S1 E19 - Teaching at the Epicenter: The Professor and the Project (Part 1) - Michael Yarbrough

Michael Yarbrough, Associate Professor in the Political Science Department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, tells a story not of teaching despite COVID-19 but rather centering a course on the realities of the outbreak because, for Michael, “what higher education is really about is the conditions of human existence.” The resulting project, “COVID-19 at CUNY: A Class Project,” is an archive of text conversations, audio recordings, and video recordings depicting the impact of the pandemic as it played out in the lives of the students and their families. Situated in New York City as it became an epicenter, Michael’s students embarked upon a collaborative project about their experiences during the unfolding pandemic and resulting quarantine. As the class was thrust into a rapidly changing world, the stated learning outcomes of the course no longer seemed relevant. “Instead, to have a space where they could process what they were experiencing and see the larger lessons that [awaited] our country and our world, and the individual experiences that each of our students were having at that time” became imperative. Two of Michael’s former students and now John Jay alumni, Monica Guzman-Reyes and Sally Olivo, joined in to describe how the class came together as a community to create this published work that has now been shared widely on social media.
Episode Notes:
  • Covid-19 at CUNY: A Class Project can be found here: https://johnjay.digication.com/covid19-at-cuny 
  • Michael Yarbrough's website can be found here: https://michaelyarbrough.net/
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