On February 5, Barnard community members attended the first session of the Barnard BOLD Conference. This year’s theme: how the classroom can continue to serve as a space of care, challenge, and equity. Hosted annually by faculty from the Center for Engaged Pedagogy (CEP) and the Student Advisory Committee since it launched in 2018, the BOLD Conference facilitates conversations between Barnard staff, faculty, and students around how to create effective practices in educational and community settings. Each conference highlights specific topics of interest to the community, such as last year’s conference, which focused on issues of wellness, accessibility, and inclusion in the classroom.
“Virtual learning has made quite an impact on the way that we look [at] and think about teaching and learning, so the Bold Conference this year feels more relevant than ever,” said Emily Ndiokho ’22, a CEP assistant and member of the Center’s Student Advisory Committee. “In planning, we thought about all of the elements that had made ‘Zoom school’ challenging and solutions to remedy those challenges.”
This year’s virtual event will take place in three sessions, over three Fridays (February 5-19). The first session, “Compassionate Teaching & Learning: Here and Now,” featured a panel on the role of care and empathy in developing a strong classroom environment, followed by smaller group conversations. The panelists were women’s, gender, and sexuality studies professor Marisa Solomon, education professor Erika Kitzmiller, and Columbia University English and comparative literature professor Denise Cruz. “The Center for Engaged Pedagogy was founded on the philosophy of approaching teaching and learning as a joint process to have a conversation with people who represent all aspects of the teaching and learning on campus in a single space,” said executive director of the CEP Jennifer Rosales. “I think the Bold Conference, which preceded the Center for Engaged Pedagogy, is the best example of this type of approach to engaged pedagogy that includes all actors in the process of teaching and learning.”
Provost Linda Bell opened the February 5 conference with remarks on what makes it special. “The need [for the BOLD Conference] was [to promote] greater communication in this community,” Provost Bell told attendees. “But it was also built on a feminist principle of care, which is that we can’t heal what we don’t know.” Provost Bell went on to emphasize how the BOLD Conference has been fueled by both the student body and the faculty, whom she described as “among the most dedicated, caring pedagogues.”
The next session, “Reevaluating Rigor & Reassessing the Test,” will take place on February 12 and will feature Spanish and Latin American cultures professor and chair Maja Horn, Diana T. and P. Roy Vagelos Professor of Chemistry and department chair Rachel Austin, and environmental science senior lecturer Terryanne Maenza-Gmelch. This session will explore how to redefine academic rigor as well as how to think critically about the purpose and forms of class assignments. The final session, on February 19, “Embedding Antiracism in the Classroom,” will also include closing remarks by Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Ariana González Stokas.
— SOLBY LIM '22