level of formal expertise they simply do not have can do great harm to a student’s finances and reputation as well as the very concept of scholarship.

I call on all faculty colleagues to make it a point to guide our students to solid periodicals with good peer review practices in place, including innovative ones publishing multimedia and unconventionally formatted work. I would like to thank the CUNY Central Office for drawing our attention to the reach and impact of psuedo journals in 2018 and I am pleased to share the tips linked here.

Changes in Student Affairs (April 10, 2018)


I’m happy to share an announcement of changes in the Office of Student Affairs. Warm congratulations are in order for Elise Perram, new Director of Student Affairs and Scott Voorhees, now Associate Director of Student Affairs. 

We are very fortunate to also have two new staff members joining the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs, both of whom are proud products of the City University of New York.

I am delighted to welcome Clare Wilson, our incoming Disabilities Services Manager (soon to be an alumna of the Graduate Center Ph.D. Program in History), and Eric Brown, who joins us as Student Activities Coordinator while he wraps up his M.A. in Urban Studies at Queens College. Clare is an experienced member of the GC student services staff. Eric is the former Manager/Event Coordinator in the Office of Student Activities at Borough of Manhattan Community College.  

Dedicated staff in Disabilities Services has been a long-standing request of our students, eloquently advocated for by the Doctoral Student Council and by Student Services staff.  It was also a priority of the GC’s 2017-22 Strategic Plan.  For all these reasons, I’m happy to mark this achievement.

My best wishes to Vice President Matthew Schoengood and to both our seasoned and our new colleagues on this great team. And as always, best wishes to students and faculty as we close out the spring semester of 2018!

NEH Budget Updates (March 27, 2018)


I am very happy to report the spending bill just approved by Congress includes an increase of $3 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The bill also includes a $9 million increase for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and a $1.5 million increase for the Woodrow Wilson Center.
 
This wonderful result was not obvious when the Trump administration proposed eliminating all three last year; it is the product of an outpouring of support and relentless advocacy for the humanities. Congress has responded to the public in the best possible way.
 
This is not the end. The successful conclusion of a budget battle also marks the beginning of the one for next year. That said, I know you join me in thanking Congress for refusing to allow us to go backwards, just as I know our community will always be in the vanguard of creating and circulating knowledge for the public good.

The QRCC (February 21, 2018)


I trust everyone is settling in to the new semester well.

Analyzing data is, increasingly, part of many projects here at the GC, whether the research field is in the humanities, sciences, or social sciences.  Methods and approaches are many and varied, and entering the field can be a challenge. So I am very pleased to announce that the Quantitative Research Consulting Center (QRCC) is now available on the Graduate Center website (here).

The QRCC provides statistical consulting including project planning, data analysis and interpretation, using statistical programs, and programming. Workshops, appointments and walk-ins are available. If you have questions you can contact Christen Madsen (cmadsen@gradcenter.cuny.edu) but do visit the web page first. The answers you need are likely there.

I wish you a succesful semster!

Tax Plan - Update (December 8, 2017)


Efforts to convince Congress that taxing graduate tuition waivers will do irreparable harm to higher education and research in the US are showing signs of progress (House Republicans May Be Backing Away From Taxing Grad-Student Tuition Waivers).


See my earlier posts for advice on how to express your views. We continue to advocate on behalf of our students.

Tax Plan - Advice (December 6, 2017)


Concerned about the tax bill and its impact on higher education, especially Graduate students?  Read this advice from the Humanities Alliance.

Also, Meghan Duffy at Dynamic Ecology has a useful, thoughtful blog post on the issue.

Wishing you all a successful end to the semester,

Tax Plan - CGS (November 10, 2017)


The proposed federal tax plan has serious implications for our student community. As proposed, there would be federal taxes on tuition waivers, which would create a financial burden on graduate students here at the GC and across the country.  The proposal also includes measures that would saddle college undergraduates with even heavier debt.  

Higher education councils and university presidents are speaking out. I will update you on relevant CUNY activity – and I know some programs here at the GC are already responding.  For now, I share the following points and links from Suzanne Ortega, the President of the Council of Graduate Schools.

1.    Educate your colleagues, and your federal and state policymakers, about the broad impacts of the proposed tax reforms on students and universities. CGS has collaborated with ACE and other higher education associations on this succinct information page[cgsnet.org] on Tax Reform and Higher Education.

2.    Make these impacts more concrete by sharing CGS’s resource on Tax Reform Examples[cgsnet.org], which describes how tax liabilities would impact individual students in a variety of situations.

3.    Encourage graduate students to join you in your advocacy efforts. Support them as they explain in their own words how changes in the tax code would affect them and their families.

4.    Consider using examples from CGS’s GradImpact Gallery[cgsnet.org] to explain how graduate education improves the lives of all Americans, not just graduate degree holders. Consider submitting your own story to CGS if you have not already done so.

5.    Work with your government relations representative so that they have the information they need to make the case for graduate students and graduate education. If your institution is compiling infographics and/or resources, please send them to us to use through the CGS social media channels. (Example[cgsnet.org])

Hurricane Irma - Barbuda (September 7, 2017)


I am sorry to inform you that Hurricane Irma has destroyed the Barbuda Archaeological Research Center (BARC), led by Dr. Sophia Perdikaris. Though I am relieved no Graduate Center staff or faculty were among those killed and injured, I am deeply concerned because many of the friends and colleagues who worked with them and maintained the field station on the island remain unaccounted for. I know we all hope emergency services locate everyone and they are all as unharmed as is possible in a disaster of this magnitude.

The Barbuda Council in collaboration with the City University of New York (CUNY), the Graduate Center, Brooklyn College, the Global Human Ecodynamics Alliance (GHEA), and the Human Ecodynamics Research Center (HERC) founded BARC in 2011. The intent is to serve the dual purpose of maintaining a multidisciplinary research station on Barbuda and ensuring community relevance and ownership of all research conducted there.

Our thoughts are with the loved ones of those killed in this storm and the over half of the 1600 inhabitants of the tiny island believed to be homeless. As was intended, researchers became part of the community on Barbuda. I know they are all in mourning. Dr. Perdikaris will travel to Barbuda on September 20 if it is possible to land a plane. I thank her for her continued commitment to Barbuda and this important project.

Welcome - Fall 2017 (Setpember 1, 2017)


I am delighted to welcome everyone, faculty and students, to the fall semester, with a particular nod to the new students who are joining us for the first time at the Graduate Center. It is very good to see you all.  I hope you had a rewarding and restorative summer.

As you enter the building, you will notice the impressively restored and beautifully mounted casts of the Parthenon frieze adorning the lobby and library.  They came to us at no cost from City College, which acquired them as teaching aids in the nineteenth century in order to give their students access to artworks previously easily seen or visited only by the wealthy and well-off.  Their arrival inaugurates a year of notable exhibits and performances in the gallery and other spaces around the building, as we move to make the arts more visible in our everyday lives at the GC.

To students with loved ones affected by Hurricane Harvey, please let us know if there is anything the Graduate Center can do to help you manage your studies as you cope with the effects of the storm.

There is much to say about the awful events in Charlottesville.  For now, I will make just two comments.  First, every single member of the GC community is welcome, always.  Our diversity of origins, background, perspective, goals, and values broadens our understanding, enriches our research, and propels our discoveries.  Second, we are privileged to work and study at CUNY, an institution committed to advancing the public good.  We have -- and I know we will take -- every opportunity we possibly can to advance the public good through our research, teaching and mentoring, activism, public speaking and writing, or some mix of these – regardless of our fields of study.

I wish everyone a wonderful year.

The New Ph.D. (April 25, 2017)


Congratulations to Dr. Jennifer Furlong and our colleagues in the Office of Career Planning and Professional Development on their Next Generation Humanities Ph.D. Planning Grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for the 2016-2017 academic year. For planning themes, project updates and more visit the project website.
 
As part of the project, there will be a day of workshops and discussions around careers for PhDs and MAs in the humanities and humanistic social sciences on Thursday, May 4, 2017. This event will offer current students and recent alumni the chance to engage with alumni whose graduate training has enabled them to thrive in a range of careers. I strongly encourage everyone in our community, with the desire and opportunity to attend any or all of the sessions, including staff and faculty, to do so and get this great information (register here).