Diversifying our Resources and Building Institutional Resilience

The Graduate Center will more effectively engage a broader range of students, alumni, and donors, and increase its operational efficiency.
Diversifying our resources and building institutional resilience

The Graduate Center will more effectively engage a broader range of students, alumni, and donors, and increase its operational efficiency.

Priority 4: Diversifying our resources and building institutional resilience

Doctoral education, which requires small classes, individual supervision, and state-of-the-art academic infrastructure, is by its very nature an expensive project. So, too, is research. Significant investments in financial aid have resulted in major increases in admissions competitiveness, but these have come largely from a diminishing pool of tax-levy resources. We must enhance fundraising and institutional resilience. Moreover, as the Graduate Center begins to implement the business process changes wrought by the implementation of CUNYfirst, it will identify opportunities to tailor processes to better serve the unique needs of the Graduate Center community.

4.1 We will cultivate the Graduate Center Foundation Board and a support base beyond our alumni.
Dennis Liotta
More than 90% of Americans with HIV have taken a life-saving drug invented by Dennis Liotta (Ph.D. ’74, Chemistry), a faculty member at Emory University. In 2016, he received the President’s Distinguished Alumni Medal Award from the Graduate Center.

In any nonprofit organization, the Board is the bellwether of all giving. Currently, few regular donors come from outside the Graduate Center’s internal constituencies. Our potential for growth is essentially unbounded, given the range and excellence of Graduate Center research, faculty, and students. To enhance our fundraising prospects, we will:

  • Increase the number of trustees on the Foundation Board to a full complement and involve them more effectively in fundraising.

  • Broaden our appeal to large private foundations and non-private funding agencies interested in funding research in public higher education by partnering with CUNY colleges, utilizing our consortial relationships, and bringing together interdisciplinary projects that involve a strategic mix of centers, departments, and initiatives.

  • Encourage faculty and student participation in fundraising efforts designed to reach a broad public, such as support for early research and dissertation fellowships, student travel to conferences, public programs, and collaboration between the humanities and the sciences.

  • Develop a comprehensive public affairs strategy.

4.2 We will strengthen connections with alumni to support fundraising and enrich our students’ educational experiences and career development.
Maggie Nelson
Maggie Nelson (Ph.D. ’04, English), an award-winning writer known for nonfiction works such as 2015’s The Argonauts, was named a 2016 MacArthur Fellow by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Building upon the success of our outreach to alumni in the past five years, the Graduate Center will redouble its efforts by:

  • Supporting faculty and programs in alumni outreach, with the intention of increasing rates of participation and giving.

  • Reconstituting an Alumni Association that gives alumni scope for ownership and engagement, and that offers partnership opportunities for the Graduate Center and its Foundation.

  • Constituting an Outreach and Engagement Committee of the Alumni Association to help cultivate alumni for annual giving and planned gifts.

  • Creating a career development and mentorship program that will enhance graduates’ professional prospects for careers outside the academy by connecting students with alumni, and by extension, to corporations, state and city agencies, nongovernmental organizations, museums, libraries, archives, and philanthropies, especially in New York City.

4.3 We will launch the residence project in Long Island City.

Given the national and international market for permanent and visiting faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students, we must make available more housing that is both affordable and desirable. Currently, the Graduate Center Apartment Complex at 165 East 118th Street is at capacity, and cannot address our growing needs. Plans underway to build an additional residence on land purchased in July 2015 in Long Island City, a short commute to the Graduate Center and a highly attractive neighborhood, must be realized.
To ensure the success of this project, we will:

  • Embark on a development plan to address the funding shortfall for the Long Island City residence project.

  • Advance strategies to maximize the use of the Long Island City residence project by utilizing the space for both educational and community events.

4.4 We will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of space allocation, utilization, and infrastructure.

In the challenge of allocating the precious resource that is space, the Graduate Center is no different from its sister campuses throughout CUNY or publicly funded institutions more generally. However, the Graduate Center has a unique profile as the hub of research and scholarship activity spanning the CUNY system. For that reason alone, many demands are placed on the very limited resources of classroom and seminar rooms; accommodations for faculty and other researchers, both individually and as a community; spaces for library and student services; venues for public programming; and quarters for vital support services.
Addressing space needs responsibly requires continually reassessing this dynamic and responding accordingly. To that end, we will:

  • Review current accommodations to ensure that the allocation of spaces for faculty and other researchers promotes both discipline-specific and cross-disciplinary activities and collaborations between programs and centers/institutes.

  • Work to address the distinct space requirements of master’s degree students, of participants in nondegree programs and of students engaging in career services, teaching and learning workshops, accessibility services, and library activities.

  • Assess event venues, computer labs, and conference facilities to determine the adequacy of IT and audio-visual resources and infrastructure to support effectively the broad needs of the Graduate Center and, where required, to increase transparency and identify remediation strategies.

  • Use secured CUNY 2020 funding to provide a comfortable, welcoming space on the concourse level for students to pursue work and collaborate in the new Center for Digital Scholarship and Data Visualization.

  • Examine the current usage of rental space.