TLC Focused Inquiry Groups, Fall 2017

The Teaching and Learning Center is pleased to launch two new Focused Inquiry Groups (FIGs) whose work will span the Fall and Spring semesters. Our FIGs will bring together small groups of Graduate Center students who will collaborate on a specific teaching and learning project. Past and ongoing FIGs include “Developing a Socially-Conscious Pedagogy,” “Teaching as an International Student,” and “Student Privacy and Open Digital Pedagogy.”

Please read below for program descriptions for our two new FIGs, as well as application instructions.

Focused Inquiry Group: Adapting Museum Pedagogy for the CUNY Classroom

CUNY classrooms bring together diverse publics to learn together: students have wide-ranging disciplinary backgrounds and interests, they are immigrant or English language-learners and native-born Americans, they come straight from undergrad or have returned to school as older adult learners. For the last thirty years, cultural institutions that serve similarly diverse audiences have developed and articulated a series of practices to engage the public with the humanities. So why not apply public humanities methods to our classrooms?

This Focused Inquiry Group will bring together interdisciplinary CUNY educators who have teaching experience in a museum or other public humanities setting to share and develop strategies for applying museum education techniques to CUNY classrooms. Together, we will investigate the pedagogy of museum education–including our own practices. Our goal is to collaborate on developing a digital resource and workshop to share how museum best practices can benefit college classroom lectures, class-work, assignments, classroom management, and more.

This small group will meet both in-person and virtually five times during the academic year. In the Fall semester, we will work together to review recent literature on museum pedagogy, identify and articulate how we use some of these practices in our classrooms, and imagine a platform through which to share. In Spring, 2018 we will create that public-facing resource and lead a workshop at the Teaching and Learning Center to teach these practices and encourage others to think about how they can draw from public humanities skillsets to activate learning in their CUNY classrooms.

Focused Inquiry Group:  Environmental Interdisciplinarity: Water Justice

Interdisciplinarity as a broad topic is valued in the academy, but is often difficult to put into practice, especially in the classroom. Current environmental issues, particularly in the wake of climate change, cross disciplinary boundaries, and call for collaborative work and response in the academy.

This group will bring together researchers and teachers to advance knowledge on the pressing environmental issue of water justice. Each participant in this group will approach this topic in some way in their spring courses through a shared reading, assignment, and/or lesson plan. Fall meetings will consist of identifying a shared reading to work from for points of connection and developing course materials to use in the spring. This group will be a learning exercise in investigating disciplinary conventions that aims to facilitate richer and more creative courses, as well as possible collaborations in and out of the classroom. Participants will write a short reflective blog post about the challenges and rewards of working across disciplines in the classroom.

Proposals may address issues of water justice from any aspect across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities including but not limited to current events such as lead contamination in Flint, Michigan; the Standing Rock fight against DAPL; the Great Pacific Garbage Patch; rising sea levels and weather events due to climate change, to broader considerations of water quality and management, bodies of water as political spaces (including in literature and visual media), historical uses of waterways, etc.


Must be

  • a current PhD or Master’s student at the GC in good academic standing
  • teaching any level course in Spring 2018
  • able to have some control over the “theme” (content and assignments) of that course
  • able to do some planning for that course in Fall 2017
  • able to meet at least twice in person and to collaborate digitally each semester between Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
  • willing to reflect publicly on the experience of the FIG and your classroom

FIG Compensation and Application Process:

Compensation: $500 for full participation in the 2017-2018 academic year
Application Deadline: Friday, October 20th

To Apply to FIG: Adapting Museum Pedagogy for the CUNY Classroom

Please submit the following materials as a single PDF to tlc@gc.cuny.edu. Please name your PDF attachment “LastnameFirstname.Museum.pdf”

Applicant Information:

  • name, program at the GC, contact information (email, mailing address, and phone number). Applicants must be a doctoral student currently enrolled and in good academic standing at the Graduate Center.
  • A CV including your museum/public humanities and CUNY teaching experience
  • A one-page (double-spaced) statement of interest that describes a museum education tool or technique that you have used, or one that you could adapt, for the CUNY classroom

To Apply to FIG: Environmental Interdisciplinarity: Water Justice

Please submit the following materials as a single PDF to tlc@gc.cuny.edu . Please name your PDF attachment “LastnameFirstname.Interdisciplinarity.pdf”

  • Applicant Information: name, program at the GC, contact information (email, mailing address, and phone number). Applicants must be a doctoral student currently enrolled and in good academic standing at the Graduate Center.
  • Statement of interest (200-250 words) that addresses the following:
    • Which aspects of water justice are you interested in teaching?
    • How does your discipline affect your thinking and teaching around the issue of water justice?
    • Which disciplines are you most interested in collaborating with and why?
  • 2-3 page CV
  • Sample syllabus (can be from a past course on a different topic or one that you create that you hope to teach in the future)