The Futures Initiative is thrilled to announce the launch of an exciting new project funded by a grant from the Teagle Foundation: “Liberal Arts for the New Majority.” This multi-layered peer mentorship program will reconnect liberal arts teaching and learning with the mission of public higher education and the needs of what has been called the “new majority” of undergraduate college students, while also supporting graduate students’ development as both teachers and learners. We are deeply honored to receive this grant, and grateful to the Teagle Foundation for supporting our work in this area.
“Liberal Arts for the New Majority” is by design curricular, aspirational, and pedagogical. Through advising, skilled peer mentoring, and a conceptual reframing of basic education, it will help students link skills, purposes, mission, and design of general education in the arts, humanities, social sciences, math, and basic sciences, showing how these are essential to navigating the complexities of the real world. Graduate students will learn to translate their specialized doctoral research for foundational, introductory courses that become a toolkit to lifelong success for undergraduate students. In turn, these students become peer mentors and leaders who then help other students make intellectual and practical pathways through foundational courses (where the dropout rate is highest). The project will help graduate students understand their essential role as teachers of introductory courses and trains successful undergraduates to be peer mentors. In the process, all learn to be leaders.
In the weeks ahead, we will begin announcing details about specific components of the program, including a new suite of team-taught courses at the Graduate Center for 2016-2017; a peer mentoring program for CUNY undergraduates in summer 2016; and all-new public programming where we will invite the community to join with us in building a University Worth Fighting For through meaningful teaching, research, and public engagement.
We look forward to building on the excellent work of existing successful, innovative CUNY programs, including the Mellon-funded Humanities Teaching and Learning Alliance. Watch for more news as the program develops!
For more details, see the Teagle Foundation’s grant summary.