Author Archives: Christina Katopodis

Join us for “Liberation Literacies Pedagogy” with Dr. Jamila Lyiscott

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.

RSVP here [opens in new window]

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.

RSVP here.

Event Recap: Anti-Racist Pedagogy Workshop, Part 2

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.

Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Dr. Chavez is an award-winning educator with an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Iowa. She is the renowned author of The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop: How to Decolonize the Creative Classroom. Dr. Chavez currently serves as the Bronfman Creativity and Innovation Scholar-in-Residence at Colorado College. 

To learn more about Dr. Chavez’s work and to contact her, visit her website.

Join us for an Ungrading Workshop with Jesse Stommel

Ungrading and Alternative Assessment: An Interactive Workshop

March 21, 2022 @ 4-5:30 PM EST

RSVP here

“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.

Calling for Applications for 2022-2023 Mellon TLH Faculty Fellows

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.
 
Please share this announcement widely with your CUNY colleagues and visit our website for the full call for applications.
 
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.  
 
Eligibility: CUNY faculty in the humanities, arts, and interpretive social sciences at all ranks, including adjunct faculty and graduate students who are teaching as adjuncts at CUNY campuses (“What is included in ‘interpretive social sciences’?”). Faculty must be teaching during the seminar (“If I am not currently teaching due to the pandemic, can I still apply?”). TLH welcomes BIPOC faculty and faculty committed to equity, social, and racial justice. Faculty teaching introductory courses are welcome and encouraged to apply. For further questions about eligibility and more, please consult our FAQ.
 
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.

TLH Faculty Co-Director Cathy N. Davidson’s Interview with CUNY Graduate Center News

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.”

Read the full article here.

Announcing Our New Pedagogy Co-Leaders and Anti-Racist Workshops by Felicia Rose Chavez

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.


RSVP here.

TLH Office Hours Recap: Ungrading

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.

[The cover of the book, Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning (and What to Do Instead), edited by Susan D. Blum, appears in the foreground, standing on top of a pile of more copies of the book, in front of a vase of flowers and a window with a view of a red brick building in the background.]

Resources

Mellon TLH Faculty Fellow Michael L. J. Greer kindly shared some further resources with me after the workshop:

  1. an article about self-grading that she used as inspiration for her own ungrading methods (he students do a self-assessment which counts for 15% of their final grade) https://www.hsmitchellbuck.com/2019/08/14/adventures-in-ungrading/
  2. a resource on alternative grading that has been circulating in graduate student circles: https://docs.google.com/document/d/149qAwct6amhY1YnDIxjDKw_6w0AkfpV8hMg515LPRzU/edit

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).

For further reading, see:

Toni Cade Bambara’s Pedagogical Practices for Learner-Centered Communities

This post was written by Contributing Author Sonia Adams, a PhD candidate at St. John’s University who organized an event in TLH’s Spring 2021 series on active learning.

Toni Cade Bambara has greatly impacted my work as an educator and curriculum developer. I admire her commitment to literacy education, creativity, multiculturalism, and social justice. During my undergraduate studies in English, I was fortunate to take literature classes and seminars that exposed me to writers of color from the United States and abroad. However, I noticed a trajectory within many of the required, standardized, and special topic English courses, which privileged White male authors and texts. The western literary canon perpetuates an aesthetic that Bambara referred to as the “Anglo-Saxon tradition” that limited entryway for women and ethnic writers to enter the English curriculum (Bambara, “Summer 1968 SEEK Report). Although there were some gains made in late 1960s and early 1970s in making the curriculum more inclusive, there were some women and ethnic authors who served as ‘minority representatives. In other words, their writings were deemed the standard for the racial, gender, and/or cultural group which they derived from. Bambara foresaw the implications of white patriarchal privileging and minority representation and sought to challenge them as an English Professor, writer, editor, and activist.  Continue reading

A Free Printable Bookmark from the “Philosophy for Children Workshop: Anti-Racist Conversations at Any Age”

At the Philosophy for Children Workshop on Thursday, April 22, Prof. Cheri Carr (LaGuardia Community College) with her students Jesus Benitez and David Ortiz, talked about how inclusive thinking begins with how we treat our children. Between ages 2-5, children internalize racial bias and display attitudes similar to adults. By age 12, many children become set in their beliefs. Caring and invested educators and parents can unintentionally perpetuate anti-Black racism by promoting a colorblind approach to race stemming from their discomfort navigating conversations on race. Not talking about race reinforces racism in young children; talking about it encourages the development of positive attitudes and skills needed to advocate for racial justice. Continue reading

Peace-building through awareness and improvisation

This post was written by Contributing Authors Heather Huggins and Aviva Geismar, collaborating professors at Queensborough Community College. 

peace-building through awareness and improvisation 

Part 1 

Friday, March 12, 2021 at 10:30 am 

Our program was a celebration of a participatory action research methodology known as Social Presencing Theater, a body-based approach for sensing and enacting change. It was also an invitation to engage with QCC’s student and alumni practice group, which began in April 2018.  

Social Presencing Theater (SPT) decolonizes learning by reclaiming the body as an equitable way of knowing and being. SPT centers first-person experience via an improvisational and cyclical process, inviting participants to perceive a larger present. Because SPT is practiced in community, it positions our relational spaces, and the distinct cultures that emerge from them, as worthy of reflection and development. The “theater” in SPT refers to a shared place where something of significance is made visible. Continue reading