From the Provost - Archive

Message from the Provost

GC Provost Joy Connolly
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.
 

Joy
God's Frieze

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).