The Work Matters

A Guide for New Faculty Teaching at City Tech


Which disciplines share a focus on evidence? Which depend on computational thinking? Innovation? Global thinking? Where is compassion an essential value and how is it developed and expressed? Where is competition rewarded?

As they identify convergences, these faculty members have also been careful to note signature divergences—essential and sometimes uniquely identifying characteristics of their disciplines, professions, or industries. Although disciplinary edges have softened or blurred over the past decades, and interdisciplinary—that most unwieldy word—has become commonplace and necessary, each field of knowledge or practice has grown from a nucleus that defines it.

Bonne August, Provost December 2009 Nucleus: A Faculty Commons Quarterly Volume 1 – Issue 2

Planning Your Course

Designing Your Syllabus

“The syllabus is your script” (Volk, 2011, p. 123). Students will know exactly what to expect to learn and do on any day of the semester. To build a thoughtful syllabus, you need to consider knowledge and skills:

  • Knowledge: choose topics of the discipline that provide foundational ideas and incorporate new thinking
  • Skills or activities: “integrate critical thinking, coherent writing, and informed, coherent discussion” (Volk, 2011, p. 123). “Practical skills can be learned individually or in groups, through student presentations or short-acting assignments” (p. 124).


Designing Your Placed-based Learning Assignments

Effectively Using Site Visits
Some Preliminary Questions for Faculty:

When in the arc of the semester will the site visit take place: beginning, middle, or end?

Will that timeline benefit the overall objectives of the visit?

Will the site visit introduce a concept? Help frame a project? Provide a capstone?

Does the visit teach a specific lesson, or open up a field for student research?

What kind of guidance do my students need?


Before Starting to Teach

Classroom Inspection

Before the class begins, check the following physical dimensions of your room (Reed, 2002, p. 28):

  • Heating and air conditioning controls – where they are, how to operate them, who to contact for help
  • Lighting controls – where they are and whether lighting can be dimmed closest to the area where you will be doing projections or displaying videos
  • Secure storage area for equipment or papers to limit access by others
  • Location of the restrooms
  • Availability of tools or equipment you need – are they in the classroom or will you have to find them, reserve them, and transport them? Are plugs accessible? Identify safety hazards and the location and status of safety equipment (for science courses,
    for example, eye wash fountains, showers, fire extinguishers, chemical spill kits, etc.)
  • Visibility – are there obstructions that will block students’ view of you or any presentation? If so, how can you work around the obstruction?
  • How is the room arranged?


Dreyfuss, A.E., Jordan, J., Rajaram, K., Caka, M. (2014). (2nd Ed.). The work matters:
A guide for new faculty teaching at City Tech. New York City College of Technology, CUNY.
Online at

Faculty Commons

The Work Matters: A guide for new faculty teaching at City Tech. New York City College of Technology, CUNY by A.E. Dreyfuss is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.