Frequently Asked Questions

Questions About the Project

Why is The Graduate Center building this new center?

The Graduate Center received a grant from New York state as part of the CUNY 2020 Challenge Grant process. The grant competition offered the GC the opportunity to build on its growing strengths in digital scholarship and data visualization, and to partner with cultural, arts, and historical institutions around New York City to create opportunities for GC students to explore cultural datasets.

Have students been consulted?

Yes. Multiple presentations have been made at CUNY Doctoral Students’ Council (DSC) plenary meetings since the grant was awarded. DSC representatives have sat on a committee that receives updates on the project. Please contact the DSC with questions and concerns.

How does the project fit into The Graduate Center’s strategic plan?

The Center for Digital Scholarship has been integrated into The Graduate Center’s 2017-2022 strategic plan. It is mentioned in section 1.1 (on deepening and broadening our culture of interdisciplinary scholarship and research); in section 2 (on building the theoretical and experimental sciences); and section 4.4 (on increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of space allocation, utilization, and infrastructure).

Questions About the Construction Process

What will happen to equipment now on the concourse level?

All working computers will be moved to other areas in the library on the first and second floors. Should there be more computers than can fit in those spaces, computers may be moved to program lounge spaces as well.

Will there be an overall loss of space for student work?

No — there will be more usable space for students, though the space will be reconfigured as The Graduate Center moves away from a model in which desktop computers are installed on furniture that cannot be moved to a model in which reconfigurable space enables students working on laptops to reconfigure space and collaborate in small groups. Please see our alternate spaces page to learn more about how space will be handled during construction.

Will The Graduate Center replace desktop computers on the concourse level once construction is complete?

No. The new center is designed with laptops in mind, part of a larger trend in higher education towards reconfigurable spaces and BYOD (bring your own devices). To ensure that all students can use the space, whether or not they own laptops, a laptop cart will allow students working in the space to borrow laptops.

What precautions are being taken to ensure that other quiet spaces in the library will not be affected by noise during construction?

The contractors will be erecting noise and dust barriers on the concourse level to minimize disruption. During the demolition phase of the project, demolition work will be done from 1am-8am each evening to ensure that GC students face as little disruption as possible. Once construction begins, earplugs will be available in the library.

How long will construction take?

The construction process is scheduled to take roughly one year. It will begin in March 2020 and should be completed by April 2021.

What will happen to the existing seventh floor spaces of the GC Digital Scholarship Lab and the New Media Lab?

Once construction is complete, the GC Digital Scholarship Lab and the New Media Lab will move to the concourse level. After that, the rooms they currently occupy will be reconfigured for other GC offices.

Questions about the center

What hours of operation will the Center maintain?

The center will keep the same schedule as the Mina Rees library, though staffed sections of the center, such as the GC Digital Scholarship Lab and Data Visualization Hub, may be closed after business hours. The open digital commons section of the center welcomes all Graduate Center students.

What kinds of spaces will the center contain?

The center will contain:

  • A digital visualization hub with interactive touch screen walls. This space has a foldable door that can be closed when classes or events are in session.
  • A large digital commons with various open seating configurations. This space will contain multiple computer monitors that can be used by students to collaborate
  • A student collaboration room that can be booked by students
  • A makerspace
  • The GC Digital Scholarship Lab
  • The New Media Lab
  • A classroom

Please see the new spaces page for more information.

Will the center be open to Graduate Center students from all disciplines?

Yes! The Center for Digital Scholarship and Data Visualization will provide training and collaborative workspaces which will enhance the capacity of data analysis and the innovative presentation of data and findings in all disciplines. Everyone is welcome and students do not need to be working on digital projects to use the main Digital Commons space.

How will the center benefit students not working on digital projects?

As a newly renovated space, the  center will not only be a home for explorations of digital scholarship, but will also be a pleasing space in which students can work. It will feature new lighting, comfortable and stylish furniture, collaboration spaces that can be reserved by students, and plentiful access to electric power.

Will students need to register or show ID to enter the center?

No, registration is not required to use the main Digital Commons space of the center — it will be open to everyone. Some of the specialized rooms in the center — the GC Digital Scholarship Lab, the New Media Lab, the makerspace — will be open during certain hours for open consultation and office hours, and will be used at other times by students and staff affiliated with those spaces. The makerspace will be open to all students but will require safety training and appointments.

How will the center be accessed?

The center will be accessed through the Mina Rees Library stairs or elevator. A door to the main concourse level of The Graduate Center will be added during the construction process. That door will not be staffed by security but may be opened for special events.

Will the center be closed for special events?

We anticipate that the Digital Research Institute, which is open to students and faculty from across the Graduate Center, will be held in the new center and that it will be closed to other uses during this time (generally 4 consecutive days in mid-January). Any other closures should be infrequent and signage will be posted well in advance.

How can I reserve build time in the makerspace?

Please get in touch with GC Digital Initiatives once construction is complete.

Have other questions? Please let us know!