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Dr. Lori Ungemah, Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies

January 11, 2022 | Academics, Arts in NYC, Faculty, Faculty Feature, Global Guttman, Humanities and Social Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences

Dr. Daniel Collins, Professor of English

January 7, 2022 | Academics, Faculty, Faculty Feature, Humanities and Social Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences

“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.”

Dr. Anya Spector, Assistant Professor of Human Services

December 2, 2021 | Academics, Faculty, Faculty Feature, Human Services

“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. 

Dr. Grace Pai, Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies

July 8, 2021 | Academics, Faculty, Faculty Feature, First Year Experience, Global Guttman, International Education

“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.

Faculty Feature: Dr. Karla Fuller, Associate Professor of Biology and Program Coordinator of Science

April 19, 2021 | Academics, Faculty, Faculty Feature, First Year Experience, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Research, STEM

“More than anything, I want our students to know that they can succeed in science and math. They don’t have to pursue it, but I don’t want them to think that it’s not for them for any particular reason, except [if they don’t choose it.] If they want to, they can be good at it, or they can be interested in it… I just want them to feel like they belong. That it’s for them, if they want it.”

Dr. Karla Fuller, Associate Professor of Biology and Program Coordinator of Science, bears the unique distinction of being the very first faculty hired at Guttman, prior to the convocation of its inaugural first-year class in 2012 and the naming of the College. Seeing it as the urban likeness of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU), she determined to fulfill her “mission in life” – giving students of color sustained opportunities to “have that moment like, ‘Oh, maybe I could study science’,” the realization critical to “increasing the overall percentage of underrepresented people in America who are scientists, the number of Black and Latino scientists in the field, and this means pursuing graduate studies or professional school after a Bachelor’s degree.” To this ambitious end, Dr. Fuller has spearheaded the establishment of Guttman’s Associate of Science (A.S.) degree Program of Study, forthcoming in Fall 2021.

Faculty Feature: Prof. Meagan Lacy, Assistant Professor, Information Literacy Librarian

February 19, 2021 | Academics, Faculty, Faculty Feature

“We live in a world immersed in texts – news, job applications, advertising, medical prescriptions – so to lack literacy skills means disenfranchisement. It means being shut out of jobs and opportunities, which reinforces economic and class divisions.”

According to Assistant Professor Meagan Lacy, Information Literacy Librarian at Guttman since 2014, information literacy encompasses the reading and research skills essential for scholarly advancement as well as “a key element of critical thinking, necessary to solve problems and make decisions.” It “is also fundamental to building an informed citizenry and a healthy democracy,” enabling “those who seek and critically analyze information for themselves [to] make personally informed decisions on political and social issues.” Therefore, “information literacy matters for life, not just for school. The more information you have,” along with the tools to select the most reliable, relevant kind and use it effectively, “the more questions you can ask and the more you can advocate for yourself.”

Dr. Ria Banerjee, Associate Professor of English

October 23, 2020 | Academics, Faculty, Faculty Feature, Global Guttman, Humanities and Social Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Study Abroad

“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. 

Dr. Maggie Dickinson, Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies

September 11, 2020 | Academics, Faculty, Faculty Feature, First Year Experience, Humanities and Social Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Research, Urban 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.”

Dr. Marla Sole, Assistant Professor of Mathematics

June 1, 2020 | Academics, Faculty, Faculty Feature, First Year Experience, Research, STEM

“In all of my classes, my biggest focus is building up students’ confidence so that they can persist and overcome obstacles.”

“When I first came to Guttman” in 2014, remembers Assistant Professor of Mathematics Dr. Marla Sole, “I designed a signature assignment for my Statistics class.” Working as “empirical researchers to collect data and analyze it,” students compared the prices of iced and hot coffee. Dr. Sole also arranged a visit to a local café, where the coffee buyer spoke to the class and provided the essential context that makes coursework come alive. “When I think about that research,” published in 2017 in the Journal of Statistics Education, “I always remember my first group of students” at the College, the first of many Dr. Sole has taught in courses ranging from the Quantitative Reasoning component of City Seminar to Calculus.

Dr. Alia Tyner-Mullings, Associate Professor of Sociology

April 6, 2020 | Academics, Faculty, Faculty Feature, First Year Experience, Humanities and Social Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Research

“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.