Community Meeting 12–11–12

Beginning with good news at the second community meeting of the year, President William Kelly announced, “We don’t have anything dramatic to report. The big news is the news we spoke about last year: fellowships.”

As of next fall, the GC will offer four hundred newly enhanced fellowships for incoming doctoral candidates. “This breakthrough has been more than incremental,” said the president, who thanked the CUNY Chancellery for supporting the GC’s efforts. The fellowships are competitive with other major institutions for graduate study, providing incoming Ph.D. students with $25,000 a year over a period of five years.

While these fellowships are a great achievement for the GC’s future doctoral community, Kelly noted that the Center will look for new ways to support current Ph.D. candidates by making investments in resources that will enhance students’ career opportunities and research endeavors.

Underscoring how helping students to think creatively about their future careers is critical to the GC’s mission, the president announced that a specialist in student-career development, Jennifer Furlong, will join the GC in February. Furlong holds a Ph.D. in French from the University of Pennsylvania and has worked in career services at Penn, at Columbia University, and most recently at New York University. She also writes a column about academic employment for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Furlong will spearhead professional development projects to help prepare doctoral candidates for a postgraduate future. “If I had to identify one person in the United States whom I would have wanted in this role it would be Jennifer Furlong,” the president declared, “and we will be supporting Jennifer’s efforts as fully and as richly as we can.”

Additionally, Kelly commented on the Graduate Center’s efforts to reduce time to degree. “We are continuing to participate in the national conversation,” said Kelly, “and are working with programs to identify strategies and best practices . . . to ensure students’ progress in Ph.D. programs.”

On the social media and public relations front, Kelly acknowledged the efforts of the GC’s Office of Communications and Marketing, particularly Jane E. Trombley, the office’s new executive director, for “uncloaking the Graduate Center.” Greater attention by online and print media is being paid to the GC’s academic initiatives and events. Such news “identifies who we are and what we do with much greater clarity and attention,” said Kelly, who was delighted to share New York Times columnist Clyde Haberman’s review of the Leon Levy Center for Biography’s most recent event, “Ethics of Biography: A Panel Discussion.”

Kelly offered brief updates on the GC’s forthcoming and future projects. New digital signage is expected in January and will be installed throughout the GC. Community members, staff, and students will have the opportunity to post news of GC-related events and meetings on these screens, which will replace the easels currently serving as announcement boards. On the matter of housing, following the success of the Graduate Center Apartments on 118th Street, the GC is pushing forward with other plans to accommodate its community of faculty, postdocs, and doctoral students, and the president announced progress on a new housing site in Long Island City.

The president closed with remarks on New York State’s continuing commitment to refrain from cutting both CUNY’s and SUNY’s budgets for five years, an agreement that is now approaching the end of its second year. He warned that the GC’s budget might very well be affected by decisions made at the federal and state levels in the wake of super-storm Sandy and the approaching “fiscal cliff”; however, having “no inside information or news” on this matter, he affirmed that at the moment “word from all corners is: smooth sailing.”

—Rachel Ramírez

Submitted on: JAN 7, 2013

Category: General GC News, President's Office - Community Meeting