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.
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:
Advisement 2.0, a relatively new advisement model, started in Spring 2017 in three academic departments: Business & Technology, Health Sciences & Natural Sciences. Modeled on a “Guided Pathways” approach (Bailey, Jaggars & Jenkins, 2015), this initiative provides advisement and guidance throughout students’ LaGuardia career to help increase retention and graduation rates. Our approach guides every student according to his or her own personal needs within the major at every point along a clearly defined pathway, from the beginning of admission through to graduation.
To accomplish its goals and expected outcomes, the Advisement 2.0 model tests ways to enhance the College’s earlier department-oriented advising team model by implementing a tiered services approach and advanced digital technology that integrates with CUNY systems. It engages faculty, peer advisors, and staff on advising teams, connecting them with advisement support communities at LaGuardia.
The program’s objectives are the following:
A comprehensive menu of professional development activities for faculty supports Advisement 2.0, including mini-seminars, workshops, and department meeting activities.Through these activities, faculty deepen their knowledge of CUNY and LaGuardia academic and transfer policies; CUNY- and LaGuardia-developed advisement tools and technologies; and student-centered, “developmental advisement” conversations.
Since January 2015, the Peer Advisor Academy has recruited and trained hundreds of LaGuardia Community College students to help fellow students plan their academic futures. Peer Advisors strive to support their peers in designing and achieving their academic goals at LaGuardia and beyond. Working one-on-one with students who have completed their first semester, Peer Advisors use their own experiences as successful college students to offer guidance in academic planning and navigating college resources. Peer Advisors interact with students at various levels in their academic career and mentor them through the process of achieving academic goals and developing their college and career paths. Our students benefit significantly from working with Peer Advisors because of the support, knowledge, experience, and resources they are able to share with their fellow students.
At LaGuardia, co-curricular learning activities help students link study in their courses to campus events, workshops, speaker series, clubs, and other experiences that complement academic learning. These activities also help connect our students to the wider LaGuardia community, showcasing a wide range of faculty, staff, and student expertise and interests. The CTL supports co-curricular learning by working with colleagues in Student Affairs to shape the First Year Experience and First Year Seminar activities, as well as supporting activities such as student research forums, film festivals, and Global Learning mini-grants. Students are often asked to reflect on these activities during an event or by updating their ePortfolios.
Our Digital Badging initiative creates a formal structure for highlighting participation in specific co-curricular activities. A joint project of both Academic and Student Affairs, LaGuardia Digital Badges are validated indicators of achievement, professional development, and deep integrative learning that students are able to earn through various academic and co-curricular activities. Digital Badges allow students to earn verified forms of recognition—with meaningful examples of the work they’ve done throughout their time at LaGuardia—for use with transfer institutions and employers.
A comprehensive, extended orientation program designed to engage and support new students as they learn to navigate the College and use its many resources, FYE activities formed through a collaboration between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. It includes a series of co-curricular programs and events, such as My First Day and My Campus Events, that complement and extend students’ work in the First Year Seminar.
The FYS is designed to support freshmen or transfer students in their transition to college life. Faculty in every department teach these discipline-specific courses. FYS students are introduced to their major as they receive advising support and learn how to tap into the College’s many resources and co-curricular learning opportunities. They receive additional support in an attached Studio Hour, where these students learn about digital tools that facilitate educational and career planning. LaGuardia students must complete the First Year Seminar successfully in order to graduate.
ePortfolio plays an integral role in the First Year Seminar (FYS) course. In FYS, students start to build and develop their “Next Generation” ePortfolios, integrating what they learn in the course about their major, career interests, and transfer with academic planning and the College’s General Education Core Competencies and Communication Abilities. Supported by Student Success Mentors, new students create and work on their ePortfolio and are encouraged to continue in future semesters. Doing so allows students to flesh-out their graduation plan, see their growth as they move toward graduation, and prepare for transferring after graduating from LaGuardia.
We value the social dimensions of learning. Collaboration is an important aspect of our work in the Center for Teaching and Learning, and this extends from our college-based programs to work with colleagues local to CUNY, and on a regional or national scale. Some of our recent partnerships demonstrate the reach of our activities and the range of practices we support, all in the service of supporting LaGuardia students as we contribute to building the field of professional development within the higher ed landscape.
TA partnership between the CUNY Graduate Center and LaGuardia Community College, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the CUNY Humanities Alliance trains Ph.D. students in the most successful methods for teaching humanities courses in some of the country’s most diverse undergraduate classrooms. Working with graduate students, administrators in the Graduate Center, and LaGuardia faculty, the CTL supports professional development that helps to broaden and strengthen access to and engagement in the humanities for LaGuardia students. Initiated in Fall 2016, the Humanities Alliance (HA) pairs Graduate Center fellows with LaGuardia mentors—master faculty in humanities disciplines relevant to the fellows’ academic interests, including philosophy, communication studies, English, art history, and the humanistic social sciences.
A year-long seminar supports a consistent and collaborative mentor relationship by orienting HA fellows to LaGuardia’s mission and ethos; its college-wide framework of Core Competencies, General Education, and departmental requirements; and teaching methodologies that benefit all learners, especially students traditionally underrepresented in higher education. In preparation for teaching their own courses, the Seminar guides the construction of discipline-specific syllabuses that reflect the Fellows’ evolving understanding of the opportunities and obligations of community college teaching and learning.
A complementary program—the Humanities Scholars—introduces a cohort of LaGuardia students to academic and career opportunities in the humanities.
LaGuardia’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is an active member of the CUNY-wide CTLs Council, a network for support among CUNY campus’ pedagogical centers. The CTL Council’s website describes its mission as prioritizing the following considerations for teaching and learning throughout CUNY
Together the CUNY CTLs focus on a theme for a given academic year. Recent themes have included Open Education Resources (OERs), making CUNY classrooms inclusive and accessible, and Experiential Learning.
From 2007-2010, the CTL worked with 30 NYC-area colleges to help them pilot ePortfolio on their campuses through the Making Connections National Resource Center. Joining forces with AAEEBL, a global ePortfolio network of more than 100 member campuses active with ePortfolio, selected AAEEBL and Making Connections campuses have worked in sustained collaborations to improve campus practice and generate resources for the field.
With a collection of grant funds, the Making Connections National Resource Center has strengthened LaGuardia's work around reflective learning and developed mechanisms for more systematic exchanges within higher education by working with LaGuardia faculty and students in advancing our own ePortfolio practice, and by broadening engagement with educators from colleges and universities from around the world.
LaGuardia Community College was awarded a Hispanic Serving Institutions-STEM grant by the US Department of Education in Fall 2016. Through STEM-CONNECT, LaGuardia is collaborating with CUNY partners, New York City College of Technology (City Tech) and York College, to build a “guided pathway” to advanced STEM degrees, thereby improving STEM education at LaGuardia and supporting students from admission to transfer success. STEM-CONNECT is focused on three major goals:
As an outgrowth of the Frontline Staff Professional Development workshop series, the CTL and Human Resources developed a 3-day program that provides a more sustained experience for our student-facing colleagues. The goals to enhance the effectiveness and engagement of frontline leaders, and to provide the information and tools needed to strengthen team performance and achieve greater personal professional success.
The program is an investment in those staff who play a pivotal role in supporting student success either through direct interaction with our students or in their support for departmental and/or divisional teams across the College.
The CTL supports several peer-to-peer mentoring programs. Each program employs current LaGuardia students or former students currently enrolled in another CUNY college in order to provide support to help current students progress through their programs successfully. Center staff recruit, train, and provide continuous professional development for CTL peer mentors so that they can gain the necessary knowledge and skills for their responsibilities. We focus on leadership development and opportunities to improve their professional preparation, such as building effective communication skills, providing networking opportunities, and goal-setting.
Since January 2015, the Peer Advisor Academy has recruited and trained hundreds of LaGuardia Community College students to help fellow students plan their academic futures. Peer Advisors strive to support their peers in designing and achieving their academic goals at LaGuardia and beyond. Working one-on-one with students who have completed their first semester, Peer Advisors use their own experiences as successful college students to offer guidance in academic planning and navigating college resources.
Peer Advisors interact with students at various levels in their academic career and mentor them through the process of achieving academic goals and developing their career paths. LaGuardia Community College students benefit significantly from working with Peer Advisors because of the support, knowledge, experience and resources they are able to share with their fellow students.
The Student Technology Mentors (STMs) provide support for faculty, students and staff using various technology tools for research, web development, and document production. STMs are trained to provide both one-on-one support for faculty and to assist faculty with class sessions where students are using technology.
STMs may assist faculty and students with designing, creating, and maintaining technology projects and resources for teaching and learning, such as:
To learn more visit the STM website, where you can also request assistance from an STM for help with technologies including these and more:
Launched in the summer of 2014, the Student Success Mentor (SSM) Program is comprised of peer mentors who have a demonstrated record of success at LaGuardia. They are current LaGuardia students or alumni attending a four-year college. SSMs provide a wide-range of support to students while facilitating the Studio Hour component of a discipline-specific First Year Seminar course. SSMs mentor students who are new to the College by sharing their own academic experiences. They introduce students to key strategies and habits of mind for academic success, initiate and guide ePortfolio development, promote co-curricular learning opportunities, and share important campus resources designed to support student success.