January Restart

Recharge, Reconnect, Restart was held virtually just before the start of Spring Semester 2021.

Following four years of a Winter Convocation, this event brought together faculty, staff and students to explore trauma-informed pedagogy and anti-racist pedagogy in a way that encouraged everyone to reconnect with each other and renew their commitment to teaching and students. The opening sessions on both days were recorded and are posted below. In addition, a summary of comments and suggestions from students regarding remote learning is posted below.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Opening session: 12:30-2:15 p.m.
see video here

  • Welcome. Anthony E. Munroe, President; Josiah Ramesar, Student Government Association President
  • Teaching During the Pandemic. Faculty facilitators: Edna Asknes, Nursing; Jen Longley, Teacher Education

During this interactive, participatory session, faculty will explore how to create an academically sound and empathetic learning environment. Participants will generate strategies for teaching during a pandemic which can be incorporated into their interactions with students and synchronous or asynchronous classes.

  • Learning from Students: Student Experiences of Remote Learning
    Mah Noor – Science; Alex Hill – Financial Management; Josiah Ramesar – Writing and Literature; Yama Faye – Psychology; Michael Hutmaker, Dean of Students, Moderator

Concurrent Sessions: 2:30-3:30 p.m.

    1. Panel Discussion: 2020 Distinguished Teaching Award Winners
      Joel Barker, Accounting; Cara O’Connor, Social Sciences, Human Services, and Criminal Justice; Kimora, Social Sciences, Human Services, and Criminal Justice; Jae Ki Lee, Mathematics; Jim Berg, Associate Dean of Faculty, Moderator
      Discussion of teaching and learning during the pandemic with the winners of the 2020 Distinguished Teaching Award.
    2. Increasing Student Engagement with Digital Tools and Projects
      Mohammad Azhar, Computer Information Systems; Celeste Conway, English; Thomas Harbison, E-Learning; Timothy Leonard, Academic Literacy and Linguistics; Hao Tang, Computer Information Systems
      We will share a range of digital tools used to facilitate student interaction and engagement in BMCC classes, including document-sharing and annotation, asynchronous video discussions, website authoring, and various forms of messaging. We will touch on strengths and weaknesses of these and discuss the challenges involved in assembling a manageable, well-balanced tool set.
    3. Hello? Is Anybody Out There? New Models for Synchronous Teaching
      Laurie Lomask, Modern Languages; Adele Kudish, English; Brielle Buckler, Business Management; Angela Polite, Speech, Communications, and Theater Arts
      We’ve all experienced the challenge of teaching to black boxes on Zoom. How can we engage students and build community without requiring students to turn on their cameras? In this session, we’ll share ways to engage on Zoom and other synchronous platforms and will try out some of the ideas discussed. You’ll have an opportunity to connect with colleagues in small groups.
    4. Alternative Forms of Assessment
      Maureen Keenan, Music and Art; Caterina Mata, Science; Siddharth Ramakrishnan, Director of Research; Rifat Salam, Social Sciences, Human Services, and Criminal Justice
      Assessment is more than just exams, especially in the times of the pandemic. We will discuss alternate forms of assessment – from multiple choice questions to lab reports to video/audio uploads. The panel will discuss examples and what worked and did not. Come with your questions

Closing Session 4-5:15 p.m.

  • Reconnecting with Colleagues
    Difficult: connecting with colleagues while working and teaching remotely. Easy: binge-watching Korean melodramas on Netflix. This session is a chance to reconnect with your peers and talk about what you have been doing for the last nine months: crafting, baking, finding ways to do research from a distance. This session will have break out rooms for semi-structured conversations and sharing.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Opening Session: 10-11:15 a.m.
see video here

  • Welcome. Erwin J. Wong, Acting Provost and Senior Vice President
  • Towards creating a more inclusive, culturally competent, and anti-racist curriculum.
    Shirley Leyro, Social Sciences, Human Services, and Criminal Justice
    The call for anti-racism, as well as resolving to being an anti-racist, involves more than merely “not being a racist.” It is an intentional process whereby we make conscious decisions towards fighting racism in all forms, including at the institutional and structural levels.* As educators, we sometimes perpetuate racism and racist ideals by the materials we incorporate in our classes, the language we use during our lectures, and the canonical literature we focus on as the basis for our lessons. Indeed, as professors in the largest urban institution in the nation, the vast majority of our students are members of the very groups that have been historically marginalized and negatively impacted by all levels of racism. Keeping this reality in mind, let us ask ourselves: “Who are the authors and scholars I rely on to ground or frame my lessons? Why do I choose them? Is my curriculum reflective of recent scholarship?” As historians have found, many times Black and other persons of color have made significant additions to all manner of the humanities and sciences (social and natural sciences alike) but have remained ignored in their fields–are there examples of these in your field that can be recognized for their contribution? Any resolution in anti-racist pedagogy will require a true investment in fighting against racism. This will involve intense and sometimes uncomfortable self-reflection and a commitment to making decisions that may prove difficult. During this presentation we will discuss how we can work collectively towards anti-racism, and we will all be encouraged to make a frank and honest review of our pedagogical materials towards creating a more inclusive and culturally competent curriculum.
    (*source: Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture)

Concurrent Sessions: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

  1. Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy Book Discussion
    Jean Amaral, Library; Mishka Anderson, Teacher Education
    Culturally sustaining pedagogies can increase our courses’ relevance to and engagement with our students. Our conversation in this session will jump off from Paris and Alim’s edited collection Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies: Teaching and Learning for Justice in a Changing World. All are welcome regardless of familiarity with this text.
  2. How to Support Students in Their Learning
    Representatives from key support areas will discuss academic and affective issues that impact student success. Panelists will highlight key challenges students are facing, and provide a guideline for how staff and faculty can communicate their needs and collaborate to support student success. Question and Answer session included.
  3. Dealing with Stress and Anxiety: Thriving in the Mess
    Eglys Santos, Counseling; Robert Cortes, Counseling; Jessica Levin, Experiential Learning; Venita Andrews, Research
    2020 was quite a messy year, on personal and global fronts. This session brings participants together to discuss life / work stressors and how those have shifted and magnified in the world’s current climate. Participants will be guided to share ways to not only manage, but strive towards your best self when life gets messy.
  4. Ethnic Studies as Anti-Racist Pedagogy in ANY Classroom<
    Soniya Munshi, Social Sciences, Human Services, and Criminal Justice; Linta Varghese, Ethnic Studies
    In this session, we will revisit the creation and institutionalization of Ethnic Studies both nationally and at BMCC. Through interactive exercises, reflective writing, and discussion we will then examine how the central components of community control, redistribution of power and resources, and the importance of public institutions in ensuring racial justice can inform our pedagogical practices, regardless of discipline.
  5. From Attacks on our Democracy to Engaged Global Citizens: the Promise of Higher Education
    Leslie Craigo, Teacher Education;Tracy Gray, Teacher Education
    We will discuss the history of voter suppression, white supremacy, and white power. We will share methods to incorporate the promotion of active citizenship into our engagement with students, and invite participants to share their expertise and questions pertaining to the promotion of active citizenship.

Planning committee
Faculty: Leslie Craigo, Maureen Keenan. Staff: Maketa Barber, Gina Cherry, Letitia Dinkins, Thomas Harbison, Greer McPhaden, Siddharth Ramakrishnan, Sharon Reid. Admin: Jim Berg.