On October 15, 2020, CUNY published a press release announcing the launch of Transformative Learning in the Humanities (TLH), “an innovative faculty initiative that will help the nation’s leading urban public university reimagine teaching of the humanities in ways that make it more accessible, engaging and imperative to students, consistent with CUNY’s broad mission of building a more inclusive and equitable society.”
This $2 million grant from Mellon Foundation will support faculty professional development workshops focusing on the best ways to ensure student success.
Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost José Luis Cruz is principle investigator of the historic $10 million grant to CUNY, of which the TLH program is a part. TLH will be co-led by Distinguished Professor Cathy N. Davidson, founder of the CUNY Futures Initiative and co-founder of the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC); and Professor Shelly Eversley, Provost’s Faculty Fellow and interim chair of the Department of Black and Latinx Studies at Baruch College.
Some highlights from the announcement:
“The Transformative Learning in the Humanities program will be one of the inaugural offerings of CUNY’s larger-scale Innovative Teaching Academy, which will put a spotlight on teaching that aligns the way people are learning, accessing, using, sharing and creating knowledge in the Twenty-first Century,” said Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost José Luis Cruz, who also serves as the principal investigator on the Mellon grant. “A major element in this pedagogy is a shift in emphasis from content per se to learning how to learn, and to making learning a lifelong pursuit.”
“CUNY has become remarkably nimble and innovative in its teaching in recent years and the Mellon Foundation is pleased to contribute to the University’s capacity to be creative about humanities-based pedagogies,” said Armando Bengochea, senior program officer at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. “This initiative promises to reach dozens of faculty members and hundreds of students with opportunities to improve the classroom experience in the humanities.”
“We envision our most creative faculty coming together to share ideas and methods with one another and with their students who, in turn, will contribute their own ideas about what it means to ask profound humanistic questions about the worth and value of all people in this historic moment,” said Professor Davidson. “It is crucial that CUNY—the nation’s largest urban public university—be the national leader in this pedagogical revolution.”
“Engaged learning is empowered learning, a necessary approach to helping ensure students have the tools they need to live and work in a world of uncertainty. The humanities offer a set of critical and communication skills that fill this crucial need right now,” said Professor Eversley. “Public education is where this kind of empowerment must happen.”
Read the full press release here.