Showcase Highlights Student Work from City Seminar: Studio

June 10, 2014 | Academics, Student Feature

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Ariana Gonzalez Stokas, Assistant Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies, and faculty scholar for mentoring and Dave Backer, Lead Graduate Coordinator.

On June 4 the College held its second Studio Showcase to feature the work from first-year students and to celebrate student academic achievement. Part of the City Seminar course, Studio is a creative learning environment designed for students to practice, reflect and develop the skills essential to engaging in the craft of successful academic study. Working alongside Graduate Coordinators and Peer Mentors, students created various projects to utilize the new techniques and skills they learned in the Studio course.

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A student reading from his work during the Studio Showcase on June 4.

The Showcase featured in-progress and final versions of integrated City Seminar assignments, as well as Studio exercises students completed throughout the fall and spring semesters. At a special reading of student works one student read from his assignment about his perceptions in observing a homeless individual asking for money in Times Square. Another student read seven haiku poems he wrote based on the immigrant experiences of Mexican-Americans. Additionally, two ‘zines,’ a type of do-it-yourself magazine collaboratively edited and produced by students from House 2, Cohorts 1 and 2, were on display and featured original writing, photography, and artwork. In another classroom a screening of student-produced videos from House 3, Cohort 2, were also shown.

About Studio
Mastering skills such as reading, note taking and analytical reasoning is essential for college students to succeed. However, students need an opportunity to practice techniques for effective studying as well as explore their identity as a creative contributor to intellectual life. Just like a ‘studio’ where artists or craftspeople perfect their trade, the Studio section of the City Seminar course, (formerly Group Workspace) provides Guttman students with a highly supportive environment to practice the ‘craft’ of studying through project based and independent work for 90 minutes once a week.

City Seminar is a learning community class comprised of four sections: Critical Issue, Reading/Writing, Quantitative Reasoning and Studio. The Studio section integrates City Seminar academic competencies to reinforce thematic topics and to promote good study habits. Students engage in a variety of projects to express their own ideas and creativity through reflection, research, and the synthesis of different themes and materials. Studio facilitates students’ academic growth by encouraging them to develop their individual style of learning in a space where they feel comfortable.

To reinforce the theme of ‘studio’ as a space to hone one’s academic craft and academic identity, the space is facilitated by Graduate Coordinators, doctoral candidates who serve as ‘master students,’ and by Peer Mentors, upper-level CUNY undergraduates who act as ‘assistants.’ Guttman undergraduates work alongside these more experienced students as academic ‘apprentices’ as part of a supportive academic community. Such encouragement enables Guttman students to perfect their own strategies for approaching and creating work that reflects what they are learning and to practice “doing college.” “The key is getting students engaged with their experiences,” remarked Ariana Gonzalez Stokas, Assistant Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies, and faculty scholar for mentoring.

Although the college’s Concept Paper did not provide great detail about the original Group Workspace program, Studio has evolved as a highly effective learning space with over 70% of students reporting that Studio has “helped them understand themselves as a college student.” The class not only advances students’ academic skills but increases their confidence and creativity in undertaking independent study as well. “The Graduate Coordinators and Peer Mentors show there is an academic component to student interests. They can use Studio as a place to explore an object of their study and apply it to their work,” observed Dave Backer, Lead Graduate Coordinator.

View more photos of the showcase.

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