Transformative Learning in the Humanities is a three-year initiative supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant supports public talks, symposia, and workshops as well as a series of intensive peer-to-peer faculty seminars for CUNY faculty at all ranks (including adjuncts) in the humanities, arts, and interpretive social sciences. The program focuses on equitable, creative, student-centered pedagogical research and methods designed for the rich diversity of CUNY students; greater recognition for the importance of teaching; and the role of an urgent and indispensable humanities for the future of CUNY students and a more just and equitable society.

Daniel E. Lemons, Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost, Principal Investigator
Annemarie Nicols-Grinenko, Director
Cathy N. Davidson, Faculty Director, Head of Pedagogical Design
Shelly Eversley, Faculty Director
Christina Katopodis, Executive Director 
Jessica Murray, Director of Digital Communications
Boya Wang, Program Assistant

Annemarie Nicols-Grinenko, Ph.D.
University Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs

Dr. Annemarie Nicols-Grinenko has been the University Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in the Office of Academic Affairs at the City University of New York (CUNY) since July 2015.  In this position, she works collaboratively with colleagues across the university to enhance faculty development, recognize faculty excellence in teaching, scholarship and service, cultivate academic leadership and provide support on issues related to faculty recruitment and retention.  Currently, Dr. Nicols-Grinenko also serves as Administrative Director of CUNY’s Mellon-funded Transformative Learning in the Humanities program and Co-Director of The CUNY Leadership Institute for Urban-Serving Institutions, which is also funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  Prior to her position at CUNY, Dr. Nicols-Grinenko spent eight years as Senior Advisor for Faculty Affairs in the Office of the Provost at Hunter College where she led faculty development efforts, supervised faculty tenure, promotion and reappointment processes and served as Co-Principal Investigator on the National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that launched Hunter’s Undergraduate Research Initiative.  From 2002 to 2011, she was Director for Programs and Research of Hunter’s NSF-funded Gender Equity Project (GEP) and Co-PI on one of the NSF grants that funded the GEP.  Dr. Nicols-Grinenko, a cognitive psychologist who received her Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of CUNY, has also taught in the Department of Psychology at Hunter and Brooklyn Colleges.  In all of her work, Dr. Nicols-Grinenko aims to advance and support CUNY faculty and students, especially those who are underrepresented in their fields.

Cathy N. Davidson, Ph.D.
Founder and Co-Director of the Futures Initiative at the Graduate Center, CUNY

Cathy N. Davidson is Distinguished Professor of English and in the MA in Digital Humanities and MS in Data Analysis and Visualization at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She is Founding Director of the Futures Initiative, a program dedicated to advancing equity and innovation in higher education. She is also the R. F. DeVarney Professor Emerita of Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke University where she served as Duke’s (and the nation’s) first Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies.

Davidson has published some twenty books including Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America (Oxford UP); Closing: The Life and Death of an American Factory (Norton), with documentary photographer Bill Bamberger; The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age (MIT Press), with David Theo Goldberg; and Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn (Viking). Her most recent book is The New Education: How to Revolutionize Higher Education to Prepare Students for a World in Flux (Basic Books), recipient of the 2019 Frederick W. Ness Annual Book Prize awarded by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Davidson cofounded and codirects HASTAC (“Haystack”), Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory, the world’s first and oldest academic social network (2002-present), with over 17,500 members. She served on the Board of Directors of Mozilla (2012-2018) and on the National Council of the Humanities as an appointee of President Barack Obama (2011-2017), confirmed by the Senate HELP committee. She is co-recipient of the 2012 Educator of the Year Award from the World Technology Network and the 2016 recipient of the Ernest J. Boyer Award for Significant Contributions to Higher Education. She recently served as keynote speaker and panelist at the Nobel Prize Committee’s Forum on the Future of Learning in Santiago, Chile. She has won many grants and fellowships over her career including from the Woodrow Wilson, Guggenheim, Mellon, and MacArthur Foundations as well from the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Davidson is committed to higher education reform in support of a more just society. Her current project, co-authored with Christina Katopodis, is the third volume in her “How We Know” trilogy, tentatively titled, “Transforming Every Classroom: A Practical Guide to Revolutionary Teaching and Learning” (Harvard University Press, anticipated 2022).

Shelly Eversley by Lola Flash

Photo by Lola Flash

Shelly Eversley, Ph.D.
Provost’s Faculty Fellow and Interim Chair of Black and Latinx Studies at Baruch College, CUNY

Shelly Eversley is Provost Faculty Fellow and Interim Chair of Black and Latinx Studies. She teaches literature, feminism, and African American cultural studies in the English Department and in the Black and Latino Studies Department. She has recently served as Academic Director of the City University of New York’s Faculty Fellowship Publication Program and is Founder of equalityarchive.com, an open educational resource on gender equality.  She is the author of The “Real” Negro:  The Question of Authenticity in Twentieth Century African American Literature (Routledge, 2004) as well as several scholarly essays on literature, race, and culture. She is editor of The Sexual Body and The 1970s, both special issues of WSQ, a journal by the Feminist Press. She is also editor of the book Black Art, Politics, and Aesthetics in 1960s African American Literature and Culture (forthcoming, Cambridge 2021), and is completing new book titled “The Practice of Blackness: Cold War Surveillance, Censorship, and African American Literary Survival.”  She has won fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Kluge, and Mellon Foundations.

Christina Katopodis, Ph.D.
Executive Director and Postdoctoral Fellow of Transformative Learning in the Humanities 

Christina Katopodis recently received her Ph.D. in English from the Graduate Center, CUNY, and teaches as an Adjunct Professor at New Jersey City University. She is a scholar of environmental studies, sound studies, and American literature. She has written articles published or forthcoming in ESQ: A Journal of Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, and Profession. Katopodis is the co-author with Cathy N. Davidson of the forthcoming book, “Transform Every Classroom: A Practical Guide” (under contract to Harvard University Press, anticipated 2022). In 2019, she was awarded the Diana Colbert Innovative Teaching Prize, which honors excellence and ingenuity in course design, for her early American Literature survey course in which students co-created the syllabus. In 2018, her sound recording project, The Walden Soundscape, won the New Media Lab’s Dewey Digital Teaching Award and Digital Dissertation Award. She manages theProgressive Pedagogy Group” on HASTAC.org, which features a live crowd-sourced bibliography of readings about critical pedagogy, and the “Teaching Climate Change in the Humanities” website. Her work has been supported by the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society and the National Science Foundation, and numerous grants from the Graduate Center, CUNY.

Jessica Murray, Ph.D.
Director of Digital Communications for Transformative Learning in the Humanities

Jessica Murray received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at The Graduate Center, CUNY in 2020. Her dissertation, Self-Determination in Transportation: the Route to Social Inclusion for People with Disabilities explores the role of basic psychological needs in transportation environments. Murray earned a BFA in Design from the University of Texas at Austin in 2003 and worked as a graphic designer in a variety of media in Dallas, TX, and in New York City, her home since 2008. She managed a small creative team at an online marketing company in New York, simultaneously discovering interests in interpersonal work relationships and the intersection of work and personal life, with a special interest in commuting and transportation. While completing her MA in Liberal Studies, on the Psychology of Work and Family track in 2014 at The Graduate Center, her interests changed to reflect her growing awareness of obstacles that impact independent mobility for people with disabilities. Her Master’s thesis was titled Work-Life Experiences for People with Mobility Disabilities Living in New York City, which examined structural and environmental issues affecting the daily lives of wheelchair users.

Boya Wang, BA
Masters student in Risk Management, Queens College
Program Assistant

Boya Wang is a graduate student in the Master of Science in Risk Management program at Queens College. She completed a dual Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Information Systems and Economics at Queens College in June 2021. She is fluent in Chinese and has several years of experience working at an accounting firm and working as a Teaching Assistant at Joy Learning Center in Flushing, NY.