Guttman Associate Professor of Sociology Mary Gatta and Associate Dean of Academic Planning Niesha Ziehmke published chapters in Harvard Education Publishing Group’s Teaching Students About the World of Work: A Challenge to Postsecondary Educators. Their co-authored chapter is titled “Ethnographies of Work: A Transformative Framework for Career Learning.” Dr Gatta also co-wrote another chapter in the book with Nancy Hoffman, titled “Social Capital and the Social Construction of Skills.”
Dr. Mary Gatta joined the faculty as Associate Professor of Sociology at Stella and Charles Guttman Community College in August 2015. Prior to her appointment at CUNY, Dr. Gatta served as a Senior Scholar at Wider Opportunities for Women in Washington DC, as Director of Gender and Workforce Policy at the Center for Women and Work, and Assistant Professor of Labor Studies at Rutgers University. She recently served on New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s Labor and Workforce Development Transition Team. Previously, Dr. Gatta had led a series of evaluation of workforce and education programs for agencies including the US Department of Labor.
At Guttman, Dr. Gatta teaches social science courses and serves as the Area Coordinator of Ethnographies of Work, a key component of Guttman’s First-Year Experience. Students use ethnographic research methods and a social science framework to explore work and careers with a critical lens, along with mastering key job-readiness skills. The unique aspect of this course and Dr. Gatta’s leadership role is ensuring that career education and information is embedded within the academic curriculum in order to better ensure student success in college and beyond. Dr. Gatta has published articles on this course and its impact on students’ learning and understanding of professional careers.
In additon, Dr. Gatta is a leader in research related to job quality, such as workplace flexibility for low-wage workers; workforce development programs and nontraditional job training for women. Her book, Waiting on Retirement: Aging and Economic Insecurity in Low Wage Work, on the experiences of older low-wage workers as they march toward a semblance of retirement, was released in October 2018 by Stanford University Press. Her latest book, Gentrification Down the Shore, written with fellow Guttman faculty Dr. Molly Makris, explores the connection between jobs, racial inequality, seasonal gentrification and the experiences of long-time residents in Asbury Park, NJ. will be released in November 2020. Dr. Gatta has also explored the experiences of women as they navigate One-Stop Career Centers, which led to her book, All I Want Is a Job! Unemployed Women Navigating the Public Workforce System. She is the author of Not Just Getting By: The New Era of Flexible Workforce Development and Juggling Food and Feelings: Emotional Balance in the Workplace, as well as being the editor of A US Skills System for the 21st Century: Innovations in Workforce Education and Development. In addition to books, Dr. Gatta has published numerous academic articles, policy papers and op-eds.
In Dr. Ziehmke’s role as Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Planning at Guttman’s Office of Academic Affairs (OAA), she oversees the Center for Career Preparation and Partnerships (CCPP) and is Co-Director of the Center on Ethnographies of Work. The EOW Center champions career education grounded in the curriculum, which explores the meaning of work in human lives and helps students develop a critical lens on the systems at play in the labor market and workplace. The Center also engages students as partners in the education, research, and advocacy required to champion and support a tremendous, diverse talent pool, break cycles of poverty and exclusion, and transform the world of work on a national scale.
Dr. Ziehmke’s career reflects her deep commitment to educational equity for our students and our city. She earned her Master in Education from the New School for Social Research and taught Spanish in a NYC public high school. She then completed her Ph.D. in linguistics at the CUNY Graduate Center, with a focus on methods for English language instruction that are more sociolinguistically aware and supportive of many varieties of English. Dr. Ziehmke went on to serve as Director for First College Year Programs at Brooklyn College, and, more recently, served as Executive Associate for Academic Affairs at LaGuardia Community College where she worked collaboratively to take on the challenge of improving student success and assessment across the institution.