Category Archives: Community

Website screenshot showing five student group projects

The Museum of Us: Student Projects from Arts in NYC at Baruch College

TLH Faculty Fellow Cheryl Smith (English, Baruch College) teaches a course called, Arts in NYC, which is a humanities seminar for first-year students. The final project for the course was a group curation project of an online exhibit around a theme of their choice. Their exhibits are gathered together in what the students chose to call “The Museum of Us.”

Professor Smith tells us,

“This project was profoundly shaped by our work together in the TLH Seminar—our discussions and readings. I see the focus on empathy, care, creativity, voice, and representation emerge in these projects. I’m proud of the work my students did and grateful I could provide a space for nurturing it; I think they were genuinely proud of their work, too. It’s been a long, hard semester for many of us, and it’s so nice to end on this kind of positive note.”

You can view the student group projects on their website (opens in a new window). Projects are titled, “Plugged In: The Playlists of the Pandemic,” ‘“I”dentity,’ “Baruch 25 Student Journal: New Beginnings,” “Pandemic-Centric Inclusivity,” and “Tranquility in a City that Never Sleeps.” Thank you, Dr. Smith and students for sharing your impressive work from the semester!

Community Access and Equity in Health Education – Video from Student Projects

How do we define health? How do we access resources to maintain and promote healthy lives in our communities? This project explores these questions through community maps created by Urban Community Health students from Guttman Community College CUNY, which explore both resources and barriers to health in their home communities around the city. Challenging the model of individual responsibility and behavior change often prevalent in public health approaches, the maps provide a more equitable approach to health understandings and health education.

The opening event premiered this video featuring the students’ narration of their maps, in addition to a display of the maps themselves, both video and exhibit invite consideration of intertwined issues between political, educational, and media environments. We are evolving design for displays of information to facilitate dialogue and understanding between policy makers and stakeholders, to educate about inequities in health resources around the city, and expand ideas of how we might define and promote health more holistically in all communities.

08 community health mapping

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Thank you to TLH Faculty Fellows, Kristina Baines (Social Sciences and Anthropology, Guttman Community College), Anita Cheng (Film & Media, Art, Hunter College and Brooklyn College), Helen Chang (Behavioral and Social Sciences, Hostos Community College) and Kathleen Tamayo Ales (English, Queensborough Community College) for sharing the potential of community mapping for teaching about social structures that impact our health and wellbeing.

A whiteboard and video display showing student community mapping projects A video display screen showing the video linked in this blog post. Several people are in the background. Visitors to the exhibit view the student community health mapping projects Students from the class pose in front of their presentations Dr. Anita Chang stands next to the video display monitor and speaks with her arms outstretched. She is wearing a face mask and winter coat. Several students for the class pose for a photo. They are all wearing face masks and winter coats. A student poses in front of the video monitor, where they are also on the screen.

Exploring Bravery in the Classroom

Bravery is not often discussed in the classroom, but it takes a certain amount of bravery to overcome fears that students and teachers may feel. How are supportive and inviting classrooms cultivated to help students overcome their hesitation to participate?

On December 2, 2021, TLH hosted this 1-hour interactive panel discussion with four Mellon TLH Faculty Fellows, Heather Huggins (Queensborough Community College), Alyse Keller (Kingsborough Community College), Susan Phillip (New York City College of Technology), and Tom Zlabinger (York College). In the first part of the event, each panelist shared their unique experiences and expertise cultivating bravery in the classroom followed by open dialogue with attendees, which was not recorded.

The presentations incorporate feedback on the topic from Huggins, Keller, Zlabinger, and Phillips’ students, and provide a breadth of perspectives and ideas for how to encourage courage. Thank you all for organizing this thoughtful and thought-provoking event.

Bravery in the Classroom

On December 2, 2021, Transformative Learning in the Humanities hosted this 1-hour interactive panel discussion with four Mellon TLH Faculty Fellows, Heather …

Creating Communities of Care in our Classrooms – Event Recap and Recording

This 1-hour interactive, peer-to-peer workshop featured four Mellon TLH Faculty Fellows, Lara Saguisag (College of Staten Island), Jason Hendrickson (LaGuardia Community College), Reiko Tahara (Hunter College), and Cheryl C. Smith (Baruch College). It was an opportunity to have an honest dialogue with students and colleagues about some of the experiments the fellows have been doing to create communities of care in their classrooms. Presentation titles are: “Students Perception of Care in the Classroom” (Saguisag); “Language as (Em)Power(Ment)” (Hendrickson); “Student-led Classrooms as a Practice of Care” (Tahara); and “Poetry as a Practice of Care” (Smith). After the the presentations (10min each), the rest of the hour was spent hearing from participants and engaging in student-centered discussions about creating learning communities of care.

Watch now:

Creating Communities of Care in our Classrooms

This 1-hour interactive, peer-to-peer workshop featured four Mellon TLH Faculty Fellows, Cheryl C. Smith (Baruch College), Jason Hendrickson (LaGuardia Commu…

Understanding and Building Collective Efficacy

This post was written by Contributing Authors Tim Leonard and Leigh Somerville

The purpose of this blog post is to provide a brief overview of the concept of collective efficacy and share some practical examples of what it can look like in the classroom setting. As well, we provide several open-source documents that may be helpful in reflection and instructional planning. 

What is collective efficacy? In short, it is when a team of individuals share the belief that, through their combined efforts, they can overcome challenges and positively impact student achievement and success. Continue reading

Moving Toward Dis/Comfort (Event Recap)

This post was written by Contributing Authors Karen Zaino (Secondary Education and Youth Services, Queens College), Azreen Hasan, Emily Ram, Maria Sultana, and Ahmad Zeidieh.

During this session, which was part of Dean Dana Fusco’s Will to Change series in the Queens College School of Education, I worked with four undergraduate students to facilitate a workshop on “moving toward dis/comfort” in classroom conversations. We use the term “dis/comfort” to signal the importance of recognizing different positions and comfort levels within the classroom, where “comfort” and “discomfort” are shorthand for the affective experience of material injustice. For many students–particularly minoritized students–classrooms have long been “uncomfortable” places that dismiss, demean, or erase their ways of knowing and lived experiences. Therefore, this workshop focused on how we might critically consider the distribution of comfort in a classroom setting – who is comfortable? At whose expense? – and use a series of “talk moves” to shift the hegemonic distribution of comfort and discomfort. These moves were adapted from the recent book Classroom Talk for Social Change by Melissa Schieble, Amy Vetter, and Kahdeidra Monét Martin. Continue reading

UnHomeless NYC: Sharing the Value of Community-Based Education

This post was written by Contributing Authors Midori Yamamura and Tommy Mintz and edited by Jason Leggett.

“That was the best of all the webinars and whatever I’ve been clocking into!”

“This was a very powerful conversation on the topic of homelessness. The biggest takeaway for me is to hear this topic approached from grassroots and not top-down perspective.”

These reactions came from participants of UnHomeless NYC: an information session. This two-day workshop examined homelessness with artists, community activists, students, educators, and attendees in dialogue around activities leading up to a public exhibition in the fall of 2021 and spring of 2022 at Kingsborough Community College. Together, educators across disciplines along with students, activists and artists are transforming educational spaces to critically reflect about perceptions of homelessness as agency for social change. As one activist, Manon Vergerio, reflected after the event, the voices from the street can be a powerful pedagogical tool that triggers us to see things differently, not just scholars writing for other scholars. Continue reading

Creating Community Media: A Panel Discussion between Asian American Filmmaking and Activism (Event Recap)

This post was written by Contributing Author Alex Ho, who teaches in the Center for Ethnic Studies at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC).

When I worked at the Museum of Chinese in America, we would use one of the first photographs of San Francisco’s Old Chinatown, “An Unsuspecting Victim” by Arnold Genthe, to show how an author’s intent through what they choose to show and to hide and to editorialize would affect the impression a photograph could give a viewer. The photograph is stripped of the other white Americans, darkened, and given dimensions much more familiar to our vertical-video smartphone world. It jibes with a persistent fantasy about ethnic enclaves like Chinatown–that they are mysterious and dangerous for white America. Continue reading

Post-Event Reflections on “There is No Separate Survival” by Dillonna C. Lewis

This post was written by Contributing Author Dillonna C. Lewis, Adjunct Assistant Professor at Hunter College, CUNY, and a facilitator of the event.

In post-panel processing with students, an underlying theme emerged–the ongoing relevance and impact of Audre’s poems and prose for our current socio-political realities. Students reflected on the need for additional community “read-in” spaces at Hunter College where they can dialogue with peers, professors and other participants from the larger community.  Bringing Audre back to the community, and listening to the intergenerational interactions in break out groups, honored the power of poetry to speak to us all, to teach us all and to hold our complexities. In our small group conversations, we were able to lift up difference for conscious introspection and publicly name what sustains us in community and what divides us. One panelist shared her experiences with feeling dissected, probed and interrogated in White feminist circles where she was expected to speak for all Black women. The repetitive notion that academic spaces can only hold one brilliant Black woman at a time feeds this “under the microscope” phenomena that threatens current attempts to organize movement-building that defines and empowers.  Continue reading

Reflections on “There is No Separate Survival: Reading Audre Lorde in These Times” by Meagan G. Washington

This post was written by Contributing Author Meagan G. Washington, Adjunct Lecturer at Hunter College, CUNY.

The community read-in of Audre Lorde’s work has generated an opportunity to reflect deeply on how her work offers ways to think about the current socio-political situation. The history of anti-black racism and more contemporary anti-Asian violence leave students and CUNY community devastated and struggling to come to grips with the violence. Lorde’s work in ‘A Litany for Survival’ as well as her other prose and poetry ground the experiences of violence by braiding together individual experiences with systemic structural violence. The reflections by Meagan G. Washington and Dillonna C. Lewis, show just how rich the conversation Lorde’s work provoked in the breakout rooms. Continue reading