LaGuardia Community College Receives a $97,532 NEH Grant to Redesign its Liberal Arts Curricula to Reflect Technology’s Impact on Society

January 23, 2014 | LaGuardia Community College

Long Island City, NY—January 23, 2014—In an age where technology has an ever-growing impact on our lives, LaGuardia Community College is redesigning its liberal arts curricula to address current issues involving technology and the human condition through a $97,532 grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities.

The Technology, Self and Society: A Humanities Initiative project will provide a group of junior and senior liberal arts faculty with the opportunity to participate in an in-depth academic exploration of the numerous issue surrounding technology and the self.

“The project will accomplish two important goals,” said Dr. Naomi Stubbs, English professor and project co-director.  “It will provide a forum for rigorous discussion of contemporary scholarship focusing on technology and the self; and it will result in a collaborative re-envisioning of liberal arts courses at LaGuardia.”

To help the faculty enrich units of the curricula to reflect new developments in technology, 28 liberal arts Fellows will participate in two yearlong seminars where specific topics will be explored through readings and lively discussions.  The faculty will also work with visiting scholars who will share their expertise and join the conversation.

The first seminar, which will launch next September, will have the faculty examine how technology is shaping social interaction.  Faculty will look at how interactions online shape personal relationships as well as attitudes toward race and identity in cyberspace.

The second yearlong seminar will explore how definitions of “human” have been challenged by technological advancements.   Readings and discussions will focus on techno-humanism, transhumanism and on the biomedical ethical issues that derive from biological enhancements and reproductive choices.

From the information garnered from the readings and discussions, junior and senior faculty will collaboratively work on reshaping the new curricula. “This intellectual exchange between junior and senior faculty is vital,” said Dr. Phyllis Van Slyck, English professor and project co-director.  “It will offer opportunities for new faculty to understand the purposeful way LaGuardia has designed the materials and courses in the liberal arts.  In turn, new faculty may offer senior faculty an opportunity to revitalize their thinking about themes and pedagogy.”

Dr. Gail O. Mellow, president of LaGuardia, sees both faculty and students benefiting from a project that will reinvigorate the liberal arts curricula.

“By strengthening our liberal arts faculty and students’ understanding of the connections between diversity issues and technology—specifically, current social and philosophical debates pertaining to human identity, including race and ethnicity, gender and technological modifications of the self—we are addressing LaGuardia’s mission to educate our students to become critical thinkers and socially responsible citizens who help to shape a rapidly evolving society,” she said.

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LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three times the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit www.laguardia.edu to learn more.

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