About the Faculty Panel

This faculty panel will highlight three kinds of “high impact” pedagogic practices, that is, modes of teaching and learning that have a long-lasting, beneficial effect on student knowledge and engagement.

Panel Moderator
Stella Deen, Associate Professor of English and Chair of the Liberal Education Ad Hoc Committee.

Interdisciplinary Learning

Our panel will include two faculty who have designed courses in which students consistently draw on the knowledge and skills of more than one academic discipline to conceptualize and address questions and to generate knowledge.

Anita Gonzalez, Associate Professor, Department of Theatre Arts will speak about a course titled “Digital Diasporas” that she co-taught and developed for the Honor’s Program with Professor Chirakkal Easwaran from the Department of Computer Sciences. In this interdisciplinary course students read theoretical and historical accounts of Diasporas, and then used digital media to create visualizations of their hereditary and imagined Diaspora journeys. The course presented liberal arts learning challenges as students grappled with how to define themselves within the contexts of global migrations, intellectual pursuits, and personal self identity.

Tom Meyer, Associate Professor of Secondary Education since 1999, has been experimenting with an interdisciplinary model of teacher preparation in which teacher candidates in multiple academic disciplines read one book of contemporary non-fiction and together design lessons that invite adolescents to understand the book through a variety of disciplinary lenses. This high-impact practice has led teacher candidates to design original curriculum and assessment related to American history, law, science, mathematics, culture, and the representation of reality in non-fiction.

Global Learning

Our panel will include two faculty who help students develop knowledge of and respect for diverse peoples and cultures, cultivate global citizenship, and gain proficiency in a foreign language.

Mary Christensen, Associate Professor of French and Chair of the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures will highlight some of the ways our Language, Literature and Culture program prepares students for an increasingly international society and economy. After a brief explanation of the importance of language study and of global knowledge, she will describe some of the opportunities and careers available to students proficient in a second language.

Kristine Harris, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Asian Studies Program, will describe the new East-West Connection Living- Learning Community on campus. Students learning Asian languages, native speakers of Asian languages, and international students from Asia learning English live in a dedicated wing of the residence halls with an on-site resident mentor, work collaboratively with faculty, and participate regularly in social and cultural activities.  The program offers language and cultural immersion to Asian Studies students and facilitates language acquisition for international students.  It also provides them with a nurturing community and an opportunity to share their culture.

Academic Service Learning

Our panel will feature three faculty who engage students in activities that address human and community needs and who pair these activities with structured opportunities for student learning and development.

Megan Ferguson, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, will describe student research to characterize the Upper Esopus Creek watershed, which provides a substantial portion of New York City’s drinking water.  These research findings help the New York City Department of Environmental Protection to make management decisions safeguarding New York City's drinking water. Students in Environmental Geochemical Science (EGS) encounter several opportunities to be engaged through applied, interdisciplinary research with both field and lab components.  In addition to a multi-week class project in the capstone EGS course, each EGS major completes six credits of independent research.   Selected students also have an opportunity to participate in a summer program in which they work with students from across the nation under the mentorship of faculty as well as the New York City DEP.

Mette Christiansen, Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Licensed Master Social Worker, will describe the service learning that is integral to the education of the students in the Concentration in Human Services (CHS).  CHS is a comprehensive educational program within the Department of Sociology. Students in the program take three 3-credit internships in local human services agencies.  Concurrently with the internships, students participate in weekly field education seminars at the college and in individual supervision meetings with the course instructor.  As a co-requisite to each of the field education courses, students are enrolled in a 3-credit Human Services Theory and Practice course.

In addition, the Human Services Theory and Practice II course has a service learning component which has developed over the years.  Students currently participate in program development and grant writing in collaboration with local non-profit organizations. The last three years, CHS students have helped raise more than $10,000 to the Adaptive Sports Foundation in Windham and the Resource Center for Accessible Living in Kingston.

Eve Waltermaurer, Associate Professor and director of the criminology concentration in the Department of Sociology, engages in applied research to answer questions that directly serve the community within and around SUNY New Paltz.  This semester, she and her students are responding to an invitation to collaborate with the New Paltz Stop Distracted Driving (NPSDD) Coalition.  Professor Waltermaurer and her students have designed a community based, theoretically driven intervention project centered on the prevention of cell phone use while driving.