In an opinion piece published on Citylimits.org, Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs Dr. Nicola Blake advocates for support for community colleges – institutions of higher education that have been most severely impacted by the pandemic. Dean Blake cites the unprecedented experiences of Guttman’s students and faculty during the past year to call on city, state, and private sector funders to invest in community colleges. “One thing that is quite clear is that this past year has amplified the need to better serve students at the community college level–students who are the economic engine of New York,” she writes.
“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.
At the 2020 Annual Faculty Teaching and Research Showcase, held virtually in February 2021, dedicated Guttman faculty members briefly presented on aspects of their work in the remote classroom during the preceding year. Coordinated by Drs. Laura Clarke and Jihyun Kim, the event highlighted the intentional nature of teaching at Guttman, from the micro of daily class activities to the macro of course design. The speakers represented a range of disciplines, course subjects, and College programs.
Author and Guttman Professor Dr. Angela Banner Joseph has recently published Autentica! Afro-Latinx Women in the African Diaspora presenting the stories of Afro-Latinx women. “I am excited to honor these 24 fearless, trailblazers, women who have individually or collectively owned their African identities in the Americas.” In an era where representation matters, Afro-Latinx Women’s narratives in literature have been extremely far and few between. Dr. Joseph writes about women who struggle with self, identity, vulnerability and bravery in the face of racism. By telling these stories, Dr. Joseph gives a space for Afro Latinx Women in the African diaspora to share their lives and authentically be themselves.
Dr. Gholdy Muhammad Leads Workshop on Historically Responsive and Culturally Relevant Pedagogy during Guttman’s Assessment Days
As the featured guest during Guttman’s Fall II Assessment Days, author of Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy and faculty at Georgia State University Dr. Gholdy Muhammad led an interactive workshop virtually for our instructional staff. Having presented the HILL Pedagogy – Histories, Identities, Literacies, Liberation – to the entire Guttman community in a previous virtual event, Dr. Muhammad’s session delved deeper into her framework’s overarching goals of Academic Success, Cultural Competence, and Sociopolitical Consciousness, which encompass the skill-building that students obtain and practice in class; their personal and social identities and backgrounds, in conversation with those of others; and the knowledge they gain from lived experiences outside of the classroom. In the workshop, Guttman faculty participated in revising an existing or new assignment according to the more granular criteria Dr. Mohammad has elaborated: advancing Identity, Skills, Intellect, Criticality, and Joy. The activity was designed for faculty to intentionally reflect on their higher-stakes written course assignments and directly incorporate effective, equitable, and affirming premises. This effort demonstrates and furthers the work of First-Year Experience (FYE) and English faculty to “decolonize” the curriculum, under the leadership of Assistant Professor of English and Area Coordinator for Writing Dr. Meghan Gilbert-Hickey and FYE Program Coordinator and Professor of English Dr. Dan Collins. The College’s institutional investment in student-centered, culturally relevant and responsive pedagogy, and best practices focused on equity is well-documented within the digital Center for Practice, Technology, and Innovation (CPTI).
Dr. Meghan Gilbert-Hickey has recently been published as a contributor and co-editor of the book Race In Young Adult Speculative Fiction by University Press of Mississippi. Along with Miranda A. Green-Barteet, Dr. Hickey present an anthology of essays that examine the unfolding genre of speculative fiction and of systemic racism and discrimination that have been embedded yet overlooked within these narratives. This anthology features the contributions of Malin Alkestrand, Joshua Yu Burnett, Sean P. Connors, Jill Coste, Meghan Gilbert-Hickey, Miranda A. Green-Barteet, Sierra Hale, Kathryn Strong Hansen, Elizabeth Ho, Esther L. Jones, Sarah Olutola, Alex Polish, Zara Rix, Susan Tan, and Roberta Seelinger Trites.
Guttman Statistics Faculty and Students Present Paper at National Numeracy Network 2020-2021 Annual Meeting
Guttman Associate Professor of Mathematics Dr. Marla A. Sole and her students Tamika Daley and Mendel Batashvili presented the paper “Never miss a teachable moment: How to cultivate statistical literacy and time-management traits that foster success” at the National Numeracy Network 2020-2021 Annual Meeting, held virtually February 26-28, 2021. According to the abstract, the presentation was on “a class project designed to investigate media claims that teens have changed their sleeping habits in response to the pandemic.” Guttman students Tamika Daley and Mendel Batashvili spoke about the research they and their peers conducted to collect “robust evidence to support or refute… the validity of claims made,” as well as what they learned from the project, both mathematically and personally. These gains, made through students “engaging… in meaningful, authentic investigations,” model how rigorous empirical methods can create a deeper grasp of statistics.
Human Services Program Coordinator Named Transformative Learning in the Humanities Faculty Fellow 2021-2022 and Organizes Workshop on Nature-Based Learning
Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of Human Services Dr. Nicole Kras has been awarded the Transformative Learning in the Humanities Fellowship, part of an important three-year CUNY-based initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. With her cohort of 2021-2022 THL Faculty Fellows, Dr. Kras will share and develop active, creative, and participatory practices as well as “pedagogical research and methods designed for the rich diversity of CUNY students,” ensuring their success in and beyond the classroom. While prioritizing the importance of teaching, the grant supports CUNY faculty in the humanities, arts, and interpretive social sciences who are committed to equity and social and racial justice. Guttman Associate Professor of Anthropology Dr. Kristina Baines and Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies Dr. Grace Pai were also named THL Faculty Fellows for this, the fellowship’s culminating cycle.
The article “Reframing School Culture Through Project-Based Assessment Tasks: Cultivating Transformative Agency and Humanizing Practices in NYC Public Schools,” co-authored by Guttman Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Alia Tyner-Mullings with Drs. Maria Hantzopoulos and Rosa L. Rivera-McCutchen, has been published in the Teachers College Record. Building on the argument that high-stakes testing policies are ineffective and “have exacerbated inequities in schooling across racial, economic, geographic, and linguistic lines,” the researchers focus on the transition to Project Based Assessment Tasks (PBAT) at ten New York City public high schools that are part of the New York Performance Standards Consortium. The authors, who “specifically consider the role that PBATs might play in shaping school culture,” have found them “a useful tool to engage students and teachers more actively as participatory actors in the school environment, particularly when overall school structures collectively support its integration.”
Guttman’s Dr. Grace Pai Co-Hosts American Mathematical Association of Two-Year College Webinar on COIL
With Dr. Irene Duranczyk of the University of Minnesota and Dr. Schiro Withanachchi of Queens College, CUNY, Guttman Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies Dr. Grace Pai co-hosted “Globalizing Curriculums with Data: COIL Energizes the Learning Environment,” an installment in the 2021 American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) Webinar Series sponsored by McGraw-Hill. The presenters explained Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL), a high-impact pedagogical practice widely used in disciplines like language learning, cultural studies, and health studies. The objective of COIL is to connect classes from institutions in different countries in working together virtually on a common project, sometimes across disciplines.