Contributing Writers

Meet our Contributing Writers for the Spring 2017 semester, and read about their recurring series for Visible Pedagogy !

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.

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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