Back in the summer of 1997 I was a strapping 26 year old with nary a gray hair. I was also on the cusp of matriculating into the CUNY Graduate Center’s English Ph.D. program. It was an exciting prospect to move back to NYC from Los Angeles, and I remember surfing the web during my day job at UCLA try to figure out how I could commute to the College of Staten Island (CSI)—the senior college I would be teaching at come September. One of my most vivid memories of the 90s web was poring over NYC Subway and Bus map sites to make sense of this new world. I was trying to navigating this new world of CUNY—which is massive—online several months before landing in the core of that rotten apple 🙂
So when I came upon Andrew McKinney‘s “Navigating CUNY” I was transported back to 1997. The guides provide a series of quick and useful resources for incoming Graduate Center students who are teaching at one of the 26 campuses. The guides, when complete, will provide information across the entire university system, as well as each specific campus. Given I started at CSI I went directly to that guide which had the campus map, followed by useful links for campus -specific faculty, student, and administrative resources.
When you’re dealing with a city campus on the scale of CUNY a resource like this is immensely valuable. What’s more, I dig how the new Teaching and Learning Center at the Grad Center designed it. They’ve transformed a series of pages/posts on their Academic Commons site into an easy to navigate resource guide, and I can imagine this could be easily repurposed as a mobile-ready site or app. What’s more, I can’t imagine it wouldn’t be too hard to syndicate campus-specific news for each of these guides. It’s very cool to see a series of web-based resources aimed at helping incoming CUNY grad students about to be thrown to the wolves as both Ph.D. candidates and first-time teachers, and I speak from first-hand experience. The trial by fire route was one of the things I loved about CUNY—I attribute any success I’ve had in the classroom my first semester at CSI—but a little help from your friends at the Teaching Center never hurts.