Episode 84: John Jay College’s goals for quantitative literacy

Quantitative literacy and reasoning skills are not important only to some disciplines. They’re critical to all subjects, and they play a part in all of our lives. The Academic Affairs office at John Jay College recently announced plans to re-envision quantitative reasoning and literacy (QR & QL) in the curriculum with a goal of ensuring that every student who graduates has the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. Under the leadership of Interim Dean of Academic Programs and Professor of Political Science Andrew Sidman, faculty and administrators will collaborate to put this plan into action over the next couple of years. Listening to this episode has the potential to alter your self-perception as someone who’s “bad with numbers.” You’re probably better than you think because you’re surrounded by numbers and data every single day.

A few related QL/QR resources of interest:

  • Numlock News, Substack of Walter Hickey, a data journalist who is obsessed with culture, society and fascinating numbers buried in the news
  • Michigan State U’s QL guide
  • QL & the Humanities (from the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture)

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Episode 83: Angie Beeman on liberal white supremacy

Angie Beeman‘s book, Liberal White Supremacy: How Progressives Silence Racial and Class Oppression, examines the divides among progressives and the role of liberal ideology in preventing significant social change. In it, she analyzes racism-evasiveness as the outcome of color-blind ideology and promotes practical applications of what she refers to as action-oriented or “racism-centered intersectionality.” In this episode, Angie is in conversation with Soribel Genao, Professor in the department of Educational & Community Programs at Queens College. They discuss how beliefs and strategies that might seem on the surface to be enlightened, are not only limiting but can perpetuate racism and white supremacy.

Dr. Angie Beeman is an Associate Professor at Baruch College. Her research examines changing expressions of racism, the challenges of allyship, and building more equitable workplace environments. Dr. Beeman’s research has appeared in the Harvard Business Review, Counterpunch, Gender, Work, and Organization, and Ethnic and Racial Studies. In addition to these publications, she has been quoted in Nature, Forbes Magazine, The Wire, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, Galveston Daily News, and WalletHub. Dr. Beeman has shared her work with multiple audiences and is frequently invited by organizations to speak on the issues of racism, social justice, and cultivating inclusiveness in the workplace. She has appeared on CSPAN’s Washington Journal and Connecticut Public Television and has given talks for Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park, the Association of Junior Leagues International, Network of Executive Women, and NASA.

Dr. Soribel Genao serves as member with Educational Leadership at CUNY, Queens college and is a bilingual researcher with community and place-based research and evaluation experience using both qualitative and qualitative methods. Throughout her career, she has consulted on initiatives focused on diversity and inclusion with an equity lens within private, higher education, and non-profit sectors globally.  She holds a doctorate in Public Administration from Rutgers University.  Over the course of her academic career, lived experience and quest for access and belonging serving as a muse, Dr. Genao constantly informs research and scholarship within the discipline of educational leadership. During her doctoral work and throughout early years in academia, she characterized herself as a scholar focused on issues of diversity and collaboration in urban school leadership. And, while she is still examining these issues, her focus has evolved and is now grounded in social justice as an umbrella for promoting solidarity and equitable practices in schools, communities, and society. This evolution to a social justice framework seemed like a natural transition for her, yet it reignited her research passion and scholarly endeavors. In her co-edited book entitled (Re)Building bi/multilingual leaders for socially just communities (2020)the authors highlight the benefits of preparing future school leaders to understand and recognize language and multicultural diversity issues. They also address the impact of multiculturalism and globalization on educators, children, families, schools, and communities. In the article, “All we need in one mic: A call for anti-racist solidarity to deconstruct anti-Black racism in educational leadership” (2021), her co-author and her contend that principal preparation programs have not but must explicitly prioritize anti-racist school leadership to promote anti-racist dispositions in schools, leaders, teachers, and students. She contributed to Episode 77 with her colleagues where they described their BRESI project, “Advancing Antiracism, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Social Justice, and Belonging (A/DEISJ+B).”

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Episode 82: Gloria J. Browne-Marshall on the courage of Black women

Gloria J. Browne-Marshall is a writer, civil rights attorney, playwright, poet, and Professor of Constitutional Law at John Jay College. Her most recent book, She Took Justice: The Black Woman, Law, and Power – 1619 to 1969, showcases the courage of a range of Black women in the face of racial prejudice and gender oppression, including 17th century African warrior Queen Nzingha, Oney Judge, a slave owned by George Washington, Sojourner Truth, Shirley Chisholm, and a host of others that you’ve likely heard of and, significantly, some that you never learned about in school. Gloria talks with John Jay College Media Relations Director, Rich Relkin, about how these women used the legal system in their fight for freedom. They talk about Gloria’s other creative works, too, including two plays: Shot: Caught a Soul  and Dreams of Emmett Till. She also hosts an animated series on the U.S. Constitution, Your Government, and a legal issues podcast, Law of the Land.

Gloria has had and continues to have a distinguished career that includes litigating cases for organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. She is also the executive director of the nonprofit legal think tank, The Law & Policy Group. She is a 2023 winner of a Faculty Research and Scholarship Award at John Jay, given to faculty who have demonstrated consistently exceptional scholarship over the past three years. If you’re familiar with Gloria and her work, it won’t be surprising to learn that there is much more in the pipeline. Follow her on Twitter to keep up.

Many many thanks to Rich Relkin for his unparalleled guest hosting for this episode and for those with John Jay colleagues David Munns, Evan Mandery and Edward Paulino. We wish him the best of luck in his new communications role at Lehman College and look forward to our continued collaboration.

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Episode 81: Edward Paulino on sharing words and bearing witness

Edward Paulino has been a faculty member in the Department of History at John Jay College for more than 20 years. His most recent book, Refranes de mi Abuelita: Sayings of my Grandmother, is “a bi-lingual kaleidoscope of changing colors … that encapsulates archives of knowledge and discernment from the campos of the Dominican Republic to the barrios of New York City.”

In this episode, Edward talks with Richard Relkin, John Jay College’s Director of Media Relations about the book as well as Edward’s one-man performance “Eddie’s Perejil” which wrestles with Dominican identity and the 1937 Haitian Massacre, often referred to as the Parsley Massacre. Their conversation, addresses some heavy topics, and Edward’s work and creativity shows how light can come from dark places.

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Episode 80: The power of sharing stories

Published by DIO Press, 2022

Children of the People: Writings by and about CUNY students on race and social justice is a collection of essays, play excerpts and poems from students and faculty – in many cases students who became faculty – recounting their journeys, including their glories and defeats and the plaudits and critiques of the university system that has played a central role in their lives. Edited by Rose Kim, Grace Cho and Robin McGinty, the book grew from a project at the Center for the Humanities at the Graduate Center. This episode is a conversation with Rose Kim, Faculty in Social Sciences, Human Services and Criminal Justice at BMCC, along with two contributors to the volume, Wanett Clyde, library faculty at New York City Tech and Cynthia Tobar, library faculty at Bronx Community College. The book chapters are revelatory, candid, and moving, and Children of the People has the potential to change the attitudes and behaviors of readers. We all agree it should be required reading for anyone, in any role, in higher education.

Please follow us on Twitter at indoorvoicespod, and we all thank you in advance for sharing this episode with everyone you know!

P.S. Cynthia Tobar interviewed participants in LaGuardia Community College’s COVID documenting project in May 2021 and the co-directors of Social Practice CUNY in February 2022. She was also one of the BRESI award grantees who shared their projects in October 2022. Cynthia’s project is “Black Lives Matter in Higher Education: Empowering Student-Scholar Voices.”

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Episode 79: Evan Mandery on elite colleges & social stratification

John Jay College of Criminal Justice colleagues, Richard Relkin, Director of Media Relations, and Evan Mandery, professor in the department of criminal justice, discuss Evan’s new book, Poison Ivy: How Elite Colleges Divide Us (New Press, October 2022). In the book, Evan investigates the many factors that lead to an extremely narrow path to admission to these colleges, one that is de facto available only to the wealthy. In this interview, as in the book, Evan champions public universities such as the one where he has been teaching for more than two decades. “CUNY is a magic place,” says Evan.

Rich Relkin interviewed John Jay’s David Munns in April 2022.

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Episode 78: David Puglia on monsters

David Puglia, Associate Professor in the Department of English Language & Literature at Bronx Community College, is the editor of North American Monsters: A Contemporary Legend Casebook, published by the University Press of Colorado in Spring of 2022. In this seasonally-themed episode, he talks with Mira Johnson, adjunct professor in the BCC English Dept. and the New York Folklore & Education Network Coordinator at Local Learning. They discuss topics such as the complex and nuanced meanings of terms like legendary, monster, and cryptid, as well as regionality, plausibility, media iterations, and David’s long-lasting relationship to Goatman. Speaking of Maryland fixtures, David was our guest on Indoor Voices in 2019 when he talked with me about his book Tradition, Urban Identity, and the Baltimore Hon: The Folk in the City (Lexington Books 2018). Listening to this episode, you’re guaranteed to learn something about monsters (and the people who follow and study them) and maybe get some ideas for your Halloween costume.

North American Monsters received the 2022 Brian McConnell Book Award which recognizes excellence in contemporary legend research.

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Episode 77: BRESI grant awardees

In early September, Chancellor Matos Rodriguez announced the recipients of the newly established Black, Race and Ethnic Studies Initiative (or BRESI) awards. 126 projects across CUNY will be funded from a $10 million gift to CUNY from the Mellon Foundation with the goal of reimagining and expanding the study of race and ethnicity. In this episode, you’ll hear some of the awardees share a fuller description of their projects, illustrating a cross section of the innovative and vital work being carried about by our colleagues around the university. Congratulations to all the awardees.  

Click here for a complete list of awardees and award categories. Awardees you’ll hear from in this episode (in this order) include:

  • William Carr, Medgar Evers College New Course – The Biology of Race
  • Virginia Diaz-Mendoza, John Jay College Honoring the SEEK Legacy – Moving from Theory to Transformative Practice
  • Kim Liao, John Jay College Decolonizing the John Jay English Major: Creating Foundational Introductory Courses
  • Lissette Acosta, Judith Marie Anderson, and Jessica Levin, Borough of Manhattan Community College Black Studies across the Americas
  • Punita Bhansali and Anuradha Srivastava, Queensborough Community College Addressing Racial Health Inequity through Student Internship Experiences
  • Robyn Brown Manning, Hunter College Project to Improve Campus Climate: A Space to Breathe
  • Anna D’Souza, Baruch College Expanding DEI Fridays
  • Nakia Gray-Nicolas, Craig Michaels, Soribel Genao, and Lenwood Gibson, Queens College Advancing Antiracism, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Social Justice, and Belonging (A/DEISJ+B)
  • Juan Jose DelaCruz, Lehman College Assessing Quality of Life and Socioeconomic Barriers to Health and Education among Indigenous Migrant Communities (IMC) from Latin America and the Caribbean Living in NYC
  • Brenda Greene, Medgar Evers College Center for Black Literature Archive Digitalization
  • Soniya Munshi, Queens College Building Infrastructure for Asian American/Asian Studies and AAPI Communities across CUNY
  • Nicole McClam, Queensborough Community College CUNY BA in African Diasporic Dance
  • Toy-Fung Tung, John Jay College Initiatives to Create an Interdisciplinary Asian American/Asian Studies Program
  • Todd Craig, Medgar Evers College The Sonics of Thin Air: A Sonic Rhetoric Publication
  • Mary Phillips, Lehman College Sister Love: Ericka Huggins, Spirit, and the Black Panther Party
  • Gunja Sengupta, Brooklyn College Indexing book, Sojourners, Sultans and “Slaves”: America and the Indian Ocean in the Age of Abolition and Empire
  • Kirsten Cole, Shawn Grant, and Angela Polite, Borough of Manhattan Community College The Impact of Anti-racist Pedagogy Professional Development
  • Jayashree Kamble, LaGuardia Community College BIPOC Writers, Editors, and Novels: The Missing Chapters in the Story of Mass-Market Romance
  • Karen Miller, LaGuardia Community College From Detroit to the Philippines: Circulations of Racial Logics and Struggles for Freedom across Colonial and Postcolonial Geographies over the Long Twentieth Century
  • Cynthia Tobar, Bronx Community College Black Lives Matter in Higher Education: Empowering Student-Scholar Voices
  • William Boland, Baruch College The Impact of Minority Serving Institution Grants on College Completion
  • Jessie Daniels, Hunter College Combatting the Far Right in the Streets, Online and Around the World: A Collaborative, Qualitative Research Project
  • Vincent Alexander Jones II, York College Health Education and Efficacy to Respond to Violence and other Negative Experiences on Dating Apps Among People of Color and Sexual Minorities: A Qualitative Study
  • Hiroshi Matsui and Mina Kang, Hunter College Impacting prostate cancer disparity in Black men using RNA nanotherapeutics
  • Marcela Ossa Parra, Queens College Identity Development Through Autobiographical Genres
  • Beatriz Carolina Peña, Queens College Manuel Jalla, a Slave from New Spain, Attacks Slavery (Boston, 1708)
  • Viviana Rivera-Burgos, Baruch College Puerto Rico Public Opinion Laboratory: A Questionnaire Pre-test
  • Charlotte Walker-Said, John Jay College Militias and Messiahs: A History of Martial and Spiritual Entrepreneurship in Central Africa

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Episode 76: Kate Brandt on adult literacy

Kate Brandt is Professional Development Coordinator in CUNY’s Adult Literacy/ HSE/ESL Programs. You may have a vague sense that CUNY offers such initiatives, so here’s your chance to learn along with me about their robust nature and fundamental value. I talk with Kate about her path to and long tenure at CUNY and how the field of adult literacy has and hasn’t changed in recent decades.

At literacy.cuny.edu, don’t miss “Students Speak, My Pandemic Year” and “Feature the Teacher.” Kate also gives a shout out to CollectedNY.org, a free resource for adult education teachers.

We also talk about Kate’s forthcoming novel, Hope for the Worst, to be published by Vine Leaves Press in the Spring of 2023. Learn more about Kate and her writing at katebrandt.net.

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Episode 75: For the love and respect of animals

Bill and Leo

This episode is for animal lovers and for anyone who believes that our connection to non-human animals is much closer than most of us humans think. If this doesn’t describe you, take a risk on being convinced.

Bill Crain is a retired psychology professor from City College and co-founder with his wife, Ellen, of the Safe Haven Farm Sanctuary in Poughquag, New York. He is the author of several books, including The Emotional Lives of Animals and Children: Insights from a Farm Sanctuary. Bill is a gentle, soft-spoken activist who has been arrested and jailed numerous times for protesting black bear hunting in New Jersey. This article provides a good summary and features a visit from Daisy Dominguez. Daisy is a librarian and faculty member at City College and a good friend of Bill and the sanctuary. She took me there to meet Bill and the animals in April, and we got to help feed the pigs and commune with the goats, sheep, chickens, horses and donkeys. I was recording our conversation and the animals’ voices all the while – trying unsuccessfully to have one episode I could call Outdoor Voices – but unfortunately the wind swallowed up the sound. So instead, I had indoor conversations with Bill and Daisy after the fact and tried to recapture some of what we talked about.

This is a collage conversation: First you’ll hear Bill and me talking via Zoom about his life with animals and how it intersects with his teaching. Then Daisy tells me about her evolution to animal activism and veganism. In the final segment, Daisy and I talk again about her teaching and writing and her involvement with the IACUC (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee) at City College. Stick around to the end of the episode for some audible clips of our actual visit with Bill at the Safe Haven Farm Sanctuary.

Visit the Safe Haven website for more photos, videos and info about the rescued animals. If you are so inclined, please consider making a donation to the farm.

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