GCDI Summer Institute (CUNY Advance draft)

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As part of our departmental outreach and faculty consultation efforts, members of the GC Digital Fellows have become aware of an increasing demand for training in a variety of modern digital tools and procedures. While the Fellows lead a robust series of workshops and provide technical advice and assistance to individual faculty, the process of learning many digital tools requires a level of sustained study that is difficult to maintain in the course of a busy semester schedule. Further, many procedures, such as data cleaning and visualization, are best learned in conjunction with fundamental concepts such as version control, introductory programming, and use of the command line.

To address this demand for a deeper and more sustained engagement with digital methodologies, we propose, with the support of a CUNY Advance Startup Grant, to present a week-long intensive course in cutting-edge digital research tools. The GCDI Summer Institute, which would take place this coming June, would provide CUNY faculty from a variety of institutions and disciplines with the core skills necessary for incorporating digital methodologies into existing research practices. Techniques such as data visualization, text analysis, and social media analytics have been shown to support high-level research in a variety of fields. The GCDI Summer Institute would build on the domain expertise of the Digital Fellows to provide a firm grounding in digital research practices to a wider set of University faculty.

While the GC Digital Fellows program can provide an institutional foundation for the GCDI Summer Institute, the Fellows’ purview is primarily the Graduate Center. A CUNY Advance Startup Grant will help provide the instructors and administrative support necessary to bring the Summer Institute to the wider CUNY community. Successful examples of the “boot camp” digital pedagogy model such as THATCamp, Software Carpentry, and the Digital Humanities Summer Institute have shown that intensive digital courses are invaluable not only for building individual skills, but also for creating working relationships founded on collaborative practice. Similarly, the GCDI Summer Institute will bring together a cross-section of aspiring digital researchers that may otherwise be separated by institutional or disciplinary affiliation.

As part of their participation in the GCDI Summer Institute, students will envision a small project, presentation, or research application intended to drive further learning and showcase their new facility with digital methodologies. To this end, students will create a short prospectus describing their project as part of their term at the Summer Institute. In August, Institute administrators will follow up with participants and completed projects will be promoted via GCDI and other channels.


April 10 – April 20: Initial contact with prospective instructors and facilitators. Make inquiries into venue.

April 20 РMay 1: Make formal request for venue reservation. Reach out to contacts and prospective attendees to gauge interest and refine pedagogical focus. Build initial distribution list. Publicize  initial web presence for event.

May 1 – May 10: Finalize instructors/facilitators/support staff. Publish instructor bios on Summer Institute site. Generate tentative program and elicit feedback. Create posters and other materials for publicity push. Open event registration.

May 10 – May 20: Work with IT/AV staff to ensure technical requirements for program are met. Consult with facility staff on logistics (seating, lighting, etc). Publicize Summer Institute on social media, dislists, and appropriate listservs. Reach out to DH bloggers and local influencers. Work with instructors to finalize curriculum and ensure that special requirements are met. Finalize program.

May 20 – June 5: Make preparations for live streaming and/or recording. Send out welcome/event locistics email to registrants. Confirm instructor availability. Check if venue meets technical specifications. Close registration.

June 8 – June 12: Week of event. Summer Institute meets from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Attendees are encouraged to develop a project or avenue of inquiry related to their research goals. Lunch and networking at local venues after 1:00.

June 15: Follow up with attendees to gather post-event feedback for publicity and future improvement.

August 6 – 10: Follow up with attendees about proects. Provide resources and assistance where necessary.

September 1 – September 15: Document successful projects and research inquiries on Summer Institute site. Maintain ongoing Summer Institute web and social media presence.



Statement of any prior/ongoing funding