Oh My Gourd! November's Over?
CTLM Newsletter Issue #3
Notes and News
By Dr. Ellen Skilton
Greetings to all from the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Mentoring (CTLM). On the heels of a vibrant, full-of-new-ideas summer and the beginning weeks of the fall semester, we have settled into a new normal. As schedules have filled, it has been harder to find time for the same kind of workshops and engagement we had in the summer, but please know that the work is continuing (most of the Summer PLCs are continuing to meet and Teaching Circles about particular topics are on the horizon), and we continue to support making student-centered, accessible, inclusive, real-world-connected teaching and learning as interesting and innovative as possible.
Much of our work in this fall has focused on the student experience and how we can continue to respond to student needs with a flexible and innovative orientation. We hope you’ve seen the summary that went out to advisors recently with some of the findings from the 1000+ students who completed the survey:
Among the roughly 30% of undergraduates who report that they’re struggling overall,
some common problems include:
Feeling less connected to professors and classmates in this online environment and missing the traditional/in-person college experience.
Experiencing Zoom fatigue and struggles maintaining academic motivation.
Additional emotional stress related to falling behind in classwork and/or family and paid-work obligations.
Encountering heightened time management and academic organization challenges in this online/at-home environment.
Struggling to find dedicated academic workspace.
At CTLM, we are also working closely with student, staff and faculty fellows to address some of these issues. One new project you will be hearing more about shortly is a central email where students can reach out for information and support and teams of students and staff will be trained to connect them to appropriate people and offices on campus. Spearheaded by Lindsay McGann (Undergraduate Studies & CTLM Staff Fellow), these Student Info/Support Pods will be functioning soon. Stay-tuned for more information.
A special shout out to the FANTASTIC CTLM STUDENT FELLOWS (both undergraduate and graduate) who have been such key idea generators, program designers and implementers, critical questioners, and collaborative partners in all of CTLM’s work in the Summer and Fall.
News: We were so well served by two Faculty/Staff CTLM Fellows this Summer who were unable to continue this fall – Chanae Brown and Shannon Diallo. Many thanks to both of them for their work on conceptualizing the Living our Values Experience (LOVE) Pilot and creating the CTLM Canvas Page (and summer book groups) [Chanae], as well as supporting our first student pedagogical consultants (in Biology and Anthropology) and organizing and facilitating Professional Learning Communities for Faculty and Staff [Shannon]. We are pleased to welcome two new CTLM Staff Fellows this semester: Brittani Smit (TCGS, Resident Director, South Africa) and May Their Aye (Coordinator, Office of Institutional Diversity). Welcome Brittani and May!
A Few New Fall Projects:
Living our Values Experience (LOVE) Pilot: Approximately 50 students and 12 faculty and staff are engaging together in anti-racism work this semester through affinity groups and 3 teach-ins with faculty, staff and student presenters. The launch on October 8th included alumni and student spoken word video performances from Stephen Tyson and Daijah Patton, and we have had two Teach-Ins so far. The first teach-in took place on Thursday, October 22nd from 6:30-8pm. To view that teach-in on how to be better anti-racists--which featured talks from Doreen Loury (Director of Pan-African Studies & Assistant Professor of Sociology), Jessie Guinn (Assistant Dean of STEM, College of Global Studies), and Jennifer Riggan (Professor of International Studies)--just click here and enter the passcode 1#bJce. The second teach-in took place on November 10th from 6:30-8pm. To view that teach-in on addressing bias, microaggressions and racist abuse -- which featured talks from Favian Guertin-Martin (Associate Professor of Criminal Justice), Prash Naidu (Assistant Professor of Historical and Political Studies), and Lauren Reid (Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology) -- just click here. The Final teach-in on facing race and racism on campus -- featuring the CTLM/Just Act Ensemble and Theatre of the Oppressed techniquest -- will take place on Wednesday, December 2nd from 6:30-8pm. Please stay tuned for a campus-wide invite.
Inclusive Excellence Innovation Grant Project: In collaboration with CLTM, Graciela Slesaransky-Poe and Ellen Skilton received an Innovation Grant to work with 9 faculty and staff during this academic year by participating in an inquiry group to explore inclusive pedagogy frameworks and investigate how we might begin to shift pedagogies and practices on campus to create an environment more inclusive for all students.
Just Act: CTLM/Community Arts Partner for 2020/21: We are very pleased to have Just Act as a community-arts partner for this academic year. As part of this collaboration, we will have an ensemble of student actor/activists learning how to do Theatre of the Oppressed forums for the campus community as part of CTLM’s effort to engage in embodied and arts-based teaching learning & mentoring.
CTLM Website Now Live: Thanks to the creativity and hard work of Lindsay McGann and Liz Thornton, please click here to visit our new website and use the feedback form available on each page to let us know your thoughts, ideas, and hopes for CTLM:
This is a much newsier note from me than usual, but there is a lot to tell you. We had another CTLM/Campus Partner meeting earlier this semester and plan to have another in December. Please let us know if you’d like to join us.
Hope you are finding moments of creativity, connection and comradery in the midst of it all.
CTLM Six-Word Stories
For this issue of the CTLM Newsletter, we challenged ourselves to each write a story about how this semester has been going using only six words. With as little of a filter as possible, we were able to write immensely different stories that truly illustrate our feelings towards these unbelievably volatile past months. Some of us expressed our sorrows and some of us exclaimed our triumphs. Either way, we have curated a graphic that includes all of these stories for you to read and enjoy, shaped to look like our best friend in recent times, WiFi. We hope that these stories inspire you to think deeply and express your own feelings in whatever way you choose. Give this challenge a try for yourself; we would love to see what you come up with! Thank you!
We Make the Path by Walking Together
By Daniel Pieczkolon
Most teachers get into the profession because of our compulsive need to tell others what to do. Frustrated by the broader culture’s increasing lack of interest in expertise, we artists and scientists and scholars of all fields have retreated to the college classroom to assert our authority. I’m kidding, I think.
From conversations that I’ve had with other professors at Arcadia, I get the sense that most of us are teachers because we feel passionate about our fields and about the prospect of introducing these fields to future generations of thinkers. Finding ways to communicate complex ideas to these future generations of thinkers is a difficult task though--specifically when said future generations stay, more or less, the same age year to year, as we grow older and further from their frames of reference and educational expectations. Relinquishing some of this authority and finding ways for students to help shape the pedagogy of our classrooms is one way that we can prove that we’re not only “authoritative experts,” but also active listeners invested in creating truly dialogic & democratic classrooms. This past summer both the Cultural Anthropology and and Biology Departments began working with Student Pedagogical Consultants in the hopes of realizing these quixotic goals.
In Cultural Anthropology, Rebecca Kirk ‘21, Siobhan Dougherty ‘21, and Eleanor Doughton ‘22 served as Student Pedagogical Consultants, assisting Drs. Jon Church & Kali DeDominicis in their redesigns of AN120, AN150, and AN262. Per Dr. Church, these students helped to “choose readings and texts, design discussion board questions, and evaluat[e] possible assignments,” as well as “strategize about Zoom class engagement.” Since the semester has begun, Siobhan has continued to stay in contact with Drs. Church & DeDomonicis and is “presently learning how to grade and respond to student work.”
In Biology, Mikayla Raggi ‘21, Riti Kamath ‘21, Stephanie Quarshie ‘22, and Karan Singh ‘21 (under the facilitation of Dr. Sheryl Smith and CTLM Faculty Fellows Dr. Church & Shannon Diiallo) also served as Student Pedagogical Consultants, helping to redesign the BI101 Master Course (that would then be adapted by the rest of the BI101 faculty). According to Dr. Smith, the students helped to apply “syllabi best practices and social justice pedagogy principles,” and engaged in “beta-testing laboratory simulations and reviewing the course content to suggest interesting videos and animations related to the material.” In other words, experienced Arcadia students helped to design courses for incoming Arcadia students.
We often talk about “student-centered teaching,” but, as Professor Diallo notes, “this work, at its core, embodies student-centered teaching and learning.” That is, this program creates a structure that forces us to engage with an abstract concept such as “student-centered teaching.” It empowers students & necessitates vulnerability from professors.
Mikayla noted the different perspectives that students & faculty often bring to the classroom, suggesting that “as students we see a course one way, and as professors, they see it another.” Collaborative course design like this helps to bridge that divide, providing students in BI101 with a course that has been vetted by a student and the instructors of BI101 with student perspectives on their lessons before they even enter the classroom.
This project was not only beneficial to the faculty and in-coming students involved though. When I asked Mikayla & Siobhan about their work as Pedagogical Consultants, I was somewhat surprised to learn that neither of them entered the project with a desire to one day become teachers. (Who could not want this job with its seven-figure salary, adoring fans, and bountiful branding opportunities--this education opinion brought to you by Sprite ©, Obey Your Thirst.) Both Mikayla & Siobhan, however, were quick to point out the ways in which this experience has enriched their academic lives. Siobhan suggested that this process has afforded her a deeper understanding of her major and “how Anthropologists can use their expertise in different ways,” while Mikayla has walked away from the experience with “a new level of respect for professors” and “everything they do to make their courses as informative and effective as possible,” which will certainly serve her well as she navigates different professors with different teaching styles.
Beyond the classroom, a program like that has the possibility to help professors & students re-imagine their relationship to a particular field of study, or, as Dr. Church attests, “as an instructor collaboratively designing curriculum with my CTLM pedagogical consultants, it feels like my discipline is fresh again.”
When she served as Faculty Senate President from 2016 to 2020, in almost every meeting, Dr. Ana Maria Garcia, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies, paraphrased the Spanish poet Anotonio Machado, claiming “we make the path by walking together.” I always appreciated the sentiment and felt somehow nobler for the work I was doing alongside my colleagues. The work of the Student Pedagogical Consultants and their faculty counterparts proves that the “we” is bigger than I imagined and, consequently, the path is more hopeful.
By Barbara St. Fleur
In order to preserve the sanctity of the LOVE project spaces, this article will not name any participants directly.
The Living Our Values Experience (LOVE) Pilot team has been working hard to create a program that discusses racial issues. Recently the LOVE Pilot had a Kickoff that included inspirational creative voices--including students, faculty, & staff--that spoke of change. One Arcadia student even performed a spoken-word piece that shared the experience of individuals that have a mixed skin complexion.
The kickoff also introduced the participants to their affinity groups. I have a unique opportunity of being a student participant in one of the affinity groups as well as being part of the LOVE Pilot team. The LOVE pilot program provides an unique experience to the Arcadia community. Arcadia hasn’t had a group that brings students and staff/faculty together to talk about race and issues. From a student perspective, I believe the LOVE Pilot program provides a great catalyst for beginning a conversation amongst the Arcadia community about race.
The LOVE team had two members moderate a discussion between the first-year students and author Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. As one of the moderators of the event, I was able to ask questions about race and how intersectionality affects race. The LOVE pilot helped me build the courage to talk about race and provide personal aspects of my racial identity. Through my experience so far, I believe that the LOVE pilot will encourage more students, faculty, and staff to speak up and talk publicly about race.
During the Kickoff event, the participants were able to meet with their affinity groups for the first time. In my affinity group, I was able to make a connection with my fellow participants because we had similarities. We shared information about our backgrounds and we compared notes on what we expected from the LOVE Pilot Program. The affinity groups provide a safe space where we can talk openly about our feelings and thoughts about certain racial issues.
One important factor about the LOVE pilot is the confidentiality of the affinity groups. Race is a difficult issue to talk about; it is even harder when you fear whatever you say in a group may be repeated in conversation with others. To ensure that the participants are safe speaking in the groups, we assure the participants that anything spoken inside the group stays in the group. While this format does limit the things that can be shared about the progress within the affinity group, it provides the participants the power to talk freely. The affinity group also motivates students to continue to voice their opinions beyond the Love Pilot program.
By Erica Bentley
The bell signals
That which is eagerly awaited
Like a swath of warmth
After being too long in a storm
An embrace from a mother
After a child scrapes their knee
The bell signals
That I am there
That I exist
Within the confines
Of your mind
That I am free.
I am not only
Of my own imagination
This body is real
A reality that
Was on the verge of
The bell signals
All that I love
A rush of emotion
I am a whole
Of your acknowledgement
For this bell
Signals the beginning
And the end
The beginning of light
Upon my skin
I am free
To step into
A sense that
The air is right
That my surroundings
I am free
To feel the thrill
The bell signals
The end of
For you to say
Sounds like the groaning
Of the door to my
And I am not alone
They are here
I am free.
5 Apocalypse Movies That Even 2020 Should Take Notes On
By Ryan Hiemenz
1. I Am Legend (2007)
2. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
3. Interstellar (2014)
4. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
5. Contagion (2011)
By Barbara St. Fleur
Socializing has never been more important than now. The mental state of a lot of people is fragile, because there is limited human interaction. Most of our days are spent in front of a screen listening to lectures and doing class assignments. It has caused me to slightly hate technology. Being stuck in my room for most of the day is very hard, because I don’t have a clear divide between school, work, and home. My social life has significantly depleted.
Friends are part of your support system; they talk you out of doing something stupid and they motivate you to get your work done. Parents can try to understand your life as a student, but they can’t fully comprehend what you're going through in school. My friends have been trying to stay connected even though we aren’t in the same location. College brought my roommates and me together and even though we are spread across a couple states, FaceTime has continued to keep us close.
When I FaceTime with my friends, I joke that it's our roommate meeting, because if all of us were at Arcadia we would definitely be rooming with each other. Even when one of my friends transferred to another school, she was still an honorary roommate. In our roommate meetings, we encourage each other to eat if we haven’t all day, or we give each other hope when we feel like we cannot do online learning. We bounce ideas off each other and we complain about what teacher is making us go mad during the week. We can start talking about school trouble, but we are guaranteed to spend hours on the phone talking about things that are going on in our life.
Everyone needs a group of people that they can talk to about what is going on in their lives and even though we are all far apart, we always find time to reach out and make sure everything is going alright. Thinking about my virtual roommate meetings reminds me of a quote from the movie Cheetah and Friends, “Though we are far apart, our spirits share the same earth and the same sky”
By Haley Turner
I have always believed
that it’s the little things in life
that make me feel most alive
the way the sun’s light
often shines through my window
gently waking me
with a soft morning kiss
and the warm safe feeling I get
when I curl up after a long day
in my biggest fluffiest blanket
I feel most alive
when it’s just me and the
tall curly blonde goofy boy I love
driving without a destination
just existing in the same space
laughing as we sing badly
to songs that make us nostalgic
and when I eventually get home at night
and look up at the endless sky
finding comfort in knowing
how small and insignificant
my mistakes are
but how miraculous it is
to live on Earth
right here, right now
today and hopefully tomorrow
I feel most alive
as I take in the smell of cinnamon
on a freshly baked apple pie
as I savor the stress-relieving taste
of rich dark chocolate
and as I listen to the ethereal sounds
of classical piano
all of these little things
(especially as they appear
in the midst of chaos)
are what make me grateful
for the life I have
and in this life that sometimes feels
more like I’m just trying to survive
these are the moments—
the small often overlooked moments—
that make me feel most alive.
Confessions of a Sequestered Mind An Email From Student To Teacher
By Ryan Hiemenz
Listen, I know that school is back and “providing quality academic and social experiences for students” but please don't make me turn my camera on at 8:30. I’d really like to take this class in bed, if it's all the same to you. I know you teachers get up at 5 am to sing with the roosters, but you guys are wired differently. I’m not sure how your summers went but I’ve spent the last 4 months staying up until 3 am watching everything on Netflix and then sleeping in until at least 1 pm, so the fact that I even show up for your 8:30 is a big deal. I’m not saying you should be honored, but you should probably be honored.
I have just a few things that I want to let you know before we get started with class this week. First, if you hear some explosion sound effects when I am unmuted, I'm not playing Call of Duty, it’s just my mom… vacuuming… yeah, promise. Second, I understand that there are 24 hours in a day and you might want to use all of those for your class period, but I am allotting each teacher approximately 35 minutes of time outside of our Zoom meetings for homework. Am I just lazy? Absolutely. Will I claim that I am overwhelmed to get an extension? Absolutely. Third, I‘m sure that by now the teachers have heard about the students “staging” their kidnappings to get out of class early. I must tell you that these are absolutely real and incredibly dangerous, and if you were to see a student get kidnapped on Zoom (me perhaps), you should end class immediately. Don’t call the police or anything, it’s not that big of a deal, but class should definitely end. For the victim’s sake of course.
Anyways, as long as you understand these points that I have made, I pledge to assist you with all of your technological needs. Kiss those nightmares of not being able to get your screen to share while a whole class awkwardly waits for you goodbye! With me as your tech assistant, I will only allow you to be embarrassed once a month. Plus, I can ensure an entire class of perfect scores on any exam you ask me to set up… just dont ask about the methods of doing so. I hope you will consider this offer.
I hope you have a fantastic rest of your weekend. I will see you bright and early on Monday (you won't see me though, don't forget, 8:30 means no camera)!
Your future student
The CTLM Team
Dr. Ellen Skilton, Professor of Education
Faculty & Staff Fellows
May Their Aye, Coordinator, Office of Institutional Diversity
Dr. Jodi Bornstein, Associate Professor of Education
Dr. Jonathan Church, Director of Cultural Anthropology Program
Lindsay McGann, Administrative Manager, Graduate & Undergraduate Studies and
Professional Faculty, Public Health
Dr. Katherine Moore, Associate Professor of Psychology
Daniel Pieczkolon, Adjunct Professor of English
Dr. Brittani Smith, TCGS, Resident Director, South Africa
Monica Anna Day, ‘20
Siobhan Dougherty, ‘21
Eleanor Doughton, ‘22
Ryan Hiemenz, ‘23
Rita Kamath, ‘21
Rebecca Kirk, ‘21
Allie Nye, ‘20
Stephanie Quarshie, ‘22
Mikayla Raggi, ‘21
Ma’ayan Meder, ‘21
Karan Singh, ‘21
Elizabeth Parsons, ‘21
Yoon Kim, ‘22
Era Joy Smith, ‘21
India Knight, ‘21
Amanda Sturman, ‘22
Bryanna Martinez-Jiminez, ‘22
Caitlin Marcyan, ‘24