Teaching @ John Jay College

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    January 27, 2015



Looks Who’s Teaching @ John Jay

The Elisabeth Gitter Innovations in Collaboration Grant is awarded to groups of faculty or of faculty and students to support a collaborative project intended to stimulate curricular or pedagogical research and development; support enrichment activities for existing courses; and promote innovations in classroom pedagogy.

Spring 2012
Valerie Allen, Department of English
Shonna Trinch, Department of Anthropology

The Distinguished Teaching Prize recognizes John Jay College faculty members for their dedication to fine teaching.

Spring 2012
Elton Beckett, Department of Communication and Theatre Arts
Isabel Martinez, Deparatment of Latin American and Latina/o Studies
Katherine Stavrianopoulos, Department of Counseling

Spring 2011
Kimberly Adilia Helmer, Department of English

Spring 2010
Margaret Bull Kovera, Department of Psychology
Andrea Balis, Department of History

Spring 2009
Dara Byrne, Department of Communication and Theater Arts
Nathan Lents, Department of Sciences
Jill Grose-Fifer, Department of Psychology

Valerie Allen
With a PhD in medieval poetry (Trinity College Dublin [1989]) and interests in philosophy, Valerie Allen, a Professor in the English Department, engages in her work with history of language, technology of the book, theory of reading, and philosophy of education. Relevant publications on education include the co-authored:  L’Art d’enseigner de Martin Heidegger (Klincksieck, 2007); “Nietzsche On the Future of Education” (Telos 1998); “Heidegger High School” (Oxford Literary Review 1995). Relevant publications on the history of grammar and of reading include: “Difficult Reading” in Levinas and Medieval Literature (Duquesne, 2009); and “The Shape of the Vernacular” (Envoi, 2000). Her collaboration with Shonna began in August 2009 over a coffee to discuss General Education. It was good coffee.

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Elton Beckett
Elton Beckett specializes in voice and speech for effective communication in performance and business. Prior to his John Jay appointment, he was a principal in Vocal Solutions, LLC, a speech and media consultancy providing business professionals with speech and media preparation and an adjunct Full Professor in the Department of Speech and Theater at Long Island University – Brooklyn campus. His current research interests include African-American identity as defined in early American theater literature and performance, authentification/preservation of African-American dialect in performance and adaptation of the Lessac Voice and Speech training to facilitate English Language Learning. These interests emerge from Beckett's life experiences as a professional actor, dancer, singer, producer, director and theater administrator. He was a founding member and performer of both the acclaimed Jomandi Production Company in Atlanta and New Perspectives Theater in NYC. He has performed extensively in television, commercials, voice-over and on stage. He is a member of Actors Equity Association (AEA), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA). Beckett teaches African-American theatre history, Voice for the Professional and Public Speaking as Civic Engagement.

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Margaret Bull Kovera
Margaret Bull Kovera is a Professor of Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University and her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Minnesota. Before coming to John Jay, she was a faculty member at Reed College and Florida International University, where she also served as the Director of the Ph.D. program in Legal Psychology. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, the American Psychology-Law Society (APLS), the Society for Experimental Social Psychology, and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. She is the Past-President of APLS. In addition to receiving the 2010 Distinguished Teaching Prize at John Jay, she has also received the 2004 Outstanding Teacher and Mentor in Psychology and Law Award from APLS. Her research awards include the Saleem Shah Award for Early Career Achievement in Psychology and Law from APLS and the American Academy of Forensic Psychology. For more than a decade, she has had continuous funding from the National Science Foundation for her research on jury decision-making and eyewitness identification.

Margaret Bull Kovera's Teaching Philosophy 

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Dara N. Byrne
Dara N. Byrne is an Assistant Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York in the Department of Communication and Theater Arts. Dr. Byrne holds a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Intercultural Communication from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She is a specialist in critical language studies, intercultural communication, and digital media. Her publications include contributions to volumes such as Brown v. Board of Education: Its Impact on Public Education 1954-2004 (2005, Word for Word); HBCUs Models for Success: Supporting Achievement and Retention of Black Males (2006, Word for Word); Learning Race and Ethnicity: Youth and Digital Media (2008, MIT Press); The Unfinished Agenda of Brown v. Board of Education (2004, Wiley); and The Unfinished Agenda of the Selma-Montgomery Voting Rights March (2005, Wiley), among others. Dara’s current research project examines vigilante justice in online social-networking sites.

Dara Byrne's Teaching Philosophy 

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Kimberly Adilia Helmer
Kimberly Adilia Helmer is an Assistant Professor of English at John Jay College, The City University of New York. Professor Helmer received her B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and her M.A. in Educational Linguistics (MA TESOL) from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Dr. Helmer holds a Ph.D. in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching from the University of Arizona. Her research awards from the University of Arizona include the Centennial Doctoral Student Achievement Award and the President's Award and from Washington State University, the Summer Doctoral Fellowship. Also from the University of Arizona, she was awarded the Tilly Warnock Fellowship for outstanding composition teaching and research. Dr. Helmer's interdisciplinary research areas include educational anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and multilingual literacy development. She is currently researching the effect of high stakes assessment on classroom community building and working on a book project that ethnographically chronicles the first year of an innovative charter high school, examining a cohort of Mexican-origin students' engagement with and resistance to academic learning in English and Spanish heritage language classes. Professor Helmer is also collaborating in a study that examines the effect professor collaboration in paired courses has on student learning outcomes.

Kimberly Adilia Helmer's Teaching Philosophy 

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Jill Grose-Fifer
Jill Grose-Fifer came to John Jay in September, 2007, and is an assistant professor in the Psychology Department. She is a Neurophysiologist with research interests that center on the use of the EEG to explore sensory and cognitive function across the age span. She began her early career in the field of Vision Science (Ph.D., 1989, University of Aston in Birmingham, U.K.) and concentrated primarily on early sensory development in infants. She has charted basic visual development in various populations, including preterm and full-term neonates, infants and teenagers. Following a career hiatus spent raising her children, her research focus turned to investigating cognitive processing. Her current EEG research uses various cognitive domains to explore brain development in adolescence with a view to better understanding why teenagers are more prone to risk-taking. Dr. Grose-Fifer is also interested in pedagogical research and has a collaborative project with Dr. Karen Phillips at Hunter College to investigate the efficacy of a workshop model of teaching organic chemistry. She is a member of the learning community faculty at John Jay and the recipient of a Distinguished Teaching Award in 2009.

Jill Grose-Fifer's Teaching Philosophy 

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Nathan Lents
Professor Lents earned a BS in Molecular Biology from St. Louis University, a Ph.D. in Physiology and Pharmacology from S.L.U. Medical School, and postdoctoral training in genomics, bioinformatics, and gene expression control at NYU Cancer Institute. He has been at John Jay since 2006 and currently has three areas of active research in his laboratory: 1) molecular mechanisms of cellular signaling and cell proliferation control; 2) the effect of SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) in genes related to neurotransmitter signaling and the contribution of those SNPs to the genetic predisposition to mental illness; and 3) improving science education through enhanced focus on the process and nature of science and scientific research.

Nathan Lents' Teaching Philosophy 
Nathan Lents' Profile Page 

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Isabel Martinez
Isabel Martinez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Latin American and Latina/o Studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in the City University of New York. Her teaching and research interests include transnationalism, Mexican youth immigration, Mexican borders, and the intersections of race, immigration and technology. Long involved with issues of educational attainment in Latina/o communities, her recently completed research examines the transnational familial, labor and educational experiences of unaccompanied Mexican immigrant youth in New York. Her article, "What's Age Gotta Do With It? Understanding the Age-Identities and School-Going Practices of Mexican Immigrant Youth in New York City" was published in a special issue of The High School Journal focusing on Transnationalism, Latina/o Immigrants and Education, and has a forthcoming chapter on the US-Mexico border in Latinas/os and Criminal Justice: An Encyclopedia (Greenwood Press), scheduled for release in 2012. She was recently honored for her dissertation by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education. She is currently a Digital Humanities Initiative Fellow at Hamilton College, and has received fellowships and grants from the Consortium for Faculty Diversity, the Association of Black Sociologists, the Spencer Foundation, and the Society for the Study of Social Problems. She received her B.A. in Sociology from Rice University, her M.A. in Educational Policy, Practice and Foundation from the University of Colorado at Boulder and her Ph.D. in Sociology and Education from Columbia University.

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Katherine Stavrianopoulos
Katherine Stavrianopoulos is an Assistant Professor of Counseling at John Jay College, The City University of New York. Professor Stavrianopoulos received her B.A. in Psychology from Hunter College and M.A. in School Psychology from Fordham University. Dr. Stavrianopoulos holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Fordham University. She has completed two post graduate training programs in Couple's and Family Therapy and Trauma Studies at the Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy (ICP). In 2011 she was awarded the Polaris Award from the New York Organ Donor Network for outstanding contribution to the College Education Program. She holds dual licenses in New York as both a Psychologist and Mental Health Counselor. She is currently researching the effects of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) in college student couples. She has recently obtained a grant to research EFT in college student veterans.

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Shonna Trinch
Shonna Trinch (Anthropology) received her PhD in Spanish Linguistics in 1999 from the University of Pittsburgh. Her first book, Latina Women’s Narratives of Domestic Abuse: Discrepant Versions of Violence, (John Benjamins, 2003) investigates how women’s stories of domestic abuse and rape change and are changed, as they are cast by legal professionals from one speech genre into another. Currently Shonna is working with colleague, Edward Snajdr, to finish data collection for a 2-year, NSF-funded study about urban redevelopment. This project examines sociocultural, sociolinguistic and discursive aspects of how cities get built. Focusing on Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards, they study how people compete, collaborate and conflict in their attempts to fix meaning on land. Additionally, Shonna and Valerie Allen have been re-conceptualizing the idea of literacy through their team-teaching (2 ISP courses: Production of Truth and Letter of the Law), service (JJC's GenEd committee) and in their collaborative research. With this award, they will bring together their expertise in linguistics and literature to develop innovative pedagogical approaches to teaching reading and writing.