Fall Update: Graduate Center Research and Public Impact

November 22, 2022

A message from President Robin L. Garell

President's Office Email Header - Fall 2022

Dear Graduate Center colleagues,

The CUNY Graduate Center continues to be at the forefront in generating scholarship that addresses societal challenges: public health, climate change, socioeconomic inequality, and more. I’d like to dedicate this fall semester update to celebrating our success in advancing this research mission.

The public has become increasingly skeptical of the value of higher education. Popular ranking systems have come under scrutiny, with institutions questioning the metrics as being misaligned with their own missions, even as colleges strive to best their peers. We can welcome the emergence of new approaches that consider dimensions such as socioeconomic mobility and student indebtedness along with student outcomes, research productivity, scholarly impact, and other dimensions of value and quality. A few weeks ago, I spoke on a panel at the Times Higher Education World Academic Summit that focused on considering new measures of societal impact. It was a great opportunity to share the many ways in which research at the CUNY Graduate Center engages and impacts our communities and the influence that our work is having across scholarly fields and in the public sector.

Growing Investments in Research
The Research Foundation of CUNY reports that in fall 2022, extramural funding for contracts and research is at an all-time high, with an 11% increase in federal awards and a 22% increase in overall support compared with September 2021. Much of this activity has been led by Graduate Center faculty. This fall marked a special milestone for the Advanced Science Research Center. External funding for faculty and student research has surpassed $100 million since the center opened in 2014. Congratulations to the entire CUNY ASRC team and its affiliates throughout the system on this remarkable achievement.

Student Achievements
At the heart of our endeavors is preparing the next generation of scholars and change-makers. I am pleased to share that in the NSF 2021 Survey of Earned Doctorates, the Graduate Center continues to figure prominently in the number of academic doctoral degrees awarded, ranking 2nd in the arts, 10th in the humanities, and 17th in degrees awarded to Hispanic and Latino students.

Our students continue to win prestigious fellowships for their innovative scholarship. This semester, two Anthropology Ph.D. students — Eliza Marks and Lilianna Quiroa-Crowell — received Fulbright fellowships to conduct their dissertation research in Jordan and Guatemala.

We know that funding students in the early stages of their research enables them to get results that can support progress toward their degrees and success in applying for extramural fellowships. This is one reason the Graduate Center established its Early Research Initiative, which supports students in their second and third years. To bolster this crucial program, we are dedicating the proceeds of CUNYTuesday, on November 29, to supporting early-stage research grants for doctoral students. I am again offering a challenge grant of $5,000. I encourage members of our community to contribute what you can to this important cause, and to let others know about this giving opportunity.

As inspiration, I invite you to view the new Graduate Center Images of Research exhibition. The images have been reproduced on posters in the elevators and will soon be on display in the windows along 34th Street. They depict the fascinating and timely research of four doctoral students and recent graduates: Yamaly Barragán (Ph.D. student in Biology); Agustina Checa (Ph.D. ’22, Music, Ethnomusicology concentration); Da Cui (Ph.D. student in Biochemistry); and Sheehan Moore (Ph.D. student in Anthropology). Congratulations to our winners! If you are a current student, watch for an invitation to enter the 2023 juried exhibition next semester.

December Community Meeting and New Conversation Space
I look forward to reflecting on the semester and discussing the year ahead at the Community Meeting that will be held on Tuesday, December 6, at 2 p.m. in the Segal Theatre. This will be our first in-person meeting since the onset of the pandemic. We will take this opportunity to honor our essential workers, who have gone above and beyond to support the safe and successful operation of the Graduate Center since spring 2020.

Also, I am happy to note that the Foundation Lounge, just off the Graduate Center lobby, has reopened as a space to gather and grab a snack or meal. Stop by for a break and check out the new vending options. Vending machines are also available in the Dining Commons on the eighth floor, which is open for dining, studying, and conversation throughout the day and evening.

Thank you for your dedication to excellence in all that you do and to furthering the mission of the Graduate Center through outstanding scholarship, service, and teaching.

With best wishes,

Robin L. Garrell