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Faculty Members Receive MMC’s 2019 Award for Innovative Teaching

May 06, 2019
  • Professors Erin Greenwell (Communication and Media Arts) and Nava Silton (Psychology) receive 2019 Teaching Innovation Awards from Professor Sue Behrens, C-TIE.
Erin Greenwell, MFA, Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Arts, and Nava Silton, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, were the recipients of the 2019 C-TIE Award for Innovative Teaching.

Each year, MMC’s Center for Teaching Innovation and Excellence (C-TIE) recognizes faculty with the Award for Innovative Teaching in recognition of pedagogical projects that demonstrate exceptional levels of innovation and impact on student learning.

At the Faculty Council meeting on May 6, Professors Erin Greenwell and Nava Silton were acknowledged for their unique projects that promoted understanding, creativity, and collaboration—both inside the classroom and out.

About Erin Greenwell’s Project
Professor Greenwell’s project was designed to foster collaboration between MMC’s 71st Street students and Bedford Hills College Program students. She revised the annual Stand Up Speak Out film festival to provide collaborative creative practice for students, current faculty and MMC alumni. The project engaged with social justice issues by bringing students together in workshops, poetry writing, reading, playwriting, illustrating, and filmmaking.

At the 71st Street site, students attended a poetry writing workshop where they generated original poetry. At Bedford Hills, the poetry class was taught dramatic structure, storyboarding and camera angles. The BHCP class took the poetry written at 71st street and used it to create new compositions and new storyboards. These storyboards and poems inspired the 71 Street students to develop five new plays, five original films, seven illustrations and a Behind-the-Scenes documentary. Including students from both sites, faculty, and alumni, over 60 people participated in the project. 

“I had three learning objectives,” Professor Greenwell explained. “First, to raise awareness of the need for criminal justice reform by helping to humanize incarcerated students. Second, to provide outreach opportunities for students in the BHCP, MMC faculty, MMC alumni, the MMC Bedford Hills College Club, and MMC students at 71st Street. Third, to push student creativity outside of their comfort zone to work in a new medium (poetry for the theatre and media production students, and storyboarding and dramatic structure for the poetry students). An overarching goal was to showcase how higher education can be a tool to stem mass incarceration.”

About Nava Silton’s Project
Dr. Silton developed a unique project for students in her Children and Media course, in which they were challenged to apply foundational concepts and knowledge from the course to a creative exercise with real-world applicability.

Students were given the charge to create a TV show or virtual reality game that would:

a) defy gender stereotypes or showcase characters on the LGBTQ Spectrum;
b) represent disabilities positively and realistically;
c) teach about mental health disorders; or
d) portray individuals from low socioeconomic status, single-parent, or second-generation homes (all groups which were highlighted during the course). 

In 45 minutes, groups collaborated to pen the logline and name of a new show; identify lightning references (identify show references germane to the current show idea); use mindmapping to innovate novel ideas and insights and to extend their original ideas; and ideate and visually communicate the idea via storyboarding an “Eight Step Story”—inspired by AJ & Smart—which encompasses a Start, Status Quo, Core Theme, Call to Action, Bad Guys Close In, Fun & Games, Rock Bottom, Resolution and Conclusion.

Finally, the groups pitched their shows/games to their classmates and the class considered which group should advance their pitch to the next level. In a post-exercise session, students then reflected on which of the aforementioned strategies were most useful in their pitches. 

The project gave students the opportunity to harness their creativity by applying their Children and Media course knowledge and their newly developed cognitive and pedagogical tools to ethically and experientially represent children from diverse backgrounds to the outside world in a favorable and realistic light.

Congratulations, Nava and Erin!