PhD candidate in English, CUNY Graduate Center (expected 2018)
M.A, English, CUNY Graduate Center
B.A., English, Rutgers University
Danica Savonick is a PhD candidate in English and a Futures Initiative Fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center, where she studies the relationships among pedagogy, aesthetics, and social justice. Specifically, she examines how aesthetics fundamentally shaped classroom practices in the late twentieth century and how teaching in CUNY’s free and open classrooms inspired important feminist and antiracist authors to produce some of the most powerful literature of the 1960s and 1970s. Through archival research on syllabi, lesson plans, and assignments alongside analysis of published literary texts, Danica’s research shows how pedagogy, poetics, and politics intersect in the work of Audre Lorde, Toni Cade Bambara, June Jordan, and Adrienne Rich. Her scholarship on pedagogy, social justice, and literature has appeared in Callaloo, Modern Fiction Studies, Keywords for Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities, American Literature, and Digital Humanities Quarterly (forthcoming). In 2017, Danica was awarded the Association of American Colleges & Universities K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award, a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship in Women’s Studies, and a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship.
As a Futures Initiative Fellow and HASTAC Scholar Danica works to advance equity and innovation in education and promote reinvestment in higher education as a public good through advanced graduate training in pedagogy, peer mentorship programs for undergraduates, and public programming like The University Worth Fighting For. Danica helped organized many public events including “Teaching as Social Justice,” “Tools for Pedagogical, Institutional, and Social Change,” and a post-election teach-in, all of which convened educators, artists, activists, librarians, journalists, and administrators to crowdsource strategies for empowering undergraduates, especially from low-income and minority backgrounds.
Danica practices the pedagogical mission she writes about in the courses she teaches in the Queens College English department on literature and history, global literature, narrative, creativity, and “The Purpose of Education.” Students in these introductory courses play an active role in shaping the content, methods, and means by which their learning is assessed. They conduct archival research on the role of Queens College students in the Civil Rights movement; translate their learning and experiences into poetry, visual art, and film, all of which are shared publicly online; and are in the process of publish their co-authored research in one of the nation’s leading scholarly, peer-reviewed journals dedicated to pedagogical innovation. Recently, she was awarded a Teaching and Learning Center grant for this publishing assignment.
Much of Danica’s work leverages the affordances of digital technologies to promote public knowledge production, democratize learning, and materialize social justice. In addition to regularly blogging and publishing on pedagogy, Danica is lead author on “Gender Bias in Academe,” an online annotated bibliography of recent studies documenting gender bias, republished by the London School of Economics Impact of Social Sciences blog. Educators and administrators nationwide, including college presidents and provosts, have used this bibliography to ensure less biased decisions in their appointment, promotion, and tenure processes. As an editor of the Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy, Danica also mentors educators, guiding them towards successful publication of their research on empowering approaches to teaching.
Email Danica at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @danicasavonick