Joy Connolly served as interim president of The Graduate Center from 2018 until 2019 and as provost between 2016 and 2018. Connolly will continue her role as a distinguished professor in The Graduate Center’s doctoral program in classics.
During Connolly’s service as interim president, The Graduate Center launched the PublicsLab, which builds on an ambitious initiative she spearheaded while provost to transform doctoral education for the public good. With support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the PublicsLab enhances and expands public engagement to prepare doctoral students in the humanities for careers in both academic and non-academic professions and encourages doctoral students and faculty to engage in scholarship with a broad impact on the world outside the academy.
Under Connolly’s leadership, The Graduate Center’s innovative research was recognized by major grants, including $9.17 million over eight years from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for research at our Advanced Science Research Center, the largest grant to date to a Graduate Center faculty member.
While serving as provost, Connolly doubled the total number of master’s programs, establishing degrees in cutting-edge fields, including nanoscience, international migration studies, and digital humanities. She designed The Graduate Center’s first comprehensive planning and budget process in academic affairs, the Annual Report and Request. Committed to hiring diverse faculty and recruiting a diverse student body, she also initiated an effort to improve students’ experience by increasing staff in student services, offering support in quantitative skills and methods, and establishing best practices in doctoral mentoring.
Connolly is the author of two books and over 70 articles, book reviews, and essays. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, the Independent, The Village Voice, The Times Literary Supplement, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Bookforum, The Nation, and the Women’s Review of Books. Her board service includes the board of directors of the Society for Classical Studies and the editorial board of the Journal of the History of Ideas. Her interest in the contemporary arts has led her to work as an interpreter/player for the artist Tino Sehgal and to embark on a translation of Vergil’s pastoral poetry. She speaks and writes regularly about the future of the humanities and her own discipline of classical studies. Her current book project is a study of the value of Roman writing on selected problems in modern political thought, with a special focus on the work of political philosopher Hannah Arendt.
Connolly earned an A.B. from Princeton University in 1991 and a Ph.D. in classical studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997. After professorships at the University of Washington and Stanford University, she moved to New York University in 2004, where she served as director of the undergraduate core curriculum (2009-2012) and dean for the humanities (2012-2016).