Professor Shelly Eversley joins FI as Faculty Co-Chair

We are very pleased to announce that Dr. Shelly Eversley will be joining our team as the new Faculty Co-Chair starting in Fall 2023. In this role, Dr. Eversley will work closely with Futures Initiative Founding Director and Distinguished Professor Cathy N. Davidson, and Executive Director Adashima Oyo on all aspects of the planning and implementation of the FI mission and programs. This includes a leadership role in the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC), an international academic social network led collaboratively across the Futures Initiative, Dartmouth College, and Michigan State University.

Dr. Eversley is Professor of English and Interim Chair of the Black and Latinx Studies Department at Baruch College, where she designed the Bachelor of Arts in Black and Latino Studies and recently secured a $150 000 Mellon Foundation Grant to expand the program. She is also Professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center, teaching literature, feminism, and Black Studies. Her institutional leadership includes her role as Faculty Co-Director of the Mellon Foundation’s Transformative Learning in the Humanities initiative at CUNY, and she recently served as Academic Director of CUNY’s Faculty Fellowship Publication Program.

As a former FI Faculty Fellow and current Faculty Advisory Board member Dr. Eversley is familiar with FI’s mission and we are delighted to have her join the team. “Having had the privilege of co-teaching, co-directing, and co-authoring with Shelly Eversley, I know she will be a brilliant, creative, powerful leader and an incredibly inspiring colleague and collaborator at the Futures Initiative,” said Founder Cathy Davidson. “I can’t wait to see what lies ahead.” In an interview (below) with FI Graduate Fellow Rod Hurley, Dr. Eversley expressed her excitement about the new role as well, viewing it as a way to “help sustain the work of the public university, the work in which equity, access, and opportunity are central to all the ways we create knowledge and engage the communities we serve.”


Dr. Shelly Eversley is the founder of and the author of The “Real” Negro: The Question of Authenticity in Twentieth Century African American Literature, as well as several essays on literature, race, and culture. Her editorial work includes The Sexual Body and The 1970s, both special issues of WSQ, a journal by the Feminist Press, as well as the recent book African American Literature in Transition, 1960-1970: Black Art, Politics, and Aesthetics (Cambridge, 2022).  She is currently revising a new book titled The Practice of Blackness:  Cold War Surveillance, Censorship, and African American Literary Survival.  She earned her undergraduate degree at Columbia University, and her graduate degrees at The Johns Hopkins University.

Interview with Professor Shelly Eversley

Q – What about FI is most interesting to you? Or what is your understanding of the work we do?  

A – I’m really excited about the ways FI engages students at every level—that undergraduates and graduate students have the opportunity to better understand and shape higher education, especially public education. I love FI’s commitment to education as critical to more just futures, to how education can empower all of us to help transform how we learn and what we can do within the university and beyond.  I’ve been on the FI Advisory Board for a while now, and I co-taught a class under the FI initiative, and I’ve always been inspired by the collaborative ways folks at FI work and how they impact people.

Q – Why do you want to join us as Faculty Co-chair and how do you envision your particular contribution to FI?  

A – I am looking forward to listening and learning from everyone.  It may sound corny, but I was always drawn to that FI motto, “a university worth fighting for,” and I want to be part of that.  I want to help sustain the work of the public university, the work in which equity, access, and opportunity are central to all the ways we create knowledge and engage the communities we serve.

Q – Will there be ways to connect your work as Interim Director of Black and Latinx Studies at Baruch College with the FI?  Perhaps pipelines, mentoring, internships, adjunct teaching, co-hosting events, anything else?  

A – All of the above!  BLS at Baruch just launched a new major, and it just won a Mellon grant to help expand that major. Over the next two years we’ll launch a vast project called Black and Latinx Publics, which is totally in sync with FI.  The ways we might collaborate are endless:  I see co-hosted events, teaching opportunities, mentoring, and community-engaged projects in our future. 


The Futures Initiative
The Graduate Center, CUNY
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