Teachers College has launched a new website aimed at helping faculty, students and staff transition to online teaching and learning; providing critical information about COVID-19; offering virtual event programming along with a wide range of online resources, tools, and tips; and above all, fostering a sense of community during the ongoing crisis.
“The purpose of this site – which we call “Come Together Right Now ... Virtually!” – is to preserve the closeness of our TC community, which is so critically important now, and to bring the richness and vitality of TC to everyone, starting with our students, faculty, and staff, and extending to our alumni who are also contending with massive disruption and change to every aspect of their lives,” said TC President Thomas Bailey.
“This is a uniquely difficult time — a time when we can lean on each other for support,” said Trish McNicholas, Senior Director, College Events Planning, who has taken the lead on arranging virtual programming. “The TC Together program will bring to your living rooms academic and wellness information, activities for kids, entertainment and a bit of fun.”
“We’re primed to offer an appealing and accessible website that helps meet the full range of our community’s needs during this extraordinarily trying time,” said James Gardner, Associate Vice President for External Affairs. “I’m enormously proud of how quickly our digital communications team created this remarkable new venue in collaboration with our College Events and Alumni Relations colleagues. And I am especially appreciative of the entrepreneurial energy and creativity that [Director of Digital Communications] Matt Vincent brought to the task of building the site from scratch.”
The site, which went live today (March 24th), already offers three “virtual events” for this week:
- A read-aloud session for children today (Wednesday) at noon EST — the first of an ongoing series initiated by TC Curriculum & Teaching doctoral candidate Ayesha Rabadi-Raol. The books discussed will focus on race, class, gender, (dis)ability, and various critical multicultural experiences. All subsequent sessions will take place on Mondays and Wednesdays at noon.
- The debut — this Thursday at 6:00 p.m. EST of the Hidden Gems Performance of #LovePeopleBeKind Cabaret, performed by Lisa Daehlin, Academic Secretary, International & Transcultural Studies. Subsequent performances will be at that time each week.
- A reading by Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, Associate Professor of English Education, at 4 pm EST this Friday from her new volume of poetry, Love from the Vortex (Kaleidoscope Vibrations 2020). The collection is “an archaeological exploration of love and intimacy” that charts the author’s “journey of finding and losing love over the span of three decades with six different men who came into her life at various time.”
The site’s “Teaching and Learning” section shares best practices, personal experiences and perspectives around online teaching and learning with separate sections geared to the needs of students and faculty. For example, the latter sections offer tips on the Canvas Platform, which is the central place for sharing files with students or creating assignments and discussions; Zoom Web Conferencing, for conducting class sessions; the pre-recording of lectures; and general tips about online teaching.
A section on “Living and Working” offers a “TC playlist” that includes selections from The Drifters (“Up on the Roof”), Bruce Springsteen (“Dancing in the Dark”), Beyoncé (“Love on Top”), and, of course, the Beatles’ “Come Together.”
There is also a News & Views section, with pieces on COVID-19, and a gallery for sharing photographs.
Meanwhile, McNicholas said. “With no shortage of talent and brilliance in the TC community, you will be able to take a break from time to time each week to enjoy each other’s talents and company.”
This week’s programming offers just a sampling of the College’s in-house talent.
Rabadi-Raol, originally from India, has a background in commercial art and more than 16 years of experience working with young children. At TC, she has explored the experiences of “transnational” immigrant student teachers, whom she wants to help “take advantage of TC as a place of activism and change to provide a platform for socially and historically marginalized populations.” She hopes to become a teacher educator herself after completing her dissertation. [Read a story about Rabadi-Raol that appeared on TC’s website in summer 2018.]
Daehlin, who earned her TC master’s degree in Music & Music Education, has performed numerous operatic roles, and boasts a concert repertoire that includes Norwegian, French and American Chanson, Cabaret and Art Song. She is known for her show From Classical to Cabaret: The songs of Poulenc, Porter, Satie, and Weill and has sung Dorothy Parker songs in the Algonquin’s Oak Room, as well as the music of Stefania de Kenessey at City Center and with the Annabella Gonzalez Dance Theater at Lincoln Center. [Read a story on Daehlin that appeared on the TC Web in 2014.]
In her scholarly work, Sealey-Ruiz (M.A. ’95) has argued for equity that starts with “critical love,” which includes relationship-building and creating a culture where students know they are loved and cared for. Her research interests include racial literacy development in urban teacher education (with a specific focus on the education of Black and Latino males), literacy practices of Black girls, and Black female college reentry students. At Teachers College, she is founder and faculty sponsor of the Racial Literacy Roundtables Series and co-founder of the Teachers College Civic Participation Project, which concerns itself with the educational well-being of young people involved with the juvenile justice and foster care systems in New York. [Read a story about Sealey-Ruiz that appeared on the TC Web in 2018.]
And “Come Together, Right Now…Virtually” also links to additional online programming offered via the College’s Office of Alumni Relations.
“It’s a scary time, but just seeing the outpouring of creativity from the TC community has been incredibly uplifting,” said Vincent, who has spearheaded the development not only of the new site, but of many other innovative sites and digital platforms throughout the College, including countless websites and digital publications. He has also taken the lead in building TC’s social media universe. “So stay tuned for more!”