Our Mission

The Futures Initiative was founded in 2014 at the Graduate Center, CUNY, to offer a new model for graduate education. Focusing on equity and innovation in higher education, 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 goal at FI is to support multiple sectors of learning, research, mentoring, and research to help facilitate a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive academic institution and society. Whether funding research projects or mentoring undergraduate students, we pride ourselves on welcoming a community of interdisciplinary thinkers and change makers. Together, we strive to transform and empower!

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 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.

Learn More

  • Read about our programs.
  • Meet our team of faculty, staff, and graduate fellows.
  • Read about our research initiatives.
  • Learn about grant-funded projects like the Humanities Alliance and the undergraduate Leadership and Peer Mentoring Program.
  • Visit the Future’s Initiative’s page on the Graduate Center’s website.
  • CUNY Faculty and graduate students, connect with our group on CUNY Academic Commons.


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