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Faculty Engagement & Collaboration

Engagement and Collaboration

This webpage includes current and past events conducted by faculty and staff at the College of Staten Island.

The Faculty Center for Professional Development invites you to submit a proposal in any of the following categories below.  Please click on this LINK to indicate your interest in one or any of the categories.  We also welcome other subtopics you might want to share within the main categories:

Pedagogy: Inclusive teaching; Making your teaching practices more welcoming; Reflections on teaching online (asynchronous or synchronous); Problem-based learning; Collaborative teaching methods; integrating alternatives to lectures; Game-based learning; etc. 

Assessment: Program level assessment; Creating assessment alternatives to exams; Un-grading/De-Emphasizing Grades; Aligning course content to learning outcomes; Constructing effective online assignments; etc.

Research: Explore faculty/student research collaborations; Facilitating faculty research and scholarship, through grants, mentorship, and other resources; etc.

Student Engagement: Re-engaging students inside and outside of the classroom; Providing constructive feedback to learners; Supporting student identities and needs; Navigating difficult questions in the classroom; Using EdTech tools to engage learners; Discussing stress and anxiety of students in the classroom; etc.

Course Design: Creating a more inclusive and digitally responsive course/program/curriculum; Revamping Your Syllabus; Creating an accessible and inclusive syllabus; Creating a visual syllabus. 

Career Conversations: Embedding career readiness in course design; Experiential learning; career-ready skills; Using the classroom as professional space; Integrating career-relevant outcomes into your teaching, etc.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email us at:

Faculty Center Team: Wilma Jones, Fausto Canela, and Michael Castelli

Brightspace: An Overview

The CUNY Brightspace Team joined us on February 6, 2024 to provide us with an introduction to the learning environment, functionalities, and features of this new Learning Management System (LMS). CSI is scheduled to transition from Blackboard to Brightspace in Spring 2025.   Presented by Evan Silberman, Interim Executive Director of CUNY Online, Nathalie Zarisfi, Interim Director of Change Innovation; Leizel Vergara, Project Director.  

If you would like a copy of the slide presentation and recording, please email:


Promoting Success: Faculty Practices for Career-Ready Graduates

CSI is proud of its place as an engine of social mobility. This workshop presented opportunities to collaborate make CSI even more remarkable! Presenters addressed how faculty can help students understand the relationship between their academic work and future careers, while understanding how faculty already contribute to students' career readiness. Presented by Professors Sarah Zelkowitz and Raja Krishnaswami 

If you would like a copy of the slide presentation and recording, please email:

College of Staten Island: Facts and Figures

At Open House Day, on October 17, 2023, Dr. Tara Mastrorilli, director of the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, gave an enlightening presentation on the changing landscape of CSI regarding enrollment, academic programs, student demographics, majors, feeder schools, transfers, retention and graduation outcomes, associates and baccalaureate profiles, and faculty and staff demographics.

If you would like a copy of the slide presentation, please email 


Getting Started with Learning Mindsets to Foster Student Success 

On October 31, 2023, Dr. Faiza Peetz introduced the concept of Mindset GPS and provided practical tools and strategies to foster personal growth and fulfillment. Together, participants explored how cultivating a growth mindset can empower faculty and students, alike, to embrace challenges, overcome obstacles, and foster a lifelong love for learning; discover the transformative power of aligning personal values with academic and life goals, leading to greater motivation, direction, and fulfillment; and understand the importance of creating an inclusive and supportive community for students, promoting collaboration, well-being, and a strong sense of identity.

If you would like a copy of the slide presentation, please email 


PSC-CUNY Research Award Proposals: Tips and Tricks 

On November 14, 2023, George Vachadze, Professor of Economics, shared the benefits on acquiring a grant from the PSC-CUNY Research Award Program. These grant awards span from $3,500 - $12,000. Open to all full-time members of the Instructional Staff, Higher Educational Officer (HEO), and College Laboratory Technician (CLT), the PSC-CUNY Research Award Program supports activities in the creative arts and research in the natural science, humanities and social sciences, including research related to curriculum development, improvement in teaching, and adaptation of standard educational techniques to special clientele, and the relationship between technical or occupational training and the liberal arts curriculum. Prof. Vachadze addressed: a) eligibility and application process; b) types of awards; c) selection criteria, and d) funding and budget.

If you would like a copy of the slide presentation, please email 

Embracing and Incorporating New Literacies (Large Language Models (ChatGPT), Data Science, Ethical use of technology, etc.) into Your Courses: A Discussion

Professors Susan Imberman (Computer Science), Paolo Cappelleri (Marketing) and Mary Boland (English) offered a virtual discussion on how to be proactive educators given the challenge that new and emerging technologies bring to higher education.  Diving off the from the suggested summer reading book, Robot Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, they shared ways to incorporate new literacies into our courses as well as the overarching curriculum.    

Robot Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence is available at the CSI Library as an e-Book. Although published in 2017, before large language models such as ChatGPT came to the forefront, Dr. Aoun’s arguments on how to prepare our students for the technological future are still applicable.  He lays the foundation for a new discipline, “humanics,” and argues that in addition to the “old” literacies of reading, writing, and mathematics, students also need to learn the “new” literacies: data literacy, technological literacy, and human literacy.   

Click here for the Zoom recording and use the passcode: 5x*neske


Transforming Your Classroom: Practicing Equity Through Active Learning 

“The learning process is something you can incite—literally incite—like a riot.” – Audre Lorde. 
How do we make the transition from the hierarchical, inequitable, output-driven academy we inherited from the nineteenth century to a higher education that empowers all students to be their own best selves, modeling a more democratic, flourishing, and just society? How do we make this transition in our own classrooms? In this interactive session, Christina Katopodis, co-author of The New College Classroom (Harvard University Press, 2022) with Cathy N. Davidson, presented what the latest science of learning tells us about inspiring, effective, and inclusive learning. Dr. Katopodis shared teaching strategies that anyone can adapt easily and effectively in every field. She provided case studies of self-care as student care; metacognition and world-readiness; the participatory syllabus; ungrading; anti-racist pedagogies; and grab-and-go activities that educators around the world are successfully using every day to ensure their students’ lifelong success—and to revitalize their own commitment to a better world. 

Click here for a Zoom recording and use the passcode: *Ew7E24s


Blackboard Ally: Making Your Course Documents More Accessible 

This workshop introduced the Blackboard Ally (BB Ally) tool, which reviews Blackboard course content and evaluates the level of ADA compliance. You may have observed the following images within BB (visible only to instructor) which are indicators that measure accessibility of PDF, Word, PowerPoint and other files: 

  • low gaugeLow: File is not accessible and requires immediate attention to correct accessibility issues. 

  • medium gaugeMedium: File is somewhat accessible.  The file could be improved. 

  • high gaugeHigh: File is accessible.  There are non-critical issues to be improved. 

  • perfect gaugePerfect: File is accessible. No improvement needed. 

Tips for creating ADA compliant documents and remediating non-compliant documents were also covered.  Presented by Michael Castelli (LMS Administrator), Shivan Mahabir, (Assistant Director for Assistive Technology), and Stephanie Haskell (Office of Accessibility Services)

Click here for a Zoom recording and use the passcode: yB82LRB?


Versatility and Creativity of Synchronous Online Teaching 

Centering around the topic of versatility and creativity of synchronous online teaching, Dr. Liu-Sullivan described highlights from two senior-level biology courses that helped students gain foundational knowledge base of the respective subject areas while keeping close pace with research and development from the clinical forefronts. The dual purpose served to interface and integrate didactic campus studies with real-world experiences for our students with exciting possibilities of expanding their professional networks and embarking upon a healthcare career path. Presented by: Nancy Liu-Sullivan, Department of Biology (CSI)

Click here for a Zoom recording and use the passcode: =8^DJP3$

Collaborative Learning to Foster Student Engagement 

Collaboration is critical both for student engagement and for career readiness.  Collaborative learning forces students (who might not participate) to engage with the material and work with others to pursue a common goal.  This presentation shared examples of how instructors can regularly engage students in group activities including collaborative writing projects, online group blogs, group research presentations, and peer editing. Each activity had different goals, building different skills and fostering unique forms of student engagement. Although students find the collaborative work challenging, in the instructor's end-of-term reviews, many list their collaborative activities as the highlight of the semester.  This workshop was presented by Maria Rice Bellamy, Department of English and Program in African and African Diaspora Studies. 

A zoom recording of this program is available HERE with the passcode: Y^Lsg8kI


Protocols to Support Student Discussion, Reading, and Critical Thinking 

This workshop introduced instructors to discussion protocols that support students in exploring topics and questions; reading, analyzing, and interpreting texts; giving and receiving feedback on their work; and thinking critically. In the workshop, participants practiced several of the protocols and considered how they could be used with students in CSI classes. This workshop was facilitated by David Allen, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, School of Education (CSI). He is  co-author of Protocols in the Classroom: Tools to Help Students Read, Write, Think, & Collaborate

Protocols practiced by participants can be found on pages 50-53,80-81, and 91-93 of the book, Protocols in the Classroom: Tools to Help Students Read, Write, Think, & Collaborate


Extended Reality: Make Your Teaching Pop

A virtual session to see how XR is used to teach science, history, the arts, and literature in both online and face-to-face classes was held on Thursday, February 23 from 3:30pm - 4:30pm.  This presentation was a review of trends and concerns around extended reality in education. It was not intended as a skills development workshop. No special equipment or software were needed to attend. All full-time and adjunct faculty were welcome to attend. The event was presented by Beth Evans, Associate Professor and Reference/Instruction Librarian (Brooklyn College)

A zoom recording of this program is available HERE with the passcode: 1g2yz1&r


Recognizing and Helping Students In Distress 

By nearly every metric, student mental health is worsening. During the 2020–2021 school year, more than 60% of college students met the criteria for at least one mental health problem, according to the Healthy Minds Study, which collects data from 373 campuses nationwide (Lipson, S. K., et al., Journal of Affective Disorders, Vol. 306, 2022). In another national survey, almost three quarters of students reported moderate or severe psychological distress (National College Health Assessment, American College Health Association, 2021).  The COVID-19 pandemic created an even greater need for free and accessible mental health services to students struggling with online learning and social isolation.  The CSI Counseling Center has a diverse staff of well-qualified, credentialed mental health professionals who provide direct services to students and consultation services to faculty and staff.  This presentation on February 28, 2023, covered the scope of CSI Counseling Center services, helped faculty and staff learn to recognize signs of student distress, and provided guidance on referring to the Counseling Center.​  The program was open to all full-time faculty, adjunct faculty, and professional staff. 

Presenters: Winnie Eng, Ph.D, Psychologist, CSI Counseling Center; Kim Montagnino Ph.D, Psychologist, CSI Counseling Center; and Daphney Rene, Psy.D, Clinical Social Worker, CSI Counseling Center 

The presentation from the event is available via this LINK.


ChatGPT: Implications and Possibilities 

An interactive session on how ChatGPT works, how it can go wrong, and how they plan to embrace it in the classroom was held on Wednesday, March 8 from 6:30pm-8:00pm. Presentations included:  "ChatGPT: Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer" by Sarah Zelikovitz, Associate Professor of Computer Science;  "Let's Play: ChatGPT or CSI Student" by Susan Imberman, Associate Professor of Computer Science;“Why Did the Nervous Writing Program Director Cross the Road?” by Mary Boland, Professor of English; "Coding, Security, and Administration with ChatGPT" by Joseph Frucsi, Adjunct Assistant Professor, History; and  "ChatGPT in the Workplace" by Paolo Cappellari (Marketing). 

The forum was moderated by Interim Provost Michael Steiper and was open to all adjunct faculty, full-time faculty, and professional staff members.  
A website of resources on ChatGPT can be found HERE and a zoom recording of this program is available at this LINK with the passcode: W#*Ts!y9


Open Educational Resources Showcase @ CSI

Colleagues from across the disciplines shared the benefits of integrating open textbooks or a combination of open and freely available material (Zero Textbook Cost or ZTC) into your teaching to CSI students.  The panel was moderated by the Emerging Technologies Librarian and OER Coordinator, Christina Boyle, who shared more about the support available via CUNY, including grant award monies to adopt or author (individually or co-author) your own open course materials and textbooks.  This program was open to all adjunct faculty, full-time faculty, and professional staff members. 

Presentations were made by:  Charles Liu, (Astronomy); George Vachadze, (Economics); Janice Fioravante, (Media Culture); Michael Batson (COR100); Rachel Kovacs (Media Culture) and Stephen Ferst, Director, Center for Global Engagement.

A resource website for OER can be found HERE and a zoom recording of this event is available at this LINK with the passcode: #3S5vWy=

Social Justice, Antiracism, and Active Media: How/Why I Devised the Course

Edward D. Miller, Professor of Media Culture

While Professor Edward Miller was on Sabbatical leave during the calendar year 2020, and out of the country, several events occurring in the United States compelled him to reflect on how and what he was currently teaching. Post sabbatical, he offered the course as a Special Topics course in Spring 2021.  Professor Miller will discuss how the course has evolved and become relevant over the past two years as well as the process to make the course a permanent one in the undergraduate catalog.

Powerpoint presentation: Social Justice, Antiracism, and Active Media: How/Why I Devised the Course


The Afterlives of Willowbrook: A Teaching Diary

Hosu Kim, Associate Professor of Sociology

The year 2022 commemorated the fiftieth year of the national exposè on the decades-long neglect and abuse against residents at the Willowbrook State School (1947 – 1987).  In teaching Psychosocial Aspects of Disability on the College of Staten Island, I decided to focus my class on a multi-modal inquiry into the history of my home institution (College of Staten Island) – the inheritor of the Willowbrook State School.

Immediate background to this new initiative came from my own observation to a limitation over the past lessons of Willowbrook’s history in teaching. In learning about systematic neglect and abuse at Willowbrook, students responded in disbelief, pity and empathy. Those common responses were well-meaning, yet often, carry a double side of self-assurance and self-aggrandizement though this wasn’t the original intent. Feeling frustration at the deeply ingrained ableist responses toward the disabled, I set out to explore a connectivity of the campus between the past and the present of the campus and lives across.​

Video presentation: The Afterlives of Willowbrook: A Teaching Diary


Integrating Computational Literacies in Teacher Education across the Disciplines

Ting Yuan, Liqing Tao, Marta Cabral, Steven Azeka, Alana Gibbons, Stephanie Schmier, and Rebecca Curinga, Department of Curriculum & Instruction

Our poster features how we - faculty at School of Education - experiment with equitable computational literacies across disciplines.

Recent research begins to inform how computational literacy can help build students’ traditional literacies (Jacob & Warschauer, 2018), leverage bilingual learners’ full linguistic repertoires (Ascenzi-Moreno et al., 2020; Vogel, et al., 2020), as well as cultivate preservice and in-service teachers’ computational thinking (Kong & Lai, 2022). However, little is known regarding teacher educators’ equitable practices of acquiring computational literacies in their courses in the higher education classroom (Kafai & Proctor, 2022). The digital and computational-literacy divide for U.S. college students, a gap between those who can and cannot access the Internet and computing education, has been worsened by remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic (Jaggars et al., 2021). Such inequitable access has been found regarding gender, racial/ethnic group, and socioeconomic status. Thus, there is a need to understand what equitable teaching practices look like and how the critical dimensions of computing education can be addressed to empower students’ voice and identity in the teacher education classroom. This is an indispensable area of knowledge that can help us promote computational literacies in K-12 settings.

Guided by equity pedagogies, we present our teaching integration in computational literacies. In addition, we hope to share with the CSI audience regarding how teacher educators may better serve as the necessary lynchpin to address equitable learning by facilitating preservice teachers’ computing education across disciplines

Poster Presentation: Integrating Computational Literacies in Teacher Education across the Disciplines 

Anti-Racist Pedagogy: Lightning Talks

What is the meaning of anti-racist pedagogy? What does it mean to decolonize a syllabus?  In this one-hour lightning talk, faculty share their strategies to building an anti-racist curriculum within their classes.  Lightning Talks will be moderated by Professor Mary Boland, Department of English (CSI) and panelists will include:

Cate Marvin: "Speaking to White Supremacy Cultural Norms in the Classroom" (College of Staten Island)

Jen Coane: "Small (Antiracist) Teaching: Incremental Changes to Foster Inclusivity" (Colby College)

Yulia Gilichinskaya: "Antiracism in Academia: Institutions and Individuals" (University of California, Santa Cruz)

​Kara-Lynn Vaeni: "Using the Syllabus to Create An Antiracist Classroom" (Yale University and Southern Methodist University)

Click here for resources shared at the event.  Please find the Zoom recording here.


Becoming Allies for LGBTQ Students: SafeZone Training

Jeremiah Jurkiewicz, LGBTQ Resource Center/Pluralism & Diversity Coordinator, Office of Student Life

SafeZone Training offers an opportunity for faculty, staff, and administrators to learn how to be allies to LGBTQ+ students.  This two-hour training introduces issues that LGBTQ students face and explores how everyone can help make CSI a more welcoming place for students to thrive.  We will explore terminology, affirming language, and best practices.  All faculty, professional staff, and administrators are welcome.  Twenty spaces available.

Resources shared at the SafeZone Training include: What are Pronouns (YouTube Video); History of They from OED Blog; and Singular ‘They’ from Merriam-Webster


Tips for Creating Accessible Digital Content

Shivan Mahabir, Assistant Director for Assistive Technology and Stefan Charles-Pierre, Director of the Center for Student Accessibility, Center for Student Accessibility

Join members of the Center for Student Accessibility for a presentation that will help faculty and staff understand why accessible documents are essential and the importance of creating one.  This presentation will provide helpful tips for creating accessible documents in MS Word, Powerpoint, PDF, and Office 365; for creating accessible videos and images; as well as the necessary tools to make electronic documents accessible to all.  All faculty and professional staff are welcome.

Central to the mission of the Center for Student Accessibility (CSA) is a goal to provide equal access for all and assist CSI in staying compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The ADA and The Rehabilitation Act state that all electronic and information technology (EIT) must be accessible to people with disabilities. 

Click here for web resource shared at the event.


Tooling Around: Five Fun Tools for the Classroom

Jennifer Bonnet, Social Sciences and Humanities Librarian Lindsay Decker, Science Reference Librarian and Christopher Clark, Science Reference Librarian, University of Maine Libraries

Join Jen Bonnet, Lindsay Decker and Christopher Clark for an interactive session introducing five tools that can be easily implemented in the classroom (in-person or online). They will cover Picker Wheel, PollEverywhere, Mentimeter, Jamboard, and Padlet, providing prompts, examples, and opportunities for audience members to interact with the tools just as their students might in a classroom scenario. After the presentation, attendees will have a better understanding of an array of easy-to-use classroom tools that can be used for learning check-ins, engagement opportunities, and icebreakers.

Please click here for the document shared at this event on getting started with these Five Fun Tools 


Using Loom to Create 3-Min Video Clips

Christina Boyle, Emerging Technologies Librarian (CSI)

Learn how to use Loom to record brief introductions to lessons or lectures, that may include Powerpoint or Keynote presentations, Websites, Google slides, and more. This workshop will show you how to set up a pro account (free for educators forever), install the Desktop App and Chrome Extension, set up your microphone, record and edit your lecture, and embed recording into Blackboard Course or share as a video link.  All faculty and professional staff are welcome.

Resources shared at the event include: Recording a Presentation with Loom and Loom for Introductions.