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. Kristina Baines Organizes and Co-Hosts Anthropology Webinar Addressing Contemporary Issues
With Co-Founder and Co-Director of Cool Anthropology Victoria Costa, Guttman Faculty Dr. Kristina Baines organized and co-hosted the interactive virtual event Anthropology and the Public: Pressing Questions, Responsibilities and Opportunities, which aired live on YouTube on March 1, 2021. The webinar brought together a wide network of anthropologists, social scientists, educators, students, and practitioners of various fields to exchange and elaborate critical, multidisciplinary ideas that contribute to the public good. Featuring panelists and breakout sessions to address an array of contemporary social and environmental issues, the gathering included discussions concerning public health, medical anthropology, climate change and environmental justice, race and racism, media, journalism, technology, and art. The workshop included student facilitators from 5 continents, over 300 registrants, 150 active participants, including Guttman alumna, former Peer Mentor, and College Assistant Hannia Delgado and former Guttman staff member Baird Campbell. The event was funded through a grant by the Wenner Gren Foundation and co-sponsored by the New York Academy of Sciences Anthropology Division and Berghan Books.
Guttman Faculty Drs. Makris and Gatta Publish Op-Eds on “Equitable and Just” Recovery for US Cities and Towns
Following the publication of their book, Gentrification Down The Shore, Guttman Urban Studies faculty Dr. Molly Vollman Makris and Dr. Mary Gatta released op-eds in The Progressive and ArcaMax, Politics section, on February 12, 2021. Based on research the co-authors conducted on Asbury Park, New Jersey, both articles respond to the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan for economic recovery during the ongoing pandemic. In “Rescue Our Cities and Towns” and “Commentary: Rescue our cities and towns,” the co-authors emphasize “long-term progressive planning… that means a continued focus on economic security for working families, fully funded public education, universal health care, and environmental and racial justice measures.” By calling for an “equitable and just” policy direction, Drs. Makris and Gatta assert that cities and towns throughout the United States “will need sustained support from the federal government to survive and thrive in a COVID-19 world.”
Urban Studies Program Coordinator Receives Spencer Foundation Grant for Research with Parent and Youth Activists in New York City
With Co-Principal Investigators Dr. Mira Debs (Yale University) and Dr. Elise Castillo (Trinity College), Guttman’s Dr. Molly Vollman Makris was awarded a Spencer Foundation COVID-19 Related Research Grant. Their proposal, “New York City School Integration Activists during covid-19,” was one of only 20 to be funded, out of a competitive pool of 1,369 “education research projects that would contribute to understanding the rapid shifts in education in relation to COVID-19.” The team’s research with parent and youth activists in New York City, beginning during the summer of 2020, has potential impacts on policy that are urgent in the context of the “twin pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism.” Along with its “anti-deficit orientation,” the study also met the criterion of “aim[ing] to understand and disrupt the reproduction and deepening of educational inequality caused by the COVID-19 crisis.” In Dr. Makris’ important work, which resonates with Guttman’s institutional dedication to equity, the Spencer Foundation “recognized that in times of great disruption and change, there are opportunities to remake and imagine new forms of equitable education.”
Dr. Kristina Baines and Guttman Students Participate in Pandemic Journaling Project and Featured in The New York Times
In the Introduction to Urban Community Health courses she taught during the Spring II and Fall I 2020 semesters, Assistant Professor of Anthropology Dr. Kristina Baines’ students interacted with the Pandemic Journaling Project (PJP) – a public research initiative developed at the University of Connecticut, which invites participants to respond to weekly prompts about their experiences living through the pandemic. Students could either create journal entries (written, audio or visual methods) or reflect on the journal entries that others posted on the public section of the site. The aim of Dr. Baines’ assignment is to involve students in documenting the COVID-19 pandemic through the eyes of everyday people rather than official narratives. In their responses, students were able to consider their contributions to this alternative history on personal and scholarly levels. Overall, Dr. Baines’ students have welcomed this space to share their thoughts and feelings about the impact of the pandemic on their lives.
On the historic date of January 6, 2021, Instructor of Political Science Prof. Douglas Medina was the invited guest on A New Day, a radio broadcast hosted on WBAI 99.5FM by Dr. Johanna Fernandez, author of The Young Lords: A Radical History and Associate Professor of History at Baruch College, CUNY. In the midst of the worst stage of the COVID-19 pandemic to date, the scholars discussed the US response to the coronavirus; the socioeconomic effects on workers and communities of color; the latest in workers’ rights movements; and most prominently, that morning’s dramatic results of the Georgia run-off election and the certification of the 2020 presidential election by Congress.
Along with Guttman students and United Men of Color (UMOC) members Miguel Tejeda and Amari Dawkins, Urban Studies faculty Dr. Marcus Allen and Dr. Mary Gatta were selected as an evaluation team to review the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice’s Youth Justice Toolkit: A Community-Led Restorative Justice Approach. They spent July 2020 connected virtually, evaluating materials, collaborating with NJISJ staff, and writing a comprehensive review with recommendations, which was incorporated into the final toolkit. The resulting compilation of resources and practices is designed to inform restorative justice hubs throughout New Jersey on how “to remove young people from an unhealthy prison environment and successfully reintegrate them into their communities.” It will also prompt “communities to create community-based public safety systems that divert young people away from the criminal justice system in the first place, based on restorative and transformative justice practices and a trauma-informed approach.”
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.
“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.”
Alongside colleagues from CUNY and SUNY, Professor of Political Science Dr. Marcus D. Allen contributed to the Gotham Thought Leaders Series webinar entitled The New Normal for Higher Education: COVID-19 & Beyond. Moderated by Manhattan Deputy Borough President Aldrin Bonilla, the panel covered the experiences and implications of virtual learning, teaching, counseling, and supervising on students, faculty, staff, and administrators. Speakers also addressed how the sudden transition to virtual learning has influenced access, equity, inclusion, student learning and achievement, and career advancement. Panelists shared their insights on how they expect shrinking budgets to affect institutions of higher education, their workforce, and the students they serve. Finally, the participants reflected on both the challenges and opportunities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as its impact on their teaching and research.