Academic Initiatives and Strategic Innovation


The office of Academic Initiatives and Strategic Innovation’s mission is to provide leadership for innovative program development through collaborative partnerships, detailed research, exceptional support services, and utilization of best practices.


Amber Scorah, a current CUNY Baccalaureate speaks about her recently published memoir, Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life (Viking, 2019). A third-generation Jehovah’s Witness, Amber, married to an elder, found herself at the age of twenty-two a missionary in China where preaching her faith is illegal. Living in an unfamiliar environment, learning a foreign language, and a different culture, unexpectedly,  exposed her to a new way of thinking; turning her private life and personal faith upside down. Declared an apostate and losing everything she had ever known and believed, Amber explains in spare, compelling prose how one may start life over to discover personal identity and meaning in the absence of faith.

RSVP here to join us for Amber's book talk on September 11, 2019 at 7pm at The Graduate Center, with Mohamad Bazzi moderating. Mohamad a 1997 graduate of CUNY Baccalaureate, who is an associate professor of journalism at New York University. Bazzi was the Middle East bureau chief at Newsday from 2003 to 2007, establishing bureaus in Baghdad and Beirut. A lead reporter on the Iraq war and its aftermath, he has written extensively about regional politics, Sunni-Shiite conflicts, and militant Islam.‚Äč                                                                                                                   



The office of Academic Initiatives and Strategic Innovation works collaboratively with administration, faculty,   staff, and students to promote ideas to advance academic innovation, optimize new program development   processes, promote innovative initiatives of The Graduate Center’s academic programs, centers, and institutes.

  • We create and nurture partnerships within The Graduate Center and the broader community to promote creative engagement among faculty, staff, and students.
  • We provide leadership and support to develop new programs to open up The Graduate Center to larger numbers of the public and students, who seek to access The Graduate Center’s intellectual strengths.
  • We are dedicated to improving processes and eliminating barriers to create new and support existing degree and non-credit programs.
  • We foster strengthening existing and establishing new global partnerships to expand The Graduate Center’s intellectual reach.
  • We provide leadership for the CUNY Baccalaureate program, CUNY’s unique University-wide individualized degree program.


 If you have a world changing idea for new innovative programming at The Graduate Center and would like to speak with Brian Peterson, Dean of Academic Initiatives and Strategic Innovation, please send an email with a brief description of your concept to