Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) faculty members attended a two-day virtual event, Recharge, Reconnect, Restart on January 26 and 27. Each afternoon was filled with activities, presentations and panel discussions focused on trauma-informed pedagogy and anti-racist pedagogy in an interactive, positive and affirming way. Sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs, the event was attended by 175 participants and hosted on the virtual platform Zoom.
During welcoming remarks, BMCC President Anthony E. Munroe encouraged faculty to take advantage of the event’s workshops and discussions and reminded them to visit the Reimagining BMCC website for timely updates.
“I also want to take this time to say thank you to everyone in our BMCC family for your patience, understanding and perseverance during these trying times,” said Munroe. “Our community needs to continue supporting each other across the institution. We are in this together, and together we can make the Spring 2021 semester a success.”
Academic Affairs Dean Jim Berg said that teaching during the pandemic had shown faculty and the administration that technology and pedagogy are two sides of the same coin.
“We hope to help faculty to see that we can have academic integrity while also exhibiting empathy and compassion to our students and one another,” said Berg.
After each day’s presentation, faculty join breakout rooms for concurrent panel discussion and other insightful presentations. The sessions included:
- Panel Discussion: 2020 Distinguished Teaching Award Winners
- Increasing Student Engagement with Digital Tools and Projects
- Is Anybody Out There? New Models of Synchronous Teaching
- Alternative Forms of Assessment
- Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy Book Discussion
- How to Support Students in Their Learning
- Dealing with Stress and Anxiety: Thriving in the Mess
- Ethnic Studies as Anti-Racist Pedagogy in ANY Classroom
- From Attacks on Our Democracy to Engaged Global Citizens: the Promise of Higher Education
On day one of the event, Nursing Professor Edna Asknes and Teacher Education Professor Jen Longley led a session on teaching during the pandemic that included helpful tips on managing stress and trauma. Faculty also heard from Student Government President Josiah Ramesar, who shared perspective from BMCC students including some of the challenges of distance learning.
The second day opened with welcoming remarks from Acting Provost and Senior Vice President Erwin J. Wong and was followed by a special presentation—Towards Creating a More Inclusive, Culturally Competent and Anti-Racist Curriculum—by Social Sciences, Human Services and Criminal Justice Professor Shirley Leyro.
Berg later pointed out that COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on economically disadvantaged people and people of color, including BMCC students.
“The pandemic, the murder of George Floyd, and the attempt to overthrow the election have exposed like never before the structural inequalities in our society,” said Berg. “ We need to take action, individually and collectively, by pursuing an anti-racist pedagogy. Our students deserve nothing less.”