The Guttman Community College First-Year Experience (FYE) hosted its annual Summer Institute for Integrative Learning, held virtually June 22-26, 2020. Organized by Professor of English and FYE Program Coordinator Dr. Daniel Collins and Dean of Academic and Faculty Affairs Dr. Nicola Blake and supported by Assistant Dean Lavita McMath, the Institute focused on the cornerstones of the FYE: inclusion, integration, and community. The Institute prepares faculty and staff to work in the FYE and promotes excellence in teaching and student support, with the ultimate goal of increasing student retention and success in higher education. As the Guttman community grapples with the persistent social inequalities that put our Black, Latinx, and immigrant students at risk, made starkly clear by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Promising Practices that the FYE espouses have become especially relevant.
Almost fifty faculty and staff who teach and advise in the FYE engaged in a series of participatory sessions conducted by their Guttman colleagues and framed within leading scholarship in the fields of trauma-informed pedagogy, critical race theory, and anti-racist composition theory. The materials will be archived within Guttman’s unique, digital Center for Practice, Technology, and Innovation (CPTI). Participants also explored the ways these best practices may be used to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion in the FYE classroom. Workshops were facilitated by Assistant Professors and Information Literacy Librarians Alexandra Hamlett and Meagan Lacy; Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Alia Tyner-Mullings; and Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies Dr. Claire King. The Institute also dedicated time for dialogue among Team Leaders, the faculty at the helm of the learning communities of faculty, advisors, and classmates to which students belong for the entirety of their first year.
To kickstart and complement rich discussions of best practices in pedagogy, integrative learning, and learning communities, guest presenter Prof. Diego Navarro, founding director of the Academy for College Excellence (ACE) and member of Guttman’s Advisory Council, expertly addressed the topics of equity, effective communication, and response to trauma. Developing and piloting the ACE methods at Cabrillo College, where he taught a population of 80% Latinx students for 16 years, Prof. Navarro has delivered professional development workshops supporting the redesign of courses to incorporate affective and non-cognitive approaches and to embed 21st century skills development, as well as providing community of practice faculty revitalization sessions. Since 2006, this work has been studied and replicated extensively, benefitting over 45,000 students and thousands of faculty and staff from more than 90 institutions. Prof. Navarro has served as a coach on the California Guided Pathways Project and received appointments as a Visiting Scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching at Stanford and the University of California, Santa Cruz. In 2009-10, he was consultant to the team conceiving and designing the newest community college in the CUNY system, now known as Guttman.