Guttman students Roesha Biggs (Liberal Arts major), Argentina Maria-Vanderhorst (Urban Studies major), and Jose Hernandez (Human Services major) gave a presentation with Guttman professors Jane E. Hindman, Dan Collins, and Nate Mickelson at the Critical Pedagogies at CUNY: Learning Through Writing conference. Held at LaGuardia Community College on April 13, 2018, and organized by LaGuardia’s English department, the conference served as a valuable forum for sharing promising practices from across CUNY, focusing in particular on strategies for promoting critical literacy.
The Guttman team’s presentation focused on the College’s innovative approach to writing instruction. The students described their experiences with writing in the Summer Bridge program, the First Year Experience (FYE) and programs of study. Roesha and Argentina described “collage essays” they wrote in ENGL 103 Composition 1. The “collage essays” combined personal reflections and story-telling with academic research in a creative format. Roesha and Argentina explained how the “collage essay” assignment prepared them for more formal research-writing assignments in their programs of study. Jose described leading a 45-minute lesson on Gwendolyn Brooks’s poem “The Second Sermon on the Warpland” in LASC 101 City Seminar 1: Reading & Writing. He explained how leading the lesson helped him take ownership of his learning and to see the classroom from the instructor’s perspective.
Professors Hindman, Collins, and Mickelson made a similar presentation at the March 2018 national Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) in Kansas City, MO. Titled “The Messy Business of Innovation: Community, Process, and Chaos in First-Year Writing,” the presentation highlighted Guttman’s deeply experiential and process-oriented writing pedagogy. It emphasized how the Guttman approach challenges students to develop writing practices that enable them to transfer skills from one course to another and feel confident about their ability to successfully complete a range of writing tasks.