• Conversations at the Center

  • Global Learning in the First Year of College

    Christine Marks, English
    May 28, 2015, 12:00 - 1:15 pm
    Room E255

    Drawing on her own research on relational identity as well as the work of Martha Nussbaum, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Eve Ensler, Christine reflects on the role of global learning in a liberal arts education and shares activities from her First Year Seminar and Composition I courses.

    Christine Marks is an Assistant Professor in the English Department. She teaches composition and literature courses as well as the Liberal Arts First Year Seminar. Her research interests include literature and medicine, food studies, and gender studies. Christine’s monograph, “I am because you are”: Relationality in the Works of Siri Hustvedt, was published by Winter, the Heidelberg University Press, in March 2014.

    Sport and Peace Building: Healing the Wounds of War

    Bojana Blagojevic, Social Science    
    Tuesday, May 13, 2015, 12:00 - 1:15 pm
    Room E255

    Dr. Blagojevic's research is in the emerging field of theory and practice of Sport For Development and Peace (SDP). She is interested in how sport can help rebuild lives and strengthen communities in the aftermath of war. Currently, she is exploring the role of sport as a public policy tool for helping veterans who were physically, emotionally and/or socially affected by war. One of her goals is to help integrate veterans’ sport and development experiences into the national and global SDP narratives, academic discussions and policy considerations. She also aims to make a case for an increase in sport programs for people affected by war and funding for such initiatives.

    Bojana Blagojevic received her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Global Affairs (2004) and Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science (2000) from Rutgers University, New Jersey. The title of her dissertation was Ethnic Conflict and Post-Conflict Development: Peace building in Ethnically Divided Societies. Prior to her employment at LaGuardia, Prof. Blagojevic taught Political Science and Global Studies courses at Rutgers University. She also worked temporarily as a Conflict Prevention Consultant at the United Nations Development Group Office in New York. During the war in her home country,Bosnia, she worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

    Prof. Blagojevic’s research interests include causes of war, peacebuilding, human rights, and the role of sport in development and peace. Her recently published articles include “Human Development Tree Life Cycle Model” (co-written with Luka Jordan), Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice (August 2012); “Causes of Ethnic Conflict: A Conceptual Framework,” Journal of Global Change and Governance (Spring 2010) and “Peace building in Ethnically Divided Societies,” Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice(October 2007).

    Her paper “Sport and Peace building: Healing the Wounds of War” is forthcoming as book chapter in Sport, Peace and Development by Common Ground Publishing. Prof. Blagojevic’s non-academic publications include a war memoir through poetry, Story of One Heart: How Poetry Became One Girl’s Dance for Life in the Midst of a Raging War (2010).

    Whole-World Thinking: Ahumada, Talmadge, Vianna

    Minerva Ahumada, Humanities, Rosemary Talmadge, Office of the President, and Eduardo Vianna, Social Science
    Tuesday, April 23, 2015, 12:45 - 2:15

    What is global learning? How should it be implemented and demonstrated in the classroom and across the campus? Unsurprisingly, educators are not always in agreement about the definitions of and approaches to global learning. Yet an increasingly interconnected, interdependent, and uncertain world requires that teachers and learners immediately engage these complexities through curricular and co-curricular experiences.

    From their diverse perspectives, Minerva Ahumada-Torres (Philosophy), Rosemary Talmadge (Office of the President) and Eduardo Vianna (Psychology) will consider the definition of global learning adopted by LaGuardia and reflected in the constituent dimensions of the college’s recently developed rubric. We invite you to join the conversation and add your voice to the creation of a shared understanding of what global learning can and should mean inside and outside the classroom.

    Dr. Minerva Ahumada is an Associate Professor in the Humanities department. She teaches Philosophy courses such as Ethics and Moral Issues, Social and Political Philosophy, and Latin American Philosophy. Her research interests focus on the intersection between Ethics, Epistemology, and Literature, Latin American Philosophy, Globalization, and Post-Colonial Thought.

    Dr. Rosemary Talmadge is Executive Director of Organizational Development in the President’s Office, where she designs and leads organizational change initiatives. Her research focuses on how campus diversity may contribute to global learning by prompting students to question prior assumptions and providing opportunities to communicate with diverse peers and viewpoints.

    Eduardo Vianna, Associate Professor of Psychology, is currently engaged in contributing to recent advances in Vygotskian cultural-historical theory, especially the Transformative Activist Approach. Other projects include the application of critical-theoretical pedagogy to create a peer activist learning community (PALC), a peer-based co-curricular activity led by LaGuardia students. Among Dr. Vianna’s several awards are the 2010 Early Career Award in Cultural-Historical Research bestowed by the Cultural-Historical Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association. 

    The Problem and Opportunity of Patchwriting

    Tom Fink, English
    Tuesday, December 3, 2013, 2:15 - 3:15
    Location To Be Announced

    Professor Tom Fink of the English Department will make a brief presentation about his findings regarding student and faculty attitudes toward research writing, quotation, and plagiarism. Then, he will lead a discussion involving exploration of the line between proper quotation/attribution and plagiarism, including the problem and opportunity of patchwriting. The conversation will consider how faculty can develop instructional strategies to promote effective research writing.

    A professor of English at LaGuardia since 1981, Tom Fink did a sabbatical project on plagiarism during the 2012-2013 academic year. He is the author of  2 books of criticism, including "A Different Sense of Power": Problems of Community in Late-Twentieth Century U.S. Poetry (Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2001), over 200 articles, reviews, and interviews, and 8 books of poetry, most recently Joyride (Marsh Hawk P, 2013). He has also co-edited 2 critical anthologies, including the forthcoming Reading the Difficulties (U of Alabama P, 2014), and a literature anthology. 

    Veterans and the Things They Carry to the Classroom:  Integrity, Commitment, Teamwork, and Leadership

    Bertha Fountain, Project Prove, and Emily Cohen, Social Science
    Tuesday, November 12, 2013, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
    Room E255

    Bertha Fountain, LMSW will discuss her work with veteran students in Project PROVE (Project for Return and Opportunity in Veterans Education), founded to serve student veterans by assisting their transition from military service to college life and beyond, currently available on seven CUNY campuses.  

     Dr. Emily Cohen, Social Science, has worked closely with military veterans and their families in the United States and Colombia through her anthropological research and her films, “Bodies at War” and “Virtual War.”   She will discuss her current work on the social implications of emergent simulation and virtual reality technologies in U.S. military medicine. Dr. Cohen did her undergraduate work at UC Santa Cruz where she earned a BA in Anthropology.  She earned a  Ph.D. in Anthropology and a certificate in Culture and Media at NYU.  

    LaGuardia Students' Transformative Encounters with Diversity

    Rosemary Talmadge, Director of Organizational Development
    Tuesday, November 5 2013, 2:15 - 3:15 pm
    Room E518

    In a study undertaken for her doctoral research, Rosemary Talmadge talked with our students about their prior experiences with diversity and critical incidents with diverse peers and perspectives on campus. Students reflected on how these experiences may have changed them, prompting them to rethink, for example, the definitions of God, and the possibility of multiple Gods, or no Gods at all. Her research is distinguished by the presence of community college students whose voices she brings into the center of a scholarly conversation about the impact of campus diversity previously shaped by large scale survey data from four-year campuses. She will discuss her findings and invite colleagues into a discussion about the implications for our practice.

    Rosemary Talmadge is completing a Ph.D. in Human Development at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California. Her doctoral research, set on this highly diverse and international campus, focused on how students’ experiences with diverse peers and view points may prompt them to question and perhaps revise their prior beliefs and assumptions. Her research was framed by theories of self-authorship and transformative learning and inspired by her prior diversity work with dialogues on race relations and religious diversity. She is the director of organizational development in the President’s Office at LaGuardia.

    The Skills/Knowledge Divide

    George Sussman, Social Science, Eduardo Vianna, Social Science, Linda Chandler, English
    Tuesday, October 29 2013, 2:15 - 3:15 pm
    Room E255

    We are pleased that George Sussman, Eduardo Vianna, both of Social Science  and Linda Chandler, English, will open our Fall line-up with diverse perspectives on the skills/knowledge divide. 

    George Sussman, Professor of History, asks:

    "What should an educated person know? In ancient Greece, the answer was grammar, rhetoric, and logic. To this "trivium," the medieval European universities added a “quadrivium” of arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. In the Song Dynasty in China, the works of Confucius and his followers formed the basis of knowledge. In each case, bodies of common knowledge enabled educated people to communicate with one another and to build new knowledge on an older foundation.

    But in higher education, at CUNY and elsewhere, the current criteria for assessment suggest that we no longer expect our students to acquire any knowledge at all, only skills. Instead, students must learn to “analyze,” “evaluate,” “interpret,” but not to “know.” Yet without knowledge, we cannot be “skilled.”

    For example, history students ask, “Do we have to know names and dates?” Yes, of course, we do. If we don’t know names and dates and places there is nothing to analyze, evaluate, and interpret.  Can we be “globally competent” without knowing where the Amazon River flows, where Islam is the dominant religion, or which countries are the world’s most populous? 

    At LaGuardia, we teach basic skills, but are we giving enough attention to teaching basic knowledge?"



    The 2012-13 theme was "The Whole Student, Body and Soul" and included the following events:

    Thinking Philosophically

    Richard Brown, Humanities
    Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 11:45 am - 12:45 pm
    Room E255

    Associate Professor of Philosophy at LaGuardia Community College, Richard Brown is also currently a drummer for Space Clamps (first band, the Distractions; first recording “Eternal Vigilance,” now lost to time). Richard curates the blog, Philosophy Sucks!, contributes to the blog Brains, and frequently presents on YouTube, where he currently offers his well-reviewed “Online Philosophy” course.

    At LaGuardia, Richard’s Introduction to Philosophy course in the mind-themed cluster Brain, Mind, and Consciousness complements his research in the philosophy of mind, consciousness studies, and the foundations of cognitive science. He also has interests in the philosophy of language, metaethics, logic, the philosophy of logic, and the history of philosophy.

    At the moment, Richard is organizing the 2013 Consciousness Online Conference, and preparing for the Third Annual Qualia Fest, an East Village event that celebrates the music of philosophers and neuroscientists.

    Richard will discuss with interested colleagues all of the above, with a special emphasis on his LaGuardia course, Introduction to Philosophy, in which he guides students to pursue the meanings and skills of philosophical inquiry, argumentation and reflection.


    Emerging Identities: Integrative Learning and ePortfolio
    Bret Eynon, Associate Dean, Academic Affairs

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012, 1:00 -2:00 pm
    Room E500

    Associate Dean Eynon will lead a discussion on new developments in social pedagogies and uses of ePortfolio to foster integrative learning.

    Creating Student Life
    Michael Baston, Vice President, Student Affairs

    Click here to see Vice President Baston's powerpoint presentation

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012, 1:00 -2:00 pm
    Room E500

    "Predicated on new and innovative approaches to providing a learner-centered experience, the concept of student achievement at LaGuardia encompasses mind, body and soul. To enhance student life, we must create experiences that inspire students’ self-actualization through intellectual development, local and global service, healthy lifestyle choices, and an appreciation of leadership opportunities and intracultural diversity."

    We invite all members of our community for a conversation with Vice President Michael Baston about how the whole College can participate in forming these experiences, and how together we can identify and improve outcomes that embrace the whole student.



    Healing through Storytelling
    Presenters:  Vanessa Bing (Social Science), Joanna DeLeon (Women's Center), Priscilla Stadler (CTL)

    Tuesday, May 22, 2012, 2:15 - 3:15 pm
    Room E255

    Using images, video, and music in conjunction with personal narrative, students and staff are developing short but powerful digital stories about their experiences with domestic violence.  Organized by the Women's Center and the Center for Teaching and Learning  this workshop series has created a "safe space" where participants can express themselves in a supportive, creative environment and learn to become advocates/activists in the effort to end domestic violence.  Come and hear about the project, the challenges, and the power of digital storytelling. 


    Making It Work: Faculty/Student Research Collaborations
    Presenters: Natural Sciences Faculty - Maria Entezari, Holly Porter-Morgan, Preethi Radhakrishnan , and Karim Sharif

    Monday, May 7, 2012, 2:15 - 3:15 pm
    Room E255


    Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work closely with students on a collaborative research project that may lead to publications?  How are students affected by working so closely with faculty ?   What makes such collaborations most effective?

    To learn more, come and hear about the research projects that Natural Sciences faculty are working on together with their students.   Faculty and students will briefly describe their projects, and discuss both the challenges and successes of their collaborative efforts.


    About the Brown Bags

    The Brown Bag Conversations: Tuesdays at the Center series offers an opportunity for LaGuardia faculty throughout the college to present on the topics that most interest them. Initiated in 2000, this popular series has provided a broad spectrum of activities with topics ranging from "How Can We Help Fix Our Water:  Environmental Science Adventures at the Newtown Creek"  to "Educating for a Global Citizenry". The Brown Bag series provides a valuable informal forum for faculty wishing to get input on their presentations, or to connect with colleagues from across the college who are interested in similar themes or research. Each year the Center hosts between 12 - 15 Brown Bag Conversations.