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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
In 2021, the Baruch Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) launched the CUNY 1969 Project, an interactive Open Educational Resource (OER) platform that explores the history of the 1969 Five Demands student protest movement, which fought for policies to reconstitute the racial composition of incoming CUNY students. Through the curation of historical texts, recordings, and interviews, the project provides an applied showcase of CUNY’s institutional archives that can be used in classrooms across CUNY.
From the student movements of the 1960s to the recent demands for antiracist classrooms and pedagogies, CUNY’s history of activism often remains frozen in archives and does not get passed down to its undergraduates. The work of the CUNY 1969 Project seeks to grapple with this problem by engaging CUNY stakeholders to reanimate the history of student activism at the university, re-engage with the archives that store it, and pass this knowledge down to students.
On February 8th of this year, with support from the Transformative Learning in the Humanities Grant (2023), we hosted and recorded a panel of three experts who have used the CUNY 1969 Project in their teaching and research. Panelists and attendees were invited to reflect on this history, teaching opportunities across disciplines, and the possibilities of students’ own agency within the university.
You can view the panel here:
And thanks in part to funding from the Transformative Learning in the Humanities Grant (2023) and the OER Initiatives Grant (2022, 2023), the CTL has been able to host a June “CUNY 1969 Teach-in and Retreat” program, first in 2022 and again this year. The retreat brings together CUNY scholars to closely examine the narrative, debates, and histories of open admissions at CUNY and the lasting legacies of student and faculty activism.
Over four weeks in June 2023, the second CUNY 1969 Teach-in will host a cohort of subject matter experts in CUNY institutional history, using and teaching with library archives, Creative Commons licensing, and undergraduate student research. Following the format of our successful (but Baruch-focused, due to more limited resources) Summer 2022 Teach-in, our Summer 2023 programming will facilitate synchronous and asynchronous instruction, discussion, and presentation on CUNY history, with a particular focus on student activism towards a more just and equitable university.
Teach-in participants will collaborate over open-access educational resources associated with the CUNY 1969 Project that interact with their interests, such as a lesson plan or assignment for future instructors using CUNY 1969 Project material.
Community partnerships—among departments, organizations, CUNY faculty and staff, and alumni—have been essential to the CUNY 1969 Project. The previous Teach-in created needed space for mindful conversations about CUNY’s history and future. Receiving the TLH grant has allowed us to scale up this project’s reach to a CUNY-wide community of teachers and scholars in the humanities and social sciences. We seek to support and develop instructors across CUNY who want to engage their students and peers in conversations and activities related to the activist history of our institution as well as, more broadly, transformative learning in higher education.
We invite you to check out the CUNY 1969 Project and join our efforts to center the university’s own complex history of students, faculty, staff, teaching, and learning.
—Hamad Sindhi and Seth Graves, CUNY 1969 Project Managers
Shifting Mindsets Through Assessments: A Two-Part Dialogue
A TLH podcast project by: Carolina Julian, Jessica Nicoll, Luis Feliciano, and Theodore Kesler
As a group, we were curious about shifting assessment practices in our classrooms. Whether in psychology, math, early childhood education, or dance courses, we aligned in our goal to encourage students to take ownership of the learning. To this aim, we focused our energies into creating classrooms that foster deep listening, observation, responsiveness to our students, culturally-responsive teaching practices, self-evaluation opportunities, and co-construction of course content. We learned more about what each individual brought into the classroom–from names, to lived experiences, and areas of curiosity–and emphasized the need for our students to learn from one another and build a dialogic community through practical, active approaches. We also consciously structured our courses to include student leadership opportunities, through which students developed their capacities to ask “who has the power?”, and to take greater responsibility for their learning. Continue reading →
On Tuesday, September 14th, we held virtual TLH Open Office Hours with the Mellon TLH Faculty Fellows. We had 11 participants, who shared their experiences with grading and ungrading (alternative forms of assessment).
Some of the challenges discussed included the tedium of grading in Blackboard; helping students understand how scaffolding works (and that missed assignments can snowball into weaker bigger-stakes assignments); guiding student decisions in co-created assessments; and, more generally, increasing student engagement and self-motivation.
Faculty also shared useful tips and strategies, such as:
talking students through HOW and WHY a given type of assessment or type of assignment works can help them understand the mechanics and gain a grasp of how syllabi and even institutions function–learn the unspoken rules and how to navigate them, an especially important skill for those who feel underprepared for college;
using group work (and peer review) to help extroverted students manage their speaking-time and help shier students open up (e.g., put all of the “extroverts” in one group and all the “introverts” in a different group);
asking students to set goals and learning outcomes for themselves at the beginning of the semester and, later, asking them to self-assess how close they came to achieving those goals (individual and/or collective) by the end of the semester;
making connections between the course content and students lives (e.g., ask students what they are most curious about).
I also presented a brief slide deck with some examples of ungrading, which you can view here.
Mellon TLH Faculty Fellow Michael L. J. Greer kindly shared some further resources with me after the workshop:
If you’d like to dive in further this semester, there is an #Ungrading Edcamp happening this November 4-6, 2021 (registration is free and the agenda will be informed by what participants are most interested in, so sign up and add your thoughts here).
A key component of our grant is that faculty will include their current students in the active learning process. CUNY faculty this Spring 2021 term are doing exactly that. This semester TLH is co-sponsoring over 60 events that are free, remotely accessible, and open to the public. These events are organized by CUNY faculty and students from across all of CUNY’s campuses as part of TLH’s active and participatory learning series. RSVP today for February events! Check our website as we continue to post more upcoming events to look forward to in March, April, and May.
All of these events are remotely accessible, free, and open to the public. Continue reading →