Liberal Arts and Sciences

person opening a book

Program of Study

An Associate degree in the Liberal Arts and Sciences is expressly designed to prepare our graduates for successful transfer, progress in higher education, and careers in a rapidly evolving, global workforce.

To reinforce a solid general education that emphasizes communication skills, critical thinking, and complex problem-solving abilities, using pedagogies of equity, the Program offers two distinct tracks: Science and Math (LAS-SciM) and Social Sciences and Humanities (LAS-SSHU). Both tracks culminate in a robust Capstone experience, giving students the opportunity to apply academic knowledge to addressing contemporary issues.

Students pursuing the Science and Math track acquire a fundamental background in the life and physical sciences in preparation for smooth transfer to a baccalaureate program. Course-based undergraduate research and laboratory experiences are hallmarks of the Science and Math track – students participate in at least one every semester. Science graduates with sights on advanced studies in the medical sciences are well-positioned to pursue their aspirations.

Using approaches from a range of social sciences and humanities, the LAS-SSHU track invites students to deepen their engagement with academic while fostering their development as active citizens in a diverse, democratic society. A selection of courses on specialized topics, where students interact closely with expert faculty, impart the conceptual tools and varied skills required for excellence in further education and their chosen professions.

Mission – LAS-SciM

In support of the mission of Guttman Community College, the Science and Math track of the Liberal Arts and Sciences program aims to:

  • Create an environment that supports student success through instructor and advisor accessibility, small class sizes, well-supported lab facilities, creative and innovative pedagogy, and student academic support;
  • Provide multi-modal education in a technologically modern, sustainable, student-centered environment;
  • Create an atmosphere that cultivates student literacy and life-long interest in science through curricular and co-curricular activities, projects, and opportunities for student research;
  • Provide a clear path to obtaining an Associate degree for students of widely diverse age, gender identity, background, ethnicity, culture, and socioeconomic status;
  • Cultivate students’ understanding and appreciation for evidence- and logic-based reasoning both as a tool for academic success and scientific inquiry and as a critical tool for responsible civic life;
  • Teach leadership by example through active faculty participation in shared governance, community engagement, professional accountability, and sustainable operations; and
  • Support each faculty member’s maintenance of disciplinary expertise by engaging in professional development, collaborative opportunities, and by supporting the growth of our peers.

Philosophy

The Liberal Arts and Sciences program is committed to developing self-reliant critical thinkers with the knowledge and skills in the humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences to meet the challenges of today’s society through the application of evidence-based approaches to complex social, cultural, and scientific issues.

To promote career readiness within the curriculum, the Program implements course design and experiences that promote and incorporate the National Association of College and Employers (NACE) Career Competencies:

  • Critical Thinking/Problem Solving
  • Oral/Written Communication
  • Teamwork/Collaboration
  • Digital Technology
  • Leadership
  • Professionalism/Work Ethic
  • Career Management
  • Global/Intercultural Fluency

Program Learning Outcomes

Science and Math (LAS-SciM​​)

Upon successful completion of the LAS-Science and Math track, students will be able to:

  • Employ common laboratory procedures to study scientific phenomena;
  • Analyze data collected to make conclusions about scientific phenomena;
  • Employ college-level literacy practices in scientific disciplines, including using correct citation format;
  • Retrieve relevant literature using appropriate scientific databases to analyze and understand scientific information;
  • Engage in current scientific issues, demonstrate their knowledge and communicate with a range of audiences; and
  • Develop skills to identify and analyze problems and apply scientific knowledge to solve them.

Social Sciences and Humanities (LAS-SSHU)

Upon successful completion of the LAS-SSHU track, students will be able to:

  • Distinguish the modes of inquiry used within liberal arts and social sciences disciplines (e.g., Anthropology, Economics, Psychology, Sociology, Literature, History, Philosophy, Art, and Music);
  • Explain how differences of race, class, gender and sexuality have contributed to the development of contemporary problems of social and economic inequality;
  • Combine methodologies from multiple disciplines to investigate large-scale questions about human behavior and society;
  • Apply ethical understandings to contemporary social issues; and
  • Construct effective research questions and apply principles of analysis and synthesis in conducting research.

Liberal Arts and Sciences News

November 20, 2020

Guttman Urban Studies Faculty Drs. Makris and Gatta Release New Book

Dr. Molly Vollman Makris and Dr. Mary Gatta have co-authored Gentrification Down the Shore, an insightful ethnographic case study recently released by Rutgers University Press. The book explores the evolution of Asbury Park, New Jersey, a beach town vibrant in the late 19th and early 20th centuries before bearing the downward impact of broader structural socioeconomic changes on US urban areas.

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October 23, 2020

Dr. Ria Banerjee, Associate Professor of English

“We can disagree and still be friends… Most of the time, a literature classroom is a philosophical space. It’s about how we live, how we react to each other, how we deal with love, and who we are constantly becoming. So, disagreement and argument… help us really understand what we think and why.”

Associate Professor of English Dr. Ria Banerjee specializes in literary modernism, primarily Anglophone British, European, and Indian writing of the 1910s-1930s – “partly because I love that ‘modernist mood’ and partly because so much of what people lived through at the beginning of the 20th century bears eerie parallels to what we are going through now.” Presently, she is at work on the manuscript of her book, tentatively titled Drafty Houses, where she posits that the way “modernist [English] authors wrote about changing, renovating, and restructuring houses and personal spaces in fiction actually speaks to how they thought the UK ought to change politically.” Avoiding direct confrontation with the authorities, “established authors like T. S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf wrote about rooms, buildings, and houses as a kind of substitute for… the nation as a shelter for citizens.” These writers became what Dr. Banerjee calls “tepid activists,” who were “outraged at the many political atrocities carried out by the UK at home and abroad, especially in the British colonies, [but] tried to find ways to be critical without being arrested,“ or having their writing banned. 

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September 11, 2020

Dr. Maggie Dickinson, Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies

“I want for students to understand how their own curiosity can become a resource for self-education… that they can take control of their own education, follow their interests, and trust themselves to learn independently.”

“What drew me to Guttman is teaching,” Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies Dr. Maggie Dickinson proclaims with passion, “that community of faculty who are just so dedicated to understanding teaching as a practice and putting that at the center of their work.” The Online Course Development training she led with fellow Guttman faculty Dr. Kristina Baines, which became urgent as COVID-19 took hold in Spring 2020, embodied this value. “Dean Blake really supported us in making it a home-grown professional development. We drew on the resources at Guttman to put it together [so] it really built on the work that everybody was already doing.” Since coming to the College in 2016, Prof. Dickinson has observed the shift to recognizing “that we have faculty who are leaders in understanding some of these [pedagogical] questions and we can draw on them as experts.”

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August 3, 2020

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Accepts Guttman Biology Lecturer’s Project

Guttman Lecturer of Biology Derek Tesser’s project was accepted by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a federally funded research and development center managed by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA. Prof. Tesser describes his innovation: “I proposed to utilize Ecost​ress, an experimental NASA sensor recently placed on the International Space Station, for an integrative method to mapping Earth’s ecosystems from space. The approach will merge the thermal data acquired by Ecostress with information from Earth science radar satellites in orbit to characterize components of the carbon, water, and energy cycle in priority ‘hotspot’ ecosystems around the world.”

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August 3, 2020

Dr. Alia Tyner-Mullings Applies Sociological Method to Studying Disney Films

In February 2020, Guttman Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Alia Tyner-Mullings presented “More Than the Renaissance: Revisiting the Periodization of Disney Animated Feature Films” at the Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA. The presentation posits that, “if examining changes in popular culture,” the way a cultural artifact “is understood” must be contextually “defined [and] situated in a longitudinal analysis.” When the particular work “intersects with multiple social institutions, careful examination of the elements and their place in time is especially relevant.” Dr. Tyner-Mullings argues that “one example of this is the movies created by the Walt Disney Company. …They are not only a product of a media conglomerate and serve an entertainment function, but they, like other forms of media, also contribute to the education and socialization of children.”

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May 1, 2020

Dr. Ria Banerjee Awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Grant

Assistant Professor of English Dr. Ria Banerjee has been awarded a prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities grant. The Summer Stipend supports the completion of Dr. Banerjee’s book Drafty Houses: Modernist Fiction and Spatiality, looking at the work of E. M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, and T. S. Eliot.

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April 6, 2020

Dr. Alia Tyner-Mullings, Associate Professor of Sociology

“The thing that you always want as a professor is that moment when the students get what you’re talking about… see something and connect it to their lives, or see [something] in their lives and connect it to [what’s] happening in the classroom… When you do something in a class and the students say it was the first time they did that, or the first time they saw the point of something.”

There is little that Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Alia Tyner-Mullings has not done as a Guttman Founding Faculty, joining in 2011, a year before the College’s doors opened to students. Colleagues assume, she laughs, “that any committee that exists, I’m on it, which obviously is not true.” Dr. Tyner-Mullings has chaired Guttman’s chapter of the Professional Staff Congress since its inception, a position she has held through several election cycles and crucial contract negotiations. A vocal advocate for establishing the Academic Senate, she presently serves as its Vice Chair. Dr. Tyner-Mullings has collaborated to revise Guttman’s unique two-semester Ethnographies of Work (EoW) sequence and, subsequently, to create an Open Educational Resource (OER) for these courses. In addition, the acronym she coined for the Guttman Learning Outcomes that articulate educational goals and reflect the institution’s vision for our students – GLOs – has been heartily adopted.

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March 24, 2020

Guttman Leadership and Faculty Awarded NSF HSI Program Grant to Improve STEM Outcomes

Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Planning Niesha Ziehmke, Associate Professor of Biology Karla Fuller, and Assistant Professor of Information Technology Dalvin Hill have been awarded the National Science Foundation Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic Serving Institutions (HIS Program) grant for their project, “Testing the Impact of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Streamline Transfer Support on STEM Success for Underrepresented Students.”

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March 22, 2020

Professor’s Research on Creating Biofuel from Waste Published

Assistant Professor of Science Dr. Jihyun Kim’s research on transforming brown grease into biodiesel fuel has been published in the Journal of Biochemical Engineering. The groundbreaking research describes the process of using water treatment plant waste to create a renewable energy source in the form of biodiesel.

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March 18, 2020

Guttman Professor Receives CUNY ICCRG Grant to Organize Conference on Climate Change Education

Guttman Lecturer of Biology Derek Tesser is a co-PI on a proposed CUNY Conference on Climate Change Education, awarded a $10,000 CUNY Interdisciplinary Climate Crisis Research Grant (ICCRG). The conference, planned for the fall, will bring together K-16 educators from the NYC regional area to discuss how to better teach climate change to a wide audience.

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February 27, 2020

Dr. Vivian Lim, Assistant Professor of Mathematics

“I always say [to my students], I want you to be the master of mathematics rather than mathematics being the master of you.”

Assistant Professor of Mathematics Dr. Vivian Lim finds Guttman “the perfect setting for being able to teach math in a way that is meaningful, that engages students critically about the world.” Teaching the Quantitative Reasoning (QR) component of City Seminar in the First-Year Experience since Fall 2017 has been ideal as “one of the fundamental learning outcomes is students being critical and using math in an interdisciplinary way.” Dr. Lim freely admits that “this is my dream job,” an opportunity to connect math directly to her students’ lives and empower them as civic agents.

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January 17, 2020

Assistant Professor James Rodriguez Joins Panel on Gentrification at Brooklyn Historical Society Event

Assistant Professor of History James Rodriguez was a panelist at Brooklyn Historical Society’s “Gentrification 2.0: The Good, the Bad, and the Blurry” event on January 15th. Professor Rodriguez contributed his expertise on the topic of gentrification as a co-author of the recently published book,  Racial Inequality in New York City Since 1965.

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January 6, 2020

Dr. Tashana Samuel, Assistant Professor of Psychology

“My students are deserving of the wonderful opportunities that life has to offer, even if they have to demand a seat at the table.”

“Lean into the present and don’t waste time” are tenets of Dr. Tashana Samuel’s proactive philosophy, words by which she lives. A child psychologist specializing in cognitive development, Dr. Samuel holds a Ph.D. from the CUNY Graduate Center, with research experience including a longitudinal study at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital Center under Drs. Catherine Monk and Laraine McDonough. Since becoming Assistant Professor of Psychology at Guttman in 2015, Dr. Samuel is simultaneously teaching Statistics in the First-Year Experience and Introduction to Psychology in the Liberal Arts and Sciences – Humanities and Social Sciences Program of Study; conducting research on “techniques to alleviate academic anxiety in community college students”; publishing the promising findings in an article co-authored with fellow Guttman faculty Dr. Jared Warner; and sharing their pedagogical impact in service of our students. Also involved in expanding psychology course offerings at the College, she is excited to teach Guttman’s upcoming first iteration of Child Psychology.

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November 26, 2019

Cesarina Checo Is Helping Change the System

Cesarino Checo really enjoys helping others, and her experience at Guttman helped her make that realization. She is a second-year Liberal Arts & Sciences – Social Sciences and Humanities track student, and a Student Government Association Senator. Cesarina humbly admits that she holds a 3.9 GPA. During her first year at Guttman, she made her college experience all about academics, but a service-learning requirement in a philosophy class taught by Professor Claire King changed her perspective and made her see that being involved in other ways can affect positive change on a larger scale.

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November 15, 2019

Prof. Keino Brown, Lecturer of Mathematics

“You will not have learned everything possible at any point in your life. The learning process is a lifelong endeavor. It is never over.”

Defying deep-seated expectations, Lecturer of Mathematics Keino Brown reveals that he was once “hellbent on becoming an English professor. Then, math happened.” He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Mathematics at the CUNY Graduate Center, “securing the requisite firm footing in the breadth of my discipline’s concerns.” Though “not yet settled on any particular interest,” Prof. Brown will likely select his research focus from one of the “pillars” of mathematical physics: topology, differential geometry, or complex analysis. Since Spring I 2014, Guttman has counted him among the pure mathematicians at the College, where he has taught every mathematics course offered at least once, aiming “to make the classroom feel like a shared space for learning how to think about abstractions logically.”

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November 15, 2019

Dr. Banerjee Awarded MLA Humanities Innovation Course Development Grant

Assistant Professor of English and Program Coordinator of Liberal Arts and Sciences Ria Banerjee has been awarded a Modern Language Association (MLA) humanities innovation course development grant. The award will advance a project titled, “Colonialism Today: The Legacy of Colonialism and New York City’s Migrant Populations.”

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October 12, 2019

Professor’s Conference Presentations Focus on Real-World Math Applications

Assistant Professor of Mathematics Marla A. Sole delivered two presentations, “Statistical Education Discovery Projects: Engage Students with Real-World Investigations” and “Beyond the Classroom: Teaching Financial Literacy,” at the 2019 National Conference of Teachers of Mathematics Regional Conference in Boston.

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September 17, 2019

Dr. Jihyun Kim, Assistant Professor of Science

“Don’t bring a negative attitude [to what you’re doing] – you’ll be the one to lose out. Have a positive outlook!”

It certainly takes a specialist to see potential in biowaste: an expert like Guttman’s Assistant Professor of Science Dr. Jihyun Kim, who has a Ph.D. in Organometallic Chemistry from Georgetown University and over 20 years of experience in research and teaching. In fact, she and Dr. Lawrence Pratt from Medgar Evers College, CUNY, were awarded a three-year National Science Foundation grant toward the development of a new biofuel from a mixture of brown grease and waste plastics. Student participants in the CUNY Research Scholar Program work under Dr. Kim’s guidance to transform brown grease – not cooking oil, she emphasizes – into biofuel.

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April 30, 2019

Dr. April Burns, Assistant Professor of Psychology

“After my experience [as a student] at CUNY, my own working-class background, and my experience as a first-generation graduate, I really saw my place in a community college.”

Further affirming “solidarity” with her students, Dr. April Burns calls her trajectory to becoming Assistant Professor of Psychology at the College in 2016, “a winding path.” Her doctoral research in social psychology, completed at the CUNY Graduate Center under advisor and mentor Dr. Michelle Fine, focused on “the experience of upward mobility through education” and the impact of this experience on “first-generation graduates[,] their beliefs about justice and equity, education, merit, and… their interpersonal and family relationships.”

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March 11, 2019

Faculty Scholarship – Scholarly Publications, Research Grants, and Presentations

During the fall of 2018, Guttman Community College faculty have continued to expand their published scholarship, earn distinguished awards and grants, and present their estimable research.

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March 5, 2019

Students Participate in College’s First Oral History Project

  The Guttman Community College Undergraduate Scholars Oral Histories Collection officially launched on March 5 with a reception honoring four Guttman first-year students who conducted oral history interviews in Adjunct Professor Samuel Roger Finesurrey’s City Seminar course: Stephanie Brown, Virginia Fuentes, Jay Mercado, and Dawney Wilson. The digital exhibit is part of an Oral History […]

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March 1, 2019

Guttman Faculty Appointed to Lead Curriculum-Building Project by the National Institutes of Health- National Human Genomic Research Institute.

Dr. Karla Fuller, Associate Professor of Biology and Program Coordinator of Liberal Arts and Sciences-STEM, has been selected to lead a microbiome curriculum-building project by the National Institutes of Health – National Human Genomic Research Institute (NIH-NHGRI).  Dr. Fuller will lead a team of 2 high school teachers, four community college faculty and 2 NHFRI researchers to create open access research based curriculum modules focusing on the microbiome. 

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February 28, 2019

Guttman Faculty Publishes New Article on “Hydrocarbon Fuel from Brown Grease…”

Dr. Jihyun Kim, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, published a new article looking at the pyrolysis of brown grease that has been shown to produce kerosene-like hydrocarbons.  The paper investigated the parameters of reaction temperature and time as brown grease was preheated and held at a set of temperatures before the distillation of the kerosene-like hydrocarbons.

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February 28, 2019

Dr. Shadisadat Ghaderi, Assistant Professor of Mathematics

“My first hope is that [my students] do not leave [my class] with math anxiety… that they see the application of what they learned in society, in practice.”

Assistant Professor of Mathematics Dr. Shadisadat Ghaderi seamlessly combines the scholarly and abstract with the pedagogical and practical. With her Ph.D. in the combinatorics branch of pure mathematics, Dr. Ghaderi is working on what she calls “the most important open problem” in her field, the matroid intersection conjecture proposed in 1990.

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February 22, 2019

Guttman Professor Selected as ELEVATE Fellow

Vivian Lim, Guttman Assistant Professor of Mathematics, was selected to join the fifth cohort of ELEVATE fellows. The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) will be hosting the fifth annual early career faculty training program, ELEVATE (Enriching Learning, Enhancing Visibility & Training Educators), in Philadelphia, PA, May 29-May 31, 2019. ELEVATE is a three-day […]

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