Apply Now to be a Futures Initiative Graduate Fellow, 2021-2022

The Futures Initiative is seeking applications from Graduate Center doctoral students in any field for 2021-2022 fellowships. These are one-year positions, and may possibly be renewed for one additional year (two additional years for students who have not received five-year GC fellowships). We are seeking at least one new fellow for 2021-2022, for the role of Facilitator, CUNY Peer Leadership Program. Other roles may become available at a later date.

Antiracist pedagogy and institutional change have been central to this program since its founding in 2014, and we aim to build a team that is diverse in every way. Doctoral students who have backgrounds underrepresented in the academy are especially encouraged to apply.  

Graduate Fellows are at the heart of the Futures Initiative, and the work we do is designed to support our mission and the professional goals of every Fellow. Our past fellows have gone on to do meaningful, inspiring work, both in the academy and beyond. In the same way that we advocate peer-to-peer communities online, peer mentorship, and student-centered learning in the classroom, so are we organized around the ideal of peer administration and peer leadership as the basis of agency and activism in the development of future leaders of a more equitable society and system of higher education and a more democratic society.

Futures Initiative Fellowships offer a total compensation of approximately $28,128. The FI Fellowship has two components: a graduate assistant appointment and a financial aid fellowship. The graduate assistant appointment carries eligibility to purchase low-cost NYSHIP health insurance and offers in-state tuition remission for Fellows who are within their first 10 registered semesters of study. Fellows are required to work 450 hours for the academic year (225 hours per semester). This translates into 15 hours of work per week during each 15-week semester. Determinations of re-appointments are made on an annual basis depending on individual eligibility, GC needs, and available funding.

Please apply using this form by April 12, 2021. A CV is also required and should be emailed to

About the Futures Initiative

The Futures Initiative is an incubator that designs and implements a wide range of initiatives supporting equity, innovation, engaged pedagogy, leadership for change, support of public higher education, and the use and development of technologies that enable these goals within the CUNY community and beyond.

Our current collaborations include the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-sponsored Humanities Alliance (in partnership with the GC’s Teaching and Learning Center, BMCC, Guttman Community College, Hostos Community College, and LaGuardia Community College) and the CUNY Peer Leaders program (a CUNY-wide undergraduate leadership and peer mentoring program, initially funded by the Teagle Foundation and currently partnering with the Promise and Perils of Democracy Project supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York). Other key partners within CUNY include the Teaching and Learning Center, the GC Digital Fellows Program, the PublicsLab, the Office of Educational Opportunity and Diversity, and the Office of Career Planning and Professional Development.

We amplify our mission beyond CUNY through co-leadership with Dartmouth College of the international open online network HASTAC (“haystack”): Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory). HASTAC is dedicated to “Changing the Way We Teach and Learn” with commitment to a second social and technology mission: “Difference is not our deficit. It’s our operating system.” A free and open community, HASTAC is a platform that allows any of its 18,000+ members to have a voice, to contribute, and to emerge as a leader.

Goals and Contributions of All Futures Initiative Fellows

  • Be a valued member of a supportive team that prizes mentorship, growth, and leadership with a core mission of innovation founded on equity and a commitment to meaningful social and institutional change
  • Actively support a mission that is anti-racist and that works against structural discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability, country of origin, and other factors
  • Have a key voice in a visionary organization that is working toward meaningful institutional and cultural change in higher education
  • Gain skills in project management, events planning, leadership, communications, grant development, social media and web support, and programmatic support that will serve you in whatever career goals you aspire to
  • Connect meaningfully with the CUNY and HASTAC communities
  • Contribute to the program’s engagement with the public, including by regularly sharing and communicating relevant research, events, and opportunities via our various communications networks and platforms
  • Build an ongoing portfolio of your contribution as a graduate student and an FI Fellow through periodic blog posts communicating your research, teaching, and community experiences
  • Participate in and co-lead weekly team meetings and assist with the designing and building of the program
  • Assume leadership roles for running the program, including events and weekly meetings
  • Share skills with one another and with others at the Graduate Center

Current Opening

Facilitator, CUNY Peer Leaders Program

In addition to the responsibilities of all fellows described above, this person will take lead on the following:

  • With guidance from the program’s co-directors, contribute to all aspects of the program’s 2021-2022 fellowship year
  • Help build a community of students from two-year and four-year CUNY colleges
  • Work alongside CUNY undergraduate students to help develop and sharpen their leadership and mentorship skills
  • Using these skills, work with students to foster pathways for humanities based scholarship with a core component on social justice.
  • Attend weekly meetings with co-directors to create student-centered activities, skill shares, and enrichment opportunities for the CUNY Peer Leaders (in addition to weekly Futures Initiative team meetings)
  • Help create an environment that supports students social and emotional wellness, that reinforces a culture of care and highlights the students voice and agency within the program.
  • Jointly coordinate and lead bi-weekly CUNY Peer Leader meet-ups. These meet-ups are based in a culture of care and radical vulnerability, and focus on social justice themes chosen by the students. These 2-hour meetings usually take place on Friday afternoons/evenings; exact timing for 2021-2022 cohort TBA.
  • Communicate regularly with CUNY Peer Leaders on details of the program, with bi-weekly to monthly check-ins, and answer any other questions the students may be unclear about over the duration of the program.
  • Oversee CUNY Peer Leaders’ involvement in the program and support their sustained engagement
  • Develop opportunities for CUNY Peer Leaders to be active members in their community, for instance by creating and providing blog prompts that are given at each meet-up which tie into the topics and themes covered during the program. Invite CUNY Peer Leaders to participate in all FI activities, and to engage in public scholarly presentations when possible
  • Attend meetings and work closely w/ the CUNY Humanities Alliance team on cross-initiative collaborations
  • Help plan and attend enrichment activities for Peer Leaders at venues around NYC (or virtually)
  • Share resources (such as fellowship and job opportunities) with the CUNY Peer Leaders
  • Research outside funding opportunities and contribute to grant writing and reporting

Please note: Specific responsibilities may vary depending on program needs and funding. Other roles may also become available. If you are interested in being part of the program, we encourage you to apply.

Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash


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