New Faculty Bring Scholarly Distinction and a Passion for Learning to BMCC

BMCC faculty starting Fall 2017

BMCC faculty starting Fall 2017
August 29, 2017

This Fall 2017, 38 professors are joining the more than 1,500 faculty at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY). Teaching in BMCC’s 47 associate degree programs, these new faculty members bring expertise in areas ranging from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields, to Liberal Arts areas such as Art History, Modern Languages and Theatre. As part of their orientation to the College, they took part in activities that culminated in a reception on the 13th-floor terrace of Fiterman Hall, where they met with colleagues and guests, including President Antonio Pérez, Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Karrin E. Wilks and Associate Dean of Faculty, Jim Berg.

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Professors at BMCC not only teach, but mentor students who join faculty research projects and conference presentations. The faculty takes part in their own development at BMCC through The Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Scholarship (CETLS) and grant-funded projects. They help lead the college and serve the community, setting an example for students who explore academic and career options as they complete their degrees.  

Faculty joining BMCC in the 2017 Fall semester include: Kenneth Cotton and Candido Hernandez (Academic Literacy and Linguistics); Peter Hoontis, Peter Mayer and Roderick S. Snipes (Business Management); Tamir Avcilar (Computer Information Systems); Maria Alvarez, Angela Florschuetz, John Hodgkins, Amanda Hollander and Frederick Solinger (English); Sara Elmiligi (Health Education); Anthony Bishop and Sharell Walker (A. Philip Randolph Memorial Library); Elisabeth Jaffe, Aradhana Kumari, Serine Ndiaye and Hong Yuan (Mathematics); Melanie Oram and Owen Roberts (Media Arts and Technology); Giada Geraci and Laurie Lomask (Modern Languages); Joshua Henderson, Yan Tang and Terttu Uibopuu (Music and Art); Judy Ashton, Careen Purcell and Edward Williams (Nursing); Jamal Ali and Moussa Gazali (Science); Liza Chowdhury, Gerard Clock, Paoyi Huang, Shirley Leyro and Nicole Lopez-Jantzen (Social Sciences, Human Service, and Criminal Justice); Charles Burk and Vanessa Leuck (Speech, Communications and Theatre Arts) and Ruth Guirguis (Teacher Education). 

This group of academic scholars reflects the wide range of associate degree programs at BMCC,  including new offerings such as Art History, a program that welcomes Professor Yan Yang to its faculty.

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Professor Yang has taught courses on East Asian art — Chinese, Japanese and Korean art from prehistory to 21st century — at the University of Connecticut, University of Tennessee and Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan. “I am researching the notion of ‘Japanese art’ known as yamato-e’; the codification of its meaning during a very political moment in the early 20th century and how it has affected our understanding of the more distant past,” she says. At BMCC, she looks forward to participating in “curriculum-building that will provide students with innovative ways to think about art, art history and Asia. There are numerous institutions and organizations devoted to Asian art in New York City and I invite anyone with an interest in Asia to join me and experience it through its objects.”

Professor Charles Burks, who is new to the Speech, Communications and Theatre Arts Department at BMCC, brings experience teaching Voice and Movement, Screenwriting, and Collaboration Adaptation to Performance (CAP) at institutions including The City College of New York/CUNY (City College) and Fairfield University in Connecticut.

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Recently, Professor Burks performed in the Obie-nominated, off-Broadway play “Othello Remix,” and he is working on what he describes as a rap adaptation of Shakespeare’s “A Taming of the Shrew,” titled “To Catch a Fox!” Other projects include directing a musical about adjusting to college life, “What Now? Now What?,” which will be presented as part of freshmen orientation in Fall 2017 at City College. He is also creating a theater piece that addresses “the issue of single mothers raising young black men, and how the lack of male role models have shaped their outcomes.” At BMCC, Professor Burks foresees developing “an apprenticeship for student involvement with these projects. I am also excited about partnering with fellow faculty.”

Before joining BMCC’s Math Department, Professor Elisabeth Jaffe taught algebra, calculus, advanced topics in mathematics and writing at Baruch College Campus High School.

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“My favorite thing is to help students see mathematics in the world around them,” she says. “I want them to see the quadratic functions of water fountains or throwing a basketball. I want them to think about the relationship between volume and surface area when blowing up a balloon, or the importance of angles when buying a slice of pizza. I want them to realize they do complex mathematics in their heads every time they cross a street against the light. I want my students to see math as a creative subject.” 

At BMCC, she plans to help non-STEM students develop an enjoyment of, and confidence in mathematics. “There is a high expectation at BMCC that every student can learn,” she says. “We are all lifetime learners, and BMCC embraces that philosophy.”

Shane Snipes, a new professor in the Business Management Department at BMCC, is focused on “how to best teach disenfranchised students to think like an entrepreneur.” One of his goals at BMCC “is to connect with students in as many majors as possible, so they understand that being an entrepreneur is possible whether studying health, theater, math, art, computer programming or any other field.”

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Professor Snipes has taught social entrepreneurship at Fordham University, as well as having taught “innovation methods to hundreds of managers at Microsoft, HP and Best Buy. From there, we set up innovation labs for international divisions.” 

With this experience, he sets an example for BMCC students who dream of starting their own businesses. “I ‘walk the walk’ of entrepreneurship,” he says. “I successfully sold a sustainability consultancy in 2013 to Siemens Corporation. I was in Lithuania in the early 1990s, when starting a nonprofit to address ecological education was important, and the organization I founded was later brought into the Bureau of Land Trust. Entrepreneurship isn’t ‘The Answer’ as I hear, sometimes. It does, however, help show how our interests can solve problems for others — and that’s business.”

Professor Ruth Guirguis taught education courses at Pace University before joining the Teacher Education Department at BMCC. “One of the key things that attracted me to BMCC is its multicultural and diversity aspects,” she says. “It is beautiful to see so many cultures come together, and to be a part of guiding students as they earn their degrees and move on to teach a very diverse student population, themselves.” 

Professor Guirguis’ scholarly focus centers on the development of self-regulation and dual language learners. “I come from the CUNY system,” she says. “It was the teaching and learning that occurred while completing my master’s degree that allowed me to go on and get my doctorate.” At BMCC, “Students can make a positive start and develop a solid foundation to further their careers,” she says. “In the past I have worked with my students and together we have been able to publish. I look forward to working with student researchers at BMCC.”

To learn more about BMCC faculty research projects and successes, as well as resources available to faculty, visit Faculty Affairs on the BMCC website.

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  • BMCC welcomes close to 40 new faculty in a reception on the 13th-floor terrace of Fiterman Hall
  • They bring academic experience in Mathematics, Health Education, Art History, Business Management, Nursing and other areas
  • Reception culminates orientation activities such as meeting campus leaders and learning about resources

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