Contributing Writers

Current Contributors (Fall 2017)

Ana Flávia Bádue, “Teaching and Research: How to Put Them in Dialogue?”

Higher education is where research and teaching are combined, but sometimes it is difficult to realize how to put them together. In this series I will explore concrete forms of bridging research with classroom dynamics. In our courses, we can use our own research as a pedagogical tool; we can invite students to engage in collaborative research or introduce them to research practices; we can also shape our courses around our research topics. My main goal is to show that teaching is not a burden for researchers, and that both students and teachers-researchers can benefit if we put them together.

Ana Flávia Bádue is a doctoral student in Cultural Anthropology at the Graduate Center. She has taught Political Sociology at ETEC Cepam in Brazil and now she teaches Introduction to Cultural Anthropology at Baruch. Her research interests focus on the relations between land grabbing and financialization of farmland in Brazil.


Rachel Bogan, “Creating an Activist Classroom”

Like many instructors, I often struggle with the question: Am I ‘enough’ of an activist? I know my students—though far from apolitical—rarely consider themselves activists. As I refreshed my syllabus, I reflected on how current events, like the ending of DACA, might impact my students, and decided to use the classroom as a space to assemble activism. This series will trace my efforts to create an activist classroom. It will explore questions like: How can I extend my activism into the classroom? How do I integrate current events into my lesson plans? Why do/don’t students consider themselves activists?

Rachel Bogan is a doctoral candidate in Sociology at the Graduate Center and an Instructional Technology Fellow. Her research explores the food-as-medicine movement, specifically how New Yorkers negotiate practices of food as medicine. When not ‘doing’ sociology, you can find her on a yoga mat or walking her dog.

Inés Vañó García, “Students’ Voices and Choices: Exploring Experimental Teaching and Learning Practices”

My proposed series is based on my final project for the Interactive Technology and Pedagogy Certificate on which I will be working this fall semester. My project involves working with Spanish Heritage Language Learners at Lehman College to become producers of place-based and task-based teaching materials for Spanish learners. I will be sharing my personal experiences regarding my ongoing project and reflecting on the challenges of the elaboration, development and implementation of my pedagogical practices, and the use of digital technology in the classroom.

Inés Vañó García is a Ph.D. student in the program in Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures at the Graduate Center. Her research focuses on the institutionalization of the Spanish language in the U.S. during the 20th century. She is interested in language ideologies and the political history of the Spanish language. Inés is a Humanities Alliance Graduate Fellow, currently teaching at Lehman College.

Alison Walls, “Intellectual Ideals and Material Realities”

This series aims to unpack a conflict facing many community college faculty: namely, the tension between the instructors’ ideal of engaging students intellectually with their subject matter, and the material realities that more often motivate students’ presence in the classroom.  My series will consider how to get past the negative impact of worries surrounding grades and future careers that can interfere with student learning. It also explores ways of stimulating students’ personal engagement with the subject—which is ultimately more beneficial to their learning—while remaining mindful of the very real material concerns and responsibilities driving student aspirations.

Alison Wells comes from Wellington, New Zealand. She is a doctoral candidate in Theatre at The Graduate Center. She has previously taught at LaGuardia Community College and is currently teaching at Baruch; she is also a Humanities Alliance Teaching Fellow. Alison’s background is in acting and directing and she holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.


Previous Contributors

Eileen Liang,  “The Anxious Instructor”

As a terribly anxious first-time instructor, I envision this series as a record of my growth, as I develop the skills I need to manage my nerves, both at the front of the classroom and while preparing for lessons. The truth is, I’m pretty sure I’m not the first person, nor will I be the last, to feel this way, and I’d like for my posts to be both a resource and a reassurance: you are not alone. Taken together, I hope the posts will serve as a handy guide for succeeding in the classroom despite anxiety… and learning to love (or at least not fear) the act of teaching.

Eileen Liang is  a doctoral student in Sociology  at the Graduate Center. Her research interests are broadly based at the intersection(s) of food and race, and exploring hunger as oppression. She is interested in larger narratives of identity and power, and discovering ways to disrupt oppression and generate resistance. When not busy worrying about teaching, she likes watching documentaries, reading autobiographies and picture books, and kneading bread dough.

Jenn Polish, “Anti-Ableist Pedagogy”

Jenn Polish is a PhD candidate in English at the Graduate Center and a Humanities Alliance Teaching Fellow. They currently teach at LaGuardia Community College and previously taught writing at CUNY Queens College. Their classroom and research interests deeply intersect, so they and their students spend a lot of time discussing and writing about the lived realities of critical race and dis/ability theories. They are currently focusing their academic work on the relationship between affective whiteness and dis/ability in composition classrooms.

Jesse Rappaport, “Navigating the Hybrid Classroom”

In this series, I will explore the opportunities and challenges of teaching a hybrid course: a course that meets in person but which has a significant online component. Will it be “the best of both worlds” or “when worlds collide”? My goal is to provide a window into the experience of teaching a hybrid course in a way that will be helpful and informative both for teachers of traditional in-person classes and online classes. In addition, I’ll be doing it all using only free and open-source teaching materials!

Jesse Rappaport is a Ph.D. student in philosophy at the Graduate Center who specializes in philosophy of language. He has taught philosophy at Brooklyn College and Baruch College. When he’s not working on his dissertation, Jesse enjoys playing music, programming, and watching soccer.


Tom Ribitzky, “Teaching Under Trump”

Our current political climate is one that has hijacked our health and our education – our bodies and our minds – and insists that they are luxuries, not rights.  Without the rights to our own bodies and our own minds, we are no longer agents, no longer subjects, no longer humans.  In this dehumanized age, it is the task of academia to interrogate and defend what it means to be a human and a citizen instead of an object and a consumer.  This blog series examines the intersection of the pedagogical and the political in light of the recent presidential election.

Tom Ribitzky is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center.  He has taught both sections of Great Works of Literature at Baruch College, as well as World Humanities at City College, where he is currently a Writing Across the Curriculum Fellow.


Gwen Shaw, “Active Learning and Alternative Assignments: Adventures in Art History and Beyond”

Traditional teaching methods have often relied on a passive method of education, in which knowledge is transmitted from the top down, from the professor to the students. However, students engage and retain more through active learning methods, in which they get the opportunity to engage directly with the subject matter itself. In this series, I experiment with different types of assignments that focus on student-centered, student-driven projects, from reflexive journals to archival research and zine making in both intro and advanced courses.

Gwendolyn Shaw is a doctoral student in Art History at the Graduate Center. In addition to the PhD she is earning interdisciplinary doctoral certificates, including one in Interactive Technology and Pedagogy. Her research interests include issues of gender, race, sexuality, and violence in modern and contemporary art. She is currently researching Maya Deren’s late-career Haiti project.

Erin Spampinato, Teaching for Your Students, Teaching for Yourself”

Under ideal conditions, academic teaching and scholarship are inextricable from one another. At CUNY, however, graduate students often carry such heavy teaching loads that they struggle to complete their degrees. To add insult to injury, they are underpaid for their teaching service. The relationship between teaching and learning—ideally a symbiotic one—becomes a conflicted one under these conditions. This series addresses this conflict by focusing on individual ways that a graduate student who wants to finish her degree can benefit from her time teaching and make it work towards, rather than against, her personal scholarly goals.

Erin Spampinato is a PhD Candidate in English at CUNY Graduate Center and a Digital Fellow at Queens College. Her research focuses on sexual violence in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century novels, as well as on the ways in which misogyny functions in the academy.



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