Thank you for joining us at the February 2021 Graduate Education at Work in the World conference, hosted by the Futures Initiative and PublicsLab at The Graduate Center, CUNY! With over 230 participants, we had the pleasure of being in community with students, faculty, and practitioners from over 100 institutions and organizations.

Below is a non-exhaustive list of resources that we have pooled together from the conference:

We look forward to continuing these conversations in the future, and please always feel free to reach out to us at info@futuresinitiative.org or publicslab@gc.cuny.edu.

Conference Details

Join the Futures Initiative and PublicsLab of the Graduate Center, CUNY for a free two-day conference and workshop: Graduate Education at Work in the World. The conference will bring together practitioners, students, faculty, and administrators to collectively imagine and redesign graduate education to support students, scholarship, and the public good.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this conference will now take place VIRTUALLY on February 18-19, 2021. All are welcome! See the program here.

This conference will focus on new approaches to graduate education in support of the public good, without losing sight of other key elements of higher education reform—including labor practices, student debt, efforts toward improving diversity and inclusion, shared governance, pedagogical training, and more. Participants will generate ideas, share best practices, consider difficult questions, and work toward new models for graduate education that support an array of creative, flexible career paths.

Our premise is that graduate education can lead to engaging and often unexpected opportunities—but this should not be left entirely to chance and the initiative of individual students. Moreover, deep connections between scholars and society can be mutually beneficial, as scholars have much to learn from communities of practice and other knowledge sources while contributing their own expertise. However, for these relationships to grow and thrive, graduate education must shift from a reproductive model to a generative one. We ask: How can our institutions reshape graduate education to support different futures? How, in so doing, may we also serve multiple publics and communities and engage in the most pressing problems of our time?

We will be asking how, in any field, one learns to translate specialized skills and knowledge for different audiences—a skill vital to academe and beyond. How can scholarly research have an impact within the communities students care about? What forms of material and intellectual resources, institutional requirements, thoughtful mentorship, flexible curricular design, and co-curricular experiences help to shape future lives, at work and in communities? Together, we hope to envision and champion an academy that supports multiple futures and contributes to the development of meaningful relationships between scholars and society.

Themes of the conference include:

  • Public-oriented and digital teaching and research examples
  • Scholarship and pedagogy grounded in creative activity and artistic production
  • Project-based scholarship driven by social justice
  • Intellectual and practical skill development, vocational exploration, and civic professionalism
  • Equity and inclusion in conjunction with career diversity and public engagement
  • Developing sustainable models of academic labor systems