Michele Piso Manoukian
Associate Director, LaGuardia Center for Teaching and Learning and Co-facilitator, Language across the Curriculum
Alert academics and artists have long imagined a future in which our professional and personal lives would go digital. We watched Contagion, read dystopian novels, and binged post-apocalyptic TV series without too much anxiety. Suddenly, in early March 2020, a world-wide epidemic forced the closure of our campus, and our city, to all but essential workers. Unless we were practicing survivalists, the real convergence of full-on digital life and a microbial pandemic caught our nation unprepared. Against a background of sirens, LaGuardia’s valiant scramble to transition to remote education upended an always tenuous work-life balance; the boundaries between these spaces all but dissolved.
The following reflections on teaching and learning during the COVID crisis were written by faculty participants in the Center’s yearly seminar, Language across the Curriculum (LAC), a nation-wide global learning initiative that explores the theories of language development and pedagogies that encourage students to use their skills in languages other than English in non-language courses. Representing nearly all departments, a variety of disciplines and cultures, faculty share diverse personal experiences of anxiety, hope, grief, anger, uncertainty, death, gratitude, resilience, urgency, and laughter. Always visible in their “distanced” world is regard and responsibility for the education and well-being of students whose historic hardships have sharpened. Beginning with a first-hand account of Wuhan Province and ending with a reference to family rationing during WWII, the reflections presented here offer a four-month chronological narrative of the ways members of our community have maintained humanity and professional integrity.
The reflections are posted in chronological order:
March 30, 2020 – Tameka Battle, Occupational Therapy, Health Science
May 10, 2020 – Ruei Huang, Chinese and Korean Lecturer, Education and Language Acquisition
May 10, 2020 – Patricia Sokolski, Communication Studies, Humanities
May 12, 2020 – Leigh Garrison-Fletcher, Linguistics, Education and Language Acquisition
May 26, 2020 – Jennifer Arroyo, Business and Technology
May 27, 2020 – Thomas Cleary, Archivist, Library
May 28, 2020 – Judy Ashton, Nursing Program, Health Sciences
June 1, 2020 – Lucy McNair, English
June 2, 2020 – Misun Dokko, English Composition and Literature
June 15, 2020 – Lara Kattekola, English Composition and First Year Seminar
June 16, 2020 – Judith Nell Foster, English Composition