Falling Out of Summer
CTLM Newsletter Issue #12
What Remains. What Sustains.
By Dr. Ellen Skilton
In the car last week, I listened to the “Free at Noon” concert live from WXPN while stuck in traffic. The singer (whose music I didn’t know), Matt Nathanson, had a sore throat and wasn’t sure he could sing his tunes with his usual gusto. I was struck by three things: 1) his vulnerability about being human added to his musical performance, 2) the crowd was super-exhilarated by being in the same room together and 3) his perspective on the pandemic. He said “What no one has told you is that the post-pandemic period will be the hardest.”
Returning to campus after a spring/summer sabbatical (after two and a half years of pandemic adjustments to teaching, learning, and mentoring), I find myself noticing all that has changed and all that has remained. It’s a bit like landing on a planet that looks and feels familiar, but that I don’t know all the rules and customs for – maybe not unlike what it feels like to go back “home” when I was a college student/young adult.
CTLM has been so well tended, deepened, and grown while I was away under the leadership and intensive care and work of Jodi Bornstein (Acting Faculty Director) and Monica Day (Inclusive Excellence Programs Support Specialist) and an incredible set of faculty, staff, and student fellows from across the university. We are sustained by an ongoing vision of what innovative, transformative, learning and learner-focused inclusive excellence can be and also humbled by the work it takes to become a sustainable, useful, dynamic post-pandemic Center on campus. Born online during intersecting crises of public health and anti-Black-racism, our physical landing on the first floor of Taylor Hall is new, exciting, and uncertain terrain. Our development of systems and structures that go beyond responding and toward leading, sustaining, and documenting teaching, learning, and mentoring efforts is crucial behind-the-scenes work.
Values and Frameworks for Making Room
I keep returning to the language of Dr. Chrissy Davis Jones during her presentation at the Academic Affairs Retreat a few weeks ago. We are making room for students whose experiences, strengths and needs have not traditionally been front and center in higher education. This is a primary focus of CTLM’s work as well – both now and over the past few years. What values and frameworks guide our work as we work to create dynamic and meaningful inclusive excellence on campus?
In the summer of 2020, we collaborated with DLS to create a beginning map of what our core values would be as we navigated teaching, learning, and mentoring in “All Modes.” CTLM’s Equity and Engagement Framework for All Modes outlined pedagogical practices that are: 1) Student-Centered, 2) Accessible and Inclusive, and 3) Foster Real-World Connections. These values remain. In the summer of 2021, we had the chance to collaborate with the School of Education to offer an Inclusive Excellence Summer Institute that focused on how to shift our courses from being primarily content-centered toward being learner and learning-centered. A focal question was: What does it look like when we focus on creating opportunities for deep learning for ALL students? This institute focused on 1) Addressing Ableism: Universal Design Matters, 2) Addressing Cis-Heteronormativity: Gender Matters, and Addressing White Supremacy: Race Matters. As the 2022/23 academic year continues, stay tuned for more about the core values grounding CTLM’s teaching, learning, and mentoring work.
The Title III grant that the university received last year and the Kellogg Foundation Grant CASAA received this summer are providing additional resources for enhancing this work at CTLM. You will read about many of these efforts in the pages that follow. I and we are thrilled to be working with so many of you to sustain our collective work toward equitable, anti-racist, reflective pedagogies and learning/mentoring practices.
A Few Fall Highlights
The Living Our Values Experience (LOVE) Program is entering its third year, and is officially no longer a “pilot” program! We are excited to welcome Gail Lankford as a new Fellow of CTLM, and the co-lead of the program, together with Monica Day. Consider joining us on Wednesday September 14th from 4-5:30pm for the launch of the new semester. This first session will be open to the entire Arcadia community, and will offer an opportunity for everyone to learn more about the “good trouble” LOVE has gotten into so far, as well as what we have in store for this semester!
Introducing Praxis for Teaching Race (PTR): CTLM and CASAA will be collaborating on a new program that will support faculty and staff on honing pedagogical approaches to teaching race. As CABR continues to weave itself through all parts of the university, it is important that we embrace the changes this brings, and continue to develop approaches to teaching, learning and mentoring as we go along. We are grateful that this new and innovative program has received seed support through a grant from the Kellogg Foundation, and we look forward to sharing more with the Arcadia community soon.
Have a teaching, learning and/or mentoring question or topic that you want to explore with colleagues? Watch for a new Call for Participation from CTLM this week to support and promote up to four new Teaching and Learning Circles (TLC), accompanied by mini-grants that can be used for guest speakers, book/materials purchase, stipends, or other needed resources to support the work of the TLC, and that will share their work in a culminating TLC Showcase of Learning to the larger campus community
Fostering community and collaboration: CTLM will be co-sponsoring and supporting new collaborations, workshops and other events throughout the year as a way to share our knowledge with one another, and infuse our learning community with new ideas and innovations. The first of this semester is the Water Speaks Concert in the Castle on 9/16 at 6pm. Hope to see you there!
The Sound & The Prayer
By Daniel Pieczkolon
In my EN640: Global Literature class this summer, we spent almost an entire class discussing this long & ambitious & messy poem from the Vietnamese-American poet Ocean Vuong. The poem is bursting at the seams with big ideas, but they’re incredibly fragmented—both formally & thematically—which makes grabbing on to any of them difficult. Trying to find our footing, we gravitated toward these lines which appear early in the poem: “it’s / the sound not / the prayer / that enters.” We spent a lot of time trying to think through what the difference between the “sound” and the “prayer” is, and what it would mean that the former is entering prior to and/or rather than the latter.
A lot of the work we’ve done at the CTLM seems prayer-like to me. The kind of concentration & yearning to be better that we practice in LOVE and in Teaching & Learning Circles and even in the act of documenting & narrativizing those things in this Newsletter all feel like types of prayers to me. “It’s / the sound not / the prayer / that enters” though.
The prayer is meaningful & vulnerable &, at its best, can be life altering. The sound is necessary to gain purchase to the conscious though. It enters and makes a space for the prayer.
At the CTLM, we are constantly discussing how we can reach more people, how we can enter more spaces. This summer CTLM Student Fellows Barbara St. Fleur & Ryan Hiemenz worked with our Inclusive Excellence Programs Support Specialist, Monica Day, and Rachana Sheth & Kahdijah Venable from Marketing & Communications to design a CTLM Logo. Hopefully, it will function as a sound that allows us to gain more access to more spaces on campus.
The poem ends with “a word / being nailed / to its meaning” so that both can “live.” In other words, it ends with the sound & the prayer being fused into one thing. We are incredibly excited to begin the work of infusing this new logo with all of the meaning & significance of a prayer.
Learning to Adapt: The Power of Gateway
By Various Authors
Arcadia University’s Gateway to Success Program embodies so many of the traits that we value at the CTLM. It brings together students, faculty, & staff for unique teaching, learning, and mentoring opportunities that move far beyond the classroom, and it does so with a keen eye toward justice & equity. Because so many different types of stakeholders contribute to this experience, we thought it’d be useful to capture a staff (Anthony A. Reyes), faculty (Professor Deja Edwards), and student mentor (Hunter Bristow) perspective on the summer 2022 Gateway Experience:
by Anthony A. Reyes
The Gateway to Success Program is a college preparation access program designed to help admitted students with academic support and connect them to resources on campus. Our purpose is to show our students a sense of self, of identity, of purpose, and the skills to make good academic choices throughout their journey here at Arcadia. During our 5 week Summer Bridge Program, our students take credit-bearing courses, including an English Writing course, an elective course of their choice, and a learning strategies course taught by Gateway Staff members. Additionally, our students participate in team building activities such as workshops facilitated by our amazing Gateway Peer Mentors, and our students attend weekend field trips, including visits to the Lenape Cultural Center and Center City Philadelphia. We also practiced self-care and led workshops that included four-legged friends and got our hands stained with tie dye.
This was my first year working with the Summer Bridge Program. I've been anticipating our students for nearly 10 months and had no idea what to expect. Was I nervous? Absolutely. However, I was excited to meet the students! As a second generation non-traditional college student, I struggled academically in college and never found a community. I had to learn the hard way, navigating college through a trial-and-error process which wasn't the most fun. With my experience, my hopes are to assist students in improving their academic skills so that they don't need to go through the same process I had to go through. My passion is to help students, and my goal is to help them get from point A to B and all the in-betweens by guiding them in navigating the landscape of Arcadia University. For me, one of the highlights of this summer was seeing the growth and accomplishments of our scholars and seeing them create a community. I am looking forward to working with our scholars in the Fall and looking forward to seeing them find their path.
by Deja Edwards
As an Arcadia alumn, I had friends who participated in the Gateway program. However, I never truly understood the importance of the program. I knew that people who went through Gateway came out with confidence and a close-knit group of friends before University orientation. As a college student, the attributes of a Gateway alumn made the program enticing. As a new professor, I was uneasy about what I could bring to the table and what I could learn from my students. I was intimidated by the accelerated course and my lack of experience. Nonetheless, my students taught me a lot about the type of professor I want to be in the future.
Whether we were watching a K-pop video before class or struggling to tackle technological issues with peer reviews, my students were open-minded and went along with my process. Their ability to give me grace made me comfortable and allowed me to return their compassion and empathy. My students' ability to collaborate, laugh, and share their creative writing and encourage each other to continue to create inspired me. They taught me that building a space for open communication is one of the essential tools in the classroom.
While we had a short amount of time, I believe we built a community based on Buzzfeed quizzes and music. Yes, I said Buzzfeed quizzes. As a break between individual and group work, we did a bunch of personality Buzzfeed quizzes and discussed our results in class. This staple gave the students time to relax and transition into the next task without feeling overwhelmed. The fun examinations became so popular that when I didn't have one, a student told me to make sure to bring them back. The music helped them focus and stay present in class, and we discussed our favorite artists. We listened to many genres, such as, K-pop, conscious rap, R&B, and classic rock. We vibed as a class and frequently overcame minor struggles during the class period with music and comedic relief.
I learned that students listen, even when it feels like they are not paying attention. They taught me that mental health and the ability to sustain are as important as time management. Although faculty are constantly discussing how to make life easier for our students in faculty meetings, we don't have all the answers. While this stresses us out, my students taught me that I don't need all the answers. Instead, I must show my students that being imperfect and genuine is enough. Isn't the point of building an intellectual community to learn as we grow and evolve? From having my ego checked by being told never to do peer reviews on Canvas again to having a challenging conversation about coping with anxiety, I learned that the easiest way to connect with young intellectuals is to be present and authentic. Gateway is not just an introduction to the college experience but a gateway to inspiring professors to adapt and evolve to the next generation's vision for the future.
by Hunter Bristow
Being a mentor means having a smile and a helping hand for all students, not just your mentees. Allowing push back when you offer support but not relenting. Letting them understand you have their backs throughout this program. Being a mentor means understanding that your words and actions might ricochet at the moment but impact in the long run, good and bad. Knowing that means there will be sleepless nights spent checking in and reassuring “It’ll all be okay.” Being a mentor means waking up early the next day to go to their classes. Walking students to counseling services, silently hoping they’re okay but not showing your worry as they shake. Getting frustrated when a student starts falling behind, knowing what that can mean. Smiling when the students check on you, not to brush it aside, but because you know they care as much as you do when something is off. Being a mentor means running across campus and back because how could you forget you were supposed to wear matching earrings with your students? Lugging paint and canvases through the halls to have a “relaxing” paint night. Having dye cling under your fingernails days after you mixed the powders for the tye-dye event. Being a mentor means learning from your mentees more than they learn from you. Building connections with the mentees. Joining their TikToks, hyping up their outfits, and praising their work. Knowing how much it means that they’re sharing with you. Looking at the scholars as they hang out, work, and support each other. Knowing that the stress, anxiety, and everything is worth it in the end, watching them find their wings and fly their path.
What I’ve Learned After 2 Months Living Abroad
By Tessa Wrice
Now that my two months living abroad have ended and I am all settled into the new semester, I feel exactly how I expected that I would: eager to return back to Italy to explore more of the country. Life in the EU was far from perfect but Europe is a state of imperfection that I quickly fell in love with and hope to return to in the next year. It could be that I feel that I have unfinished business there as I still don't know Italian and my speaking skills are nowhere near where I wanted them to be by this time. It could also be the conversations I've had with my new friends about life in their countries and all of the reasons I would find living here to be fulfilling.
It's not that I didn’t miss the States. My family and friends are here, my horses and the comfortable daily routine that I have built as well, but I don't feel as tied down as I once did. Over the last few weeks, I realized that I can anchor myself just about anywhere in the world. I can choose to start my life in Philadelphia or Chicago (almost) just as easily as I can start my life in Bologna or Copenhagen. Being a semester away from graduating has forced me to realistically consider what my next steps are going to be, one of which is looking for another language school where I can continue learning Italian.
Traveling around central Italy never failed to humble me and maybe that's what draws me to traveling in the first place. Italy can be a difficult country to navigate without knowing a good bit of the language and every time it's proven to me how little I actually understand, it only increases my desire to master the language. I have had very similar experiences with horses as well. As soon as I get the least bit comfortable they manage to find the most creative ways to keep me on my toes and show me just how much more I have to learn from them. I don't think I ever understood the idea that making mistakes is one of the best methods of learning until I got here, began constantly making mistakes, and learning from each one of them.
And as much as the practical reasons for learning a language motivate me, the cultural knowledge hidden in a country's native language intrigues me as well. It would be a dream come true to be able to hold conversations with more people from around the world in their native tongue and I've learned that a lot of important information gets lost in translation. In the same way that I would rather hold a serious conversation in English to have access to my own full spectrum of expression, I want to give those that I speak with the same opportunity. Unfortunately, it will probably be a while until I'm at that level in my second language but the gradual process is something I can appreciate as well.
I don't think anything I've learned has ever felt as "right" as learning Italian has. Being here in Italy with the intention of becoming fluent has given even the smallest moments meaning, something I struggled to find back home. It's a way of intentionally living that, although scary, gives me a sense of purpose that feels significantly more fulfilling than just traveling and existing. As someone who is easily distracted and discouraged, I was surprised to find myself increasingly interested in moving up through the levels and creating new long term goals for myself that I feel align with the vision I have always had for my early 20's. I have discovered a place where for the first time I feel like I am in the right place doing the right thing and meeting people who I am able to deeply connect with through our love of languages and learning.
I've really come to love who I am living abroad. I'm brave, resourceful, and, on a good day, confident. After two months here, I don't mind making small talk and I've managed to become pretty good at it. The idea of not knowing where I'm going doesn't scare me as much; I don't know where anything is here so all I can do is try to be on the right train and hope for the best. I finally wear my hair down and it makes me feel feminine and beautiful. I even do my own eyebrows which is something I didn't think I would ever do. (I know, living abroad really changes you.)
When I return to campus in the fall, I am not only coming back with a new mindset, but with a course of action geared towards returning to Italy to continue studying Italian and traveling throughout Europe. Before leaving for Italy, I never had a solid plan for the months following graduation, but now I look forward to building a life abroad with the foundation Arcadia has helped me create. When I would share that I was going to study abroad, the adults in my life would always say how much they regretted not doing so themselves and how much I should cherish the opportunity and now I understand why.
Studying abroad gives students the chance to experience the world with a safety net. I had staff and faculty always looking out for me, providing me with as much or as little support as I needed that day and numbers to call just in case. The reality of learning how to travel on your own is that you make mistakes. Sometimes they are little mistakes, expensive mistakes, and unfortunately, sometimes dangerous mistakes that can leave you vulnerable and in need of help. A program like Arcadia Abroad supports you through every type of challenge you may face and it’s allowed me to spread my wings with confidence. I will start my fall semester knowing that this was only the beginning of a lifetime filled with amazing food, foreign languages, and beautiful countries with an endless amount of knowledge to uncover.
Our CTLM Summer!
Arcadia Technology: Celebrating Success
By Rashmi Radhakrishnan
Technological innovations have been reshaping & redefining the learning experience since the dawn of formalized education. Perhaps no single world event more directly impacted the relationship between education & technology than the COVID 19 pandemic though. As we start the fall 2022 semester, I think it’s fair to say that an internet connection has replaced the chalkboard as the single most necessary classroom technology. Over the past several years, Arcadia University has made small & large changes to its variouses technologies. Below Rashmi Radhakrishnan recounts some of those changes, including the announcement of a forthcoming “Teaching Lab,” which will allow students, staff, & faculty to do the difficult work of synthesizing technology & pedagogy in meaningful ways.
It was August 2019, the first week of school and my first week as CIO at Arcadia. The internet went down in the Commons, and it took over a day to restore it. More disruptions followed that one, and I experienced first-hand the frustration many of you felt. I learned quickly that Arcadia's community is a resilient one. I also knew, based on my previous experiences, that we needed to take a systematic approach to changing things.
The journey of discovery and assessment leading to the Digital Transformation efforts currently underway has been both challenging and rewarding. This process was made more complicated by COVID and the cyberattack last year. Through it all, I was heartened by the resilience, kindness and grace displayed by so many members of this community as well as my own team. So, after two years filled with exciting twists and challenges, it is time to share some progress updates and exciting changes with all of you.
As many of you know, our network and technology infrastructure has been in a state of disrepair since its last update in 2014. The interdependence of each aspect of the network meant we had to take a multi-phased and iterative approach to the modernization efforts. We started the upgrades in 2019, and this summer we completed the critical second phase by replacing all old and outdated network switches in academic, residential, and administrative buildings. By removing the bottlenecks (old switches) to network capacity in the buildings and adding modern high-capacity switches, we have increased campus bandwidth by twenty fold. There should be a tangibly better WiFi experience in classrooms, offices and residence halls. A good example of real-world impacts is with End of Rotation exams taken in Brubaker Hall for our PA/PT programs. Due to poor network infrastructure the last few years, faculty and students would have to drag network cables to the area each student sits. After performing upgrades, we were able to successfully have all students connect wirelessly.
The Delaware Campus is receiving some major infrastructure upgrades as well. This includes new wireless, network switches, firewall, and most noticeable – a new battery backup. In recent months, the aging battery backup has caused some issues for those on the Delaware campus. These upgrades will bring the Delaware campus up to modern infrastructure Standards, matching the rest of the University.
In another important move last year, we combined the Help Desk and Classroom Technology to create the IT Support Services (ITSS). Through this new structure, we have been able to provide more seamless support through a cohesive cross-functional team approach. Your feedback via last year’s survey and focus groups on classroom technology has helped inform and advise us on the changes we made to the classroom setup and experience. Some of those changes include:
a dedicated phone number for faculty to report classroom technology issues in real-time.
cameras and microphones added to most undergraduate classrooms to enable lecture capture and hybrid/All-Modes lecture streaming.
rear TVs in most undergraduate classrooms to allow instructors to see the faces of their hybrid students while they teach to in-person students. This will be useful beyond hybrid delivery as the rear monitors can also be used as a confidence monitor.
improved stability and reduced login times of podium PCs and Lab computers.
custom-built "Zoom Carts" to enable Art+Theater-based classes to have hybrid capabilities in classrooms/maker spaces that can't accommodate installed technology.
Many of you have graciously welcomed members of the Digital Learning Services (DLS) team (Valerie Green and Tori Waskiewicz) and the ITSS team (Tim Belloff, Matt Pelligrini) to some of your departmental meetings. This personalized engagement with faculty in their own department setting allows us to understand your needs better and gives us an opportunity to let you know about our new service offerings. We hope to continue this engagement strategy on a regular cycle. The feedback collected, from departments, provides direction for DLS programming of professional development. Some of the highlights include:
bringing in guest speakers (Flower Darby, Dan Levy and James Lang). Mark your calendar for the next one! Discussion with James M. Lang author of “Distracted: Why Students Can't Focus and What You Can Do About It” on September 23rd (12-1 PM).
sponsoring faculty participation in professional conferences.
in-house workshops and personalized consultations.
Another exciting update is our plan to build a ‘Teaching Lab’. In close collaboration with the Center for Teaching Learning and Mentoring (CTLM) and with the support of the Provost, we are planning to build an experimental teaching space that gives faculty (and students) a chance to test new classroom technology and provide real-time feedback to the IT team. It also gives us a dedicated space where we can create innovative learning experiences together without disrupting classrooms that are currently in use. More on this soon!
As always, we are grateful for your guidance, and I hope you see how your feedback, support and continued partnership has made these changes possible. We wish you all a very successful fall semester and look forward to seeing you.
By Barbara St. Fleur
It is sad to be leaving an institution that I have been in for four years. Still, I am happy to be officially starting my professional career all thanks to my hard work at Arcadia and the different responsibilities that I held when I was at Arcadia. For four years, I have worked as the Layout Editor for The Compass; a scholarly journal for students across the globe, and for two years with the Center for Teaching Learning and Mentorship (CTLM). I have done a lot with these two responsibilities and I’m glad to have had the experience. I used the experience that I had to benefit me in interviews and to get a job based on the skills that I have learned.
Within the four years with The Compass, I was able to use technical skills in a professional environment. I was able to contribute to the publishing of a scholarly journal. For the CTLM, I saw several programs start from scratch. I was able to see the Center being built, and I aided in the process. These two are the last responsibilities that I had this year and in some way, I am passing on roles to keep the work moving forward.
The Compass was quite a smooth transition. I already knew the new Layout editor from his work at the CTLM and I was able to meet with him to talk about everything that he might experience working on The Compass. I remember when I got the job as Layout Editor I didn’t have anyone who showed me anything and I had to remake templates and start from scratch. To save time, I created templates that can be used to make future issues and I shared a guide that includes dimensions and a guide to Adobe Indesign. I started the guide, and I know every layout editor after me can add things that come up. Lastly, when the new issue was ready to be laid out, the new layout editor and I took portions of the edit. We did the beginning edits together. After the first revision, I let go of the issue and he assumed his role as The Compass Layout editor.
Congratulations to Ryan Hiemenz on this new position and the amazing job he has already done!
I was really happy with how seamless the transition was, and I hope Ryan felt the same. I don’t have to worry because I know that Ryan will continue doing a great job. After four years of laying out The Compass; it was time for me to let go. Of course, the fact that I am not a student also contributed to me having to pass down the reins to other students that are very much capable of continuing the work I have been doing and adding unique touches to them.
As a student fellow, I have tried thinking about things that I may have to leave instructions for other fellows to take on. Most of my projects have staff, faculty, and students that can help new fellows adjust to their new roles and responsibilities. There are some tasks that I have been doing that I included in a document that new fellows can view for any context or help. I created the Instagram page for the Living Our Values Experience Program and have been the only constant contributor to Instagram. The Love Program has officially tasked someone with taking over the Instagram responsibilities. My next move is to meet with Tessa Wrice and hand over documents, previous graphic templates, and brand guides that I have created and accumulated over the past two years. Like Ryan, I have worked with Tessa in past CTLM projects and have complete confidence that this transition will also be smooth.
Was I a mentor by mistake?
I started writing documents that provided the basics of the roles I played in the CTLM. I never thought of myself as a mentor passing down my projects and information. When I talked to Ryan about The Compass, I shared things that I have done that helped me do my job more effortlessly, and I encouraged him to find ways that would work for him. I realized that this is precisely what mentoring is: working with someone and providing advice on certain things that you have experience in. For the two years I worked with the CTLM, I have been mentored by the various people I worked with and through the collaborative nature of the CTLM, I was able to truly use many of the things I learned to boost my skills for my future endeavors.
The CTLM allowed me to combine my creative energy and logistical thinking to create campaigns and content that others can enjoy. I feel calm knowing that when I leave nothing will be falling apart; I did my best to get any project I’m working on ready for my official departure. Through this process of passing down my projects, I have been able to truly step back and see the hard work that I contributed to the projects and everyone's hard work making and maintaining the CTLM. I am not yet on the outside of the hard work being done, but with one foot already out the door, I have a new perspective on the projects. I can begin looking back on the advice that I received from colleagues and the advice that I have given. It isn’t until now that I realized that I have played the mentee role and the mentor role all along. Since the beginning of the CTLM, I have been receiving advice and instructions on how things should be done. In return, I provided my insights on things and I helped new fellows get adapted to projects, like the Love Program.
While I didn’t comprehend that the things I was doing were in the role of a mentor, I would not say that I was a mentor by mistake. The CTLM is geared towards collaborative work that borders on mentoring. The Center has a mentoring element that—while very much present—I didn’t notice happening while I was doing this great work. I cannot wait to see how the CTLM continues. Even though I will not be on the backend of these amazing projects and programs coming out of the CTLM, I will be keeping an eye out for updates on how the CTLM will continue to grow and elevate.
You can check out some of the projects that I have been a part of these past years below:
Arcadia's Student Pedagogical Consultant Program at Work
By Leigh Ferrier
As a part of the CTLM, Arcadia’s Student Pedagogical Consultant Program appropriately covers all the bases of Teaching, Learning, and Mentoring. It's more than just asking a student to give feedback about a course–it’s something that opens a very vulnerable door and invites students and faculty into a liminal space where the typical ranks and titles within academia are put to the side. While the title of the role itself is “Student” Pedagogical Consultant, being a student is just one part of it. In this role, teaching and learning are experienced by all parties, and mentorship often goes both ways. When it comes to pedagogy, the role allows educators to analyze their own style and develop it further, while students are given the opportunity to see and understand pedagogy in action.
Developing one’s pedagogy can be an art form. It can be the art of explaining theories, ideas, and facts. The art of communicating difficult topics and ideas, and the art of fostering a constructive conversation around it. The art of making sure your students are receiving the tools and accommodations that can help them succeed in learning something new or expanding their knowledge. Pedagogy can also be analytical, research-based, and fueled by figures. It looks at the data and the facts and asks questions and implements experimental methods and programs with the intention of seeing results.
During the 2021 Fall Semester, Dr. Matt Heitzman invited several student pedagogical consultants into his classroom to “support faculty exploration, affirmation, and revision of pedagogical practices,” among other things, as part of his EN299 course. During the 2022 Spring Semester, Dr. Heitzman continued to utilize consultants in EN299 as well as EN322 where he began to implement Arcadia’s Anti-Black Racist (ABR) Framework directly into the course while also analyzing the British Literature canon with three consultants and his EN322 students. In collaboration with The Center for Antiracist Scholarship, Advocacy, and Action (CASAA) and Dr. Christopher A. Varlack, the CTLM plans on continuing to implement and develop antiracist framework for other courses. Pedagogical consultants in the classroom can help acknowledge when change is necessary or warranted, and Dr. Heitzman noted that, “Working with the SPCs made everything feel fresh and new-—from my courses to my pedagogy.”
The rewards of this collaborative work seem to be felt by the professors, facilitators and students equally. I had the pleasure of being a consultant in Dr. Heitzman’s courses myself, and I could easily go on about my own experience (it was overwhelmingly positive), but I decided to reach out to others involved in the program to get a more well-rounded description of the work and its impact. Dr. Michelle Reale, who was a collaborator in both courses alongside Dr. Heitzman and the pedagogical consultants, commented that, “Working with pedagogical consultants was a game-changer for me. It enlightened me to the possibilities that exist in the classroom when students become co-collaborators in the teaching and learning process. Literally, everybody wins.” In response to how the pedagogical consultants benefitted his courses, Matt Heitzman shared that “The SPC program benefited my courses specifically because it helped me to imagine ways to better center student voices in the class and to more meaningfully think about the student learning experience.” While there are always challenges that arise when change comes into play, the open discussion and collaborative learning and discussion seem to make it easier for students, staff, and faculty to navigate these challenges. The goal is to make meaningful changes in the classroom and to think about an individual's unique approaches to pedagogy, but the work itself seems to have an impact on all parties involved.
Over the past two years, Pedagogical Consultant work has not been limited to English courses, they have also had an impact in Science courses as well. Dr. Sheryl Smith shared some of the work that pedagogical consultants in BI101 helped facilitate after realizing that the percentage of students retained in the course had begun to decline. Recognizing the impact that the first year experience has on students, as well as recognizing the challenge of a science course that involves non-science majors and those with a variety of educational backgrounds, pedagogical consultants were brought into the course. Addressing these concerns, as well as addressing issues surrounding inclusivity, the CTLM and the Biology department teamed up to look for solutions. Three pedagogical consultants were assigned to the course, and the team worked to create a “liminal space,” and ultimately created an educational repository for use by BI101 instructors. This repository was put into practice in 2020, and the course has already seen an increase in retention.
Dr. Jonathan Church is a professor of Cultural Anthropology, and worked alongside the pedagogical consultants in BI101 as a facilitator of that program, but he also utilized pedagogical consultants to revise two of his courses. Dr. Church had many great things to say about the program and how it has affected his pedagogy: “I have been teaching for over forty years. If you want to begin to decolonize a course and make the classroom more inclusive, then working with a student or a group of students as equal partners in creating a scaffold and process for learning is a great start.” While there is continually overwhelming positive feedback about the program, Dr. Church also acknowledged that it can be daunting: “But it is scary. Professors who are content experts, must step out of the role of expert to listen, learn, and collaborate with students.” It can be scary for students and professors to remove the hierarchical model that is often associated with higher learning and be on the same page with each other, but that’s what this program is about. Pedagogical consultants are doing more than just shaping and molding classrooms, addressing concerns about course retention and inclusivity, and assisting with decolonizing the classroom–they are bridging the gap between student and educator.
Moving forward, the CTLM plans to see the Student Pedagogical Consultant program expand into a multitude of classrooms and spaces. While the program is already actively at play in some classrooms, it’s also still in development. As the program expands, we will be organizing and collecting data and resources to share with anyone interested, and we will also be sending out a “call” for those who wish to involve a consultant in their coursework, or for those who wish to work as a consultant in the coming school year. If that sounds like something you would be interested in, keep an eye out for future CTLM newsletters–we will continue to report back with the program's successes and challenges, and soon enough, invite more people to apply!
Welcome Home Knights!
By Keonna Dumas
As a faculty member, I constantly have to remind myself that so much of the “learning” that defines a college experience happens outside of the classroom. Student organizations provide the space for the kinds of social & cultural learning moments that will prepare students to be critical thinkers & practical problem solvers in their professional & personal lives. Below Keonna Dumas provides an update on the work that the Office of Campus Life has been doing to create these opportunities for students!
As the new school year begins the Office of Campus Life is gearing up to prepare for the excitement of welcoming new and returning students back to campus. There is a lot of behind the scenes work that is done in the summer months in preparation for the most wonderful time of the year, BACK TO SCHOOL TIME!!!
For the past two years back to school time has been an uncertain, confusing, and interesting time to say the least. It’s been a two year rollercoaster between virtual classes, socially distanced environment, vaccine shots 1, 2, 3 AND 4! Oh and don’t forget about the forever changing mask mandates. Whew! I’m losing my breath just trying to keep up with all the constant changes. Even with all the changes, one thing remains the same, the dedication to student engagement and campus connections. Over the past two years student engagement on college campuses has drastically changed; from virtual engagements to social distancing gatherings COVID-19 has made it extremely difficult for students to connect with one another but Campus Life managed a way to push through times of uncertainty to continue to program towards the best of our ability for all the Knights of Arcadia.
In addition to your academic success, the Office of Campus Life values the importance of each student’s personal success, social development, and professional growth. We foster a vibrant campus community where students can explore and learn about themselves and the world around them.
Arcadia’s student engagement efforts offer various ways for students to jump in and get involved on campus, even as early as their first year. From class elections to serving as a Student Government Senator, First year students have many opportunities to get involved on campus. Getting involved is an easy and fun way to connect with your peers and explore and grow your interests through student organizations.
Student organizations provide opportunities for leadership growth and development and support the social, educational, and cultural life of Arcadia University. Knights are encouraged to join and serve in Arcadia student organizations. By participating you will grow personally and professionally while building new friendships and developing key leadership skills. At the start of each semester, the Office of Campus Life hosts an Activities and Resource Fair where students can meet, learn more, and join organizations.
With over 60+ student led organizations, each student can find something for themselves. The Activities and Resource Fair allows students to learn about the many different student organizations and meet new people. Our bi-annual Activities and Resource Fair takes place at the beginning of each semester to allow continuous student organization outreach to all students making it possible for students to join new organizations each semester. Who knows, the Vice President of the Arcadia Radio Club may also have a new interest in joining our Knitting and Crochet Club too. Arcadia always seems to have the right thing for everyone, the possibilities are endless. So even if you don’t jump at the idea of being a member of the Ultimate Frisbee team or the uKnight Dance Team don’t worry because at Arcadia University you have the ability to start your own club/organization. In Spring 2022 our Student Government Organization welcomed the newest student club on campus, The Swift Society, dedicated to anything and everything Taylor Swift.
Stay Connected! Stay Engaged! With such a variety of activities and events taking place on campus be sure to stay connected and engaged with KnightLife. KnightLife is the main hub for all things student organizations and campus involvement. You can find campus events, become a member of a student organization, register for leadership and professional development opportunities, and more with just the click of a button.
Interact with our office by following our office and Student Government Organization on all social media platforms for events.
Campus Life Student Engagement
Facebook: Arcadia University Clubs & Activities
Student Government Organization
Facebook: Arcadia University Student Government Organization
Upcoming Events! A few events to look forward to at Arcadia in the next few weeks
8/29-9/5 Welcome Back Week
9/8 Activities and Resource Fair
9/8 Glenside Food Truck Festival
9/10-9/12 Campus Philly: Welcome to Philly College Event
9/17 National Batman Day
9/25 Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves Fan Appreciation Day
For more information about upcoming events be sure to check out KnightLife.
The CTLM Team
Faculty Director (On Sabbatical Spring-Summer '22)
Dr. Ellen Skilton, Professor of Education
Acting Faculty Director (Spring-Summer '22)
Dr. Jodi Bornstein, Associate Professor of Education
Inclusive Excellence Programs Support Specialist
Monica Day, Adjunct Faculty, School of Education
Faculty & Staff Fellows
Gail Lankford, Assistant to the Vice President, University Relations
Lindsay McGann, Student Success Projects Manager (Division of Student Success) and Professional Faculty, Public Health
Dr. Katherine Moore, Associate Professor of Psychology
Dr. Prash Naidu, Assistant Professor of Historical and Political Studies
Daniel Pieczkolon, Adjunct Professor of English
Julie Edmundson (SGO Liaison), ‘23
Leigh Ferrier (MA/MFA), ‘24
Ryan Hiemenz, ‘23
Irene Hoang '23
Barbara St. Fleur, '22
Courtney Thoroughgood, ‘22
Tessa Wrice, '22