What is the university you want? That was the key topic of discussion and debate during a day-long virtual summit held on May 5, 2023 for hundreds of students from campuses across CUNY.
The event, hosted by Transformative Learning in the Humanities (TLH), was the product of a full year of planning led by summit coordinator Yuma Carpenter-New (MFA Program, Brooklyn College) and a 24-member student advisory board. It attracted more than 220 attendees who came together to think about what their college communities need most and to imagine ways to improve their social learning experience and academic life (see full summit schedule below).
The summit opened with a reading of a collaborative poem crafted by the Student Advisory Board, a manifesto outlining the desires and needs of students within the university and an introduction to the summit read by TLH student advisors. TLH Faculty Co-Director Shelly Eversley shared her thoughts on the manifesto and the role of students in shaping higher education.
Queens College alum Eto’o Tsana, a dance educator, performer and choreographer, then led participants through a dance pedagogy workshop which was a fun way to get everyone moving at the early hour.
The bulk of the day was devoted to 11 different panel discussions with thought provoking ideas, broken up by brainstorming sessions and other creative breaks. Below are some sample topics from the student panels:
- On- and Off-Campus Resources
- Student Mental Health and Wellness
- Democracy in the Classroom
- Increasing Enrollment
- Better Support for Immigrant, First-Generation and Undocumented Students
- Practical Tips for the Classroom
- Better Support for Non-Traditional Aged Students
- The Importance of Ethnic Studies
- Mentoring in Faculty-Student Relationships
- Online Learning
- Peer Tutoring & Student Clubs
The final activity was a collaborative manifesto, taking in all the ideas from the day to summarize the kind of university that the TLH team, faculty fellows and students have been working to create. TLH staff and faculty fellows provided mentorship, chaired the panel discussions and helped guide the conversations. But the summit’s success stems from the hard work of student presenters, who prepared well and conducted themselves with an aura of professionalism that will translate into fruitful future endeavors within and beyond academia.
Opening Session and Dance Pedagogy Workshop
Coffee Break Chat: Favorite Class You’ve Taken at CUNY
On- and Off-Campus Resources
Student Mental Health and Wellness
11:50 AM-12:30 PM
Panel 1: Democracy in the Classroom
Panel 2: Increasing Enrollment
Panel 3: Better Support for Immigrant, First-Generation, and Undocumented Students
Practical Tips for the Classroom
Better Support for Non-Traditional Aged Students
Collaborative Doodling Break
Panel 1: Decolonial Love: Importance of Ethnic Studies
Panel 2: Mentoring in Faculty-Student Relationships
Panel 1: Online Learning
Panel 2: Peer Tutoring & Student Clubs
Embroidery: Creating Networks of Care and Love Within the University Through a Centuries-Old Art Form