City Tech 2014-2015 Scholar on Campus Nominees Announced

New York City College of Technology Associate Provost Pamela Brown recently announced nominees for the 2014-2015 Scholar on Campus Award — Sandra Cheng, Humanities, Monique Ferrell, English, and Benjamin Shepard, Human Services. The recipient will be announced this spring and the award presentation and celebratory dinner will be held on Monday, April 7, beginning at 5 p.m.

The annual award is made to a member of the faculty who has demonstrated extraordinary scholarship and creative work that has had an important impact at City Tech and in the larger community. Successful candidates must have displayed substantial evidence of scholarly excellence which may be demonstrated by publications, performances, exhibits, external recognition and records of exceptional performance by national and international standards of excellence in their field of expertise.

Each year’s Scholar on Campus awardee is selected by members of the Professional Development Advisory Council and has demonstrated scholarship and exemplary teaching and/or community service. All candidates have demonstrated a positive impact on students, the curriculum, teaching and learning at City Tech. This year’s recipient will be entitled to $2,000
toward professional travel during the 2014-2015 academic year.

Sandra Cheng

Dr. Sandra Cheng, an assistant professor in the College’s Humanities Department, teaches a variety of art history courses that range from the History of Photography to surveys of Ancient to Modern Art. For more than three years, Professor Cheng has been involved with the Title V Grant “A Living Laboratory: Revitalizing General Education for a 21st Century College of Technology,” beginning as part of the first faculty cohort and now as the Communications Lead for the grant. As Communications Lead, she has been documenting, reporting and blogging on the grant’s important work to capture and disseminate pedagogical practices that enhance student engagement and foster lifelong learning.

Professor Cheng’s research interests include early caricature, seventeenth-century art and theory, the history of collecting, drawing and studio practice, and the history of monstrosity in the Renaissance and Baroque. She is most recognized for her work on the development of caricature in the early modern period. Her work on caricature and related comic drawings garnered an invitation to participate in an international colloquium in Paris aptly named “Rire en images à la Renaissance/Laughter in Renaissance Paintings” with other scholars who work on comic issues in early modern art, Her revised talk, “Ridiculous Portraits: Comic Ugliness and Early Modern Caricature,” will be published this year in an expanded edition of the proceedings by Brepols.

Other recent publications include “La Touche satirique du Bernini: dessin et caricature comme acte performatif au début de l’époque modern,” Roven 8 (Automne-Hiver, 2012-2013)); “Parodies of Life: Baccio del Bianco’s comic drawings of dwarfs” in Parody and Festivity in Early Modern Art: Essays on Comedy as Social Vision, edited by David R. Smith (Ashgate, 2012); “The Monstrous Portrait: Caricature, Physiognomy, and Monsters in Early Modern Italy” and Preternature: Critical and Historical Studies on the Preternatural (2012).

Due to her work on ephemeral material culture like caricature, Professor Cheng has been invited to contribute an essay to a publication on the paper sculptures made by the detainees of the Golden Venture, the freighter filled with illegal Chinese immigrants that ran aground in the Rockaways twenty years ago. She is also co-editor of Open Inquiry Archive, an independent, online journal of scholarly papers on culture. In addition, she is currently preparing a manuscript on the emergence of caricature in early modern Italy, and another on deformity, disability and art.

Specializing in Italian Baroque art with a minor in the History of Photography, Professor Cheng received her Ph.D. at the University of Delaware. Her dissertation, “Il bello dal deforme: Caricature and Comic Drawings in Seventeenth-Century Italy,” received the university’s Sypherd Prize in 2008 for best dissertation in the humanities. She was also the recipient of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellowship and the Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon Fellowship from the Library of Congress. At City Tech, she has received numerous travel grants and a PSC-CUNY award to continue giving talks at international venues and to conduct research in foreign institutions.

Monique Ferrell

Writers must bear witness is a mantra that Dr. Monique Ferrell, associate professor of English at City Tech, attempts to live by. Her teaching, writing and service lean heavily on that premise. As such, as an educator, she attempts to excel in the classroom, work diligently as a member of the City Tech community, and produce scholarship that engages, invites and challenges existing discourse.

Whether scholarly or creative, her work always focuses on issues of race, gender and the politics of sex and sexuality. For Ferrell, her writing and chosen subjects are attempts at participating in the ever-changing global debate about how we live and what we believe. She is the co-author/co-editor of Lead, Follow, Or Move Out Of the Way: Global Perspectives in Literature and Film (2006, 2009, 2012, 2014) and Good Writing Made Simple (2009, 2012). Both books enjoy adoptions at high schools, colleges and universities nationwide. Her forthcoming co-edited feminist criticism titled Her Own Worst Enemy: The Eternal Internal Gender Wars of Our Sisters, which includes her essay “Just Another Bitch On Reality Television: The Intentional Degradation of the American Woman,” will be released this fall. Her book chapter, “I Do, Too: Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Gender Identity Politics, and the Fight for Marriage Equality,” will appear in the forthcoming book Star Power: On the Impact of Branded Celebrity.

Primarily a poet and fiction writer, Ferrell has authored two collections of poetry, Black Body Parts and Unsteady. Additionally, her writing has been anthologized in Out of the Rough, Token Entry, and the forthcoming anthology about the history of television and its impact on American culture, Rabbit Ears. Her poetry has been published in leading creative writing journals and magazines, including American Poetry Review, North American Review, New York Quarterly Review and Antioch Review. She has performed readings for the New York Quarterly Reading Series, Barnes & Noble, and the annual Poetry Festival at Governors Island. Additionally, she has conducted creative writing workshops at Columbus State Community College and Colorado Mesa University. Pending projects include a third poetry collection titled Attraversiamo and her short fiction collection Impetus.

Alongside her scholarship, Ferrell has an equal passion for teaching and service. In the classroom, she believes it is important for students to feel as if their own lives and cultural experiences are relevant to classroom discourse. To this end, she chooses written and visual texts that connect to students on a visceral level and challenge them to become critical readers, writers and researchers.

Ferrell has served on her department’s Curriculum and Appointments Committees, College Council, Ad hoc, and Liberal Arts & Sciences committees. She finds her passion for academia kindled by her work with the Academic Integrity Committee, the SEEK Program and City Tech’s collaboration with the Pathways in Technology High School (P-Tech). She is also the point person for the English Department’s first ever Option/Minor in Gender & Sexuality Studies, which enjoys an interdisciplinary agreement with the Human Services Department and a pending articulation agreement with the CUNY BA program.

For Dr. Ferrell, her teaching, service and scholarship are all connected. When taken as a whole, they all reinforce the mantra of bearing witness to the evolving world that brings different cultures, identities and ideas to our doors in the form of our students. What we are called, tasked or volunteer to do on campus reflect the momentum of change swelling the very walls of our ever-growing institution of higher learning.

Benjamin Shepard

Dr. Benjamin Shepard is an associate professor of Human Services at City Tech. He received his master’s degree at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration and his PhD at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, He was trained in psychoanalysis at the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis and Psychology’s Intensive Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Program.

Much of Dr. Shepard’s scholarship is based on the ethnographic study of social services and social movements. He is the author/editor of six books including White Nights and Ascending Shadows: An Oral History of the San Francisco AIDS Epidemic (Cassell, 1997) and From ACT UP to the WTO: Urban Protest and Community Building in the Era of Globalization (co-edited with Ron Hayduck) (Verso, 2002). The latter work was a non-fiction finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards in 2002. Recent works include Play, Creativity, and the New Community Organizing (Routledge, 2011), Queer Political Performance and Protest (Routledge, 2009) and The Beach Beneath the Streets: Contesting New York City’s Public Spaces (co-written with Greg Smithsimon) (SUNY Press, 2011).

His writing has appeared in anthologies, including Queering Anarchism: Addressing and Undressing Power (AK Press, 2013), Beyond Zuccotti Park: Freedom of Assembly and the Occupation of Public Space. (New Village Press, 2012), Occupying Wall Street: The Inside Story of an Action that Changed America (OR Press, 2011), The Place Where We Dwell: Reading and Writing About New York City (Kendall/Hunt Publishers, 2012), Environmental Social Work (Routledge, 2012), Democracy, States and the Struggle for Global Justice (Routledge, 2009), Nobody Passes (Seal Press, 2006), The Encyclopedia of Social Movements (Sharpe, 2004), That’s Revolting: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation (Soft Skull Press, 2004), Democracy’s Moment and Teamsters and Turtles: Leftist Movements Today and Tomorrow (both Roman and Littlefield, 2002), and in journals that include Harm Reduction Journal, Journal of Social Service Research, Socialism and Democracy, Working USA, Radical Society, Lambda Book Review, Monthly Review, Sexualities, Journal of Progressive Human Services, Antioch Review, Monthly Review and Drain. His upcoming book is entitled Rebel Friendships, “Outsider” Networks and Social Movements.

In 2010, he was named to the Playboy Honor Role as one of twenty professors “who are reinventing the classroom.” Since then Shepard has written a weekly blog on art, activism and urban space entitled “Play and Ideas” that’s read across the country.

He has done organizing work with Occupy Wall Street, AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, SexPanic!, RTS New York, Times UP, Rebel Clown Army, CitiWide Harm Reduction, Housing Works, More Gardens Coalition, Right of Way, and Times UP! One of the most important organizing campaigns of his life was the successful “no more 24” campaign to reduce the course load at City Tech.

As a social worker, he has worked in AIDS services/activism for two decades, joining ACT UP Golden Gate in the early 1990’s, opening two congregate facilities for people living with HIV/AIDS, serving as deputy director for a syringe exchange program, all while remaining active in efforts to bridge the gap between direct action and direct services. Today, he remains involved in organizing efforts around transportation, HIV/AIDS, labor, public spaces and environmental policy. Dr. Shepard combines these experiences, along with his training, to frame his upcoming work Community Projects as Social Activism, to be published by Sage.