Alexandra Hamlett, Information Literacy Librarian and Assistant Professor, Library Science and Information Literacy
As an information literacy librarian, Alexandra Hamlett helps students learn essential research skills, skills that include finding, evaluating, and using multiple information types in order for students to be able to access credible information for their academic and personal information needs. In 2015, she was thrilled to join Guttman College, where an innovative and creative pedagogy is embraced. Guttman’s founders outlined a non-traditional community college and developed a curriculum tied to student success. “I have been privileged to develop an information literacy program where I collaborate closely with faculty to embed information literacy skills across the First-Year Experience and the Programs of Study,” says Professor Hamlett.
“I truly believe everyone learns differently and expresses their knowledge in different ways. I love seeing a student solve a problem a new way or apply to knowledge to something new. My goal is to foster intellectual curiosity rather than memorization and to build relationships where students feel safe making mistakes and trying new things.”
Dr. Elizabeth Wentworth’s doctoral dissertation investigated the integration of music instruction in the high school mathematics classroom. Since beginning at Guttman in 2016, her focus has been primarily on teaching. “Now that I am in my third year as an assistant professor I am starting to plan for more research,” says Dr. Wentworth. “I intend to continue looking at interdisciplinary work’s impact on student success and motivation.” Prior to teaching at Guttman, Dr. Wentworth taught three years of high school mathematics and coached the high school mathematics team, as well as the Academic Decathlon team. Dr. Wentworth has an undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester with majors in mathematics, music, and English, and a minor in history. Dr. Wentworth’s master’s and doctorate are from Teachers College Columbia University where she specialized in mathematics education.
“I think it is important for students to understand that their ability to stick with tasks, goals, and passions is crucial for success. Perseverance demands effort and practice, which is the truest way to unlock our highest potential.”
Dr. Ayisha Sookdeo joined Guttman College in 2019. She came to Guttman because she was excited to get the opportunity to teach students in a college that truly emphasizes the importance of dedicated and compassionate instruction.
“As an anthropologist, one of my aims is to challenge students to understand what it means to think anthropologically about a particular social problem; that is, how might one learn to critically examine so-called ‘natural’ states of being through a cultural lens? And how are micro processes of the everyday reflective of macro processes? Yeah, I secretly want them all to become anthropologists, but I understand that we need more than anthropologists for the world to work.”
Professor Jinzhong Niu
“Guttman is a community of exceptional scholars that care deeply about teaching and learning and are at the forefront of rethinking the community college experience.”
Dr. Nicole Kras’ academic background is rooted in psychology and education. She earned a Ph.D. in Adult Learning and Development from Lesley University, as well as a Master of Science in Education and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study as a Classroom Teacher Specialist from Southern Connecticut State University. Dr. Kras has also received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with a concentration in child development and mental health, and a Master of Arts in Art Therapy from Albertus Magnus College. She serves as an accreditation self-study reader for the Council for Standards in Human Services Education (CSHSE) and is currently leading the self-study accreditation process for Guttman’s Human Services Program. She is actively involved on the Board of the New England Organization for Human Services, serving in many elected positions, including the former president of the organization.
“I had been teaching for twenty-plus years before I came to Guttman, and this framework completely transformed my work, which is really energizing. And Guttman is still quite new! I wanted to be a part of building something, to be there at the beginning, and to help nurture an institution grounded in creative ways to teach and to learn.”
Dr. Daniel Collins earned his Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition; he has a Master’s Degree in Public Health. His current focus is composition theory and pedagogy, with a particular emphasis on linguistic justice and Abolitionist teaching. “I am also interested in the relationship between writing and well-being,” says Dr. Collins. “This relationship highlights the meaning-making possibilities of language and writing.”
“As an immigrant myself, I am passionate about supporting the aspirations of our students to pursue the ‘American Dream.’ This was why my parents came to the United States—to give me an opportunity to thrive. In Guttman students, I see the dreams of all who come here, their rich history, traditions, and extraordinary contributions.”
Dr. Anya Spector began her clinical career in direct practice after completing her MSW at Fordham Graduate School of Social Service. At Fordham, she worked with adults in treatment for substance use disorder and co-occurring mental health disorders. During her doctoral training at Columbia University School of Social Work, Dr. Spector focused on evidence-based practice and community-engaged research at the intersection of HIV and substance use. “I studied providers working in a variety of substance use treatment settings with HIV-affected populations. I continued this work during my post-doctoral fellowship at the HIV Center for Special Studies at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.” While Dr. Spector continues to do research in this area, she has, at Guttman, launched a program of SOTL research. Her SOTL research aims to elucidate best practices in professional identity development, pedagogy of experiential learning, and clinical supervision of community college students in the human services major.
“I love and live off of the ‘aha’ moments students have in class when they suddenly understand or build a new understanding of a concept. That has always been what excites me about teaching, whether it’s in a math class or a seminar course.”
In addition to the value she places on new ideas that come into being for individual students, Dr. Grace Pai sees “a career in education as a means of alleviating poverty and bringing about social mobility and equality.“ She does not mince words about “a lack of equity that too often leads to social stratification” and the scope of this crisis: “I’ve always found it astonishing that in a ‘developed’ knowledge economy like the United States’ that stresses the importance of obtaining a college degree, we still have about 15% of students who don’t even graduate from high school.” Experienced as a counselor and math teacher in NYC public schools and holding a Ph.D. in international education and development with a specialization in applied statistics for program and impact evaluation, Dr. Pai is a powerful emerging voice in the critical areas of global learning, culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP), as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as they relate to race in America. During just the last turbulent year, beset by the global pandemic, the Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies has presented or spoken at over a dozen events on CRP, Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL), and racial justice.