Q&A with Luke Waltzer about Teach@CUNY Day (5/8)

April 25, 2017

Luke Waltzer, Director of the Teaching and Learning Center, discusses his goals for this year's event and how GC students benefit by teaching at CUNY.

On Monday, May 8, the GC's Teaching and Learning Center will host its second annual Teach@CUNY Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Concourse Level.

The event is open to the entire CUNY community. GC students who will be teaching in Fall 2017 are encouraged to attend.

Luke Waltzer [pictured], Director of the Teaching and Learning Center, recently spoke about his goals for this year's event and how GC students benefit by teaching at CUNY:

GC: What did you and the other organizers learn from last year's event? How will this year be different?

Waltzer: Last year confirmed our belief that there is great willingness and energy on the part of GC students and CUNY faculty to discuss teaching. Our goal for this year is to continue to surface, promote, and support those conversations, while looking to broaden who participates in them.

Though last year's speakers and workshop facilitators were fantastic, we are proud that this year we have an entirely new slate of speakers and facilitators. That we can do this reflects just how many thoughtful, committed people there at CUNY who want to talk about teaching. 

What do you wish you knew before you started teaching?

Teaching is difficult, and it's often difficult in new ways. Preparation is important, but so are reflection, empathy, and the ability to adjust. The most useful thing you can do is to hone an approach that acknowledges students as individuals who have much to contribute, that challenges and respects them, and that constructs the classroom space as a potentially transformative one for students and teachers alike. 

Teaching in the CUNY system is such a tremendous opportunity. Could you explain the benefits for doctoral candidates and for students in the CUNY undergraduate colleges?

GC doctoral candidates design their own classes at CUNY, which gives them exciting opportunities to translate their research for new and diverse audiences, allows them to learn much about how the university system works, and prepares them to be effective teachers as they move on in their careers.

CUNY's classrooms are among the most diverse in the nation, which creates a rich and vibrant atmosphere for learning and which can foster deep, critical thinking among CUNY's faculty about how to make their work most impactful.

CUNY's mission is to educate "the children of the whole people," and as GC students find their place within this set of values they quickly learn that their teaching is the most direct route to having a deep and lasting impact on the city and our society.
Is there a particular workshop or presentation that you're looking forward to?

Our keynote addresses this year - one by Professor Maura Smale (GC/City Tech, Interactive Technology and Pedagogy) and Associate Professor Mariana Regalado of the Brooklyn College Library, and a second by Ph.D. student Natalia Ortiz (Urban Education) - will offer attendees valuable insight into who CUNY students are and how they navigate the University, the city, and their lives in pursuit of their education. We'll then have 17 workshops offered by deeply committed educators on a range of topics of interest to teachers at CUNY, and they will all be fantastic.

It will be a deeply generative, satisfying, and forward-looking day, and we have no doubt that it will set up exciting conversations and projects that the Teaching and Learning Center will facilitate over the next year.