Category Archives: Student-Centered Pedagogy

Freedom Dreaming Zine (A Public Knowledge Project)

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

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

CUNY Student Summit event recap

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. Continue reading

Crumbs, Pedagogies of Care, and Instagram: A TLH Public Knowledge Project

During one of our first TLH seminars, we discussed what it means to treat students with care. What does it mean? What doesn’t it? 

Inspired by the work of Hooks and other feminist theories and frameworks, Pedagogies of Care emphasize creating supportive environments and fostering positive relationships in the classroom. They focus on empathy and compassion in the classroom. They prioritize relationship building, emotional support, inclusive practices, authentic engagement, empowerment, and agency. Pedagogies of Care ask us to remember that our students are real people, people with thoughts and feelings and fears, all which can (and do) affect their learning experiences. In short, what we said on that day in the seminar stuck with us: How we connect with our students (each and every one of them!) is something fundamental, something crucial – it creates the bonds between us within the classroom. Care matters. 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