We say farewell to the 20/21 academic year, a special one, for sure, considering that classes have been entirely remote at many institutions, like the City University of New York. Now that we slowly go back to “normal”, and even though schools gradually return to face-to-face instruction, we must also note that this year will have already taken a toll that will be hard to quantify and overcome. As reported in a NYTimes article, in K-12, “in March, half of Black and Hispanic children, and two-thirds of Asian-American children, were enrolled in remote school, compared with 20 percent of white students.” As mentioned before, it is at a time when the social and economic gap is becoming more visible that funding for public education needs to be strengthened.
The end of this academic year also brings us the departure of FI Fellows Tatiana Ades, Cihan Tekay, and Jessie Fredlund, who have been essential members of the Futures Initiative team during the past two years.
As Cathy Davidson’s research assistant, Tati has done beautiful work with the FI program while simultaneously pursuing a Master’s degree and working to support adult literacy at BMCC. Her FI work includes supporting the editing and open-access publication of We Eat: A Student Centered Cookbook and I Wake Up Counting: A Transformative Guide to Teaching and Learning in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
As our Assistant Director, Cihan keeps everything running smoothly behind the scenes without anyone even realizing how much work needs to be done in the shadows to keep the machinery running. In addition to brilliantly doing the work of several people by putting together a conference (twice!) that proved to be a huge success, Cihan successfully brought the team together, while also bringing out the best in all of her colleagues.
Finally, as Web Developer and Research Fellow, Jessie Fredlund has done the often-invisible work of keeping our website running smoothly and improving it whenever possible, while also contributing to Senior Research Associate Sujung Kim’s work. Jessie has accepted a teaching position at the University of Connecticut and notes, “I have learned so much about pedagogy from all of you and drew on all of it in my teaching presentation. I am so grateful to have had a chance to work with and learn from this group – not just because it helped me get this position but because it has made me a better educator.”
We will miss you, Jessie, Cihan, and Tati, and wish you the best in your next steps!
And to everyone, do your homework this summer: rest (this is an essential component of work), smile, and love (yourselves and others).
—Gustavo Jiménez, FI Communications Director