What We Do
The Center for Engaged Pedagogy (CEP) strengthens Barnard’s deep academic engagement and support for student and community wellbeing. To support this mission, we offer programming on teaching and learning topics; develop and share pedagogical scholarship; build and sustain relationships within and beyond Barnard; and provide tools and resources to the campus community. Our goal is to prepare Barnard specifically—and higher education more broadly—to critically engage with and contribute to our ever-changing world.
The CEP serves as a hub for student learning and support at all levels of Barnard curriculum by providing student tutorials on learning strategies, student learning communities exploring the use of new technologies and relevant pedagogical topics, and holistic programming aimed at supporting the whole student. For faculty, the CEP facilitates institutes, communities of practice, workshops, and public lectures on topics ranging from anti-oppressive teaching practices, course design, the use of digital tools in face-to-face and online classroom instruction, active learning strategies, and assessment. The CEP also offers 1-on-1 consultations, teaching observations, and assessment services for classroom instruction.
What is Engaged Pedagogy?
Engaged pedagogy transforms education into a collaborative, holistic practice of knowledge cultivation that redefines what teaching and learning can mean. At the CEP, we explore the possibilities of education as an active process through which students and faculty can experience mutual growth and empowerment and establish meaningful relationships between class material and their daily lives.
The following principles define our understanding of engaged pedagogy and guide our work with students and faculty to inform curriculum design, classroom climate, teaching strategies, learning support, and assessment. Because engaged pedagogy is dynamic and interactive with our ever-changing world, the CEP maintains these principles with the expectation that they will need to evolve and grow as we learn along the way.
Learning requires an inclusive community across lines of difference, with low barriers to engagement. Centering diversity, inclusion, and equity holds participants accountable to one another while simultaneously countering intersecting and interlocking systems of oppression. Dialogue, social connectedness, and support jointly reinforce exploration, expression, and accountability.
As a generative process, learning demands improvisation, risk-taking, and play to reveal new ideas and innovative practices in the face of challenge. Experimentation bolsters problem solving skills, resilience, and imagination, in turn enabling communities of courageous learners to venture into the unknown.
Learning happens through doing and processing the doing. Students and faculty take responsibility as active participants, listeners and thinkers. Praxis, the process through which theory is actualized, manifests in inquiry-based, experiential, and reflective practices of learning.
Learning happens between multiple digital and material contexts that intersect. In this process, learners generate knowledge, build skill sets, forge relationships, and make meaningful contributions to their communities and environment. The CEP connects networks of academic disciplines, centers, communities, and people at Barnard, in New York City, and in the world at large.
Learning occurs through stimulating encounters with course ideas, people, materials, and practices. Such encounters destabilize and disorient learners in generative ways, propelling them to demonstrate resilience and problem-solving skills. Learning is not simply about testing ideas in the classroom; learning is grounded in the real world. It requires learners to organically navigate ambiguities and complexities that cannot be neatly resolved or ignored.
Learning supports the development of the whole person and the whole community. In the face of a world that increasingly prioritizes fractured knowing, thinking, being, and doing, the CEP supports grounded, mindful, sustainable, and reflective learning that encourages participants to make purposeful contributions in the classroom, the community, and beyond.
The CEP approaches teaching and learning as joint processes that inform the Barnard community as a whole. We are committed to anti-oppressive and imaginative pedagogical practices that acknowledge diverse ways of knowing, forms of expertise, and academic pathways. To advance these commitments the CEP draws from our own community’s expertise to generate critical and creative approaches to teaching and learning.
This academic year, we have launched several new initiatives, organized events on pedagogy, and collaborated with a variety of programs and centers at Barnard. The CEP is active in curriculum development on campus and we have partnered with centers like the Digital Humanities Center and IMATS to run faculty workshops as well as student-oriented programming.
Beyond Content: Restructuring Core Courses for Inclusion
At the end of the fall semester, the CEP hosted a lecture series titled "Beyond Content: Restructuring Core Courses for Inclusion" featuring three scholars who are invested in developing inclusive approaches to teaching in three different fields—the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. The three speakers presented their work on inclusive pedagogy in their field for 45 minutes, followed by a 30-minute Q&A. Through a continuation of this lecture series, we intend to broaden what engaged pedagogy can look like for Barnard faculty across disciplines.
Speakers: Kimberly B. Rogers (Sociology, Dartmouth College), Brian Herrera (Theater, Princeton University), Luvell Anderson (Philosophy, Syracuse University)
Barnard Bold Conference
In Spring 2020, the CEP provided administrative and financial support to the student-led Barnard Bold Conference. The second annual Bold Conference was a full-day event that focused on facilitating conversations between faculty, staff, and students, with the intention of continuing to strengthen teaching and learning at Barnard College.The Conference included four sessions that each addressed a particular area of interest related to pedagogy at Barnard: (1) Wellness, (2) Inclusion & Social Difference, (3) Accessibility, and (4) Affordability. Each session featured a panel of speakers or an interactive activity, accompanied by group discussion.
Brown Bag Book Club
In partnership with the Barnard Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, we host a brown bag book club for faculty and staff in Spring 2020. In this book club, participants read Rhonda V. Magee's The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness. Each week, participants meet and discuss sections from Magee’s book and engage in a guided meditation. The book club culminates in a special lecture and discussion by Rhonda Magee in April. Magee will facilitate a conversation on racial justice and mindfulness. The book club now meets virtually and we will be hosting Magee’s event over Zoom.
Feel Well Do Well Lightning Sessions
In collaboration with Barnard’s Feel Well Do Well initiative, the CEP hosts lightning sessions for faculty to crowdsource the challenges and practices they use in their courses to support student well-being and learning. The goal of these sessions will be to create a guidebook with a set of strategies for Barnard faculty that promote students' well-being and deep academic engagement.
Fail Forward Dinners
Centered on the idea of “failing forward,” this dinner series gives students a chance to hear from faculty about the challenges, failures, risks, and success that have led them to where they are today. The CEP planned five Fail Forward dinners in March and April. We converted most sessions to Zoom.
Accessible Environments and Inclusive Pedagogy
The CEP has also worked with CARDS to develop a workshop series on Creating Accessible Environments and produced an Inclusive Pedagogy workshop for new faculty.
The CEP, Digital Humanities Center (DHC), and the Media Center/IMATS hosted a Syllabus Hackathon for faculty interested in exploring how to incorporate digital thinking and digital projects into humanities courses. Inspired by the hackathon phenomenon as a mode of fostering digital innovation, creative problem-solving, and experimentation, we offered a series of workshops that guided faculty through different programs and technologies, as well as strategies to adapt courses for the "Thinking Digitally" GER or enhance existing courses with a digital project.
The CEP is hosting cross-disciplinary learning communities for Barnard faculty centered on teaching environmental sustainability. Faculty from departments throughout the College come together on a monthly basis in Spring 2020 to share resources, ideas and scholarship on climate action and environmental sustainability. They engage in critical thinking and dialogue about the interdisciplinary possibilities for infusing their curricula.