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Weekly Round-Up of the CUNY Commons

Tag: ITT



The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly. -F. Scott Fitzgerald


EdSurge had a feature article about the CUNY Games Network, highlighting the power of a networked research community born at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, and they setup up shop right here on the Commons.

When four professors from the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) started collaborating on game-based learning (GBL) in developmental math and writing instruction in the mid-2000s, they had no idea what they were setting in motion. Today, more than 160 GBL researchers and practitioners contribute to the dynamic CUNY Games Network (CGN), housed within the City University of New York (CUNY), with its more than 540,000 students on 24 campuses.

The power of networking is something the Grad Center continues to double down on, in the long tradition of Writing Fellows, Instructional Tech Fellows, and Digital Fellows, it was cool to learn about the Social Media Fellows being led by Chris Caruso. I owe my own career to CUNY’s Instructional Tech Fellowship, so seeing the ongoing support for these programs is very encouraging, and dare I say forward-looking.


Speaking of Fellows, last week the Digital Fellows did a session on establishing your online scholarly presence, something near and dear to my heart:

Upcoming Workshop (9/22): Establishing a Digital Academic Identity and Intro to WordPress

And this Thursday they will be running another workshop on “The Lexicon of DH.”

Upcoming Workshop (9/29): The Lexicon of DH

Speaking of GIFs, I found a link to a story on the Fair Use & Copyright blog from back in March about an artist who cut Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey into 569 GIFs and uploaded them in order on Giphy to test whether GIFs could be considered fair use given the lack of audio and 256 colors.


The project reminded me of a more recent exploration of re-working film culture, namely the “Of Oz the Wizard,” a recut version of The Wizard of Oz that is entirely alphabetized> I know, it makes no sense, just watch it.

And while on the topic of culture and copyright, it is always important to ask “What Would David Harvey Do?” Luckily, you get probably answer that question from the comfort of your laptop given his weekly series on “Marx and Capital” is being recorded and shared freely on YouTube:

U.S. Politics right now.


You certainly don’t need me to tell you shit is ugly, and you could pick from so many topics such as the ongoing police shootings of the black community across the United States. Tressie McMillan Cottom’s post reflecting on what’s been happened in Charlotte, North Carolina is enlightening (as her stuff so often is), and if you are interested, it might be worth a look at her response to labelling Georgetown University’s attempt to come to terms with slavery in their past as reparations. As for the Presidential Race …. do I have to? Actually no, because Tony Picciano has again:

New York Times Editorial: Why Donald Trump Should Not Be President!

And again:

New York Times Endorses Hillary Clinton for President!

I would be praying for November like everyone else if I weren’t so petrified of what looking down the barrel of that gun could mean for all of us.


In other national dystopic news topics, the for-profit higher ed bubble seems to be bursting. The news ITT’s doors would be closing after the federal government refused to provide funding for their students in the form of guaranteed loans has been followed by the loss of recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) —the nation’s largest accrediting body with more than 600,000 students. The implications of this move could effectively devastate the independent college market—not to mention all the students deeply invested in it.

Department of Education Moves to Withdraw ACICS’ Recognition

After the mortgage crisis of 2008 folks warned about the student loan crisis that would follow, I think that’s materializing just about now. And much of it has been fueled by junk for-profit educational institutions and the “governing agencies” that made them possible. Lack of oversight and regulation has cost us dearly over the last decade. And the political ties to the scam run deep, if not President Clinton’s dealings with Laureate University, than Colin Powell’s promotion of Leeds Equity Partners, which owned a major stake in the second­ largest for­-profit college company, Education Management Corporation (EDMC):

Colin Powell’s Hacked Emails Tie Him to the For-Profit Higher Education Industry!

Bush has to own the Mortgage Crisis pushing the economy to the point of near collapse on his watch, and Obama may very well have to own letting the student loan/for-profit crisis get to this point during his tenure. Who has the Secretary of Education for the last 8 years again?


But as always, the Commons cup runneth over, there is much more going on and the excerpts and links below are just a taste of what you are missing.

CFP: “Rust/Resistance: Works of Recovery”

Narrating America in the Contemporary Community College

CFP: Provost’s Digital Innovation Grants 2016-2017

CUNY Petition For A More Flexible Workload For Adjuncts

CFP: LL Journal’s Volume 11, Number 2

MAP: The Meroe Archival Project

Dwelling, Dislocation and the Digital (9/29)

NYPL Reading & Catalog Rooms Reopen

TLC Services: Preparing a Statement of Teaching Philosophy

Post-Labor Day

“We are not complaining about the work. We want to see our hard work reflected in our pay.”

-Emmett J. Bogdon, President NALC Branch #116 (IN)

Possibly the biggest national and local news in Higher Education is just a borough away. LIU Brooklyn locked out their faculty and staff the Labor Day weekend before classes started. The #LIULockout hashtag on Twitter is one way to track the ongoing reactions, and LIU librarian Emily Drabinski has been regularly updating about the situation as it unfolds. The Nation was the first to cover what seems to be an unprecedented “nuclear option” in higher ed labor relations, and as of yesterday the rest of mainstream media has picked up the story. Hard not to see LIU administration’s gross devaluation of academic labor as part and parcel of a larger national trend towards devaluing and disrupting higher ed work and workers more generally.


The Grad Center’s own Steve Brier was quoted in the New York Times article on the lockout:

“This is an ominous step,” Professor Brier said.

“And it really fundamentally challenges the concept of collective bargaining,” he added. “If L.I.U. succeeds in breaking this union and succeeds in bringing in scabs — there is a giant pool of underemployed Ph.D.s out there — this could have a serious impact, not only on the university faculty, but it could spill out into public institutions.”

In brighter news, according to this post on the The Murphy Institute site labor unions in the Big Apple versus the rest of the country have been fairing well in recent years:

Amid declining rates of unionization nationwide, the Big Apple remains strong, with over 25% of workers unionized.

According to the report, entitled “The State of the Unions,” NYC’s unionization rate has increased steadily over the past three years, from 21.5% in 2012 up to 25.5% last year.

Tony Picciano shared news about ITT’s announced closures earlier this week when learning that their students would not be eligible for federal aide given accusations of abuse and fraud. The closures will effect more than 35,000 students and 8,000 staff, losing over $400 million in annual revenues via federal student aid loans has paralyzed ITT—why isn’t this considered a public institution given it has been a federally funded fraud for years?

Cousin ITT

Cousin ITT

While we are talking about money, labor, and savings, several CUNY community colleges (CUNY’s Borough of Manhattan Community College, Bronx Community College, and Hostos Community College) have joined the nationwide OER degree program “Achieving the Dream” to provide zero cost textbooks for certain degree programs. The money quote from the press release:

The annual costs of textbooks are about $1,300 per year for a full-time community college student and amount to about a third of the cost of an Associate’s degree. This cost, research shows, is a significant barrier to college completion.

And while we are talking about open, Mark Eaton’s post about exploring open source tools for the Kingsborough Community College library notes how open source technologies, at their best, translate into both better software and a more empowered library workforce:

Building our librarians’ skills is an important long term goal, as is creating software that benefits libraries. So I hope that we can find opportunities to integrate open source tools that meet the needs of our librarians and our communities.

One of the gems I discovered during my reading this week was the CUNY Syllabus project.

The CUNY Syllabus Project has received upwards of 70 syllabi from all over the CUNY system. The next phase of the project calls for an analysis of select data and metadata to identify pedagogical trends across disciplines and across the CUNY campuses.

The data may make for some interesting analysis, but they need more submissions. You can submit yours here. I think I have some O.G. CUNY syllabi from between 1998-2005 I could donate to the cause. While the sampling is still fairly small, some of the preliminary findings are already compelling, such as gender of authors read:


I discovered some other “scraps” of research on Sean Kennedy’s blog, who shared his archival findings after a trip to South Africa. I was fascinated by the discussion and screenshots of East Side (1999), “a fictional series about the integration of a predominantly white Johannesburg high school by students from Soweto.”



I also discovered an essay by Ziad Adwan titled the “The Local Otherness: Theatre Houses in the United Arab Emirates”:

I shall discuss the presence of theatre in the UAE and argue that in cities that celebrate world record tallest buildings, biggest edifices and most expensive constructions, theatre buildings serve as institutions that preserve local identity.

The things you find on your way to the local Dairy Queen!


The Theatre, Research, and Action in Urban Education (TRAUE) journal has made a call for contributions to a special issue focused on the #Blacklivesmatter movement:

This special issue of TRAUE invites readers to lend their voices to an ongoing conversation about race and racism in the United States through a diverse array of forms and approaches. We invite articles, reviews, policy briefs and notes from the field as well as short stories, poems, open letters and photographs. We seek to anthologize diverse perspectives and experiences by engaging topics of identity as it intersects with educational institutions.

And I am happy to report the Bilingual Ed-Techie is still blog, in fact she has commenced a video series on translanguing, a topic of particular interest to me these days having found myself a stranger in a strange land.

And there’s more, always more on the Commons:

Compulsory Affective Labor in Comp Classrooms

Privilege in the Comment Sections: Online Trolling and the Mainstream Media

News You Can Use from Interlibrary Loan

The Counterintuitive and Fraud

Application Launched for the first year of the CUNY Tutor Corps

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