The theme for this year’s Opening Sessions is Linking Theory to Experience. LaGuardia Community College’s mission statement expresses the objective that our students “become critical thinkers and socially responsible citizens who help to shape a rapidly evolving society.” To this end, it is important that students gain an understanding of a greater community, of which their college is just a part. We wish to encourage students to explore their personal and academic interests in a way that complements their study in school, either through out-of-classroom experiences in their homes, their workplaces, places of worship, on the picket line, in the town hall, etc., or through co-curricular experiences on campus. Sometimes an experience creates a “teachable moment” that is relevant to a course that a student is taking; sometimes it doesn’t. In either case, we’d like to help students make the connections because we respect what they learn in their life journeys, even if it doesn’t fit neatly into the curriculum. On the other hand, by engaging in pedagogy that is based on social-relevance, experience, or public service we can make such connections more deliberate.
For the 2018 Opening Sessions we are offering workshops and presentations by faculty and staff with experience connecting their on-campus activities with those in the broader community. We will hear about pedagogy that takes students out of the class, either physically or virtually, to create meaningful learning opportunities. We will hear about activities that seeks to unite faculty, staff, and/or students and builds community on or near LaGuardia’s campus. We will also hear about ways that we incentivize and recognize students’ participation in such co-curricular or out-of-class activities.