“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
“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.
“Life is good, life is beautiful. Enjoy it. Use it to the full extent. Don’t waste your moments. Create an objective for you and go for it!”
Assistant Professor of Business Dr. Rodrigo Lobo has been all about business for over 30 years. Before taking the daring “180 degrees toward full-time work in academia,” his career spanned the breadth of “corporate life.” For nearly a decade, Dr. Lobo contributed his analytical expertise to a unique public project: the Itaipu Binacional Company, an initiative of the Brazilian and Paraguayan governments that jointly runs one of the most productive hydroelectric power plants in the world.
“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.”
“I really want [my students] to be insightful, self-reflective, and mindful of the human condition.”
Initially piqued by the New Community College Concept Paper, Prof. Marcia Edwards, Clinical Professor and Program Coordinator of Human Services, was recruited to Guttman faculty for Fall 2013 to “develop the fieldwork component of the Human Services major.” Bringing her 30 years of social work practice and teaching to bear, Prof. Edwards has worked to align the required internship with the expectations of social work programs while teaching every Human Services course in the Catalog, along with Ethnographies of Work and several special courses; leading a Global Guttman group to Jamaica; and becoming Program Coordinator.
“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.