Like many others in our cohort, we wanted to provide space for student joy, reflection, and art. CUNY has over 240,000 students, each of them with their own history and story. Our project offered a chance for our students to publicly share their stories.
Our group was inspired by Bettina Love, whose talk and book were part of our TLH semester.
In We Want to Do More Than Survive by Bettina Love, the chapter “Freedom Dreaming,” posits that artistic mediums can be utilized as a way to express individuals’ unique narratives while shaping their visions for the future. She writes:
“Writing, drawing, acting, painting, composing, spittin’ rhymes, and/ or dancing is love, joy, and resistance personified. Art provides more to communities than just visual and sonic motifs: it is one of the key ingredients to a better world. Art that inspires for a better world. is rooted in intense design, research, and musings for justice filled with new-world possibilities. Social justice movements move people because they ignite the spirit of freedom, justice, love, and joy in all who engage with the work. Art helps people remember their dreams, hopes, and desires for a new world.” Continue reading →
Our virtual panel was designed as a safe space for students across CUNY to share their experiences using language in their academic careers. Students reflected on the languages they speak and blend together, what the expectations for expression and communication are in the classroom setting, and how they navigate linguistic standards that may or may not apply to them.
Students also shared ideas on how to support and embrace linguistic diversity and creativity with language among CUNY students. A question which sparked debate was that of ‘standard’ English: is it really a pertinent concept, and why? While students expressed their respect for such a concept – in appropriate contexts – they also called for more respect of their linguistic diversity and their own ‘Englishes,’ in light of Jamila Lyiscott poem ‘3 ways to speak English’. Continue reading →
As we conclude our Fall 2022 Faculty Fellows Seminars, TLH Faculty Co-Directors Shelly Eversley (Baruch College) and Matt Brim (College of Staten Island) are asking us to think about how to translate what we’ve done at TLH into lines on our CVs/resumes.
Leadership is Leadership
TLH talks about the faculty fellows as “leaders in their fields” in the original language of the Mellon grant. You might take another look at the grant language and TLH Annual Reports to see how others frame what you do as transformative, as leadership.
I have some thoughts on how to use TLH methods to transform a CV or resume, especially for alt-ac jobs. I’m happy to share a link to my alt-ac resume (opens in new tab) which looks very different from my academic CV (opens in new tab). What they have in common are headings that change the frame from “Academic Service” to “Academic Activities and Leadership” or “Academic Community Leadership.” This language is more empowering and active, and avoids the gendered associations, assumptions, and biases about “service.” Continue reading →
Liberation Literacies Pedagogy: At the Intersection of Language, Race, and Power
April 5, 2022 at 4-5:15 PM ET via Zoom
Privileging mainstream forms of language and literacy in schools not only under-prepares students for our predominantly multiethnic, multilingual, globalized society, but it also perpetuates a narrative of deficiency and marginality for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Drawing on Dr. J’s ongoing research, personal experiences navigating multiple varieties of English, and her work engaging hip-hop, spoken word, and media for learning, this workshop problematizes traditional notions of what it means to be “literate” in our society and offers tools for disrupting racial/social inequity through attention to language, culture, and race as ideologically interwoven in our classrooms.
Please note this event will not be recorded, however an event recap will be posted here on the TLH blog.
Accessibility: We will have ASL interpreters and live CART captioning for the event.
Jamila Lyiscott, aka, Dr. J, is an aspiring way-maker, a community-engaged scholar, nationally renowned speaker, and the author of Black Appetite. White Food: Issues of Race, Voice, and Justice Within and Beyond the Classroom. She currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Social Justice Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she is the co-founder and co-director of the Center of Racial Justice and Youth Engaged Research. Dr. J is most well known for being featured on TED.com where her video, ‘3 Ways to Speak English,’ has been viewed over 5 million times, and for her commissioned TED Talk, ‘2053’ in response to the inauguration of the 45th occupant of the white house. She has delivered keynotes and workshops at 100s of institutions throughout the nation where she works closely with youth, educators, and communities towards racial healing, equity, and justice.
In the second workshop of this two-part series, Dr. Chavez focused on practical anti-racist teaching tools and methods for the writing classroom, many of which could be applied in other disciplines as well. Dr. Chavez opened the workshop with powerful self-reflection exercises for participants, then shared active methods to involve students in the learning process as co-learners and collaborators. Throughout the workshop Dr. Chavez provided a wealth of resources for further reading. The event concluded with a Q&A session that included contributions from students at New York City College of Technology, CUNY. Since the workshop, several attendees have shared excitement about applying these critical strategies in the classroom, and continuing the conversation with others.
“Ungrading” means raising an eyebrow at grades as a systemic practice, distinct from simply not grading. It does not mean loss of “rigor” but, rather, means reconsidering the assumptions that underlie grading. The word is a present participle, an ongoing process, not a static set of practices. Too many of our approaches to grades treat students like they’re interchangeable and fail to recognize their complexity. Can we imagine flexible approaches to assessment, pedagogies which center intrinsic more than extrinsic motivation, encouraging and supporting learning, rather than policing behavior? We need to write policies, imagine new ways forward, for all students, including those already marginalized or facing exclusion. In this workshop, we’ll examine the foundations for our pedagogical approaches, consider the history of grades, examine the bias inherent in many of our standardized systems, and explore methods and approaches for designing assessments that push back against traditional notions of grading. The workshop will balance presentation with activities and discussion.
The workshop will not be recorded, however we will post an event recap on our blog following the event. While the methods discussed within the workshop are immediately related to transforming the humanities, they are also broadly applicable outside the humanities in STEM fields, and beyond.
Accessibility: We will have ASL interpreters and live CART captioning for the event.
Applications for Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 Andrew W. Mellon Transformative Learning in the Humanities Faculty Fellows (Mellon TLH Faculty Fellows) are open and the March 11th deadline for applications is approaching.
Mellon TLH Fellows will work together to share and develop active, creative, participatory learning practices and pedagogical research designed to engage our CUNY students and help ensure their success in and beyond the classroom. Mellon TLH Fellows will receive $1,800 for their participation as well as formal recognition honoring their pedagogical work as a significant contribution to CUNY’s mission.
To learn more about this opportunity, please visit our website, which details the logistics of the peer-to-peer seminars, the commitment of Mellon TLH Faculty Fellows and their students, features the profiles of our current 2021-2022 fellows, and includes a link to the application form itself.
Applications are due on or before March 11, 2022. Decisions will be announced on May 2, 2022.
If you have questions or would like to connect with us, please send us an email at TLH@cuny.edu.
Click here to view and submit the application form.
In a recent article by Bonnie Eissner featured on the front page of the CUNY Graduate Center’s new website, TLH Faculty Co-Director and Distinguished Professor Cathy N. Davidson talks about the antiracist teaching methods of Transformative Learning in the Humanities.
Professor Davidson says, “Our ultimate goal is the idealistic one on which CUNY was founded: dedication to the ‘whole people.’ That’s antiracist pedagogy in a nutshell.”
TLH Pedagogy Co-Leaders, Dr. Javiela Evangelista (Left) and Dr. Jason Hendrickson (Right), are joining us this Spring 2022 semester to lead the Mellon TLH Faculty Fellows’ Seminars in collaboration with TLH Faculty Directors Dr. Cathy N. Davidson and Dr. Shelly Eversley. Drs. Evangelista and Hendrickson return as alumni of the Fall 2021 cohort to bring their vision and anti-racist, transformative pedagogies to the program this year.
Dr. Javiela Evangelista, New York City College of Technology, African American Studies
An anthropologist, Javiela Evangelista engages in public and collaborative research that counters inequalities in the Caribbean and the African Diaspora. Her book manuscript provides an ethnographic analysis of the largest case of mass statelessness in the western hemisphere, the contemporary denationalization of Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic. Her research has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Center for Place, Culture, and Politics (CUNY), Mahindra Humanities Center (Harvard University), SSRC and PSC-CUNY. Evangelista’s work appears in National Political Science Review and Interdisciplinary Team Teaching: A Collaborative Study (Palgrave). She has developed multiple open educational resources, as well as courses, including The Heritage of Imperialism. A Futures Initiative Faculty Fellow (Spring 2022), Evangelista co-developed and will co-teach Black Diasporic Visions: (De) Constructing Modes of Power with Dr. Carla Shedd at the Graduate Center, CUNY. The course culminates in a public project. Ph.D., Anthropology (Graduate Center, CUNY). MA, Institute for Research in African American Studies (Columbia University).
Dr. Jason Hendrickson, LaGuardia Community College, English
As a faculty member at one of the most culturally diverse institutions in the country, Dr. Hendrickson works to educate students, staff, and faculty on issues of equity and justice. At the college, he serves on the President’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (PAC), and co-leads the Faculty and Staff of Color Collective (FSOC). In addition to teaching, his work at the college focuses on enacting institutional change as an advocate for student, staff, and faculty voices. He has also served as the Faculty Chair of the college’s annual Black Lives Matter Summit, bringing together local high schools with the college community for interactive workshops and guest speakers. Dr. Hendrickson’s scholarship and pedagogy combine literary analysis with contemporary issues of social justice to foster connections between the past and the present. He most recently published on equity in higher education and the intersection between vernacular language and justice in Paule Marshall’s early works.
Upcoming Events: Anti-Racist Pedagogy Workshops by Dr. Felicia Rose Chavez
Join us this February for a Two-Part Virtual Workshop Series focused on Anti-Racist Pedagogy: Adapting Our Teaching, hosted by Dr. Felicia Rose Chavez, author of The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop on Tuesday, February 8, 2022 and Wednesday, February 16, 2022 @ 4-5:15PM EST.
On Tuesday, September 14th, we held virtual TLH Open Office Hours with the Mellon TLH Faculty Fellows. We had 11 participants, who shared their experiences with grading and ungrading (alternative forms of assessment).
Some of the challenges discussed included the tedium of grading in Blackboard; helping students understand how scaffolding works (and that missed assignments can snowball into weaker bigger-stakes assignments); guiding student decisions in co-created assessments; and, more generally, increasing student engagement and self-motivation.
Faculty also shared useful tips and strategies, such as:
talking students through HOW and WHY a given type of assessment or type of assignment works can help them understand the mechanics and gain a grasp of how syllabi and even institutions function–learn the unspoken rules and how to navigate them, an especially important skill for those who feel underprepared for college;
using group work (and peer review) to help extroverted students manage their speaking-time and help shier students open up (e.g., put all of the “extroverts” in one group and all the “introverts” in a different group);
asking students to set goals and learning outcomes for themselves at the beginning of the semester and, later, asking them to self-assess how close they came to achieving those goals (individual and/or collective) by the end of the semester;
making connections between the course content and students lives (e.g., ask students what they are most curious about).
I also presented a brief slide deck with some examples of ungrading, which you can view here.
Mellon TLH Faculty Fellow Michael L. J. Greer kindly shared some further resources with me after the workshop:
If you’d like to dive in further this semester, there is an #Ungrading Edcamp happening this November 4-6, 2021 (registration is free and the agenda will be informed by what participants are most interested in, so sign up and add your thoughts here).