Dr. Julia Tigner, a postdoctoral faculty in LMC's Writing and Communication Program, just received First Prize in the 2021 SLS Faculty Sustainable Communities Teaching Awards: People’s Choice Selection! The award was chosen from faculty who have been teaching SLS-affiliated courses
during the past year to submit short write-ups describing how they successfully pivoted their courses in the context of COVID-19. SLS received eleven entries across four colleges that described challenges, joys, and victories experienced while incorporating sustainability and/or community engagement into teaching amidst the challenges of the pandemic. You may see all eleven entries, including Julia’s, here.
Julia’s entry described her English 1101 course during the Fall Semester. “Discovering Spaces In-Between” related to students’ lived experiences of transitioning to collegiate life in the middle of a global pandemic. The course prompted students to think about the college campus as a liminal space, offering them a platform to voice their sentiments and concerns within today’s context. For example, students entered the ongoing conversation of monuments and statues in public spaces by reading “You Want a Confederate Monument?” by Caroline Randall Williams. In their reading, students considered the purpose of statues, particularly, what it means to install statues— figures that are largely symbolic of the past—on a college campus. Students’ reflection of this editorial not only laid down the groundwork for thinking further about our course topic, but also producing picture books aimed at a K-2 audience that explain the cultural significance and intentionality behind the placement of one of Tech’s beloved campus statues.
Julia wrote an additional reflection on her teaching for this article announcing the winners:
I appreciate the recognition and opportunity to reflect; 2020 was a year filled with significant challenges for working and living, including adapting courses for remote learning. I am especially inspired by the ingenuity of my fellow colleagues and I am happy to be in the company of those committed to building sustainable communities. My teaching is grounded in creating an inclusive and engaging experience for all students. For example, their multimodal projects (including New Yorker style profiles and picture books) described in my entry, gave students a chance to enter current conversations around social justice, particularly its impact on monuments in public spaces and engage in intellectual discourse regarding how the concept of liminality (what it means to be in states of in-betweenness) manifests itself in their own lives as first-year students transitioning to collegiate life during a global health crisis.
"We are so lucky to have the opportunity to work with faculty members engaged in the kind of teaching excellence described in Julia’s award entry-- creative, compassionate, and flexible teaching that enhanced learning and supported student well-being under very trying circumstances" (SLS Director Jenny Hirsch).