To foster communal intellectual vitality and conviviality, the English Program sponsors Friday Forums weekly. Friday Forums bring to the GC internationally recognized scholars, writers, and publishers to discuss a wide variety of literary and cultural topics. This series of lectures and readings is followed by a reception with food and wine. Forums generally take place at 4 p.m. on Fridays, but many occur in conjunction with all-day conferences and interdisciplinary events. Some Forums are devoted to special issues of student/faculty concern, such as financial aid, adjunct teaching, curricular changes, and the education job market. The first Forum of the Fall Semester is generally an orientation session for new students in the Program, and the last one in each semester, the Winter/Spring Revels, is a party not to be missed.
The ESA is a student-run organization that seeks to improve living and working conditions of students in the Program by representing the interests of the students in the Graduate Center English Department. Representation includes expressing the concerns of the students to the faculty and administration as well as relaying information back to the students. The primary tasks of the ESA are to provide a forum for student concerns, sponsor a network of student mentors, oversee course evaluations, and run the student election process. In addition, the ESA runs an annual conference (with faculty participation) open to ESA members as well as students form other institutions.
For more information about the ESA, visit the English Program Student Site.
Students in all programs at the GC have formed the DGSC, which brings their concerns to the administration; lobbies for their interests before the University Student Senate, the CUNY Board of Trustees, the Mayor's Office, and the State Legislature; supports intra- and interprogram student organizations; and provides legal services and funding for cultural activities. The DGSC subsidizes the Advocate, a newspaper published six times annually. The English Program has three representatives on the council.
For more information about the DGSC, visit the DGSC website.
Similar to the urban environment in which it resides, the City University of New York has a long history of diversity and, in fact, a continued legacy of including underrepresented communities in its educational forum. In that tradition, the Graduate Center has a strong commitment to representing the vitality of New York City’s historically diverse and constantly changing intellectual population. While the undergraduate student body at CUNY represents a remarkable and rich mix of backgrounds, the Graduate Center Ph.D. Program in English acknowledges that this same rich array of representation does not yet exist in equivalent numbers at the graduate level. Still, the importance of diversifying our student body remains a concerted effort of the English Ph.D. program.
With a distinguished faculty of scholars and writers, a dynamic cohort of graduate students, and an abundance of cultural resources in New York City, our graduate program has all of the appeal to attract outstanding applicants with a broad range of viewpoints from around the world. We strive to recruit minority applicants and then nurture their academic concerns, providing them with an environment in which their intellectual interests can thrive and grow. We work hard to create an intellectual environment where all culturally diverse values are respected and where divergent perspectives can find a voice. Moreover, while the program respects the wealth of personal characteristics informed by race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identification, and linguistic difference, it further wants individuals to explore the nuanced and complex intersectionalities that occur when these aspects of identity are experienced in real life.
As a means of achieving these goals, the Ph.D. Program in English has established a Committee on English Program Diversity, with the aim of addressing the particular absence of racial diversity among the program's student body. Amplifying some already existing practices, the program plans focused outreach to historically Black and Hispanic-serving academic institutions to familiarize prospective applicants with the program and the Graduate Center, thus expanding the diversity of the applicant pool. Beyond these outreach initiatives, the program will establish even stronger mentoring relationships with all students but with particular mindfulness to the issues that may arise for minority populations in education. We remain devoted to enhancing our profile as a program committed precisely to the just and equal access to education for all people. The Graduate Center Ph.D. Program in English bases its success on the inclusion of all people from different backgrounds and with divergent insights as a contribution to our intellectual vitality and development.