Announcing: TLC Grant Recipients Spring 2017

Below are the winners of the TLC Grant competition for the Spring 2017 semester. Stay tuned to this space for updates on these projects as they progress through the spring.

TLC Grant Recipients

Faculty and Student Experiences with Approaches to Developmental Mathematics
Maggie Fay, Department of Sociology

Research shows that referral to remedial coursework in mathematics is a significant barrier to degree attainment for community college students. Reforms to remedial mathematics courses in community colleges employ a range of strategies to improve student completion rates and learning. This mixed methods study examines approaches to instruction in developmental math in three CUNY community colleges, with a focus on stakeholder experiences across classrooms and how they are affected by structural,curricular, and pedagogical changes. Developing a stronger understanding of how stakeholder experience a range of approaches to developmental math instruction may help to strengthen these courses and improve student outcomes.  

‘Walking in My Shoes’: A Radical Oral History Project
Kristen Hackett, Department of Environmental Psychology

The ‘Walking in My Shoes’ Project seeks to create a digital living archive that will document and reflect on issues related to contemporary urban life and development in the context of various neighborhoods across NYC. The architects of the archive will be myself and my students, who will participate in semester-long, community-based research projects initially in East New York and Cypress Hills. Among other things, this project aims to: create avenues for self-directed and peer-directed student learning, re-situate students as knowers and public discussion leaders on topics of interest to them and their communities, and expand students’ knowledge of how digital tools can assist them in their educational, civic and future professional endeavors.

Mapping Learning Ecologies: Exploring the Role of Educational Technologies in the Student Learning Process
Laurie Hurson, Department of Environmental Psychology

This project will engage undergraduate students in exploring the development of learning ecologies, defined as the networks of people, places, and technologies that students use to facilitate their own learning throughout their college experience. During qualitative interview sessions, students will be asked to visually map and verbally narrate their learning ecologies, with a particular focus on technology use. These sessions will provide insight about the development of undergraduate learning ecology networks and allow students to identify the most salient spaces and resources that support their learning processes. By investigating students’ perceptions and experiences, this project seeks to re-center the student voice and consider how their perspective can inform the future of educational technology use in higher education.

Supporting Universal Design for Learning at CUNY: An Open-Source Professional Development Website
Louis Olander, Department of Urban Education

This project seeks to further develop the open professional development website, UDL for Teachers, in order to better support CUNY instructors’ implementation of Universal Design for Learning principles in their pedagogy. In particular, we will develop additional  instructional cartoon videos that illustrate  UDL guidelines, and offer specific pedagogical techniques that align with them. Finally, we will improve the website’s design and architecture in order to make the site more reflective of the UDL principles of accessibility it aims to describe .

Alternate Renderings: Biomacromolecular Education in Stereoscopic 3D
Brian Olson and Anthony Cruz, Departments of Biochemistry and Chemistry

Students struggle through introductory and advanced courses in biology and biochemistry, often because they must imagine complex interactions among invisible dynamic particles that exist in three dimensions, but which we represent with two-dimensional static illustrations and graphs. Recent technological advances enable us to solve this pedagogical problem by developing stereoscopic 3D educational media to reveal biomacromolecules as they actually exist in motion and in three dimensions. By providing students with an authentic, “in-person” experience of biomacromolecules, the educational media we develop will facilitate the teaching and student mastery of a historically difficult topic.  

The Urban Soil Lab Manual and Soil Health Assessment Kit
Anna Paltseva, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

The goal of this project is to develop a resource package for CUNY Earth and Environmental (EES) courses, consisting of an Urban Soils Lab Manual (the Manual) and an Urban Soil Health Assessment Kit (the Kit,) accompanied by video tutorials. The Manual will provide instructions for conducting tests to evaluate soil quality covering the major soil topics, which could be easily conducted in the classroom or in the field by a student or a layperson. The Kit will provide interpretations of the test results, allowing users to assess soil health problems. Finally, supplemental videos will provide  additional audio-visual instruction in a format that could be shared with users beyond the classroom.

Mental Dis/abilities in the College Classroom
Jennifer Polish, Department of English

The specter of the “lazy” student, the “potentially violent” student, the “weird”, “off’, and “unpredictable” student – principally, the student who is dually racialized and constructed as mentally dis/abled – haunts media constructions of the college classroom. This series of workshops and blog posts will bring mental dis/ability and its racialization to the fore of thinking about what it means to teach in college: participants will be empowered to assess their own teaching practices with the goal of crafting actively anti-ableist, anti-racist pedagogies. The series will culminate in an open-access guide for instructors interested in promoting dis/ability justice in college classrooms.

Visualizing Emotions in Fiction and Non-Fiction
Laura Sandez, Department of Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages

This project seeks to develop materials for a curriculum in which close and distant reading are not exclusive takes on text analysis but complementary ones. It aims to think of visualization as an exercise of imagination and to create assignments that train the imagination into asking different questions according to the tools employed. Exploring, consequently, the different questions tools can and cannot answer. Concretely, I will develop materials for the course “Visualizing Emotions in Fiction and Non-Fiction,” which will have three introductory components on history of emotions, data visualization and literary criticism.

Transitions Project: A Collaboration between Guttman CC and the James Gallery
James Sevitt, Department of Environmental Psychology

The Transitions Project asks: how can we rethink practices of critique, resistance and solidarity to productively respond to critical situations such as the US election, Brexit, and the refugee crisis in Europe? To concretely explore this question, this collaboration with the James Gallery exhibition “NSK State in Time” will: 1) pilot a pedagogical project with first-year students at Guttman Community College during the Spring semester; and 2) organize a workshop at the James Gallery with CUNY faculty, artists and community organizers, which features work students’ have produced in the course at Guttman. NSK collective’s artistic practices, developed within post-Fascist and post-Socialist climates, provide an opportunity to devise new critiques and interventions in response to present crises, which can in turn be shared with CUNY students

Making the Public History Classroom Public
Johnathan Thayer, Department of History

This project will combine collaborative fieldwork carried out in the Spring 2017 section of the graduate-level course “Public History in Theory and Practice” at Queens College with a workshop designed to reflect on the role and impact of experiential and service-learning pedagogy in the public history classroom. Specifically, students will collaborate with the European NGO Docip (Indigenous People’s Centre for Documentation, Research and Information) to assist with real-time documentation of testimony at the United Nations Permanent Forum for Indigenous Interests in April, 2017. A reflective workshop will be held in Fall 2017 to engage stakeholders across CUNY in conversations about the value of connecting public history curriculum to actual publics.

TLC Mini-Grant Recipients

History for Action
Emily Brooks, Department of History

Although U.S. history classes provide essential context to help explain today’s world, students often struggle to connect the study of history to their own interests and experiences in meaningful ways. To bridge the gap between student interests and U.S. history, I will design a class around individualized research papers. Students will visit an educational, political, or cultural event, and write a research paper that explores a historical question connected to that event. We will attend one such event together to model this activity. I hope that by completing this project, students will be encourageed to see history as a way of enriching their active involvement in the broader world.  

Statistics in Words: A Writing Assignment
Richard Nugent, Department of Economics

This project will ask students to read a contemporary article which discusses a unique application of statistics and respond to the reading in a formal written essay. The essay will be evaluated based on content, grammar, and the student’s ability to form concise, factual statements, with the aim of emphasizing the importance of effective writing in STEM disciplines. The goals of the assigned reading are for students to gain appreciation for the unlimited applicability of statistics, consider the career opportunities for statisticians, and engage with real-world applications of the material we will learn throughout the course. The goals of the writing assignment are for students to learn to organize their thoughts in a formal essay, to reflect on the context of their economics training, and to practice writing clearly about statistical ideas whose material content is fundamentally mathematical or scientific.

Write Out Loud: Teaching Composition Through Publishing
Danica Savonick, Department of English

This project asks students in an introductory writing course at Queens College to go beyond writing a traditional research paper by collaboratively authoring submissions to a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal. After spending a semester immersed in contemporary debates about critical pedagogy, technology in education, standardized testing, funding, and segregated schooling, students will learn how to enter actual, ongoing scholarly conversations and experience how their writing matters in the world beyond the classroom. With this assignment, students will further develop their reading, writing, and revising skills; practice writing for a specific audience; and learn the power of their own voices and stories.