Engaged Faculty Fellowship Program

Bill Gaskins

Bill GaskinsA 2015-16 Engaged Faculty Fellow, Bill Gaskins in a visiting associate professor in the Department of Art in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning and in the American Studies Program. Learn more at www.billgaskins.com and www.ghettofilm.org.

About the Project

Precarity and poverty are commonly associated with the outcome of students who seek bachelor/master of fine arts degrees. The common curricular focus is on producing work to meet the expectations of an exclusive and elite art market or to evade professional development issues completely in the absence of necessary skills and aptitudes that will enable them to create unique platforms for distribution and profit.

The Ghetto Film School (GFS), located in the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx, has developed a public high school for cinema, where students are trained and educated in narrative filmmaking as well as provided with the tools to engage platforms for distribution and profit through the work they create.

Gaskins seeks to use his Engaged Faculty Fellowship to develop a course that will offer Cornell students in art and media opportunities to increase their professional and social literacies by learning filmmaking and the economics of the cinema industry as well as dismantling the myths of poverty in the United States in tandem with the predominantly black and Latino students of the GFS. Cinema production is a critical literacy in the twenty-first century. The course will introduce Cornell students to the fundamentals of cinema production using mobile phone cameras and lead the students towards the production of a series of short films that challenge the myth of hard work and lack of initiative among the poor as the root cause for poverty in the United States.

Why He Does It

The communities that are commonly the object of service learning course proposals are rarely viewed as sites for directly teaching students and learning from community members. Gaskins wants to change that paradigm by developing a unique learning and teaching opportunity through his Engaged Faculty Fellowship. In the future, his fellowship goal is to develop the first Advanced Placement course in cinema in the United States through the Cornell Department of Performing and Media Arts.


Engaged Faculty Fellowship Program

A yearlong cohort program in which faculty dive deep into the theory and practice of engaged learning; meet monthly to discuss readings, share projects and workshop challenges; and help transform what it means to teach at Cornell

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