Call for Applications: CUNY Humanities Alliance Graduate Fellowship

Deadline extended: Monday, February 22, 2021
Fellowships begin Fall 2021

The CUNY Humanities Alliance is seeking applications for 12 new graduate fellowships in educational development roles at four partner institutions: Borough of Manhattan Community College, Guttman Community College, Hostos Community College, and LaGuardia Community College. These positions are open to Graduate Center doctoral students entering years 3-5 of doctoral study in 2021-2022. They are one-year positions, and are renewable for one additional year. We aim to build a team that is diverse in every way. Doctoral students who have backgrounds underrepresented in the academy are especially encouraged to apply.

About the Humanities Alliance

The CUNY Humanities Alliance, generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, exposes graduate students to the most successful methods for teaching the humanities in community college contexts, while simultaneously expanding access to the humanities for undergraduates from the BIPOC and immigrant communities served by the City University of New York. The CUNY Humanities Alliance began in 2016 as a partnership with LaGuardia Community College, and has now expanded to include three additional CUNY community colleges: Borough of Manhattan Community College, Guttman Community College, and Hostos Community College. The program also includes a community-based undergraduate program, CUNY Peer Leaders, that supports students’ scholarship and creative work in the humanities, and in developing leadership skills to implement within their communities and colleges. Along with the Graduate Fellows embedded in community college campus projects, the CUNY Humanities Alliance promotes creative and collaborative thinking across the university about the range of ways that humanities education is supported.  

This program is organized in partnership with the Futures Initiative and the Teaching and Learning Center at the Graduate Center, together with our community college partners. 

About the Fellowship

Graduate Fellows will be placed in educational development and instructional support roles on each of these campuses, and also participate as a cohort in extensive professional development and skill-building opportunities supported by and integrated with the Graduate Center’s Teaching and Learning Center, Futures Initiative, and other partners throughout the CUNY system. CUNY Humanities Alliance Fellows will be well-prepared for a range of careers in the humanities, inside and outside of the classroom. 

Fellowship Structure and Compensation

CUNY Humanities Alliance Fellowships offer annual compensation of approximately $28,000 (or more, depending on prior service/appointment history with the Graduate Center). The graduate assistant appointment also carries eligibility to purchase low-cost NYSHIP health insurance and offers in-state tuition remission for Fellows who are within their first 14 registered semesters of study. For graduate students who have a Graduate Center Fellowship (GCF), this program would replace the service requirement for your GCF. 

The fellowship is a commitment of fifteen (15) hours per week during the Fall and Spring semesters. Five (5) hours per week will be spent on professional development and community-building at the Graduate Center, and ten (10) hours per week will be spent working on a designated campus project at one of the four community college partners. Campus projects are described in more detail below. 


This fellowship requires reflection, flexibility, collegiality, and willingness to engage in educational support activities that lay crucial foundations for community college students’ learning, thriving, and success. It offers an ideal opportunity for Graduate Center students committed to public higher education, social justice, and supporting CUNY students. Fellows can expect to strengthen their skills in pedagogy, programmatic support, project management, leadership, events planning, and digital community building that will serve them in a wide range of career pathways. 

Goals and Contributions of All CUNY Humanities Alliance Graduate Fellows: 

  • Be a valued member of a supportive team that prizes mentorship, growth, and leadership with a core mission of innovation founded on equity and a commitment to meaningful social and institutional change
  • Fulfill the fellowship commitment throughout the fall and spring semesters, both at the Graduate Center and at one of the community college locations (note that the academic calendars of LaGuardia Community College and Guttman Community College differ significantly from that of the Graduate Center);
  • Learn how humanities programs are developed, scoped, promoted, integrated, supported, and evaluated on community college campuses; 
  • Participate in surveys, focus groups, and interviews to support ongoing research about the efficacy of the program;
  • Write public reflections about their experiences on the CUNY Humanities Alliance website;
  • Participate in public events at the Graduate Center to share their experiences with the 
GC community.


Applicants must be: 

  • Currently registered full-time doctoral student in the humanities or humanistic social sciences at The Graduate Center, CUNY
  • In good academic standing
  • Entering years 3-5 of study in Fall 2021

Ideal candidates will have some combination of experience and interest in the following areas:

  • Strong research, writing, and communication skills;
  • Experience working collaboratively and contributing to a team;
  • Interest in collaborating with faculty, staff, students, and community partners; 
  • Commitment to meaningful discussion of teaching and learning;
  • Experience working with CUNY community college students, or a commitment to the needs of community college students
  • Background in or exposure to open pedagogy, asset-based pedagogy, creating digital portfolios, and/or experiential learning;
  • Curiosity about the organizational structure of university systems;
  • Openness to participating actively and reflectively in mentorship and peer mentorship arrangements;
  • Desire to connect one’s research and intellectual interests to the goals of the Humanities Alliance. 

Campus Projects

Graduate Fellows will be placed into one of the possible campus projects listed below. The final position assignments for the program will be determined during the selection process.

Borough of Manhattan Community College (3 fellows across up to 3 projects) 

Learning Experience Design 

The Learning Experience Design Fellow will work closely with BMCC faculty to create engaging, learner-centered / driven experiences for students. These learning experiences may incorporate open pedagogy and/or asset-based pedagogies, such as culturally sustaining pedagogy, trauma-informed pedagogy, and universal design for learning. 

Mentored Undergraduate Research 

The Undergraduate Research Fellow will work as a part of the research endeavor to provide enriching experiences to students. The Fellow will work with faculty and students to craft humanities research projects that will benefit both parties. 

Experiential Learning 

The Experiential Learning Fellow will work with interested faculty who have been trained and supported in academic service learning, Collaborative Online International Learning, and internship courses. The Fellow will work with faculty and staff, connect with community-based organizations, and help define internships for humanities students. 

Guttman Community College (3 fellows in 1 project) 

Arts in New York City  

Arts in New York City is a required first-year course that exposes students to the creative movements, artistic genres, and cultural institutions of the city. Working with faculty and administrative support, these graduate fellows will contribute to the ongoing development of the course and its positioning in the larger Humanities curriculum at Guttman. Taking into consideration Guttman’s particular institutional goals and student community, this fellow will be involved in deep conceptual work and practical implementation that spans disciplines and approaches, and that will reach all Guttman students. 

Hostos Community College (3 fellows across 2 projects)

Learning Communities 

Faculty have been pairing across disciplines (e.g. ESL and HUM, or Art and English) to adapt their curriculum and teach as a learning community. We want to make these existing and new learning communities more structured and promote partnerships building across disciplines. Fellows will work directly with teaching faculty to design linked assignments and assessments and also with students in linked classes. Ideally, Fellows will also work with faculty to tell the story of these learning communities to a wider audience at Hostos and across CUNY through presentations and non-peer reviewed publications.

Humanities Experiential Learning 

We have a robust Service Learning and Civic Engagement Committee that (SL-CE) designate courses as experiential learning opportunities (ELOs). Fellows will work with faculty who are interested in developing a service learning or civic engagement course and coordinate with the SL-CE Committee to facilitate syllabus revisions, implement pilot SL or CE projects, and work with the faculty and students. Ideally, Fellows will also work to tell the story of these service learning classes to a wider audience at Hostos and across CUNY through presentations and non-peer reviewed publications.

LaGuardia Community College (3 fellows across 2 projects)

Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) 

Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) is a connective pedagogical practice in which faculty in different countries collaborate on designing assignments to engage their students in collaborative tasks via digital tools, such as video chat and web blogs. COIL enables educators to facilitate communication across difference, challenge monolithic and essentialist views of culture, and foreground students’ decision-making roles in COIL projects. By working with COIL faculty and students, LaGuardia’s COIL Fellow will gain experience with creating an intercultural toolkit for learners and educators, and with academic program management. The LaGuardia COIL Fellow will develop an understanding of the design of meaningful cultural exchange activities within a range of disciplines while also learning how COIL’s work aligns with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and other initiatives at LaGuardia and CUNY.

LaGuardia’s COIL program looks forward to collaborating with the Humanities Fellow to determine which potential activities will be most beneficial for both the Fellow and COIL. In addition to the intercultural toolkit above, activities could include: developing a network of current and prior COIL students enabling their connections to continue beyond their COIL course(s); supporting faculty developing learning activities that implement pedagogical approaches such as multimodal composition, collaborative teaching and learning, Culturally Relevant/Responsive Pedagogy, and the Digital Humanities, linking these activities to LaGuardia’s signature General Education (Gen Ed) competency in Global Learning; and/or developing a network of current and prior COIL students enabling their connections to continue beyond their COIL course(s).

LaGuardia ePortfolio 

The two LaGuardia ePortfolio HA Fellows will help design faculty and student ePortfolio showcases and workshops, co-curricular activities, and help facilitate the use of ePortfolio in career and transfer fairs for students majoring in programs in Humanities and Liberal Arts: Social Science & Humanities.  Fellows may also help conduct student and faculty focus groups to help inform a 360-degree view of LaGuardia’s wide-ranging ePortfolio practice. 

In addition to learning more about community college students with whom they will interact, HA Fellows will be introduced to a variety of educational High Impact Practices (cf. George Kuh) by developing a network of faculty and staff partners across the college, including instructional design and digital learning specialists in the Center for Teaching & Learning, staff in advisement services, peer mentoring program leaders, and faculty involved in ePortfolio practice from across LaGuardia’s nine academic departments. 

Fellows will work closely with two faculty leaders in Humanities and Liberal Arts programs who have played key roles in developing the integrative, social pedagogies that help students reflect on their experiences and connect them to their academic and career goals.  Anticipating reciprocal learning from this experience, our faculty look forward to the insights and experiences current doctoral candidates will bring to our digital learning practices within the humanities, humanistic social sciences, and STEM programs. ​Building on work from earlier Mellon Foundation grants, the candidates may, if desired, work with faculty to craft a digital assignment based on their Fellowship experience that could be used as they move forward in their own teaching careers.

The Humanities Department at LaGuardia offers eight degree programs and several tracks within them; the Liberal Arts: Social Science & Humanities major includes a range of degree options, such as Film & Television, History, and several interdisciplinary programs. HA Fellows will help shape processes and structures that support the development of students’ core learning ePortfolio and their transition to a Showcase Portfolio. 

How to Apply

Deadline extended to Monday, February 22, 2021! To apply, complete the application form, which will require you to submit: 

  • Statement of Interest (max 500 words)
    Please describe your interest in this fellowship. You may wish to consider the following questions in your response:: 
    • How do you understand the role of the humanities in the life and career of a college student?
    • What traits would you bring to the Humanities Alliance that would contribute to the experience of undergraduates who would participate in a project supported by the HA?
    • Describe your relevant experience, including classroom teaching, other professional experience, or volunteering.
    • Describe your background in, exposure to, or interest in open pedagogy, asset-based pedagogy, creating digital portfolios, and/or experiential learning.
  • Short CV (no more than 2 pages)
  • Names and contact information for two references

For More Information

If you have additional questions, please see the recorded Information Session from February 3, or contact Kaysi Holman, the Director of Programs and Administration for the CUNY Humanities Alliance at