DCI: 2013-2014 Awards

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The Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Community Affairs

The Vice President's Grant for Diversity & Community Initiatives (DCI)

DCI: 2013-2014 Awards

The Vice President’s Grant for Diversity and Community Initiatives
2013-2014 Grant Recipients

The Committee for Community and Diversity is pleased to announce the award recipients from The Vice President’s Diversity and Community Initiatives Grant Fund. The grant fund provides financial support for projects that foster interactive, inter-group communication, collaboration and educational programming with an emphasis on diversity and/or community. Eighteen proposals were submitted and the following fourteen projects were selected for funding.

Thank you very much to the DCI Grant Selection Committee (a Sub-Committee of the Committee for Community and Diversity [CCD]): Randall Allsup, Christina Chaise, Yvonne Destin, Deanne DeCrescenzo, Jay Heubert, Isaac Freeman, Jolene Lane (Chair), Janice Robinson, and Melanie Williams. Thank you also to Shyla Dogan, Ashley Maxie-Moreman and Choumika Simonis, Graduate Assistants, for their administration of the details of the grants.


I. Conference – Creating a Better Future for ALL: Doing My Part
Dr. Christine E. Pawelski, Leslie Schmerler, FCA-TC Student President
Sponsor: Future Child Advocates of Teachers College (FCA-TC)

The Future Child Advocates of Teachers College is planning a one-day conference to raise public awareness about the child abuse issues and creating healthier communities for the future, to establish professional development activities on critical child abuse issues including hosting community speakers to enhance knowledge and skill development, and to create an opportunity to demonstrate community-school involvement in the areas of child abuse prevention. FCA hopes to be a model for other clubs interested in getting involved in child abuse issues and establishing student organizations in their communities.

II. Date Columbia
Zhiyin Jin, Chen Zheng
Sponsor: Future China Initiative

Date Columbia aims to build a romantic and relaxing atmosphere for students at Columbia University. This initiative aims to provide an opportunity for students to mix and mingle with one another and make new friends or find a significant other. In the first part of the initiative, “Blind Group Date,” students will be blind-folded, and make their first impressions by talking about their interests and experiences. The goal is for students to have a positive and delightful experience by getting to know another person.

III. Diversity in Research and Practice Academic Conference 2014
Allen Wright, Christina Douyon, Tameka Spence
Sponsor: Black Student Network

The Diversity in Research and Practice (DiRP) Conference seeks to create a platform for sharing academic research about empowering communities of color. Scholars will present original research papers and host roundtable discussions. One goal of the conference is to provide exposure to current research in various disciplines dedicated to the advancement of minority and marginalized groups. Another important goal is to expose students interested in academic research to the conference format as well as networking opportunities that will help them thrive in settings of academic discourse.

IV. Interrogating Girl’s Empowerment in South Asia
Mary Ann Chacko, Maulshree Gangwar
Sponsor: Development in South Asia (DISHA)

Development in South Asia (DISHA) will hold a workshop seeking to examine girls’ empowerment in South Asia. The Workshop is open to graduate students attending universities in New York City with the hope of promoting professional collaborations and mutual support for scholars studying South Asian studies with a focus on gender. The conference will focus on dominant conceptions of girls’ empowerment, how discourse surround this topic constructs the lives of girls in that region, and the implication for focusing on girls’ education and empowerment for boys in South Asia.

V. Join the Conversation: Uniting People with Swallowing Disorders and Their Supporters
Dr. Georgia Malandraki
Sponsor: Swallowing, Voice and Neuroimaging Laboratory

This conference sponsored by the Swallowing, Voice and Neuroimaging Laboratory aims to raise awareness about swallowing disorders and their complications across the Morningside Heights and Harlem communities; educate the community about dysphagia and safe swallowing practices; bring people together facing similar challenges and encourage them to participate in inter-group discussion in order to create a supportive network and make them feel more integrated within the community.

VI. Latin American Arts and Society: Performance and Discussion
Oscar Ardila, Julian Zapata
Sponsor: ALAS

The Latin American Arts and Society: Performance and Discussion event will present live extracts from one of Verdi’s operas dedicated to Latin America (particularly to Peru and Brazil’s Amazon region). The musical performance will be presented as a representation of the socio-economic realities of Latin America in the 19th century. Extracts of Verdi’s contemporary Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Gomes, who wrote music inspired by the Amazon region, will be presented as well. The two musical performances will initiate a group reflection and discussion. The event’s purpose is to present Latin American music as an alternative to traditional music, and one aim is to discuss the role of the arts as a social construct based on culture, education, and economic relations.

VII. Mindfulness into Action
Mariana Vergara
Sponsor: Organizational Leadership Association

Mindfulness into Action is an initiative that aims to help participants become more mindful when engaging in discussions about diversity. The rationale for this initiative stems from the insight that many personal and societal issues occur due to people being unaware of their taken-for-granted assumptions at a subconscious level. By using Collaborative Inquiry, the initiative will facilitate students’ experiences to foster transformative learning that encourages reflection and challenging their assumptions. It will create a space that will facilitate awareness of their taken-for-granted assumptions regarding diversity issues. The group will meet weekly for two hours live and/or via video conference. In addition, a blog, website, and Facebook group will be set up for global communication, interaction, and multimedia sharing.

VIII. Neurodynamic Lunch Hour
Serena Wolf
Sponsor: Spirituality & Mind/Body Institute

Neurodynamic Lunch Hour is a straightforward educational approach to health prevention through body awareness based on work by Dr. Theodore Dimon, Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology. Dr. Dimon will lead participants through interactive exercises. The Lunch Hour has already attracted participants of all ages, backgrounds, and various members of the TC community. It is offered to all students, faculty, and administrative staff at the College.

IX. Neuroscience Spring Lecture Series
Dr. Gina Buontempo, Mary Elizabeth Birarelli
Sponsor: Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology

The Neuroscience Spring Lecture Series for the Spring 2014 semester was selected to include research on School, Developmental, Clinical, Counseling, and Social-Organizational Psychology with Neuroscience. It will provide the opportunity for inter-departmental discussion on research and academic opportunities in the field. The event will draw graduate students and professors from a wide range of specialties at Teachers College, which adds breadth and dimension to the discussions. By providing an opportunity to see world-renowned researchers discuss their work, we are giving a solid platform for all students to experience the value of higher-level thinking and academic pursuits. The Psi Chi Society will host a “Meet and Greet” before the lectures with food and beverages provided.

X. Pathways of Possibility: Reversing the School to Prison Pipeline
Dr. Lalitha Vasudevan
Sponsor: MST/CCTE

Pathways of Possibility: Reversing the School to Prison Pipeline is an interactive series featuring panel discussions, arts projects, and workshops which focuses on the constellation of social, racial, and economic justice issues at the intersection of the criminal justice and education systems. It also investigates opportunities to facilitate systems-level change. This series will highlight education and criminal justice system partnerships that will both place the needs of justice-system involved youth and adults as their central focus and shift interventions from a punitive to rehabilitative strategy. The goals of the series are threefold: (1) to create a robust TC and Columbia-wide dialogue on making educational equality and racial justice central in the approach to justice system reform; (2) to present stories and narratives of the people most impacted by the consequences of educational and justice system inequity; and (3) to create opportunities for cross-departmental, cross-discipline, and cross-sector partnerships that place the needs of involved people at the center of initiatives.

XI. TC Players
Gladys Perez-Mojica
Sponsor: Community College Research

TC Players aims to bring together actors, singers, musicians, and dancers in the TC Community on a weekly basis to explore art forms, work in-depth on projects, and create an annual performance. The goal is to provide enjoyment, inspiration, and education among the participating artists and for the TC community as work is shared. There will be physical and vocal exercises, feedback and discussion from group members about performances, and small group work sessions for performers who want feedback on specific projects. All sessions will be open to everyone in the TC community, regardless of performance background.

XII. TEDx Teachers College
Andras Molnar
Sponsor: TEDx Teachers College

TEDx Teachers College is committed to hosting an annual conference with the purpose of promoting TED’s goal: “Ideas worth sharing.” Agents of Change is the theme for the April 4, 2014, TEDx event. TEDx TC plans to invite a variety of speakers from within the TC community, the greater New York area, and international organizations and individuals to discuss topics relevant to this year’s theme. Several TEDx speakers from our student population will share ideas, projects, and dissertations. The aim is to promote reflection on topics representing a wide range of academic fields and interests, encourage discussion of ideas shared, and raise the academic discourse at TC. In addition to the panel, other events will be held leading up to the main event in April to introduce topics and generate interest.

XIII. Women of Color Scholars (WoCS) Symposium
Esther Ohito, Nicole Fleming, Karishma Desai
Sponsor: Department of Curriculum and Teaching

The Women of Color Scholars (WoCS) is proposing a symposium to promote intellectual interchange, inter-group communication, and education. WoCS aims to do this by assisting women of color scholars in developing supportive peer and mentor networks; providing relationship, community, and coalition building opportunities; and crafting and implementing targeted programming that assists development of skills and strategies for professional success and personal well-being. The symposium activities will focus on one key question: What are the intersections and interstices of sisterhood, scholarship, and social justice, for women of color in the academy? This colloquium will be open to the public and geared towards drawing in people and resources from the Morningside Heights and Harlem communities.

XIV. Youth Historians in Harlem
Barry Goldenberg, Myrtle Jones, Dr. Ernest Morrell
Sponsor: Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME)

The Youth Historians in Harlem (YHH) initiative is an after-school program where local high school youth learn to “do” the work of historians by researching the history of the Harlem community. During the academic year, participants in the initiative will meet with students twice a week, help them apprentice as historians, and research topics about the history of education in Harlem through interactive culturally relevant pedagogy. The YHH initiative’s goals are to promote inter-group communication, collaboration, and education. In order to accomplish these goals, the initiative has three interactive components built into the curriculum: historical interactions, technological interactions, and community interactions. The initiative’s curriculum and program structure will provide students with the opportunity to engage in various ways over the course of the year.