Our Mission

With the goal of developing a new model for higher education, the Futures Initiative was founded by Cathy N. Davidson in 2014 at the Graduate Center, CUNY, is co-chaired by Davidson and Shelly Eversley (Interim Director of Black and Latinx Studies, Baruch), with Dr. Adashima Oyo as Executive Director. 

Focusing on equity and innovation, the Futures Initiative develops new engaged, collaborative pedagogies that empower the next generation of intellectual leaders with bold, creative, and independent methods for confronting the problems in the world today and thinking through effective, democratic solutions. The Futures Initiative connects research, teaching, and social justice. The Futures Initiative also co-directs, in partnership with Dartmouth College, (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory, or “Haystack,”), one of the world’s first and oldest academic social networks. Through this 18,000-member network, the Futures Initiative extends its collaborative peer-to-peer practices across institutions, disciplines, national boundaries, and economic and social disparities, promoting reinvestment in higher education as a public good.

Our Work

We are a diverse group of doctoral students, post-graduate researchers, faculty members, and administrators. We learn with and through community to build a culture of reciprocity and shared leadership.

We strive to support multiple sectors of learning, research, and mentoring, to help facilitate a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive academic institution and society.

We empower the leaders of tomorrow through CUNY Peer leaders, our undergraduate leadership fellows program.

We connect with scholars from around the world through our website HASTAC: Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory.

We teach team-taught, collaborative graduate classes at The Graduate Center.

We research topics that reach beyond academia and create a positive impact while engaging the public in creative ways.

  • Student-centered pedagogy: Non-hierarchical learning structures that emphasize peer learning, peer mentorship, and student agency.
  • Leadership: Equipping graduate students to expand career horizons and connect their learning to the wider world.
  • Research: Conducting meaningful, high-level research and connecting it to the wider world in creative ways.
  • Advocacy: Promoting institutional change, social justice, and the reinvestment in higher education as a public good.


The Futures Initiative receives advisement from experts in diverse fields across the CUNY system. A detailed list of our faculty advisory board is available on our Team page.


One of the Futures Initiative’s key program areas are a unique set of interdisciplinary, inter-institutional team-taught courses. Our team-taught courses pair one central line CUNY Graduate Center faculty member and one CUNY faculty member based at another two or four-year CUNY college. To date, the Futures Initiative has supported more than 40 team-taught courses at the Graduate Center.


The Futures Initiative is deeply grateful to CUNY and the Graduate Center—and, by extension, the people of New York—for their ongoing support of our work.

The Futures Initiative is also grateful for the support we have received from foundations and donors. We thank the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Teagle Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation, and the many individual donors who have contributed so generously to our mission of advancing equity and innovation in higher education.

Learn More


The Futures Initiative
The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016-4309