Committee on Beautiful Ideas (COBI)

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In 2005, the Office of Academic Affairs and the Center for Teaching and Learning, thanks to a Title V grant, put together the Committee On Beautiful Ideas (COBI) to explore and cultivate cross-disciplinary scholarship for effective teaching and learning.  To accomplish this goal, COBI created the COBI Initiative to create conditions for faculty and administrators across divisions and disciplines to explore, exchange, create, craft, and transform ideas spontaneously and thoughtfully by providing small and large group interactions that allow participants to share and reflect through conversation and brainstorming. The initiative consisted in soliciting and reviewing grant proposals from faculty and then awarding mini-grants. Faculty members submitted their “beautiful ideas” in teaching and learning, and winning proposals received funding and release time to put the proposals into practice. The initiative run from 2005 to 2011.

COBI History

Established in spring 2005, a Title V subcommittee was appointed by the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs to assist the Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning in the development of the faculty development component of the Title V grant.  The subcommittee was charged with ensuring the success of an initiative that targeted shifting the paradigm on teaching and learning through pedagogical innovations to improve student learning outcomes.

The resulting grassroots movement was designed to motivate faculty to re‐craft pedagogical practices to incorporate innovative, ideas, which was manifested as a competitive call for beautiful ideas (proposals) for which successful faculty teams would be rewarded with a prestigious recognition ceremony and three hours of release time during the fall or spring semester in the following academic year.

The subcommittee worked diligently week after week to create the context, structure, and competition guidelines; submission, review, and selection requirements;   retreat goals, purpose, coordination, and execution; award ceremonies and mechanisms to recognize our outstanding faculty; procedures for documenting the productivity of faculty release time; finding conceptual space for the institutionalization of winning, innovative projects, among other responsibilities.  As the immensity of the task began to sink in, so did the impending, potential burden that the project could have created for Hostos faculty.

In an intentional effort to keep the proposal, selection, and implementation processes manageable and inviting, the initiative was divided into three, user‐friendly, stages of development.  More information about the stages is found throughout this call for beautiful ideas.

The mantra of this creative and innovative committee was to employ the concepts that defined the competition: proposals became beautiful ideas; the call for beautiful ideas replaced the call for proposals; the Title V subcommittee became known as the Committee On Beautiful Ideas, and the resulting COBI acronym has become synonymous with innovation in teaching pedagogy in order to enhance teaching effectiveness and engage students intentionally and actively in the processes of learning and of creating community.

The blue monarch, as an evolutionary entity, was selected to represent the work of this ever‐evolving committee which has continued to morph from year to year incorporating the needs of the college into the priorities of COBI and the calls for beautiful ideas.  The 2009 call for mini‐grants was based on the foundation established by COBI.  Instead of receiving release time, seven mini‐grants of $2,000 per project were awarded, and all winning mini‐grant projects were expected to be completed and incorporated into the life of the faculty or the college by the 2010‐2011 academic year.   A similar mini-grants competition was launched for AY ‘09‐’10.

 

COBI Awards

 

2011

Environmental Science Exploration in English 110: Making Connections between Ecological Processes, our Egos and Our Oikos
Elyse Zucker, Assistant Professor, English
Julie Trachman, Assistant Professor, Natural Sciences


In Newton’s Footstep: Learning Physics by Doing Physics
Yoel Rodriguez, Assistant Professor, Natural Sciences
Jaime Lujan, College Lab Technician, Natural Sciences


Open Hostos!: Open Access for Innovation in Scholarship, Teaching, and Learning

Lisa Tappeiner, Assistant Professor, Library
Sarah Brennan, Assistant Director, Center for Teaching and Learning

 

2010

Bridging the Gap in Biology: Improving
Knowledge Retention & Academic Persistence
Zvi Ostrin, Assistant Professor, Natural Sciences
Carlos Guevara, Coordinator, Office of Educational Technology


Conversations From The Green Room
Rees Shad, Assistant Professor, Humanities
Catherine Lewis, Assistant Professor, Humanities


Facebook Mentoring: The Potential of Using Facebook to Increase Academic Learning and Retention Rates Among Hostos Students
Jennifer Tang, Assistant Professor, Library
Sarah Brennan, Assistant Director, Center for Teaching and Learning


In Galileo’s Footprint: Learning Physics by Doing Physics
Yoel Rodríguez, Assistant Professor, Natural Sciences
Jaime Luján, College Lab Technician, Natural Sciences


Integrating Peer-led Team Learning in
STEM Courses at Hostos Community College
Mohammad Sohel, Assistant Professor, Natural Sciences
Debasish Roy, Assistant Professor, Natural Sciences


Learning chemistry with YouTube, Believe or not believe?: Evaluating and making decisions by merging information literacy, technology, writing and sciences in a collaborative project
Nelson Núñez-Rodríguez, Assistant Professor, Natural Sciences
Lisa Tappeiner, Assistant Professor, Library


Service Learning/Civic Engagement Resource Center:
Combining Academics and the Community
Sandy Figueroa, Assistant Professor and Office Technology Coordinator, Business
Rebecca Hoda-Kearse, Director, Career Services

 

2009

Focus, Articulate, Learn! A Language Learning Strategy
Marielena Leon Hurvich, Lecturer, Language and Cogntition
Barbara Radin, Assistant Professor, Language and Cognition


Get Your Game On!
Christine Mangino, Assistant Professor & Chair, Education
Rees Shad, Assistant Professor & Digital Design Coordinator, Humanities


iChemistry: Let’s Assess How Students Learn –
Toward a Gen Ed learner-centered alignment in the CHE 210 course regarding skills, assignments, and assessment by using instructional technology
Gina Cicco, Assistant Professor, Education
Nelson Núñez-Rodríguez, Assistant Professor, Natural Sciences


Mathematics in Motion
Bronislaw Czarnocha, Professor, Mathematics
Jim Kennis, Assistant Professor, Mathematics


Navigating the World of Chemistry through the Lab
Yoel Rodriguez, Assistant Professor, Natural Sciences
Francisco Fernandez, Assistant Professor, Natural Sciences


Reading, Writing, Citing
Andrea Fabrizio, Assistant Professor, English
Greg Marks, Assistant Professor, English


Teaching Remedial Mathematics Through Sense-making Strategies
Alice Welt Cunningham, Assistant Professor, Mathematics
Olen Dias, Assistant Professor, Mathematics

 

2008

 CD Library of Anatomy and Physiology Laboratories
Ralph Schwartz, Professor, Natural Science
Francisco Fernandez, Assistant Professor, Natural Science


Collation-Convite: A Narrative Collective
Cynthia Jones, Professor, English
America Trinidad, Professor, Education


Development of a course “Mathematical Structures
of Music” bridging mathematics and music education
Alberto Bird, Professor & Chair, Humanities
Alexander Vaninsky, Assistant Professor, Mathematics


Hollywood in the Classroom: Student-made Science Videos
Zvi Ostrin, Assistant Professor, Natural Science
Mohammad Sohel, Assistant Professor, Natural Science


Problem-solving Course in Mathematics
Kathleen Doyle, AssistantProfessor, Mathematics
Ruili Ye, Asistant Professor, Mathematics


To Get to the Buds, You Need to Nourish the Roots and STEM
Julie Trachman, Assistant Professor, Natural Science
Magali Figueroa-Sanchez, Assistant Professor, Education


Voice in Flames
 A collaborative project on oral communication, civic engagement and environmental stewardship
Nelson Núñez-Rodríguez, Assistant Professor, Natural Science �
Angel Morales, Lecturer, Humanities

 

2007  

Colloquium in Urban Ecology: An Ideal Environment in an Ideal Society
Francisco Fernández, Assistant Professor, Natural Sciences
Debasish Roy, Assistant Professor, Natural Sciences


ESL 036 Goes Online
Paula Korsko, Assistant Professor, Language and Cognition
Kate Lyons, Assistant Professor, Library


From the Classroom to the Community: Women and Work – An Academic/Experiential Course (including Optional
Supervised Internships in Women’s Studies
Jerilyn Fisher, Professor, English
Amy Ramson, Assistant Professor, Behavioral and Social Sciences


Know As You Go
Gail August, Assistant Professor, Language and Cognition
Minerva Santos, Assistant Professor, Language and Cognition


The Wonderful World of Science
Mohammad Sohel, Assistant Professor, Natural Sciences
Olga Steinberg, Assistant Professor, Natural Sciences


Virtual Resources for Teaching the Repiratory System and Asthma
Kathleen Donohue, Assistant Professor, Allied Health Sciences
John Gillen, Assistant Professor, Natural Sciences


When the Word Travels
Karin Lundberg, Assistant Professor, Language and Cognition
Paul Italia, Professor, English

 

2006 

American Literature through History,
American History through Literature
Craig Bernardini, Assistant Professor, English
Marcella Bencivenni, Assistant Professor, Behavioral and Social Sciences


Electronic Portfolios
Carl Grindley, Assistant Professor, English
Patricia Frenz-Belkin, Assistant Professor, Language and Cognition


Going Interdisciplinary: Uniting the Disciplies
at Hostos CC through the Study of Language
Cristina LaPorta, Assistant Professor, Humanities
Ian Scott, Assistant Professor, Humanities


Grand Concourse One Hundred
William Casari, Lecturer, Library
Felix Cardona, Behavorial and Social Sciences


Hidden Assets: Information Literacy Across the Curriculum
Robert Cohen, Associate Professor, Language and Cognition
Miriam Laskin, Assistant Professor, Library


Introduction to Humanities Online Classes with a Bilingual Focus
Jairo Taylor, Assistant Professor, Humanities
Lisa Tappeiner, Assistant Professor, Library


You are Never More than Six Feet Away from a Spider
Vladimir Ovtcharenko, Assistant Professor, Natural Sciences
Francisco Fernández, Assistant Professor, Natural Sciences

 

Proposal Review Rubric

 

This video shows a recollection of images from the different activities in the first edition of the COBI initiative in 2005-2006:

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