The campuses across CUNY offer a diverse and dynamic group of CTLs. Some programs are open to any CUNY faculty member, so reach out if you are interested in attending an event. Here’s a link that gives an overview of the CTLs: http://cunyctl.commons.gc.cuny.edu/.
Here’s a growing list:
Welcome to the “What Comes Next?” site. It is a work in progress, maintained by a group of Baruch College faculty members as a way to assist our students in dealing with the outcome of the 2016 election. We want to help you understand how immigration and other federal laws might change, what you can do to protect yourself, and how you can take action if you wish to do so.
Baruch College will hold a teach-in on immigration on Thursday, December 1, during club hours. More information and the location to come.
Learn more about subject matters experts on this topic at Baruch and upcoming events: http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/election2016/
Presidential Policy Preview – Dec. 8 from 6:00-8:30pm
Trump’s First 100 Days: What Will He Actually Do?
On December 8th you can take part in the discussion of Donald J. Trump becoming the 45th President of the United States of America. What can we expect from his administration in the first 100 days? Will he push to have his agenda implemented in the form he expressed it in the campaign, or will he modify his goals once in office? Will the new president and the Congress be allies, or will they fight over budgets and policy priorities?
Baruch has assembled an expert panel to provide brief overviews of nine policy and procedural arenas, including defense, immigration, workforce, education, the Supreme Court, and the role of the Congress.
Join us at 6pm for a brief reception followed by the panel from 6:30 to 8pm.
Baruch President Mitchel B. Wallerstein on Defense/National Security
Professor Els de Graauw on Immigration Policy
Professor Hector Cordero-Guzmán on Workforce Issues
Professor Judith Kafka on K-12 Education
Clinical Professor Jeffrey Apfel on Higher Education
Professor John Casey on The Landscape for Nonprofits/Civil Society
Professor Dahlia Remler on Health Care Policy
Professor Tom Halper on The Court & Appointments
Professor Eric Gander on The Court & The First Amendment
Professor David Jones on Congress
[Note: Sources listed/linked at the end]
Last week I was asked to cover a class for a colleague. It was the first class meeting after the election and I was anxious but hopeful about opening up a discussion that would allow all students to voice their opinions and reactions in a calm and respectful way and in doing so, recognizing each student’s right to free speech.
Since I had heard students on campus bemoaning the continuous election conversations, at the beginning of the class I asked students if they wanted to talk about the election. They did. By asking the students whether or not they would like to discuss the election, students’ played an active role in constructing the class session. After they had made their decision, I reminded students that we would be engaging in an inclusive dialogue and would not allow hateful or violent language towards any person or group of people.
Drawing inspiration from an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, I handed out post-its and asked students to write one word that described their feelings about the election. I asked students if they would like to read their word aloud or if they would prefer me to read the words to the class. They suggested that I read the words and they could claim the word if they wanted to say more. This negotiation process made the activity collaborative, allowing students to determine how the activity and subsequent discussion would be structured.
In the discussion that followed, students voiced varying opinions but remained respectful to one another. I tried to moderate the discussion by reading the words in an order that did not allow one student or perspective to dominate the conversation. I embraced improv techniques as useful teaching tools, sometimes drawing on the improv tactic “yes, and…”. The discussion was productive and ultimately positive, with almost every student joining in at one point or another.
Preliminary discussion about election emotions lead us to other, tangentially related topics such as the structure of the electoral college, the importance of mid-term elections, and the proliferation of fake news sources. Even though students voiced differing opinions, discussion of these topics was uplifting and hopeful. While I listened, I was reminded of John Dewey’s promotion of civic education and his focus on the importance of developing a community of informed citizens to participate in our ongoing democracy.
Creating spaces that foster open dialogue is the first step in developing an inclusive community where students can converse respectfully about issues that are important to them. Fostering these discussions also requires an increased focus on development of students’ digital literacy because “in the digital world, being able to not only find information online but also determine its quality and validity is crucial”. In a world where a fake news story can go viral, if we want students engaging in informed discussions, teaching them to evaluate information online and view several new sources to develop their opinion is crucial.
For more resources on information literacy at Baruch, User Experience Librarian Stephen Francoeur focuses on how students use references and find information and can assist professors with incorporating these skills into their course.
If you would like to learn more about discussion strategies for the post-election classroom or tactics for developing students digital literacy, please also feel free to contact me, Laurie Hurson, Hybrid Coordinator in Baruch’s Center for Teaching and Learning. (email@example.com).
“Listening for Student Voices” by Chris Friend and Sean Michael Morris in Hybrid Pedagogy (2013)
“One University Asks: How Do You Promote Free Speech Without Alienating Students?” by Beth McMurtrie in The Chronicle of Higher Education (2016)
Diversity and Inclusive Teaching Resources from Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching
“Lesson Plans After the Shock: How Instructors Treated Trump’s Win in the Classroom” by Fernanda Zamudio-Suaréz in The Chronicle of Higher Education (2016)
“Gifts of the Moment: Learning to Listen and Respond Through Improvisation” by Chris Kreiser in Hybrid Pedagogy (2016)
“How Improv Can Open Up the Mind to Learning in the Classroom and Beyond” by Linda Flanagan from KQED (2015) (Image source )
“Civic Education” from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
“From Written to the Digital: The New Literacy” by Phillip Ventimiglia and George Pullman
from Educause Review (2016)
“How Fake News Goes Viral: A Case Study” by Sapna Maheshwari from The New York Times (November 20, 2016)
On November 15th we hosted a CTL Conversation, in which faculty came together to discuss the topic of challenging discussions in light of the divisive election. A concern of many faculty was making the diverse voices of the Baruch community be heard.
Professor Glenn Petersen from the Department of Sociology writes:
“At Baruch, we pride ourselves on the diversity of our student body, without necessarily reflecting much on what that means. Many fields of study recognize the important notion that there’s more difference within populations than between populations, and it’s likely the same with culture and cultural differences. It’s likely that there’s more difference within what we talk about as American culture – whatever that is – than there are differences among our diverse students.
Oliver Sacks said “We see with our brains, not our eyes,” and that applies to differences within a society. In the wake of this election, it’s imperative that we help our students understand that there is no one thing called American society or culture. Social and cultural forces of all sorts are at work, along with economic and political forces. How any of us sees things, understands the world around us, doesn’t tell us a whole lot about how things actually are. Now is a good time to ponder and discuss just how and why so many folks see things so much differently than we do, than our friends and families do, than our university and city do.”
There was agreement in the CTL conversation, that in these classroom discussions, there did not need to be consensus on a particular position, but there should be agreement that multiple perspectives should be given the respect to be heard. Accompanying this, is also the need for us to appreciate how what one says and feels might make another person feel.
There was also agreement that we collectively need to communicate, discuss and possibly dissect moments when a person’s perspective made another uncomfortable. We need to push past these moments of discomfort to start uncovering what are the person’s fears, motivations, concerns, priorities and dreams that are leading that person to a particular perspective. We should analyze what media and research we are all relying upon to base our conclusions.
Baruch Provost Dave Christy suggests using the wisdom from some of our most respected leaders to focus discussion. He writes:
In the role of listener, you may not be fully certain how to react to everything students might say. You don’t need to have all of the answers. I suggest that you avoid discussing your personal politics, and instead listen actively. Here are a couple of themes that you might consider if they seem appropriate to what students are sharing with you:
I. “The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
The story of human history involves strife and reconciliation. We need to be confident that as a society, we will continue to move forward, albeit with some painful detours.
II. Our strength is in our community.
We are New Yorkers, a community that is the most inclusive and cosmopolitan in the world. We look out for one another, and we don’t stand by silently in the face of injustice. We follow our hearts, express ourselves, and respect one another.
III. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
There will be some students and adults alike that feel like they are being attacked. The more kindness that you can extend to them, the better we are together. Be patient and listen. The only way students can be empowered to participate fully in society is to regain strength and reclaim confidence. Let them know that we believe in them.
IV. “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” – Nelson Mandela
Building our life around a sense of resentment may just serve to diminish us as people, and steal from us the ability and power to initiate positive change.
Many faculty have been trying to navigate promoting civil discourse. This seems like an almost impossible task with the polarizing nature of this particular campaign, which featured frequent instances of hateful speech and mocking of intelligence. Faculty don’t want to stifle diverse perspectives, but they also don’t students who feel targeted to not feel supported in any of the sadness, concerns or fears they might have. Some students have expressed concern that because they voted for Donald Trump, there is no room for them to express their choices or they are automatically accused of being racist or stupid. Other students have experienced a racist attack or sexual assault and are worried that they will be further hurt. What can faculty do?
Perhaps one way is to show some diverse sources, that acknowledge the diverse concerns. Here are ideas for such sources:
Diana Hamilton, Acting Director of the Baruch College Writing Center shares this image that a HS teacher in Chicago posted in the classroom as a response. This might help in establishing empathy for students who feel particularly vulnerable from the election results:
Allison Lehr Samuels, Director of the CTL and Lecturer in the Department of Management thought this Op-Ed piece in the New York Times shares another perspective to encourage bipartisan viewpoints in classroom discussions: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/10/opinion/my-liberal-university-cemented-my-vote-for-trump.html?_r=0
In this email that President Jeremy Travis of John Jay College wrote to faculty on November 14, 2016 he eloquently addresses the core challenge that many in the CUNY community face:
Days have passed since the results of our presidential election rocked the nation. I admit that, perhaps like many of you, I am still trying to come to an understanding of the outcome of the election. Let me share some of my thoughts. Because most political pundits and pollsters had not predicted that Donald Trump would be successful in his outsider quest to be elected president, his victory was unexpected and stunning. Because the campaign had been marked by such vitriol and anger directed at both candidates, it is hard to imagine how this deeply divided country can move forward. Bottom line: this is a very challenging time for our country. My reactions to Tuesday’s results have also been shaped by the gracious remarks of President Obama and Secretary Clinton in the face of her defeat, and the commitment by President-elect Trump in his election night speech to bring our country together. All of them reminded us that our nation is committed to a smooth transfer of power and that this is a time for Americans to unite for the common cause of our democracy.
But I also recognize that underlying these sentiments is the bitter and troubling reality that many members of the John Jay community are deeply troubled by these election results. In my discussions with students, faculty and staff, I have been struck by the level of fear, anger, shock and depression experienced by our many in our community. The shock waves following the election ripple across our campus and touch many sectors – including undocumented students worried about their future and the risk of deportation; immigrants troubled by the campaign’s anti-immigrant rhetoric; Jews, Muslims, Latinos, African-Americans and members of the LGBT community who feel they have been targeted by hateful speech; and women and men concerned about the misogynistic tenor of the discourse. Many in our community are worried about the impact of the election on the direction of the Supreme Court, our foreign policy, the federal government’s support for improved police-community relations, the nation’s long-standing struggle for racial equality and America’s standing in the world.
I hasten to point out that these fears and concerns are not universally shared within the John Jay community. Many of our students, faculty, staff and alumni supported the candidacy of Donald Trump and are celebrating his victory. For them, the election results represent an important change in our country’s politics and a chance for implementation of new policies. This observation underscores two very important obligations we must embrace. First, we must remember that our diversity as a community is also a political diversity. It is incumbent on all of us to provide respectful opportunities to bring all voices into our discussions. Stated differently, it would be inconsistent with our values as an academic institution to stifle dissenting views. Members of the John Jay community who supported President-elect Trump also need to feel that their college provides an environment where their voices can be heard and they can celebrate their victory. As an academic institution, John Jay should be committed to a sustained discourse that creates a deeper understanding of the dynamics that led to this electoral result and the implications for the future. In particular, we owe this to our students.
The second obligation stems from our commitment to our Constitution: we must respect the outcome of this election, support and celebrate the peaceful transfer of power, and work through our democratic institutions to advance the well-being of our nation. This obligation does not preclude opposition to the policies of the new Administration. Indeed, our history illustrates that the forces of opposition, inside and outside government, have been necessary to advancing the ideals of our country. Again, we owe it to our students to help them learn from history and understand the political forces that determined this historic election result so they are better equipped to shape their future.
Yet, notwithstanding these overarching obligations, we still must recognize the level of pain, disorientation and anger in our community. I was pleased to see that we opened our Counseling Center to provide support for individuals having difficulty coming to terms with this new reality. I applaud those leaders of our community who have created opportunities for students, faculty and staff to come together to process those emotions. I encourage you to continue to find ways to reach out to those you care about. These discussions can occur at the level of academic departments, student clubs, staff meetings, and academic programs. These discussions are sometime best carried out at an informal level, over lunch, in the hallway, during community hour and on the subway ride home. This is a time to ask a friend or colleague, “How are you doing?” This is what a strong community does. Just as we celebrate together during times of joy, we hold each other closer during times of pain.
I also think it would be good for our community to come together at the college level for an open discussion about this moment in our nation’s history and how the election has affected our college. I am inviting you to come to a forum for this purpose tomorrow, Tuesday November 15. I have asked Vice President Cook-Francis to facilitate a dialogue in which community members of all perspectives can share in a safe and judgment-free environment how the election has affected them personally. If there is anything that recent months reveal it is that we need more understanding and empathy between ourselves. I would like us at John Jay to model that effort.
As I noted, like many of you I have been wrestling with my personal reactions to the election results. In the days since Tuesday, I have been reflecting on the importance of reaffirming the mission of our college during these unprecedented times. We should, of course, underscore the fact that our academic mission has special meaning now – to respect differing points of view, to develop deeper understandings of these dynamics in our country, and especially to prepare our students for their role as citizens of the world. But John Jay is different from other academic institutions. We are committed to the cause of justice. This mission carries weighty obligations now. We must find ways to reaffirm our commitment to all the dimensions of justice that are found on the walls of our college and play out in our classrooms, research centers, student activities, curricular offerings, research projects, art exhibitions and public statements – racial justice, gender justice, environmental justice, international justice, criminal justice, social justice, economic justice, and others. No other institution can claim this commitment to justice, broadly defined. For that reason, John Jay has a special obligation to dig deep, reaffirm our core values, and find ways to advance the common good.
This article from President Mariko Silver of Bennington College in the Chronicle reiterates our role to persevere as educators:
The need for discourse and critical analysis has never been greater, the need to know and understand never more crucial. And so we make space, we make art, we ask questions, we examine the evidence, and we generate solutions. We listen to our fellow human beings. We get to work.
We end with an article shared by Baruch Provost Dave Christy that offers immediate actions people can take to build a more inclusive society that respects differences: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/17/opinion/a-12-step-program-for-responding-to-president-elect-trump.html?_r=0.
We’ve been approached by some faculty concerned about issues surrounding academic freedom. Here are some resources:
Baruch’s Faculty Senate has a Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility: http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/facultysenate/academic-freedom.htm.
Here is the PSC-CUNY union’s write-up on academic freedom: http://www.psc-cuny.org/rights/academic-freedom followed by a guide published by CUNY: http://www1.cuny.edu/mu/vc_la/2012/01/02/a-guide-to-academic-freedom/.
Other writing on academic freedom suggests that it depends on whether “controversial” matters addressed in class are related to the subject matter. This pages provides a really useful history and overview of court case: https://www.aaup.org/academic-freedom-students-and-professors-and-political-discrimination.
The Chronicle is also a useful source at this time, with articles such as this: http://www.chronicle.com/article/Academic-Freedom-Has-Limits/234925.
Thank you to Diana Hamilton, Acting Director of the Baruch College Writing Center for her contributions on this topic.
Here is where we’ll post resources that are of interest to those who have questions and concerns regarding immigration issues:
Facebook Live Session
on Monday, November 21st at 11am.
To address the concerns of CUNY’s immigrant students raised by the recent election, there will be a Facebook Live Session to answer your legal, financial aid and immigration status questions. Senior CUNY attorneys and staff will participate in this 2 hour session.
Time: 11:00 a.m. Monday, November 21, 2016
To view and listen, visit Facebook.com/CUNYedu
For updates, visit our Facebook Event Page.
Hamad Sindhi, Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Sociology at Lehman College and CTL VOCAT Coordinator shares:
CUNY Citizenship Now: CUNY Citizenship Now! provides free, high quality, and confidential immigration law services to help individuals and families on their path to U.S. citizenship. Our attorneys and paralegals offer one-on-one consultations to assess participants’ eligibility for legal benefits and assist them in applying when qualified.
Inside Higher Ed article on the Sanctuary Campus movement
USCIS DACA page: This page provides information on requesting consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA). You may request DACA for the first time or renew your existing period of DACA if it is expiring.
Post-Election: Recommendations for School Administrators, Educators, Counselors, and Undocumented Students, from the blog My (Un)Documented Life: Info and Resources for Undocumented Immigrants