• Concurrent Workshops

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    11:20 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. (25 Minutes)
    The LaGuardia Mindfulness Corps

    Room: E-217
    Presenter(s): Paul Arcario, Koun Eum, Ellen Quish

    Funded by a new College Completion Innovation Fund grant, the LaGuardia Mindfulness Corps will integrate mindfulness activities into our First Year Seminar program. Utilizing free online mindfulness activities, peer support, and a "train-the-trainer" model, we will guide students in developing wellness practices designed to reduce stress and anxiety, increase resilience, and help overcome barriers that hinder retention and academic success. Our workshop will present potential benefits of mindfulness practices, engage participants in a mindfulness-based activity, and solicit ideas for promoting mindfulness across the college.


    What Is Going On? Finding Meaning In A Shifting World–A Pathway To Support Dialogues About Existential Crisis

    Room: E-234
    Presenter(s): Jennifer Mitchell Mayer, Vera Albrecht, and Cheri Carr, Deema Bayrakdar

    The world can seem very unstable, between a health pandemic, an unstable economy and high inflation, increasing violence, climate change, and many other issues. This can be overwhelming to students, leading to a sense of existential crisis where it is challenging to find meaning, and they question, what is the point of everything? Existential malaise can lead to a lot of things, including leaving students feeling overwhelmed, with trouble focusing, difficulty with motivation, and a sense of nihilism and engaging in risky or harmful behaviors. In this workshop, we will address existential crisis and how it shows up today; signs that students are experiencing existential crisis; how to meet students in their experiences of existential crisis and how to normalize; resources and information about launching Existential Crisis Circles in the fall will be provided.


    Transfer Within And Outside CUNY: Articulations, Advising, And Mentorship

    Room: E-258
    Presenter(s): Jayashree Kamble, Michele De Goeas-Malone, Andy Kai Chun Chuang

    The LaGuardia College Senate Committee on Transfer addresses issues related to transfer at the college. As part of its work, it communicates transfer information with faculty to enable us to better advise students in their further education and career goals. In this session, the committee members would like to share our knowledge about current transfer issues in and outside CUNY.

    Professors Andy Kai-Chun Chuang and Michele De Goeas-Malone will share their experiences and knowledge on these themes as follows:

    • Designing and understanding issues related to articulation agreements and making articulation accessible and optimizing relationships among partners.
    • Designing transfer events and opportunities so that they serve as a form of faculty mentoring of students, helping them make informed choices about transfer and training them into purposefully making those choices a part of their journey.
    • Discussing how kindness is also a part of building quality articulations that are student centered across the program, not just in the first year seminar.


    The presenters will finally take questions and help listeners brainstorm about incorporating kindness into their transfer conversations with stakeholders, whether that is students or faculty/staff colleagues at LaGuardia and partner institutions.


    Leave It at the Door, It'll be There on Your Way Out

    Room: E-264
    Presenter(s): John Collins

    Academic success requires that students take full advantage of the limited time they have with their instructor, fellow students and instructional materials. With a high percentage of full-time workers and single parents, students frequently feel tossed around and at the mercy of life's whims. These external pressures make it difficult to focus during class. One form of authentic kindness gives the recipient agency in their life. The pre-class activity this workshop teaches is designed to help students gain agency or command over their mental state. By integrating elements of psychology, cognitive science, meditation and David Allen's Getting Things Done philosophy, workshop participants will learn a pre-class activity designed to help students get into a mental space that allows them to take full advantage of valuable instructional time.


    Designing a Kind Syllabus: Communicating values of equity and inclusion

    Room: E-260
    Presenter(s): Reem Jaafar & Milena Cuellar

    A recent report by the Student Experience Project reiterates how increasing students’ sense of belonging can improve equity and enhance their engagement and academic performance (Seproj, 2022). Where should we start to foster an inclusive approach to teaching that promotes students’ sense of belonging? Higher education professionals are advocating for the design of a student-centered syllabus that creates a safe environment welcoming and valuing various identities as a first step towards equity and inclusion. Some have urged to “stop designing courses as if they were for robots,” (Supiano, 2021) As we have navigated uncertain conditions, we believe that there is no better time to uphold the principles of humanizing pedagogy and rethinking our course content, policies, and delivery (Freire, 1972). This tremendous endeavor starts with a redesign of the syllabus. More than simply communicating expectations, the syllabus should promote equity, belonging, and growth by recognizing the racial dynamics of the classroom, and elevating students’ voices at all levels. In this presentation, we highlight evidence of equity gaps in students’ outcomes, detail research about the impact of structural barriers on students’ outcomes, and how we can collectively take the necessary steps to achieve equity. The audience will reflect on the content of the syllabus and will discuss how to create student-centered language, policy, and content that promote a growth mindset and sense of belonging. Finally, we will show a three-point action plan that faculty or staff can adopt to transform syllabi or other policies and reveal opportunities for future funded workshops.


    Shared Global Learning to Stimulate Student Interactions and Community Building

    Room: E-262
    Presenter(s): Richa Gupta

    Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, as part of a Learning Matters mini-grant project, a global learning assignment involving group presentations by students on the theme of 'Human diseases and their global spread' was implemented in the Human Anatomy and Physiology I (Human A&P I) course of the Natural Sciences department. In collaboration with several colleagues from the Health Sciences and Natural Sciences departments, Benchmark Readings of the deposited student work were conducted periodically, in the last three years, to collect discipline-specific feedback on the assignment and curriculum revision, across the A&P course and several Health Science programs, such as Occupational Therapy Assistant, Therapeutic Recreation, Physical Therapist Assistant and Nursing. Human A&P I serves as a prerequisite course and most of the A&P students aim for entry into Health Science programs, in the pursuit of a desired future Healthcare career. Remarkably, group preparations and presentations on these important health-related global topics, resulted in highly productive mutual interactions among the students, development of a culture of helping and supporting each other (both remotely and in-person), and a better understanding of concepts, especially during the challenging times of the ongoing pandemic, as revealed by their reflections and knowledge gain. Over the years, all the involved faculty also expressed that this new intervention would better connect the curriculum of the two departments for these A&P students, further polish and hone their discipline-related skills and competencies, thereby preparing them more effectively for their upcoming academic and professional journey.



    11:20 a.m. – 12:10 p.m. (50 Minutes)
    Putting it in Perspective!: World Events, Wellbeing, and Workplace Interactions

    Room: E-341
    Presenter(s): Bojana Blagojevic (Political Science); Lara Beaty (Psychology); Hara Bastas (Sociology)

    This interdisciplinary workshop will explore how we can understand and improve workplace dynamics by seeing them through a political, psychological and sociological lens. The session aims to provide us with an opportunity to begin to examine the impact of political and social turmoil of the past few years at both individual and group levels. We will also begin to imagine ways of rebuilding a sense of community, compassion, solidarity and forgiveness in the midst of continued political and social uncertainty. The workshop will begin with a fun exercise on perspective-taking, followed by social scientific theoretical discussions and practical LaGuardia applications.


    Improving Governance Through Listening, Collaboration, And Inclusion

    Room: E-265
    Presenter(s): Patricia Sokolski, Loretta Capuano, Tara Coleman, Hugo Fernandez, Rochell Isaac, Anthony Pappas, and John Toland. Moderator: Cristina Bruns

    In her essay, A Pedagogy of Kindness,” Catherine Denial writes, “My graduate education encouraged me to think of students as antagonists, always trying to get one over on their instructors.” Is it only between faculty and students that “antagonism” may exist? As staff and faculty, our rapport with the “administration” can also be seen as “antagonistic.” While student success is our common goal, the extent to which faculty, staff, and students are involved in the College’s decision-making process relies on the principle of shared governance. This presentation relates our journey as members of governance toward greater collaboration, equity, respect, and understanding with the goal of creating a more inclusive governance structure.



    11:45 a.m. – 12:10 p.m. (25 Minutes)
    Creating A Holistic Program To Support Student-Parents

    Room: E-217
    Presenter(s): LaGuardia Student-Parents Initiative: Koun Eum, Cheri Carr, Sonya Evariste, Brenda Cotto, Regina Varin-Mignano, Raheem Brooks, and Jesus Benitez

    In this presentation, the presenters will reflect on the initiative to create a supportive, compassionate, and kind space for students-parents at LaGuardia Community College. We will introduce our holistic student-parent support program that encompasses psychological well-being, student engagement and empowerment, and psychoeducation. In line with the open session theme and the call for proposal submission, this presentation will help staff and faculty to generate ideas to build college environment where we show up with compassion, kindness, grace to students, create a college culture to support students to practice to prioritize wellbeing, and participate in institutional support of a culture of kindness.


    Kindness Is Contagious - It Begins With Teaching

    Room: E-234
    Presenter(s): Bukurie Gjoci

    The presentation focuses on assignments’ grading & feedback practices which engages students to identify, acknowledge and apply their prior knowledge in new learning situations and allows them to share the excitement of discovery. An ongoing grading and feedback pedagogical practice of kindness which produces active learning – making it possible to reach course objectives while increasing students’ desire to explore the subject beyond the boundaries of the course.


    Refresh and Restart: Creating a More Equitable Repeat Course Policy

    Room: E-258
    Presenter(s): Dionne Miller, Lilla Toke

    CUNY does not have a uniform Repeat Course Policy for courses where students have earned a grade other than an “F” (i.e., a passing grade). Most colleges do not allow the repetition of courses with a passing grade or for courses where the credits transfer. Traditionally, LaGuardia’s course repeat policy has also been rather limiting: students who earned a grade C or above were not allowed to repeat the course. More importantly, the Repeat Course Policy was not only limiting, but the language was also vague and confusing in several ways. For instance, it did not specify how many times students could repeat a course and it gave department chairs the power to make decisions that effectively overrode the policy. Therefore, in the past academic year, Associate Dean Dionne Miller worked closely with the Academic Standing Committee of the Senate to revise the policy. We had two major goals in this effort: 1. To clarify and specify the policy for students, administrators and faculty so there is no room for misinterpretation; 2. To create a policy that is more “kind” - that values students’ willingness to persevere, that is mindful of the complexities of students’ lives and that rewards hard work. In this presentation, we plan to share the new “Repeat Course Policy” with the college community to highlight the important changes and explain the rationale behind the new policy.


    Supporting Student Belonging Through Empathy & Kindness

    Room: E-260
    Presenter(s): David Brandt, Julissa Camilo, Peer Advisors and SSMs

    The 80-100 Peer Advisors and Student Success Mentors employed with the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) each year are charged with a range of responsibilities, including supporting students’ academic and social transition to college; building student engagement and motivation; and cultivating feelings of belonging, among others. The ongoing covid-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges related to all of these points. While it has always played a key role in the work of CTL peer mentors (and the work of all student-serving, student centered institutions), empathy has found itself as the core foundation on which peer mentor-student relationships are built. This presentation will discuss the role of empathy in the life-cycle of a CTL Peer Mentor; from interview to practice.


    Feeding Into Complicit Bias Or Promoting Agents For Change: A Reflection On Pedagogy

    Room: E-262
    Presenter(s): Michele Mills & May Tom

    The increase in diverse nationalities that seek access to the American healthcare system require our students and future healthcare providers to be global citizens that can maintain their own ethnocentricity, while embracing cultural sensitivity, and striving for cultural agility. A pedagogical shift cultivates a culture of kindness and self-reflection.



    12:20 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. (25 Minutes)
    Where Do We Go From Here? A Road Map To Understanding And Supporting Students Anxiety And Mental Health With Compassion

    Room: E-217
    Presenter(s): Jennifer Mitchell Mayer, and Nicole Pellegrino

    In this engaging, and highly interactive workshop, participants will explore the ways that mental health issues and anxiety can be addressed in a compassionate and non-stigmatizing manner. Participants will discuss how to identify early warning signs of possible anxiety and distress, as well as more serious early warning signs of suicide or self-harm. This workshop will explore ways to identify early warning signs that students may be experiencing distress and effective strategies for managing students needs in a sensitive manner.


    LaGuardia Humanitarian Initiative: Promoting Kindness through Experiential Learning

    Room: E-234
    Presenter(s): Claudette Davis (Natural Sciences); Dana Trusso (Humanities); Stefania Dinu (ASAP); Bibi-Sakeena Khemraj (Student: Major Biology)

    This presentation will focus on the theory and praxis of LaGuardia Humanitarian Initiative (LHI), a collegewide experiential learning initiative, designed for students, staff, and faculty from across disciplines and programs. Embedded in the philosophy of ethical engagement with global issues to foster equity and inclusivity, LHI creates opportunities for students to reflect on their classroom learning when developing projects “for” and “with” local and global organizations to support their communities. LaGuardia achieved membership in the United Nations Academic Impact Program through the global and equity-focused work done by LHI. In direct alignment with the United Nations mission, i.e. "to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character", LHI facilitates a year-long college wide inquiry of a global issue that foregrounds pedagogical inquiry, civic engagement, and experiential learning. First, we will focus on the goals and framework of LHI and how LHI pedagogy meets. LaGuardia’s core competencies and communication abilities. Second, we will share the format of LHI’s student-centered workshops and support for faculty when designing LHI assignments and submitting LHI assignments to the Learning Matters Assignment Library. Third, we will discuss how LHI’s career readiness sessions help students document their LHI experiences when submitting jobs, internships, and transfer applications. Fourth, we will share scholarship opportunities for faculty to strengthen their pedagogical and experiential projects, within CUNY, nationally, and globally. Finally, we will present opportunities to explore LHI’s 2022-2023 theme #FoodJusticeForAll in collaboration with global partner CARE (https://www.care.org; estd 1945).


    Deepening Student Engagement through the Use of Open Pedagogy

    Room: E-258
    Presenter(s): Christine Marks, Ian McDermott, Preethi Radhakrishnan, Ellen Quish, Kristina Graham, Jonathan Seide

    Funded by New York State, LaGuardia’s FYS OER initiative is a three-year sequential project designed to create an open access education resource for First Year Seminar (FYS) students. Now entering its second year, the project involves a cross-disciplinary team of faculty, staff, and students who have collaborated on the development and selection of FYS OER content. Of particular interest is the project’s commitment to the use of open pedagogy and what has been leveraged from working with students who are focused on deepening the engagement of FYS students. The workshop will highlight practices used to solicit student feedback on faculty-generated content, as well as provide a rationale for expanding the use of open pedagogy at the college and in the classroom.



    12:20 p.m. – 1:10 p.m. (50 Minutes)
    Assignment Redesign (Please consider wearing a mask)

    Room: E-253
    Presenter(s): Cate Denial

    How do we demonstrate compassion for our students and ourselves in the way we design our assignments, and in our instructions for papers, quizzes, and exams? This session will offer some examples of ways to rethink assignment policies and designs to maximize student achievement and our own wellbeing.


    Normalizing Inclusivity: Accessibility Benefits All Learners

    Room: E-265
    Presenter(s): Jennifer Ward, Kim Lucas, Jhony Nelson

    Cultivating a culture of kindness within the classroom can be modeled through normalizing accessible instruction, learning materials and course delivery benefitting all students through the lens of Universal Design. Learners of all diverse backgrounds and experiences benefit from instruction modifications that was once thought to be only for those prescribed as having a disability. There are many learners who may have an “invisible” disability or choose not to disclose that may struggle in their learning process. The task of having to request accommodations creates undue anxiety and stress on the learner and may prohibit an overall positive learning experience. This workshop will provide a brief overview on who the Office of Accessibility and Program for Deaf Adults are, the students we serve and the resources we provide. In addition, we will cover some common Deaf culture norms to be aware of, tips on how to work with Deaf students and best practices working with and requesting sign language interpreters. We will share examples of accessible materials and instruction delivery, both remote and face to face using certain technology software and platforms.



    12:45 p.m. – 1:10 p.m. (25 Minutes)
    Building Awareness Of The Role Of Anxiety In STEM Learning

    Room: E-217
    Presenter(s): Malgorzata Marciniak

    Before the pandemic I have collected the data, mostly among Freshman Seminar students, about their experience of anxiety. The origins of my motivation were rooted in math and exam anxiety which I have experienced on my own and have been thoroughly observing in my students. Being aware of accumulative nature of anxiety, I was aiming to get the big picture thus I gathered information about various kinds of anxiety. My research addressed the topics: how many students and to what extent experience anxiety on daily basis or due to certain circumstances: work, family challenges, social situations or college-related reasons. Whether students recognize symptoms of anxiety and have own methods of handling anxious situations. Whether students are willing to learn new methods of handing anxiety during exams.


    Community Based Learning in the Classroom

    Room: E-234
    Presenter(s): Kyle Hollar-Gregory, Neetu Kaushik, Lloyd Klein and Koun Eum

    Our presentation will discuss the impact of community based learning on student engagement. We will present information relevant to assignments we developed that promote student interaction with the community. Furthermore, we will provide our own firsthand accounts of how volunteer work may promote kindness and better learning environments for students. We will also review assignments we developed and the potential learning outcomes. Community based learning will provide a basis for Faculty and Students to learn about new innovative techniques being utilized in the classroom in order to bring the community and students together. We hypothesis that community based learning activities may provide positive psychological and moral benefits to students. Through learning the importance of giving back to the community students will understand the importance of networking and its positive impacts on their careers. Lastly, the proposed assignments will serve as an informational session to faculty interested in increasing student engagement at the college, which may enhance student enrollment at the college.


    FinLit for Life: Cultivating Financial Literacy with Care

    Room: E-258
    Presenter(s): Derek Stadler, Linda Barber, Louise Fluk, and Elizabeth Jardine

    Faculty and staff interested in the financial wellbeing of our students are invited to join us for this interactive session offered by the Library. We will consider financial education for LaGuardia students in light of a grant that the Library received to develop financial and/or investor education materials for LaGuardia students in the form of Open Educational Resources (OER). OER is a term given to educational materials made available at little or no cost and carrying permissions for reuse. Titled FinLit for Life, the OER will mine the already-vast literature on personal finance, viewing it through a critical financial literacy lens. This critical point of view considers social, historical, and ideological forces and structures and associated historic inequities as they affect personal financial literacy. Critical financial literacy empowers citizens to make choices on whether they should change and/or create an alternative economic system that gives rise to better, more socially just individual choices. FinLit for Life will help ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion by selecting sources and pedagogical practices based on this critical financial literacy lens. To target the needs of LaGuardia students and ensure that the OER reflects their lived experiences, the resources will be created with the collaboration of our students and piloted in FYS. Everyone interested in the financial wellbeing of our students is invited to join us for an overview of the grant and discussion on what challenges we see in teaching financial literacy at LaGuardia and how to meet those challenges.


    Kind Communication: How to Support Media Communication with Neurodiverse Students as Faculty/Staff

    Room: E-264
    Presenter(s): Joseph Schick, Syria Brown

    Media communication such as emails and discussion board posts can be challenging for anyone. For someone who is Neurodiverse or has intellectual or learning difficulties it may be more than just a challenge, but a struggle that can impede their ability to successfully communicate with professors, staff and faculty. One way to alleviate this strenuous task is for staff and faculty to be able to successfully communicate with Neurodiverse students and those with intellectual or learning differences. This presentation, created by the Neurodiversity Program, will focus on how faculty and staff can best use media communication with Neurodiverse students, in addition to students with intellectual and learning differences. More specifically, the focus will be on communication in a kind and compassionate way, to help make LaGuardia a more inclusive and understanding environment. The presentation will provide a definition of Neurodiversity/learning and intellectual differences. Participants will learn the need to assess a student’s emails and discussion board posts for concerning communication behaviors and how to identify Neurodiverse behaviors and intellectual /learning differences in these media communications. Attendees will also engage with different examples of emails and posts, both from the perspective of student and staff, to learn how to best facilitate kind communication, to be able to take part in creating a culture of kindness at LAGCC.