The Graduate Center Awarded Multimillion-Dollar Grant to Establish The CUNY Center for Digital Scholarship and Data Visualization

July 29, 2014

The Graduate Center Awarded Multimillion-Dollar Grant to Establish The CUNY Center for Digital Scholarship and Data Visualization

Media contact: Tanya Domi,, 212-817-7283

The Graduate Center Awarded Multimillion-Dollar Grant to Establish The CUNY Center for Digital Scholarship and Data Visualization

NEW YORK, July 29, 2014 - The Graduate Center, City University of New York, co-leader of CUNY's newly created Big Data Consortium, announced today it will establish the CUNY Center for Digital Scholarship and Data Visualization. The consortium has been awarded $15 million from the State of New York in the CUNY 2020 grant competition.

Other consortium college members include co-leader the College of Staten Island, the CUNY School of Professional Studies, Borough of Manhattan Community College, New York City College of Technology and City College.

The establishment of the Center positions the Graduate Center at the forefront of the growing body of work on big data"--the exploration and analysis of massive datasets that require high-performance computers. The Graduate Center will partner with leading providers of data visualization software to pioneer new visualization techniques, using them to analyze trends and patterns in datasets supplied by an extraordinary group of prominent cultural institutions. The Center will train graduate students and employees from the public and private sectors in visualization techniques, taking advantage of New York City's growing strength as a hub for technological innovation.

"The Graduate Center is poised to become a regional and national leader at the interface of data science and visualization," said Chase F. Robinson, President of the Graduate Center. "The CUNY Center for Digital Scholarship and Data Visualization will build on the strengths of our world-class faculty and our pioneering range of digital initiatives."

The CUNY Center for Digital Scholarship and Data Visualization will focus on datasets provided by leading New York City and national cultural institutions. These partners include the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, the New-York Historical Society, the Brooklyn Historical Society, the Digital Public Library of America, and Rhizome at the New Museum.

Unlike most big data work, which concentrates on numbers and texts, cultural institutions present extraordinarily rich and heterogeneous datasets that include images, sounds, videos, and maps. The Center for Digital Scholarship and Data Visualization will concentrate especially on the opportunities and challenges involved in visualizing such complex datasets. Graduate Center faculty and students will work to create new techniques of visualization to accommodate that data and will also train employees from New York City companies in data visualization skills.

Key industry partners for this major undertaking include leading software and data visualization companies Alteryx, Tableau Software, and Microsoft Research, who will provide software and assistance as the Center works with start-up companies in New York City's growing tech sector.

A scholarly initiative of the Big Data Consortium will also include the Graduate Center's expansion of current degree programs to include a new Data Visualization track in the Master of Arts program in Liberal Studies and a new Master of Arts degree in Data Visualization.

"The Graduate Center's degree programs, innovative technological projects, and accomplished faculty have made it a leader in data science and digital humanities, preparing students for life in the 21st-century academy and workplace," said Matthew K. Gold, Advisor to the Provost for Digital Initiatives and the leader of the Graduate Center's CUNY 2020 proposal.

The Graduate Center's innovative research in data visualization is illustrated by the distinguished and groundbreaking visualization work of Professor Lev Manovich in projects such as Phototrails and SelfieCity, as well as the electoral mapping service projects by the Center for Urban Research.

About the CUNY Big Data Consortium
The CUNY Big Data Consortium, led by the College of Staten Island and the Graduate Center, CUNY, focuses on new degree and workforce training programs related to big data analytics and visualization. Building on CUNY's expertise in high-performance computing and data visualization, the consortium will establish degree and non-degree programs that address a variety of workplace needs, offering training in big data processing analytics and visualization to both the private and public sectors. Established with funding by New York State's CUNY 2020 grant competition, the Consortium will support the building of the CUNY Center for Big Data Business Analytics at the College of Staten Island and the CUNY Big Data Visualization Center at the Graduate Center, as well as new big-data related degree and certificate programs at the School for Professional Studies, the Borough of Manhattan Community College, and the New York City College of Technology.

About the Graduate Center
The Graduate Center's (GC) mission is to prepare the next generation of scholars for careers in the academy, cultural institutions, and public service, to carry out advanced research and scholarship, and to increase public understanding of pressing matters of local and global significance. Approximately 4,500 students are enrolled in forty doctoral and master's programs, sustained by a wide range of financial support. Recognized for its scholarly leadership across the humanities, sciences, and social sciences, the GC is also a platform for influential public intellectuals, who, through the GC's public programs, inform and enliven debate, and enrich the cultural life of New York City.