October 4, 2021

Participants in GCDI’s Digital Research Institute explore new digital skills. (Photo credit: Da Ping Luo)
Participants in GCDI’s Digital Research Institute explore new digital skills. (Photo credit: Da Ping Luo)

A grant of $499,998 from the National Endowment for the Humanities will strengthen Graduate Center Digital Initiatives, or GCDI, a collection of programs and projects designed to integrate digital methods into the research, teaching, and service missions of the Graduate Center. The generous grant, part of the NEH American Rescue Plan, will allow GCDI to restore initiatives that had been pared back due to pandemic-related budget cuts and to bring much-needed funding to Graduate Center students. The support comes as the Graduate Center prepares to open a new Center for Digital Scholarship and Data Visualization that will serve as a resource for humanities faculty and students throughout The City University of New York.
For over a decade, GCDI, which is led by Professor Matthew K. Gold (English, Digital Humanities, Data Analysis and Visualization) and Deputy Director Lisa Rhody, who also directs the GC’s digital fellowship programs, has fostered collaborative partnerships between scholars and technologists aimed at enhancing digital approaches to teaching and scholarship.
The NEH grant will allow GCDI to expand the workshops, consultations, and institutes that it offers to graduate students, faculty, and members of the wider New York City community. To support this expansion, GCDI will hire four additional year-long graduate research assistants, or GC Digital Fellows, eight summer graduate research assistants, and one postdoctoral student. 
In addition, the funding will allow GCDI to:

  • Offer $40,000 in Provost's Digital Innovation Grants to Graduate Center students to support their digital projects;
  • Distribute stipends to participants in a summer digital publishing institute that will feature CUNY’s instance of the Manifold digital publishing platform and The CUNY Academic Commons, an online teaching and learning space for CUNY faculty and students;
  • Fund the Data for Public Good program, which provides stipends to students to use their digital research skills to explore collaborative projects that make use of humanities skills for the public good; and
  • Support the annual Digital Research Institute, a week-long course in digital research methods for the Graduate Center community.

Gold and Rhody expressed their deep gratitude for the generous funding, pointing out that it comes at a crucial time. They noted that an increasing number of humanities doctoral candidates are seeking professional development opportunities that allow them to merge their humanities training with digital skills and ultimately broaden their career options. Also, the Graduate Center plans to open an expansive Center for Digital Scholarship and Data Visualization in 2022, which will give GCDI the space and technology needed to accommodate the heightened interest in its workshops and programs.
Gold and Rhody explained that their overarching aim for the grant is “to support Graduate Center students and CUNY faculty working in the digital humanities as they explore new technologies. This grant, combined with the forthcoming center, will help the Graduate Center to continue to play a leading role in the development of digital methods and research.”