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Changing the Frame from “Service” to “Leadership”

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.”

Quantify Accomplishments and Impact

One big tip I’ve picked up from folx in industry is to quantify my accomplishments wherever I can. For example, I’ve tried to word a bullet under my TLH title in a way that I’m able to showcase the impact of my work as a Postdoctoral Research Associate:

“Organized and facilitated the training of 4,000+ faculty, staff and students in antiracist, inclusive teaching practices and active learning, which has impacted an estimated 32,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Mentored 150+ faculty at all ranks, representing over 20 unique disciplines across 21 of CUNY’s campuses in effective, democratic digital pedagogies while they taught remote, hybrid, and in-person courses.”

I’m in the humanities, so I’m more accustomed to thinking about quality over quantity. While quality is important, so is impact. I got to these numbers by taking advantage of Zoom’s ability to track the number of participants on calls; tracking the number of campuses our fellows are from and what disciplines they teach in; and post-event surveys asking attendees how many students they are currently teaching. Quantifying impact goes beyond the scope of one person’s job application. Keeping our program self-assessment in mind throughout our 2 years of operation has made this kind of tracking possible (one of our team members thought to create a post-event survey; another thought to ask attendees how many students they teach), and having these numbers handy shows potential investors the value of our program.

There’s another way to show impact: listing the range of roles in the institution (e.g., “faculty, staff, and students”); the types of pedagogy (e.g., “antiracist, inclusive teaching practices and active learning”); and modes of instruction (e.g., “remote, hybrid, and in-person courses”). These, too, quantify/measure breadth and depth to some degree.

List Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) and Open Educational Resources (OER) as Publications

Include links on your CV/resume to digital projects, op-eds, blog posts, Manifold and Pressbook editions, CUNY Academic Works contributions, and more. One faculty fellow said, “My group is developing a project for manifold. That can be listed as a publication. It is also allowing me to learn to use Manifold, which I can put under professional development and, more importantly I think, allowing me to think about ways I might use Manifold in future classes.”

How to Talk about TLH According to TLH Faculty Fellows

Co-Directors Eversley and Brim asked the fellows this week to describe TLH in ways that would translate to a CV or resume. This is what the fellows said:

  • Cross-college collaboration on pedagogical innovation, antiracist curriculum strategies, creating equitable student learning experiences across different academic disciplines and 2-year and 4-year campuses
  • Having a dedicated time and space to think about the [name your profession] as a humanitarian discipline helped me transform my approach to teaching into a community effort that looks beyond the classroom
  • Promoting student critical thinking and awareness of the society around them while enabling them to become content creators and experts teaching the world.
  • CUNY-wide public knowledge project on transformational teaching
  • Pedagogical innovation to support retention, access; public humanities projects; broadening what the humanities means and does; scholarship and research in teaching and learning for diversity, access, inclusion, antiracism
  • Assessment, evaluation, and improvement of curriculum and pedagogy
  • Grounding work in social justice and implementing pedagogy that highlight collaboration and community building as a way for students to advocate for themselves as well as members of their respective communities
  • Opened up CUNY students to the possibility of impacting the world in non-traditional, more positive, ways
  • Cross disciplinary teaching and learning for the public academy
  • Worked to empower students to actively participate and take greater possession of their course material
  • Develop practices to foster student investment, equitable assessment practices, and transformational learning outcomes
  • Created public knowledge for CUNY as a selected TLH Faculty Fellow
  • Organized and facilitated the public knowledge project, “_______,” a virtual edition / podcast / professional development workshop with [#] faculty in attendance who together teach [#] students at CUNY.
  • Led students in creating a public knowledge project about the role of active learning in promoting educational success
  • Co-authored “_________” on the pedagogy blog for Transformative Learning in the Humanities, a three-year innovative teaching initiative at CUNY supported by a $2 million grant from the Mellon Foundation.
  • Contributed to the creation of an open education resource that was part of a student-led initiative where students produce a podcast episode that focuses on the lived experiences of CUNY students with political and societally contentious issues that are often considered taboo.
  • Implemented anti-racist and flipped pedagogical practices in my teaching through guidance from/collaboration with the TLH.
  • Support the development of syllabi and other pedagogical practices that conscientiously contend with coloniality and racism in our society.
  • Collaborated with a transformative collective of CUNY faculty who are leaders in their fields, representing over 20 unique disciplines across 21 of CUNY’s campuses in effective, democratic digital pedagogies while we taught remote, hybrid, and in-person courses.
  • Engaged in active self-assessment of pedagogical practices and collaborated with TLH fellows across various areas of expertise to create a public podcast on shifting assessment practices.
  • As part of the Mellon-funded, CUNY TLH initiative, I contributed to collaborative projects with students and faculty that explored community building in the classroom as a way to move toward liberatory education.
  • Working with MFAs in Pedagogy this semester, I’ve witnessed the impact beyond the course itself, as pedagogy students describe their own transformation as teachers; they comment on the resources I have brought to them from TLH, add their own notes to what I present from the TLH seminars and speaker series; describe their change in use of syllabus and assessment, etc.
  • Prioritized accessibility, diversity, equity, and inclusion, especially when…. teaching / creating and publishing Open Educational Resources (OER) / organizing a workshop / participating in committee work …
  • I bring [#] of years of experience collaborating on diverse and inclusive teams working toward social justice in education

Thank you to all our Fall 2022 faculty fellows for contributing to this extensive list!

More Resources

TLH Librarian Grace Handy pulled together a list of additional resources on translating academic skills to resumes: 

  • Christopher L. Caterine. (2020). Leaving Academia : A Practical Guide: Vol. Version 1.0. Princeton University Press.
  • Lesiuk, M. (2013). “Small bets” and the PhD process: Alt-Ac careers for humanities PhDs. English Studies in Canada, 39(4), 17+.
  • Montez, Noe. (2018). “Strengthening Job Prospects Within and Beyond the Academy.” HowlRound. 
  • Kelsky, Karen L. (2015). The Professor Is In: The Essential Guide to Turning Your Ph.D. into a Job. New York: Three Rivers.
  • Rogers, Katina. (2020) Putting the Humanities PhD to Work: Thriving in and Beyond the Classroom. Durham: Duke University Press.

Recap of Respect the Process: Examining Our Social Justice Perspectives with Dr. Bettina Love

On Wednesday, October 12th TLH hosted the Zoom workshop “Respect the Process: Examining Our Social Justice Perspectives in the Classroom” with Dr. Bettina Love. TLH  Faculty Co-Director Dr. Shelly Eversley introduced Dr. Love, and shared her quote, “Education can’t save us, we must save education.” This set the tone for the event, as Dr. Love shared how we must transform our classrooms into sites of healing. 

Dr. Love shared a quote from James Baldwin’s 1963 speech, “A Talk to Teachers,” in which he articulated how antiracism will be met with resistance as we are in a revolutionary situation. She discussed how many students come to us in “survival mode,” highlighted in her book We Want to Do More Than Survive, and revealed how we must heal and enlighten them, that this must happen before learning can occur. Dr. Love shared her practice of creating a healing classroom, including spending up to the first half an hour of class checking in with students, making sure they feel safe and asking for consent to discuss heavy topics, thus pointing to the importance of teaching and engaging with hard content in a way that is conducive to healing, instead of just creating awareness about Black trauma: “Nothing can happen if they don’t feel safe.” In addition to checking in with student wellbeing, Dr. Love made clear to us that teachers must check in and be okay as well to create such an environment. She discussed heavy topics such as school integration, making clear that such a movement is not over: schools are more segregated now than they’ve ever been since Brown v. Board. Dr. Love highlighted the importance of our interconnectedness and our humanity: abolitionist education is about seeing the humanity in people. She also discussed the sanitizing of civil rights leaders, such as MLK, who was staunchly anti-capitalist, discussing his work with the Poor People’s Campaign. She then emphasized the need for a revolution of values, as material conditions have not changed, though now we have buzzwords being used in DEI initiatives: it’s not about inclusion, we must see Black people as integral to our structures and society, because they are. Classrooms should be spaces to imagine and freedom to dream, she asks that we teach through a lens of Black Joy where we celebrate Black folx. Dr. Love ended her talk with a recording of the poem won’t you celebrate with me by Lucille Clifton.

The question and answer portion saw a lot of engagement and appreciation for Dr. Love’s talk. Someone asked about moving beyond DEI work, and Dr. Love shared that we must investigate our institution’s relationship to the police, and where our universities get money from and what they spend money on: who’s tenure track, who’s adjuncting? Equity means action, DEI is just professional development to support the institution’s brand. 

Dr. Love shared these tools to support healing in the classroom:

  • Check in at the start of class 
  • Prepare a safe space to learn 
  • Understand students’ lives
  • Faculty – Check your ego 
  • Create due dates around students’ schedules/lives
  • Mandatory fun & self care
  • Play and be creative
  • Don’t show Black trauma & death – respect people’s lives
  • Faculty – Be well
  • Faculty – Do no harm
  • Create a community that holds you accountable

2022 TLH Summer Institute Recap

On June 7th TLH held its Summer Institute with the 2022-2023 Faculty Fellows.

Grace Handy (TLH Research Assistant and Librarian) kicked off the institute by introducing TLH leadership with one fun fact about each. You can read more about TLH staff here. Faculty Co-Directors Shelly Eversley and Matt Brim then shared their pedagogical biographies—how and why they arrived here as teachers. This is a great warm up exercise for students, who can submit answers to the prompt “How and Why Did You Come to Be Here?” on a Padlet for all to see and read or in conversation with peers on the first day of class (see example from one of Matt’s class). In addition to sharing their stories about why they became teachers—Matt learning how to teach vis a vis Poor Queer Studies and Shelly embracing love in her classroom to teach with “radical openness”—and what it has been like to teach at CUNY during the pandemic, Shelly emphasized that to choose to love one’s students is a political act and fosters an environment of belonging, value, and care in which the best kind of learning can be made possible. 

Next, it was the Faculty Fellows’ turn to share in a low-stakes collaborative, community building exercise facilitated by Christina Katopodis (Associate Director of TLH) using Mentimeter. Shelly and Matt asked the fellows to share their visions inspired by the “ecstasy” and “teaching and learning without limits” bell hooks discusses in Teaching to Transgress (pp. 201-208). The prompt for the entry ticket was, “In your classes, what makes possibilities happen?” to which the fellows could respond up to 5 times each. Below is the word cloud of their responses. 

This transitioned into a deep listening exercise led by Pedagogy Co-Leader Jason Hendrickson: the fellows were put into breakout rooms with 2-3 people and took turns speaking without interruption for 2 minutes (with a timer set). While one fellow spoke, the other(s) focused on being silent but active listeners. The prompt was, “What is your educational/pedagogical biography or genealogy? How did you get here—how did you arrive here as a teacher?” Following this deep listening exercise, the fellows reflected on the experience of deep listening in a metacognitive activity using Jamboard: 

Fellows also reflected on the exercise in the Zoom chat, some sharing it was too short as they had more to share and connect on with their partners. Next, Jason talked about why deep listening matters and reflection as a means to self-discovery. Then we stopped for a 10-minute break. Meanwhile, Grace played part of a podcast on (Re)Mapping Knowledge created by some of the Spring 2022 Faculty Fellows as their public knowledge project. 

After the break, Jason led us in a Creative DNA exercise inspired by Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit, asking us, “How do we find and bring our creativity into our work and life?” Jason shared a clip from The Five Heartbeats and his own creative process: he often finds “valuable thoughts from music, movies and the trash,” which he then can put together and revise. Then we all engaged in five minutes of writing practice, responding to these prompts: 

  • Describe your first creative successful act. 
  • When you work, do you love the process or the result? 
  • Who regularly inspires you? (And why?)

These reflections were just for the Fellows to have for themselves. Next, Shelly shared the reason why we choose these particular books for this year’s TLH curriculum, “to creatively think about how we teach,” and introduced the fellows to Bruce Mau’s 5-Minute Manifesto exercise adapted for teaching at CUNY with the vision of transforming CUNY and higher ed more generally. The fellows worked in a collaborative Google Doc in batches to respond to various writing prompts and begin to construct a collaborative manifesto—one that we will return to at the beginning of the seminars in the 2022-2023 academic year. One fellow described it: “The interface looks kind of like a bunch of worker bees collaboratively/concurrently building a rainbow colored colony!” 

Afterwards, Shelly and Matt reflected on the activity and TLH’s mission for the coming year and beyond. Shelly has used this manifesto activity with her students, and fellows in the 2021-2022 cohorts likewise used this activity in their classrooms (read an example collaborative manifesto project here). Some fellows also shared their thoughts and contributions aloud:

  • Trusting students is most important
  • We can lead our students to do the same thing to share their thoughts
  • Revision means to see it again, re-doing and re-learning is important to our students and ourselves
  • We are learners and always learning
  • Instead of talking about success and failure, we should rethink the meaning and process of learning itself
  • We could think more about how to inspire students to believe themselves rather than focus on their grades and homework 

During the break, Grace shared two slides about TLH’s impact at CUNY and beyond in the first two years of the grant. 

We then played a short, inspiring video by Cathy N. Davidson (Founding Faculty Co-Director of TLH) who talked about the efficacy of active learning in the classroom and her reasons for starting with pedagogy, especially why she uses an anti-hierarchical model in her classroom: to make higher ed more equitable, just, and inclusive. Christina then led a follow-up activity, asking fellows to respond to this question in the chat: “What language do you use to introduce students to anti-hierarchical teaching methods? How are you thinking about upending hierarchies in your own classrooms?” Some responses included:

  • Co-production of knowledge
  • Understanding the classroom as a community
  • Students’ own grading of their performance
  • I use language influenced by Freire, hooks, and Zinn, as examples
  • I ask my students to create a Community Agreement and then ask them for help to improve the whole class
  • Talking with students about standardized English in classrooms and academia — and how languages are hierarchized in these contexts
  • I like to start with a literacy map that traces their important literacy events in life. Then we reflect and discuss them. A question I pose is – did your map reflect standardized testing or a grade?
  • One of the first things I do to show (if not explicitly tell) is to respond to the same introductory discussion prompt I give them (thinking of hooks here — “I do not expect to…share in any way that I would not share” p. 21)
  • Developing own questions and converting them into students’ own assignment
  • I begin by telling them that no person is illegal
  • Peer revision, students teaching one another
  • I have students do three reflections. In the first, they answer the question “How do you define history.” They return to the question at the midterm and the final. There is not a right or wrong answer—they track how their own ideas develop.
  • Tying the learning/knowledge to our everyday lives and critically interrogating our own positionalities

Before breaking into small groups to begin brainstorming potential public knowledge projects inspired by anti-hierarchical transformative teaching methods, Christina introduced some of the logistics about how the projects work. Examples of prior projects on TLH blog: The fellows then broke out into their public knowledge project groups and worked collaboratively on Jamboard.

Jessica Murray (TLH Director of Digital Communications) followed this activity with an explanation of how TLH uses CUNY Academic Commons groups to facilitate communications between fellows and their cohorts. The main site is Transformative Learning in the Humanities. Grace then shared an example CUNY commons website that one Spring 2022 fellows group created with their students as their public knowledge project—a good example of the versatility of the platform and how it supports collaboration. After Christina answered some questions about the public knowledge projects, the fellows went back into their groups to share syllabus and teaching ideas and discuss how they can practice student-centered, empowered teaching and learning in the coming academic year.

Incoming Pedagogy Co-Leader Virginia Diaz made several announcements about upcoming events in TLH events. The institute was a great opportunity for the Fellows to meet and connect, and begin thinking through their collaborations on transformative teaching and active learning.

Imperialism, Education, and Resistance: Experiences from Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic

This interdisciplinary discussion with poets, cultural scholars, human rights activists, and historians explored the history and current presence of US imperialism in the Caribbean and the Philippines. Central themes included (neo/post) colonialism, its legacies and current experiences, expulsions, racialization, and climate change. Participants also discussed the role of education in resistance and proposed practical applications in educational settings. Raquel Salas Rivera from Puerto Rico discussed and presented queer anti-colonial poetry and spoke about the initiative The Puerto Rican Literature Project that consolidates, reflects and responds to community exchanges of Puerto Rican poets across all regions. Jody Blanco talked about how race and capitalism influenced how Filipino mestizo revolutionary leaders viewed (and invited) US intervention as a transitional force against Spanish colonial rule, with disastrous consequences after the Americans imposed their own imperial designs. Ana María Belique, from the Dominican Republic, discussed the fight against statelessness after ruling 168/13 of the constitutional court that revoked the citizenship of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent in 2013.

This event was organized by CUNY professors Fidelito Cortes, Javiela Evangelista, Niberca (Gigi) Polo and Rojo Robles. Student leaders participated as moderators of the final conversation.

Watch a video of the event (captions in English and Spanish)
Vea un video del evento (subtítulos en inglés y español)

Imperialism, Education, and Resistance: Experiences from Puerto Rico, The Philippines, and The DR

This interdisciplinary discussion with poets, cultural scholars, human rights activists, and historians, explores the shared history and ongoing presence of …

Imperialismo, educación y resistencia: experiencias de Puerto Rico, Filipinas y República Dominicana

Esta discusión interdisciplinaria con poetas, estudiosos de la cultura, activistas de derechos humanos e historiadores exploró la historia y la presencia actual del imperialismo estadounidense en el Caribe y Filipinas. Los temas centrales incluyeron (neo/post) colonialismo, sus legados y experiencias actuales, expulsiones, racialización y cambio climático. Los participantes también discutieron el papel de la educación en la resistencia y propusieron aplicaciones prácticas en entornos educativos. Raquel Salas Rivera de Puerto Rico discutió y presentó poesía queer anticolonial y habló sobre la iniciativa El Proyecto de Literatura Puertorriqueña que consolida, refleja y responde a los intercambios comunitarios de poetas puertorriqueños en todas las regiones. Jody Blanco habló sobre cómo la raza y el capitalismo influyeron en cómo los líderes revolucionarios mestizos filipinos vieron (e invitaron) la intervención de los EE. UU. como una fuerza de transición contra el dominio colonial español, con consecuencias desastrosas después de que los estadounidenses impusieran sus propios diseños imperiales. Ana María Belique, de República Dominicana, habló sobre la lucha contra la apatridia luego de la sentencia 168/13 de la corte constitucional que revocó la ciudadanía de miles de dominicanos de ascendencia haitiana en 2013.

Este evento fue organizado por los profesores de CUNY Fidelito Cortés, Javiela Evangelista, Niberca (Gigi) Polo y Rojo Robles. Los líderes estudiantiles participaron como moderadores del conversatorio final.


TLH Faculty Fellow-Led Events, Fall 2021

Join us for our three remaining TLH Faculty Fellow-led events for the Fall 2021 semester, which highlight the innovative work our Faculty Fellows are doing at their campuses and in collaboration with each other. Check out the registration links below for full details.

Imperialism, Education, and Resistance: Experiences from Puerto Rico, The Philippines, and The Dominican Republic
Wednesday, December 1 @ 6-7 pm (EST)
Online (via Zoom)
Register Here (opens in a new window).

Bravery in the Classroom
Thursday, December 2 @ 4-4 pm (EST)
Online (via Zoom)
Register Here (opens in a new window)

Community Access and Equity in Health Education
Guttman Community College
50 West 40th St.
Wednesday, December 8 @ 6-8 pm (EST)

And, in case you missed it, be sure to check out the recap and recording from our first Faculty Fellow-Led event on November 10, Creating Communities of Care in our Classrooms.