Faculty Day 2018 – Proximity is not interaction: True diversity at faculty day
-Dr. Grisel Y. Acosta
The theme of this year’s Faculty Day was “Reflections on Diversity: Sharing Scholarship, Teaching, and Creative Works,” and after a week of rain, the sun came out to shine a light on this imperative for the Sixth Annual Faculty Day, April 20, 2018. Classrooms of the North Hall Library were cheerfully alive with chatter among faculty, staff, and guests as they gathered over breakfast in anticipation of the panels, roundtables, and performances set for the day. Keynote Speaker Dr. Arlene Torres, Director of the Chancellor’s Latino Faculty Initiative in Academic Affairs at CUNY, happily mingled with members of the Committee on Instruction and Professional Development, the organization that plans Faculty Day.
Introductions were made by BCC President Isekenegbe, Dean Luis Montenegro, and CIPD Chair Bob Lupo, before Dr. Torres began her testimonio, or personal account: “Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Connectedness in Higher Education: A 21st Century Imperative.” It is an understatement to say that her well-researched, creative account was moving to everyone in attendance. She used her personal history to explain the necessity of getting to know our colleagues and understanding the value that diverse backgrounds bring to the work that we accomplish together. When she conducted interviews with countless Latina professors and administrators she discovered that, “people are erasing our histories,” and she sees sharing one’s experience as a direct response to that tendency. She continued, recalling academic environments where students of color attended predominantly white institutions, by saying, “Our presence was not seen as beneficial to our white peers, who assumed to have all the social capital they needed.” She then described several initiatives she is involved in that counteract these experiences, such as RACE: Are We So Different?, a project of the American Anthropological Association. However, the standout quote that several faculty recalled throughout the day was, “Proximity is not the same as interaction.” There were few dry eyes when she mentioned the working class African American women who made her bussed-to-school experience less difficult when they told her, “Honey, you are there to represent us,” demonstrating the need for solidarity and support to create that important interaction.
Parfait Kouacou (PhD candidate in French) has been the first in CUNY to create an online archive for Writing Intensive faculty in Modern Languages. He consulted Modern Language faculty from different CUNY campuses to collect Writing Intensive syllabi and assignments to create a pedagogical toolbox for faculty teaching Writing Intensive Modern Language classes. The ePortfolio includes sample syllabi, class activities, and assignments for French, Italian, and Spanish Writing Intensive classes.
Grants, Awards, Scholarly & Creative Works
Carl R. Andrews (Library) and Dickens Saint Hilaire (Chemistry) were recipients of a 2018 Presidential Grant for their proposal, “Chemistry 12 Redesign Project.” Bronx Community College, Bronx, NY. January 2018.
Ted N. Ingram (General Counseling) was selected to participate in Diversifying CUNY’s Leadership: A CUNY-Harvard Consortium, a professional development program for faculty and staff committed to diversity and inclusion at CUNY. January 2018.
Elise Langan (Education and Academic Literacy)–along with colleagues from Medgar Evers and the Gotham Center for NY History–was the recipient of a Library of Congress grant for her project, “New York City as a Living Museum: Exploring How Educators Use Local Resources to Enhance the Social Studies Curriculum.” March 2018.
Eugene Mananga (Engineering, Physics and Technology) will participate in the 2018 PKAL STEM Leadership Institute II at the Claggett Center in Adamstown, Maryland. The STEM Leadership Institute offers a distinct opportunity to develop leadership capacity in acting as an agent of change and transformation of STEM higher education. April 2018. Mananga was also the recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Scientist Award awarded by the ACS: Chemistry For Life. ACS New York Section’s Westchester Chemical Society, Westchester, NY. April 2018.
Carlos Manuel Rivera (Modern Languages) performed, “La Regla” at the 7th season of Monologues Festival “Ando Monologando” in the William Musto Cultural Center, Union City, NJ. February 2018. Moreover, he performed with “La Bori Bori de Mink” in the VII Colloquium ¿Del otro la’o? Queer Perspective and Debates: Trans, Inter and Other Emerging Routes at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, PR. March 2018. Lastly, he was a lecture participant at the “Popular Theater: The Marginal Theater in Puerto Rico” in the Biennale of Performing the Storytelling Barriocuentos 2018, Teatro Cimarrón, Havana, Cuba. March, 2018.
Monika Sikand (Engineering, Physics and Technology) has received Princeton University’s Cooperative Institute for Climate Science (CICS) Visiting Faculty Exchange Fellowship. During summer 2018, Dr. Sikand collaborated with host scientists at AOS and GFDL, a world leader in earth system modeling, climate science research and prediction, with the aim of establishing continuing research links between AOS/GFDL scientists and Bronx Community College.
Kaemanje S. Thomas (Education and Academic Literacy) presented, “Integrating Technological Instruction for Pre-service Teacher and the 21st Century Learner” at the NCBAA-NE 2016 Spring Conference. Bronx Community College. Bronx, NY. 2018
Kevin Martillo Viner (Modern Languages) presented, “Optional Spanish Subjunctive Mood Grammar of New York City Bilinguals” at the Spanish Linguistics in North Carolina [SLINKI]. Wake Forest University, Brookstown Campus, NC. February 2018.
Marie Varghese (CUNY Start) co-presented, “Poetry of Praise: Reclaiming Religion and Spirituality for the Resistance (Reading)” at the 2018 Split this Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2018, Washington, DC. April 2018. She also shared her works at the “Autoethnographies of CUNY: The Power of Storytelling” as part of her participation in the “2 Truths and A Lie Writing Workshop” led by Bushra Rehman at the Asian American Writers Workshop. April 2018.