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Curriculum Grants

In 2018, The Graduate Center, CUNY received a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation focused on transforming doctoral education in the humanities for the public good. As part of this initiative, the PublicsLab distributes annual Doctoral Curriculum Enhancement Grants (DCEGs).

Proposed new courses or other curricular changes under a DCEG must actively respond to students’ intellectual and professional needs and prepare them for a variety of careers. Possible approaches include but are not limited to:

  • Re-conceiving the dissertation and exploring alternative dissertation formats that take into consideration new technologies and multiple career tracks, building on major advancements made by GC Digital Initiatives and the Futures Initiative
  • Restructuring examinations so that they align with professionalization activities and open career options for students (as, for example, the English department has done with its first exam) 
  • Integrating preparation for non-faculty positions for all students from Day 1 so that they understand that training for R-1 research jobs is not exclusive of training for other professions
  • Incentivizing interdisciplinary clusters of programs to share courses in subjects as diverse as data analysis, archival studies, and public scholarship
  • Modifying existing introductory courses by creating career / professional development modules to be blended with conventional and new methods research training
  • Including visits by lecturers with PhDs that have non-academic careers in introductory courses in doctoral studies and on dissertation committees

In the 2019–2020 academic year, four $8,000 DCEGs were given to support the development and implementation of new curricular methods and strategies that approach the following question: How can our program support graduate students in doing public scholarship and preparing for careers both inside and outside the academy? The awardees of this year’s grants are below.

2020-2021 Applications

Applications for the 2020-2021 DCEGs are now available; those interested will be required to attend the Doctoral Curriculum for the Public Good workshop on 25 September 2020 from 11:00am-1:00pm EDT.

Please direct any questions about the DCEG application process to Dr. Stacy Hartman, director of the PublicsLab, at

2019-2020 Recipients

Criminal Justice

The Doctoral Program in Criminal Justice plans to create a Criminal and Social Justice Media Fellows Program to train a cohort of 3-5 doctoral students to address the gap in diversity among criminology and criminal justice research experts seen in the media and in public conversations. The program plans to take advantage of CUNY’s location to collaborate with nearby media outlets to give fellows hands-on training and experience. They also intend to partner with organizations of researchers engaged in public scholarship, including Scholars Strategy Network, Women Also Know Stuff, and People of Color Also Know Stuff.

Participants in this fellows program will complete a two-part intensive program with established experts teaching them to 1) write for a public audience; and 2) communicate with journalists and media outlets. These two trainings will conclude with reflective writing on what fellows perceived about how media works compared to what they observe, and whether the training met the particular needs of future scholars who have been on the outside of the media conversation in the past. Recruitment for the fellowship will begin in February 2020 and the fellowship will begin in fall 2020.

Team members include: Heath Brown, Kwan-Lamar Blount-Hill, and Karen J. Terry.

Critical Social Personality and Environmental Psychology (CSPEP)

The newly merged department of Critical Social Personality and Environmental Psychology (CSPEP) aims to expand on its support of public scholarship through a series of facilitated events that will primarily take place over the course of the 2020-2021 academic year. The goal is to strengthen faculty-student communication, leverage professional expertise of alumni, and prepare an action plan for the next seven years. CSPEP will accomplish these goals through a retreat, workshops, community conversation series, and various online forums for alumni-student connections, archives, and fundraising.

CSPEP’s actionable changes include potentially re-imagining/reorganizing required courses; adding new courses of interest; considering closely what it means in practice to decolonize the curriculum; formalizing internships focused on professional development in and out of academia; training in public materials like legal testimony, policy briefs, and public and museum archives; restructuring/expanding second doctoral exams; and incorporating innovative digital pedagogical strategies.

Team members include: Mica Baum-Tuccillo, Emese Ilyses, Bengi Sullu, Manju Adikesavan, Loren Cahill, Talia Sandwick, Laurie Hurson, Brett Stoudt, Michelle Fine, Susan Opotow, and Susan Saegert.

Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Cultures (LAILaC)

The Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Cultures (LAILaC) department will explore making structural changes in the PhD program’s curriculum by inviting external experts in public humanities to help leverage existing possibilities that students, faculty, and staff already embody. This will serve as a starting point for graduate students to consider their role as scholars, for faculty to re-imagine their teaching, assessment and mentoring, and for staff to help the program overcome the administrative obstacles they might encounter in the near future.

Four visitors during the 2020-2021 academic year will help students to translate their research interests and professional skills into public-facing scholarly projects as well as to explore non-academic professional positions with which their program has natural affinities. Outside experts will also help faculty members to reflect on their teaching, assessment, and mentoring in order to restructure courses, examinations, and dissertations progressively into new models and possibilities. This will be accomplished through a series of internal workshops (two by each visiting expert) for students and faculty, as well as public events (one by each visiting expert) to be included as part of LAILaC’s regularly programmed colloquia.

Team members include: Daniel Valtueña, Carlos Riobó, José del Valle, and Fátima Vélez.

Political Science

The project being run by the department of Political Science includes implementing a series of student-led “Praxis Clusters,” which focus on collaborative, reflective exploration of ethical research processes and other practices of public engagement. The goal of these clusters is to offer institutionalized means of building connections across disciplinary divides, where students can regularly meet to discuss and develop their work. Each cluster will focus on exploring the relationship between specific academic practices and public engagement. Over the course of a cluster program, participants will reflect on how their academic practices bring them into contact with various publics.

Team members include: Rosa Squillacote, Philip Johnson, Michael Fortner, Kyong Mazzaro, Nick Reynolds, and Charles Tien.

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