Author Archives: Grace Handy

TLH Team Presenting at HASTAC conference in June 2023

How to Transform a Panel: TLH Presentations at ASA, CUNY DEI, AERA, and HASTAC

The TLH team presented at 4 conferences in the 2022-2023 academic year. In November 2022, Shelly, Cathy, Christina, Jessica, Javiela and Jason had presented “Radical Tools, Radical Pedagogy: An Interactive Workshop on Teaching to Transform” at the American Studies Association (ASA) Annual Meeting. There,​ TLH members were inspired by the personalized introductions in the authors session “Insurgent Black Feminist Poetics,” chaired by Kara Keeling and including Sarah Cervenak, Erica Edwards, Kevin Quashie, Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, LaMonda Horton-Stallings, Courtney Thorsson, comment by GerShun Avilez. Instead of each presenting their own book, the authors in this session presented reviews of one another’s books—and what made the session shine was hearing what each colleague loved most about one of their colleagues’ books. This transformed each conference presentation from an egotistical or defensive maneuver into an act of admiration and support for another colleague’s work. And the audience listened with deep interest, resulting in a robust and productive Q&A session.

At the subsequent TLH presentations at the DEI, AERA, and HASTAC conferences, the team incorporated a new method derived from this transformative model. Instead of having the panel chair introduce everyone by reading their bios in a long monologue at the beginning of the session, each TLH panelist introduced another. Instead of focusing on accomplishments and publications, they shared one thing they’ve learned from their co-presenter. While key biographical histories and publications were briefly mentioned, because these details can be found online and are the traditional focus, the TLH team found the personal and relational introduction more compelling and representative of the relationships built throughout the initiative. For example, at AERA Christina shared she has learned from Grace H. to leave more space for all voices, stopping after every item in a meeting to ensure everyone has had a chance to review, reflect, and share if desired. At HASTAC, Shelly shared how supported she feels by Christina, knowing the phrase “I got you” actually always rings true when coming from her. These introductions start our presentations with a strong sense of connection, an illustration for the audience that the team truly cares for one another and thus also demonstrating the content of the presentations, a transformative and loving pedagogy. 

We’ve found that this method transforms a room into a site of community-building, inviting the audience into the positive energy we have as co-panelists who respect and admire one another’s work. We encourage others to integrate this method in their own way at future presentations, workshops, and talks.

TLH Presentations:

Master’s of Social Work students captured smiling and making hand gestures (peace signs) in a still image/screen shot for a group photo.

Transformative Learning Projects at Hunter (TLH CTL Project Recap)

Transforming Awareness into Action: Student Created and Led Applied Theatre Workshops 

Dr. Alexis Jemal, associate professor at Silberman School of Social Work – Hunter College, developed the first iteration of an MSW elective course, Critical Social Work: Bridging the Micro-Macro Divide, in 2019 and piloted the course in 2020. This class was and is grounded in her Visionary, Philosophical Artivist (theoretical and practice-based) framework to raise critical consciousness and then tap into radical imagination to convert that consciousness into action. Dr. Jemal, with her collaborators from the Masters in Applied Theatre program at CUNY School of Professional Studies, Brynne O’Rourke and Tabatha Lopez, revised the spring 2021 course to integrate applied theatre as the modality through which we bridge the micro-macro divide.

“Applied Theatre” is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of theatre and drama practices that are often socially engaged, politically inspired, and non-traditional in form, context and venue (e.g., teaching settings, the justice system, health care, the political arena, community development, and social service agencies). Applied Theatre can be a tool for Social Work – education, research, and practice. Continue reading

Faculty Development Events at Queensborough Community College (TLH CTL Project Recap)

Queensborough Community College’s operational plan includes a framework for fostering teaching excellence. Three faculty development events funded by CUNY TLH were hosted by The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) in order to support the campus level implementation of student-centered pedagogies by fostering pedagogically sound knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA’s) and improve our faculty’s ability to teach more effectively.

The campus wide initiative on Teaching Excellence Forum & Speaker Series was planned by the Coordinators of High Impact Practices with a goal of fostering greater understanding among faculty about the need for refining their assignments, improving the design of their courses, gaining strategies for increasing student engagement, creating a respectful and inclusive classroom environment, utilizing pedagogical technology more comprehensively, and learning how to assess one’s classes for future improvement. Continue reading

Self-Reflection in Practice at BMCC (TLH CTL Project Recap)

Hosted by the Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Scholarship (CETLS)  and the BMCC Teaching Collaboratory 

Facilitated by John Beaumont (Academic Literacy and Linguistics) and Shenique Davis (Social Sciences, Human Services, and Criminal Justice)

Funded by a grant from CUNY Transformative Learning in the Humanities


Self-Reflection in Practice was a three-part series that supported BMCC faculty and instructional staff in developing a practice of sustained self-reflection about teaching and learning. This series also served as a complement to other campus initiatives such as anti-racist pedagogy, open pedagogy and OER, and trauma-informed pedagogy by providing a space for sustained reflection. Continue reading

Pedagogies of Care Workshop at the Macaulay Teaching and Learning Collaboratory (TLH CTL Project Recap)

The Macaulay Teaching and Learning Collaboratory (formerly known as the Instructional Technology Fellow/ITF Program) has deep roots in helping students explore and have agency over the technologies they encounter in their lives and academic works. As early adopters of open-source systems like our eportfolios, we have embraced teaching students about their digital footprints, privacy, and what it means to be both a consumer and creator of digital content. In March 2020, we were, of course, the mainline of support for our faculty switching to emergency online teaching. Working in community with each other in the TLC provided a solid base of knowledge for technical aspects of the work, but also a place to talk about the difficulties we, our students, and our faculty colleagues were facing in this suddenly changed world, especially as NYC took the hardest hits in the earliest wave of the pandemic. Well before the pandemic, we had already been engaged in conversations about supporting student-centered pedagogies and unpacking some of the terms that are commonly associated with honors education: excellence, rigor, elite–especially in the context of CUNY’s equity and access mission. Continue reading

College of Staten Island: Technology for Pedagogy (TLH CTL Project Recap)

Authors: Wilma Jones, Director, Faculty Center for Professional Development and Fausto Canela, Academic Technology Specialist, Faculty Center for Professional Development, College of Staten Island (CSI)

A goal in this year’s agenda of the Faculty Center for Professional Development at the College of Staten Island (CSI) was to revitalize the Center’s physical and virtual spaces facilitated with programming utilizing a smart technology configuration. The award inspired new confidence in the staff at the Faculty Center to seek out and coordinate a variety of programs, other than the usual Blackboard-centric ones. This award enabled the Faculty Center for Professional Development to purchase innovative equipment needed to upgrade obsolete equipment that would facilitate, transform, and deliver better quality presentations, whether in-house or virtually. Continue reading

Empowering City College Faculty and Students Through Digital Humanities Tools and Methods (TLH CTL Project Recap)

Authors: Stefano Morello and Olivia Ildefonso, Digital Fellows at the City University of New York

Over the past three years, the City College of New York (CCNY) has made significant strides in integrating Digital Humanities (DH) pedagogy across the college, thanks to two National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grants awarded in 2020 and 2021. These grants have enabled the Division of Humanities and the Arts and the Teaching and Learning Center to promote DH-informed teaching methods, with the ultimate goal of developing a DH minor.

One significant challenge in encouraging more faculty to adopt DH methods in their classrooms has been the extra effort required without additional pay. To further support faculty in learning new digital skills and adopting DH approaches, we (Digital Humanities Fellows Olivia Ildefonso and Stefano Morello) were awarded a Transformative Learning in the Humanities grant in Spring 2023. Continue reading

Assignment Hack-a-thon and OER Focused Inquiry Group at the Graduate Center’s Teaching and Learning Center (TLH CTL Project Recap)

The CUNY Graduate Center’s Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) supports GC students’ in developing knowledge of the fundamental elements of college instruction and helps new and seasoned instructors craft critical and caring pedagogical approaches for teaching at CUNY. In a recent TLC survey, GC graduate students indicated the need for more support for teaching, and specifically pointing to the challenge of sourcing materials to use in their courses. During Spring 2023, with the support of the Transformative Learning in the Humanities Initiative, the Graduate Center Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) developed two projects to support graduate students’ engagement with inclusive pedagogy and open educational resources.

In February, the TLC hosted an “Assignment Hack-a-thon” that invited GC student instructors to participate in an event that blended workshop, collaborative working session, and community gathering. During the Assignment Hack-a-thon graduate students discussed inclusive and student-centered teaching methods, and reflected on how they have enacted these practices in their courses. Attendees then conducted a peer review of previously used assignments. When “hacking” their assignments, attendees worked together to explore ways to: make assignments more relevant for CUNY students, use educational technologies to make low stakes assignments more engaging, and alter assignments to embrace multiple ways of learning and creating knowledge. Continue reading

Recentering Student-Centered Teaching and Learning within Student Experience and Reflection: Collaborative Journeys at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (TLH CTL Project Recap)

We reenact archetypal stories so frequently that we may miss their significance and our own roles when we are caught up in the action. At John Jay, our TLH Center for Teaching & Learning (CTL) project has become one of these archetypes which represents a journey undertaken by one character who then encounters a new friend with additional resources and skills. As a pair, these two continue to meet and befriend others to create a powerful community capable of meeting unexpected challenges and creating extraordinary possibilities. In our student-centered TLH project, we build on the expertise and combined knowledge of John Jay students and faculty alike. After the initial call for proposals sent to Gina Rae Foster, Director at CUNY’s Centers for Teaching & Learning, a mutual acquaintance recommended connecting with Bettina Muenster, the Assistant Director of our Office for Student Research and Creativity. She brought on board 2 undergraduate students (Lisa Haye, Economics, B.S. 2024, and Kimberly Varela, Criminal Justice, B.S 2023), 2 graduate students (Yan Shan Yu, Forensic Psychology, M.A. 2024, and Wingman “Vivian” Ho, Forensic Psychology, M.A. 2024) interested in participating as focus group leaders and faculty mentees. Continue reading

Pedagogy in Practice Intensive at Brooklyn College (TLH CTL Project Recap)

With the generous support of the Transformative Learning in the Humanities Initiative, the Roberta S. Matthews Center for Teaching and Learning ran a Pedagogy in Practice intensive from January 10-12, 2023. The 3-day practicum offered hands-on workshops that showed participants how to put pedagogical ideas to practical use in areas such as syllabus development, assignment design, student engagement, building classroom community, and more. Anti-racist pedagogies were emphasized throughout, allowing participants to gain an understanding of the breadth and depth of this approach. Participants who completed at least five of the six workshops received a stipend and certificate of completion. Workshop leaders also received stipends. The full description of all workshops offered can be found in the addendum below. Continue reading