On January 14, BMCC hosted the event, “Community College Collaborative Incentive Research Grant (C3IRG): A One-Day Workshop on Pedagogical Research,” sponsored by the CUNY Office of the Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges.
Over 100 faculty from BMCC, Bronx Community College, NYC College of Technology, Medgar Evers College, LaGuardia Community College, Hostos Community College, Kingsborough Community College, the College of Staten Island, Queensborough Community College and other institutions attended the event, held in Richard Harris Terrace on BMCC’s main campus.
Gillian Small, CUNY Vice Chancellor for Research gave opening remarks and Kay Conway, Chair of the Community College Caucus, University Faculty Senate welcomed the participants.
Topics vital to collaborative research
In the morning session, Nikki Edgecombe, Senior Research Associate of the Community College Research Center, discussed pedagogical research fundamentals, and Larry Suter updated the audience on research opportunities at the National Science Foundation.
Arita Winter, Research Conduct Associate at the CUNY Office of Research Conduct, outlined the Institutional Review Board process, and Michael Weiss, Research Associate at the MDRC (formerly the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation), outlined assessment options available to researchers.
In afternoon breakout sessions, the audience shared research goals and common ground, gathered according to discipline areas: Humanities (co-chaired by Jean Darcy of Queensborough Community College and Matt Gold of New York City Technical College), Natural and Physical Sciences (sponsored by Lauren Goodwyn and Sara Salm of BMCC, and Paul Marchese of Queensborough Community College), and Social Sciences (co-chaired by Sarah Boner of Hunter College, and Ron Hayduk of BMCC).
Building new partnerships
Opportunities to network were also provided around the refreshments tables in BMCC’s spacious lounge areas. Professors from a wide range of community colleges sat with their coffee and bagels, discussed current projects and explored ideas for new ones.
Math Professors Prabha Betne and Marina Dedlovskaya, both from LaGuardia Community College, talked about their school’s Project Quantum Leap, which is creating a contextualized curriculum for students in basic skills math classes. Joined by their research partner from Queensborough Community College, Math Professor Jonathan Cornick, they agreed on the learning benefits of a contextualized curriculum to students at both campuses—who share many of the same academic challenges.
“We’ve just made the curriculum workshop-based, so the students are more involved,” said Cornick, crediting an Improving Mathematical Learning grant for enabling much of their research.
“We need to know more about how to improve student learning,” added Betne, “and today’s event is about collaborative grants, so we thought it would be a good idea to attend and explore new research opportunities and partnerships.”
BMCC Political Science Professor Ron Haduk co-chaired one of the event’s break-out sessions, in which he shared with social science faculty, his own experience procuring research grants.
He noted that partnerships—not just between colleges, but between faculty in different disciplines—add depth to research projects, and gave as an example, a collaborative (C3IRG) grant between BMCC and Hostos Community College.
“It’s a project called ‘Pathways to Multi-Racial Alliances’,” Hayduk explained, “and it looks at how newcomers—mostly immigrants—build coalition around common ground. We need to forge those partnerships in order to accomplish whatever our goals are.”