In a recent commentary published in Community College Daily, Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs Nicola Blake and Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Planning Niesha Ziehmke tout Guttman as an example of an institution that promotes and sparks needed social and economic change. In “You want systemic change? Community colleges have some tools to consider,” Deans Blake and Ziehmke explain how Guttman’s innovative, hands-on curriculum combined with the faculty’s teaching practices create opportunities for student success. Guttman embraces the whole student and ensures students’ voices, “expressed through the work they do in their courses, can play a role in the greater movement for social change.”
In addition to her role as Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs at Guttman, Dr. Nicola Blake has served as Faculty Advisor to the Provost, Special Advisor to the Provost for Faculty Development and Mentoring, and Liberal Arts and Sciences Program Coordinator. Prior to joining Guttman’s founding faculty, Dr. Blake taught at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and The City College of New York, CUNY, for over 10 years. At CCNY, she was Director of the Samuel Rudin Academic Resource Center and led numerous presidential initiatives on student success. Dr. Blake was awarded the prestigious American Council on Education (ACE) Fellowship for 2016-2017, focused on student success initiatives, strategic planning, and community partnerships. She is currently a US Fulbright Specialist (2015-2020), in addition to past service on the CUNY Chancellor’s Strategic Planning Committee, other CUNY-wide committees, and as New York State Board of Regents Accreditation Reviewer. Having received a Service Award from the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at CCNY, Dr. Blake has also secured several national and local grants to support high-impact practices to improve writing at the post-secondary level. Dr. Blake’s disciplinary research examines the role of narrators and narrative structure in medieval and modern literature, while her teaching and learning scholarship focuses on collaborative practices and pedagogies of engagement. She received her B.A. with honors in English and psychology from the CUNY and a Ph.D. in medieval literature from Rutgers University.
In her current role as Guttman’s Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Planning, Dr. Ziehmke is leading efforts to build guided pathways in the majors by elevating the connections of the academic curriculum to transfer and career preparation. Dr. Ziehmke earned her Master of Education from the New School and taught Spanish in a New York City public high school for six years. She then completed her Ph.D. in linguistics at the CUNY Graduate Center, with a focus on methods for teaching academic English to students who speak non-academic varieties of English. While working on her doctorate, she administered an educational psychology research program in Self-Regulated Learning (SRL). From 2009 to 2013, Dr. Ziehmke served as Director of First College Year Programs at Brooklyn College before taking on a position in Academic Affairs at LaGuardia Community College, where she took on the challenge of improving student success and assessment across the institution.