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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
This post was written by Sarah L. Hoiland, Associate Professor of Sociology, Hostos Community College, María Julia Rossi, Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literature, John Jay College, and Ria Banerjee, Associate Professor of English, Guttman Community College
In late May 2021, our Women Rewrite America series ended and we wanted to provide a way for our participants to contribute to the Transforming Learning in the Humanities (TLH) Blog. What did our fellow readers get out of reading three novels in the last three months of an exhausting academic year? One would have to be crazy to volunteer to write a reflection in the summer, but several of our participants enthusiastically did just that and submitted their reflections.
Gita Pai points out the importance of “hearing voices” as a form of authorial activism common to authors Yaa Gyasi, Valeria Luiselli, and Kiley Reid, and one that is critical to a peoples’ history. For Anne Connor, the experience was personal, and provided space to “read emotionally,” something not often afforded to academics. Astrid Lorena Ochoa Campo pointed out the fun and refreshing aspects of reading and discussing at the end of her first year in a tenure-track position. Doctoral candidate Sonia Adams submitted pedagogical materials including one activity that examines Homegoing within the context of the global #BlackLivesMatters Timeline on her campus.
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.”
On February 8, 2022, TLH hosted part one of a two-part workshop on Anti-Racist Pedagogy: Adapting Our Teaching Habits, led by Dr. Felicia Rose Chavez. There were over 230 attendees!
The workshop focused on introspection and reflection within the topic of anti-racism in the academy. Dr. Chavez led active self-reflective exercises and emphasized the importance of co-creating curricula with students. The second workshop centered on tangible teaching tools. During both workshops Dr. Chavez shared a powerful vision for transformation!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.