A Message from the President

Office of the President

Dear Graduate Center community,

It has been wonderful to meet many of you in person and welcome you back to the Graduate Center. Although it’s the middle of the semester, it still feels like a new beginning as we settle into the rhythm of classes and labs and catching up with one another other face-to-face. Remarkably, we have transitioned from all-remote instruction last year to having 57% of our fall classes being conducted either fully or partially in-person. More than 500 people have been coming to the Graduate Center each day.

The health protocols we have put in place as part of the Campus Reopening Plan are designed to support the health and well-being of all members of our community. Everyone has a role to play. I ask each one of us to be mindful of the requirement to wear a mask while in classes, groups, and public spaces. (Vaccinated instructors may forego their mask while teaching if they can maintain distance.) We also advise everyone to maintain physical distance from one another while gathering for meals or breaks, and to avoid sharing food. These measures are essential to support our continued progress.

Advancing graduate education and student support
I am proud to serve as co-chair of the chancellor’s Graduate Education Task Force [cuny.edu]: a two-year initiative that will assess the current state of graduate education across CUNY, identify ways in in which the consortium model can be improved, and explore opportunities for advancing graduate education across CUNY in ways that will support both campus and systemwide goals. These goals include broadening roads to doctoral programs at the Graduate Center as well as graduate programs throughout CUNY and shaping the portfolio of CUNY degree and non-degree programs to meet the evolving needs of students and professionals.

Ensuring that talented, diverse students have access to graduate education and that they have the financial support they need to achieve their academic goals are top priorities. The CUNY Board of Trustees is now considering the 2022–23 budget for the University, which includes a request for an additional $20 million to support graduate education. We hope that the board will approve this request and look forward to engaging in advocacy with CUNY to secure that funding.

Impact of scholarship and research at the Graduate Center and ASRC
Last month, Andrea Al├╣, the founding director of the Photonics Initiative at the Advanced Science Research Center and Einstein Professor of Physics at the Graduate Center, was honored as the 2021 Blavatnik National Awards Laureate in Physical Sciences and Engineering. This award is the largest unrestricted prize for early-career scientists and recognizes his pioneering research in photonics and materials science. You can see highlights of the ceremony here and learn more about Andrea’s work through his profile and video.

Scholars throughout the Graduate Center have been attracting attention from top-tier media outlets for their research and expertise. They are weighing in on vital topics — including climate change, elections, inequality, and racism — and advancing the public good through innovation and informed dialogue. I invite you to review some of the recent news stories. Please contact the Office of Communications and Marketing about recognition you have received, forthcoming publications, and events so that we can promote your story.

The 2021 Images of Research exhibition is now on display in the windows along 34th Street, showcasing to the public the extraordinary work of Graduate Center students. This will become an annual exhibition and is part of an ongoing initiative to celebrate student scholarship, discoveries, and achievements.

Fall initiatives
A new Graduate Center website will be introduced in 2022. The transition and launch represent an important opportunity to communicate our values and strengths; to create a consistent look that unites our outstanding programs, centers, and institutes; and to make information easier to locate and update.

Complementing the website initiative, Provost Steve Everett and I are looking at ways to integrate and amplify the impact of our programs, centers, and institutes. He is also beginning the planning process for a new strategic plan, as we complete the final year of our current one in 2022.

As a reminder, our fall Community Meeting will be held virtually at noon on Wednesday, October 27. Provost Everett and I will offer updates before opening the meeting for Q&A. Please join us, using this link to register.

The Graduate Center is all of us. I look forward to moving forward together with renewed energy and unwavering commitment to our students and our public mission.

With best wishes,

Robin L. Garrell

Submitted on: OCT 26, 2021

Category: COVID-19 | GCstories | General GC News | President's Office - Community Message