About this grant opportunity

The Center for the Humanities’ CUNY Adjunct Incubator supports and highlights the significant, critical and community-engaged scholarship and pedagogy work of adjuncts teaching across CUNY.

At a recent rally in support of adjuncts, Professor Gunja SenGupta (History, Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, CUNY), noted that “adjuncts are frequently referred to by students as the most compassionate and committed professors in their departments.” Professor Dane Peters (Africana Studies, Brooklyn College), an alum-cum-adjunct, underlined that many adjuncts are often former CUNY students who return to teach in the community. And Professor Naomi Schiller (Anthropology, Brooklyn College) contributed that “adjunct faculty often teach on multiple CUNY campuses, making them uniquely positioned to understand the life of our city, and the working and learning conditions across our sprawling university.”

Four branches of the Adjunct Incubator are:

  • Publicly calling attention to adjuncts’ valuable contributions at CUNY;
  • Supporting CUNY adjuncts and their teaching, scholarly, creative, and activist work;
  • Promoting their arc toward professional success and economic well-being; and
  • Advocating for more paid, full-time, tenure track positions for adjuncts to advance toward.



Grant Amount & Use:

The CUNY Adjunct Incubator will award $5,000 to 10 CUNY adjuncts.

*Please note that if you are a current doctoral fellow at The Graduate Center, CUNY who also holds adjunct position/s, before applying, please contact the Office of Financial Aid at financialaid@gc.cuny.edu to ensure that receiving this grant will not adversely impact your existing award package.


Recipients can expect grant payment in early fall 2020. During the fall 2020 and spring 2021, the Center for the Humanities can offer logistical, infrastructural, and media support for projects.


For this cycle, we wish to prioritize community-facing and -building work, broadly construed, that takes into account the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic and/or the current uprisings for Black Lives Matter in the US and against oppression around the world. Project focus might include (but not limited to): public education (especially CUNY), public health, housing, labor, liberation movements.

Our rubric for evaluation is as follows:

  • CUNY engagement: Does this project address the concerns of CUNY communities? Does it have the potential to precipitate positive systems change, with a special focus on adjunct welfare and/or student experience?
  • Public engagement: Does this project demonstrate a deep awareness of the reciprocal methods, ethics, and goals of community-oriented practice? Does it account for the compensation of communities in which it engages and provide a robust grasp of existing research and genealogies of its subject of study?
  • Urgency: Does this project address an emergent social (environmental, health, educational, etc) need in meaningful ways?
  • Creativity: Does the application think about an intellectual or practical problem through a previously unexamined perspective or with an innovative set of tools?
  • Feasibility: Does the project seem manageable and are we the right organization to help the applicant fulfill their goals in a rich and nuanced way?


Adjuncts presently working at any CUNY College. If you have lost your adjunct position because of the pandemic, and therefore have no CUNY affiliation in fall 2020/spring 2021, you are still eligible if you provide proof of at least two years of professional experience at CUNY. Joint/group applications welcome.

Selection Process:

Recipients will be decided by an interdisciplinary advisory committee. We are pleased to welcome two former grant recipients to the committee: Anthony Freeman is a Senior Evaluation Specialist in the HIV Prevention Program at the New York CIty City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, a PhD in Social Welfare from the CUNY Graduate Center, and project lead on a digital platform to aggregate resources for gender justice at CUNY. Aurash Khawarzad is an artist, educator, and urban planner who works with communities to understand and devise climate mitigation strategy. We are excited and grateful to welcome these exemplary colleagues onto the committee. Anthony and Aurash will join Prithi Kanakamedala, Celina Su, Kendra Sullivan, and Mary N. Taylor as the 2020 CUNY Adjunct Incubator Advisory Committee.

Application Process:

To apply, please click here to fill out the application form and upload the following documents as a single PDF file (name your file as follows: LASTNAME_FIRSTNAME_CAI2020):

  • a one-page letter of interest describing your research or public project, a timeline, academic and professional background, and methodological tool-kit,
  • CV,
  • a brief, budgetary outline

In your budgetary outline, please feel free to add one paragraph (up to 200 words) on extenuating financial circumstances due to the Covid19 pandemic; if you held or typically held jobs that have been canceled because of the pandemic, please list these jobs.

Application Deadline: Monday, August 31st, 2020, by 11:59 PM.


We request a blog post about your project and a brief, one-page, narrative report on research progress and impact by August 1, 2021. We invite recipients to think about sharing their work with wider publics and welcome proposals for public panels or online events related to your work.

The CUNY Adjunct Incubator is co-sponsored by the Center for the Humanities and the Gittell Urban Studies Collective at The Graduate Center, CUNY. The Center for the Humanities thanks the Sylvia Klatzkin Steinig Fund for their generous support.