Into the abyss or taking flight – what’s the ‘new normal’ in our post-pandemic world? And are we really ‘post-pandemic’?
This idea was the focus of conversation and debate for 29 faculty from 12 community colleges across the country and guest speakers for six hours via Zoom on Friday, July 16, to explore the impact of the past year and COVID-19 on teaching and learning through disciplinary perspectives such as economics, creative writing, communications, anthropology, environmental studies, business, geography, history, sociology, among others.
It was all part of the annual Community College Master Teacher Institute (CCMTI), a curriculum development workshop, designed and led by the UW Center for Global Studies.
Held in summer at the University of Washington, and co-sponsored by the UW’s six federally-funded National Resource Centers which are housed at the Jackson School, the Foster School’s Global Business Center and Northwest International Education Association, each year CCMTI explores a global topic from a variety of perspectives and disciplines. Community college faculty apply and are competitively selected to participate and receive a stipend.
“It is rare for faculty at community colleges to be offered an opportunity from a leading research institution to engage in meaningful issues that resonate across the disciplines. Historically community college faculty are overlooked,” said Jayanti Tamm, an associate professor of English at Ocean County College in New Jersey and book author who attended the CCMTI for the first time. “The CCMTI provides a unique forum where community college faculty across the county can explore a range of issues…and have a robust exchange of perspectives. The result is a wonderful and informative Institute that leaves its participants feeling valued, energized, and enlightened.”
Guest speakers this year included faculty from the UW Jackson School of International Studies, UW Tacoma School of Interdisciplinary Studies, and Highline College, and a senior program manager from the Pacific Northwest Economic Region. The speakers examined issues facing the countries and regions they study or interact with, such as disruptions to global supply chains from Washington state to the ports of Vietnam, India’s response to COVID-19, cross-border tourism between Canada and the U.S., and the changing roles of women in the Middle East, and how these places and peoples are responding to the changes brought about by the pandemic and other global forces.
The workshop delved into ways to internationalize and decolonize the community college curricula and classroom. The afternoon session was dedicated to critically discussing, with participants each receiving a copy of Felicia Rose Chavez’s “The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop: How to Decolonize the Creative Classroom,” strategies and sample lesson plans for building community and centering voice in diverse communities and experiences, in both public and private universities.
“We had a meaningful and timely conversation about the way racism impacts our teaching and what it means to create liberatory learning experiences free from oppressive practices,” said Tanya Grace Velasquez, an associate teaching professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences at the UW in Tacoma who presented in CCMTI 2021. “I’m inspired by CCMTI and the faculty participants’ dedication to creating quality instruction. It speaks volumes that the UW Center for Global Studies has established an on-going professional development opportunity for community college faculty specifically.”
Ever Jones, an associate teaching professor at UW Tacoma who co-presented with Velasquez, added about their experience: “It was clear that the intersection of COVID-19 and social uprisings around race was present for each community college instructor, and that their commitment to deepening and adapting their classroom practices was one centered around passion. I left CCMTI2021 in awe of the grace, determination and community-minded sensibility of this year’s cohort.”
CCMTI 2021 topics and presenters included:
The Gendered Impact of COVID-19 in the Middle East, Paula Holmes-Eber, Affiliate Professor, Middle East Center, Jackson School of International Studies
Reopening the Regional Economy, Steven Myers, Senior Program Manager, Pacific NorthWest Economic Region
Accessible, Affordable, and Hands-on: Follow the Supply Chain Study Abroad to Vietnam, Sam Kaplan, Director of the Center of Excellence for Global Trade and Supply Chain Management at Highline College
India After the Second Wave, Sunila S. Kale, Associate Professor of International Studies, Jackson School of International Studies
Critical Conversations about Chavez’s approach to Anti-racist writing and Decolonizing the Creative Classroom, Ever Jones and Tanya Velasquez, Associate Teaching Professors, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, UW Tacoma
Educators who were selected and joined this year’s CCMTI represented the following institutions: Cascadia College; Green River College; Highline College; Portland Community College; Seattle Central College; Skagit Valley College; North Seattle College; Tacoma Community College; Edmonds Community College; Lane Community College; Ocean County Community College (NJ); and Olympic College.
CCMTI is sponsored by the National Resource Centers at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies (Canadian Studies Center, Center for Global Studies, East Asia Center, Middle East Center, South Asia Center and Southeast Asia Center); Northwest International Education Association; Global Business Center at the UW Michael G. Foster School of Business. It is funded through Title VI grant funding from the United States Department of Education.