Welcome to the Spring Semester

January 27, 2020

We begin spring semester with wonderful additions to our faculty, news of important grants, and updates on items of significance to our community.


January 27, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

We begin spring semester with wonderful additions to our faculty, news of important grants, and updates on items of significance to our community.

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New faculty members Tanisha C. Ford and Anne Valk

New Faculty
First, it is my great pleasure to welcome professors Tanisha C. Ford and Anne Valk to our Ph.D. Program in History. Valk will also serve as executive director of The Graduate Center’s American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning. They are acclaimed scholars in African American and women’s history, and their work as cultural and oral historians highlights the value we place on public-facing scholarship here at The Graduate Center.

New Support
We also have news about a prestigious grant that serves our students and advances our mission. A second $3.15 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation allows us to further our initiative in humanities education. Among other things, the grant expands our collaboration with CUNY community colleges to prepare graduate students for careers as faculty members and leaders in community colleges and in higher education as a whole.

New Contract
Many of you worked long and hard to make it happen. The new five-year contract ratified late last semester by the membership of the Professional Staff Congress is a historic pact that brings needed gains to our students, faculty, and staff. It reflects The Graduate Center’s vitality and priorities, even as we confront new budget challenges. I join with Chancellor Matos Rodríguez who said that “this agreement reflects the University’s strong and unwavering commitment to its faculty, both full-time and part-time, and staff across our 25 colleges.”

New Steps
With our Middle States reaccreditation process moving to a new stage, I want to thank all of you who participated in the draft of the self-study and encourage you to visit with the Middle States team when they come for their site visit starting in late March. You can stay up to date on all developments, including information sessions coming toward the end of February, by visiting the Middle States website.

Let me introduce you to the Office of Academic Initiatives and Strategic Innovation. Their goals include supporting current and creating new degree and non-degree programs; working with administrators, faculty, staff, and students to promote academic innovation; and expanding the intellectual reach of The Graduate Center. I invite you to share your ideas with them.

New Conversations
It was a pleasure to join you at many of last semester’s terrific programs throughout The Graduate Center.

Our “GC Presents” programs are hot tickets, and this spring includes an extraordinary lineup of speakers including Stacey Abrams, Thomas Piketty, and our own Paul Krugman. There’s also a look at a new biography about Janis Joplin. And be sure to come to our third annual Dissertation Showcase in May. This event captures the remarkable scholarly range of our doctoral students. It’s a rewarding glimpse, in one evening, of what graduate education for the public good really means.  

You will have the first chance, before the public, to register for these popular events. Look out this week for the announcement of the spring “GC Presents” schedule, and starting in February we will circulate an e-newsletter promoting events throughout The Graduate Center.

New Honors
I am delighted to share the exciting news that actor, writer, and activist George Takei will receive an honorary degree at this year’s commencement. Known, of course, for his role as Sulu on Star Trek, Takei has more recently devoted his time to fighting for LGBTQ and immigrant rights. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, June 2, at 3 p.m., in Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall and look for further information on the ceremony coming later this semester.

This is, of course, a snapshot of a very full new semester. I invite you to follow the news and updates that will be posted on our website and through our social media channels (TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and Instagram). And please continue to let us know about your activities and accomplishments.

I wish you a productive, collegial, and expansive semester.

With best regards,