Prof. Casandra Silva Sibilin Secures TLH Fellowship for Spring

Kudos to York Professor Casandra Silva Sibilin on earning an Andrew W. Mellon Transformative Learning in the Humanities (TLH) Faculty Fellowship for Spring 2022!

According to Prof. Silva Sibilin, the program focuses on:

Equitable, creative, student-centered pedagogical research and methods designed for the rich diversity of CUNY students;

Greater recognition for the importance of teaching;

The role of an urgent and indispensable humanities for the future of CUNY students and a more just and equitable society.

She says 51 scholars were selected as recipients from throughout CUNY, two awarded at York (Dr. Thomas Zlabinger for fall 2021)

Prof. Silva Sibilin is a full-time Lecturer of Philosophy in York’s Department of History, Philosophy, and Anthropology since 2017, after having spent 10 years as an Adjunct Lecturer in the department. She also serves as Coordinator of the Philosophy discipline.

She explains her “core beliefs” about teaching this way: “I believe in prioritizing students' learning experiences and enthusiasm for learning itself over covering all the planned material. I believe that there are many ways to show students the value of the humanities, both for themselves and personal problems, as well as social problems.”

o On some of her general goals in participating in the program: “I hope to learn pedagogical methods to better connect to students and bring more of their experiences to the classroom. I also hope to find more ways to connect the material to social justice issues.”

o On her interest in the program:

She says two of the courses she’s taught for many years – Philosophy of Education (Phil 202) and Western Civilization (CLDV 210) – fit well with the goals of the fellowship. “I believe these courses have transformative power in motivating students to see the world from new perspectives, to think critically about personal and social problems, and to develop their own visions for improvement.”

Prof. Silva Sibilin added:

o Through this fellowship, I would like to continue my work in developing engaging assignments and activities in these courses and finding more ways to empower students to take what they learn in the classroom to help them grapple with problems in their own lives.

Regarding her work related to the fellowship so far, she shared:

o I participated in the Fellowship’s Summer Institute where we all shared our visions for the fellowship through dialogue and a “live” collaborative manifesto. It was an inspiring experience and motivated me to start my own classes this Fall semester with “live” collaborative activities where I and students openly discussed our visions, hopes, and commitments for the semester.

o During the Summer Institute I also met fellows in my Spring cohort who are in my discipline and based on our experience with events bringing philosophy to the wider public, such as, Brooklyn Library’s “Night of Philosophy and Ideas” (, we discussed organizing an event or a podcast of this nature, working with students, and opening access to philosophy and critical thinking methods beyond the classroom.

o One quote I like from the work for the Summer Institute and which captures my hopes for the fellowship: “The only way to effect real change is to show people a future more exciting than the past, and inspire them to work together on the journey.” (Bruce Mau’s 24 Principles for Designing Massive Change in Your Life and Work)

York's Interim Provost, Dr. Derrick Brazill, thinks the timing of this fellowship is perfect and takes pride in Professor Sibilin's commitment to her students.

"Given its focus on equitable, creative, student-centered pedagogy designed for CUNY's diverse student population, it is no surprise that TLH has selected Professor Sibilin to become one of their Faculty Fellows," says Dr. Brazill.  "Now, her inspired work on the philosophy of education that has benefitted York for so long will enhance the instruction of all CUNY students.  We could not be prouder of her."

Dr. Sibilin also thanks colleagues for their support and collaborative efforts.

“My biggest inspiration are my students from whom I learned so much and who have shaped my pedagogical approaches and course design. I have also benefited from the wisdom and friendship of many colleagues throughout my years of teaching.”

She also says, “For my work on the Philosophy of Education course, I’m especially grateful to Professor Tania Levey, Professor Leslie Keiler and everyone in the Teacher Education department, and my fellow instructors, Professor Linda Gerena and Adjunct Lecturer Ramaina Prashad. For my work on the Western Civilization course, I’m especially grateful to Adjunct Lecturer Miriam Fried and her many ideas on designing writing assignments to motivate students.

I would like to thank Professor Howard Ruttenberg, Dean George White, Professor Robert Parmet and Professor Timothy Kirk for their leadership, support and encouragement. Special thanks go to Ms. Vanessa Grande for her tireless efforts on behalf of the department, students, and staff.”

York appreciates and celebrates Professor Silva Sibilin and her dean is particularly pleased about her success.

“Professor Silva Sibilin's award of a Mellon Fellowship speaks loudly about the incredible talent we have on our campus,” says Dr. George White, Interim Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, which includes the Department of History, Philosophy and Anthropology. “Our students benefit every day that they are able to interact with, and learn from our gifted scholars and instructors. We are very proud of her and see this success as a part of the College's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”