LaGuardia’s Core Values statement defines “Learning” as the first among our institutional values:
“Believing that everyone can learn, we foster a creative and collaborative environment that stimulates the intellect, inspires the imagination and enlarges our vision of the world.”
Guided by this principle, LaGuardia’s Center for Teaching and Learning offers a comprehensive program of professional development opportunities to faculty, staff, and students. Based on long experience with proven effective practices, CTL seminars and development programs encourage active, collaborative learning and high expectations and academic aspiration for LaGuardia students.
Our Fall 2019 report, "2018-19 Evaluation and Report" describes the CTL's activities in depth through data and narrative.
Sustained, semester-long and year-long programs, co-facilitated by faculty leaders and CTL staff, afford faculty participants the time and space to experiment, reflect, assess, and improve their teaching practice. While professional development for faculty remains the core CTL mission, we are now building and offering learning opportunities for staff and students as well. Working closely with faculty and administrators from across the College, the CTL designs programming which seeks to balance multiple goals:
- Encouraging pedagogical innovation, reflection, and collaboration;
- Supporting faculty and staff implementation of key institutional initiatives, such as the First Year Seminar, team-based advisement, Core Competencies, and outcomes assessment;
- Offering support for activities which assist faculty in reappointment, tenure, and promotion, such as developing peer-reviewed publications in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and other fields;
- Supporting Front Line college staff with timely updates about campus initiatives and resources while providing opportunities for building skills and strategies that improve the workplace;
- Providing students with meaningful paid work (for example, the Student Technology Mentor, Student Success Mentor, and Peer Advisor Academy programs), contributing to their personal growth while furthering college goals.
Founded in 1999 with funding from a Title V, Hispanic Serving Institutions grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the LaGuardia Center for Teaching and Learning has grown steadily, shaping faculty development seminars and programs to respond to the College’s strategic plan and a variety of initiatives designed to increase student retention, completion, and success. In the early years, CTL seminars focused on helping faculty develop effective student-centered pedagogies that incorporated technology tools such as Powerpoint, digital stories, and web-based inquiry projects.
Subsequent grants from the US Department of Education enabled the CTL to support faculty’s extensive exploration of effective ways to incorporate an ePortfolio practice designed to capture students’ experiences from their first semester through their capstone courses. Funding also enabled the piloting and development of the College’s First Year Seminar and the Student Success Mentor program .
Recent projects support the College’s Mathematics, Engineering, and Computer Science (MEC) and Natural Sciences (NS) departments to develop new majors, engage faculty in curricular and assignment revision that promote student-centered pedagogies, undergraduate research, and the development of students’ inquiry and problem-solving skills.
Offering a variety of seminars and workshops to full- and part-time faculty, the CTL has supported major College initiatives and strategic goals such as:
- improving the First Year Experience.
- strengthening advisement processes and effectiveness.
- assessing students’ development of the College’s Core Competencies and Communication Abilities.
- incorporating High-impact Practices such as experiential learning and ePortfolio
Mission and Key Principles
In collaboration with faculty, staff, and students, the CTL commits to strengthen and promote a culture of continuous learning and innovation for all LaGuardians while contributing to the intellectual and civic welfare of our students.
Key Principles of Good Practice for Professional Development
In all of its programs, the Center seeks to manifest these key principles:
- Respect Faculty Knowledge. Effective professional development builds on faculty’s tremendous expertise. Faculty leaders are critical to success. So are formal and informal opportunities for faculty participants to share and learn from each other. Encourage multiple perspectives and approaches.
- Focus on the classroom. Classroom practice is the nexus of professional growth. Link questions of theory to practical possibilities for the LaGuardia classroom. Focus on activities, classroom resources, technologies and approaches that faculty can actually use with students. Model good classroom practice. Faculty should be able to walk away from each seminar with new skills and resources. Make it useful.
- Support Collective Inquiry. Meaningful professional development provides opportunities to explore important questions about learning and teaching through a gradually unfolding inquiry process. Faculty are master learners—help them apply the tools of scholarship to their own classroom practice. Innovative faculty see their classrooms as laboratories, sites for thoughtful pedagogical experimentation and documentation, with the seminar providing opportunities for reflection and exchange.
- Create Opportunities for Sustained Work. Change in professional practice happens over time. One-shot workshops are primarily outreach, not faculty development. Faculty need structures and support that enables them to engage in a long-term and recursive learning process.
- Break Boundaries. Bring faculty together in groups that don’t normally work together. Create opportunities for faculty to explore contrasting disciplinary perspectives, and to collaborate across departmental lines, focusing on the wholistic student experience. Help faculty develop ways to combine skill-building and discipline-based learning. Link classroom issues to larger questions about learning, teaching, and our highest goals for the College.
- Create a Supportive Professional Community. Teaching is a challenging profession. Innovation involves risk-taking. Establish a climate of support and thoughtful reflection, generating safe spaces, where faulty can talk about and learn from what doesn’t work, as well as what does.
- Respect Faculty Time. Make sure that seminars and workshops are carefully planned and well organized. Think about the details. Make sure that hand-outs and activities are clear and accurate. Work hard to start on time and end on time. Provide good food.
Public and private funding have been used to support major College initiatives and strategic goals since the CTL was established in 1999. The City University of New York (CUNY) and LaGuardia Community College provide essential administrative, staffing, and programmatic resources. This includes support for key University initiatives, such as Coordinated Undergraduate Education (CUE), Writing in the Disciplines (WID), and curricular and instructional supports for developmental education.
The Center’s major grant sources include the Title V program of the US Department of Education--aimed at improving the quality of Hispanic-serving institutions—and the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE) of the US Department of Education. In addition, we have attracted significant funding from the Ford Foundation, the New York State Department of Education (through the Carl T. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the City University of New York Technology Fee, the New York State Workforce Development Fund, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Teagle Foundation.
Recent awards include the following:
|GRANT ||INCEPTION/DURATION ||GOAL |
|Teagle Foundation: Learning Matters: Building Curricular Cohesion at LaGuardia Community College ||2017/3 years ||Improve learning in Liberal Arts courses through assessment. |
|Title V: STEM-Connect ||2016/5 years ||Attract, retain, and graduate under-represented students in STEM majors; collaborate with transfer institutions to smooth transition to BS degrees |
|Mellon Foundation: The Humanities Alliance ||2016/4 years ||Provide graduate students with effective pedagogical strategies in community college humanities classrooms |