About this CUNY Adjunct Incubator Project

As part of a research project supported by the CUNY Adjunct Incubator, Graduate Center PhD candidate Tania Avilés Vergara (adjunct professor at Lehman College; project organizer), Rosalía Reyes Simón (Graduate Center; project coordinator), Anthony J. Harb (Graduate Teaching Fellow at Medgar Evers; project coordinator), Andrea Ariza García (adjunct professor at Baruch College; project coordinator) and Ricardo Coloma (adjunct professor at City College; project coordinator), are developing Teaching and Learning Spanish at CUNY: Public Language Education Through Archival Resources.

This project advocates for the use of archives as open educational resources in the Spanish language class, in order to ground second language learning within the historical, social and linguistic experiences of CUNY students. The project partners with CUNY archival institutions such as the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, the Dominican Studies Institute and the Mexican Studies Institute, and supports these institutions by promoting their collections and educational programs in the classroom.

The project aligns with Open Educational Resources initiatives throughout CUNY, as well as critical sociolinguistic approaches in the Spanish class (Del Valle 2014; Holguín Mendoza et al 2018; Fuller & Leeman 2020), to engage Spanish adjuncts in the design of teaching materials using open educational resources in order to complement and, hopefully, replace proprietary textbooks in the Spanish class at CUNY. The project invites adjuncts to explore the archive as an open educational resource and as a site for social justice, making it more public and inclusive of other voices, perspectives and non-dominant experiences, such as the Latinx* communities in the US. By exploring the archive, adjuncts and students will find multiple ways to make this history relevant to their present lives, empowering them to tell and write their own stories.

The archival institutions partnering with the project are The Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, the Dominican Studies Institute at City College, and the Mexican Studies Institute at Lehman College. By learning more about these institutions’ collections and educational programs, the participating adjuncts will create and design pedagogical modules using (digital) archival resources that center Latinx experiences and histories in the Spanish classroom. To do so, the team will implement these modules in Lehman College, Medgar Evers College, City College and Baruch College, involving chairs, OER campus representatives, Latinx archival institutions and students in the implementation and assessment process of these materials.

*When speaking broadly about the identity category, we use Latinx for inclusivity purposes and to index our own position within the debate on gender-inclusive language.


Public Engagement:

The teaching materials produced will be compiled and made public through Manifold at the end of the project. The experience and outcomes of the curriculum development process will be shared in a public event, bringing together the project’s coordinators, students, Latinx archival institutions at CUNY and administrators.


Why this project, Why now?

The project’s curricular innovations aim to address long-standing concerns in the LAILAC adjunct’s community, such as having to teach using overpriced textbooks that do not represent our students’ backgrounds nor their experiences with the Spanish language in NYC. Moreover, since CUNY serves some of the most vulnerable student populations in NYC, requesting expensive textbooks, especially during the pandemic, potentially threatens their higher education pathway, as many might not be able to afford these mandatory materials.

By building content-based modules using collections of Latinx archival institutions at CUNY, the project aims to promote these institutions’ activist work within the classroom while making Latinx history more accessible. Centering Latinx experiences and voices in the Spanish classroom is especially relevant today, since the pandemic as well as regrettable acts of racism against Black and Latinx communities are visibilizing new and old forms of social inequality that we should not lose sight of in the CUNY classroom.

The project invites adjuncts to take advantage of their teaching skills, creativity, and critical thinking in the exploration of archival resources and language curriculum development, while making the Spanish class more meaningful and inclusive for CUNY students coming from racially, linguistically, and socially diverse backgrounds.

The curricular innovations and pedagogical modules created in this project will bring together Latinx archives, OER campus representatives, adjuncts, chairs and students in envisioning alternative, pedagogical futures for Spanish-language classes across CUNY.


Pedagogical goals:

1. To ground second language learning within the social, cultural and linguistic experiences of CUNY students.

2. To center the histories, experiences and voices of Latinx communities in the Spanish class through the use of archives.

3. To conceive archives as empowering resources that allow students to tell and write their own histories.

4. To advocate for a more widespread use and creation of archives as open educational resources in the Spanish class.


Participants:

Tania Avilés Vergara (adjunct professor at Lehman College; project organizer)

Rosalía Reyes Simón (Graduate Center; project coordinator)

Anthony J. Harb (Graduate Teaching Fellow at Medgar Evers; project coordinator)

Andrea Ariza García (adjunct professor at Baruch College; project coordinator)

Ricardo Coloma (adjunct professor at City College; project coordinator)


This project is part of the CUNY Adjunct Incubator and is co-sponsored by the Center for the Humanities and the Gittell Urban Studies Collective at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

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Participants

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