Call to Order

The regular meeting for the DTSA was called to order at 2:05pm on August 28, 2020 via Zoom.

  • Taylor Culbert (President)
  • Ryan McKinney (Officer of Curriculum and Exams)
  • Ruijiao Dong (GC Representative)
  • Cen Liu (Officer of Digital Initiatives)
  • Kiera Bono (Officer of Awards and Admissions)
  • Adam Elsayigh (International Student’s Representative)
  • Joned Suryatmoko (Officer of Professionalization)
  • Maria Litvan (Second Vice President)
  • Jasmeene Francois (First Vice President)
  • Jacquelyn Marie Shannon (Secretary-Treasurer)
  • Gracia Shin (DSC Representative)

Approval of Agenda

The agenda was unanimously approved as distributed.



President, Taylor Culbert

Reporting from meeting with Peter: 

  • Wants to continue having a regular (optional) meeting with board members on a bi-weekly basis to check-in as a means of (checking in with peers, making sure everyone is doing alright)
  • Some  2-4pm classes are being moved to 7-9pm to accommodate timezones for  students who are currently abroad (with the exception of Musical Theatre)
  • Looking to develop something geared towards 3rd-year students to share their work within the program and provide more ways to connect with each other (as a kind of alternative to what would be the green-room space.)
  • Looking to find new ways to socially integrate 1st year students into the program while we can’t meet in person.
  • Note on international students: new incoming international students cannot enter the country if their coursework is online, cannot get their SS #s and so cannot be paid, (3 are outside of the country) so keep in mind that they may be working as well as taking classes.
  • We discussed how the DTSA can do some anti-racist work: having events, partnering with the Center for Humanities and/or other departments, professionalization or a brown-bag-lunch seminar? 
  • [TC asked the board for feelings and thoughts on this topic. Notes on this conversation have been moved below under “New Business”]
First Vice President, Jasmeene Francois
  • New Students Happy hour date set for Wednesday, September 9th at 7 pm via Zoom.
  • In the process of finding some games to help folks get to know each other.
  • Considering the possibility of informal monthly hangouts via Zoom modeled after other organizations approaches.
  • Will be asking for ideas for how people want to meet up, ideas around what has worked.
  • (Maria suggested continuing the weekly screening watch parties that the DTSA organized in May. Joned suggested making it 1x/month instead of weekly.)
  • Ryan suggested that we send out a plan ahead of time, so folks can plan and look forward to it
  • Maria brought up the idea to have someone from each cohort curate one month
  • Jasmeene noted interest in replicating the Green Room- maybe hosting a write-together on zoom time, dance party?
  • Joned suggested a socially distant outing – DTSA bikeride? Park? 
  • Kiera suggested something related to reading, for a 2nd exam check-in/accountability.
  • Ryan offered to organize that since it falls under curriculum and exams
Second Vice President, Maria Litvan
  • Noted needing to address the challenge with funding between Booth Award and the Student Conference so that we aren’t competing with ourselves.
  • Will be sending an email out about the Booth Award soon, starting the process and asking for nominations.
  • (Ruijao asked who is organizing the student conference committee. Taylor said apparently this is supposed to be initiated from the previous committee. Ruijao and Taylor to talk further offline.)


Secretary-Treasurer, Jacquelyn Shannon
  • We have something of a working budget based roughly on last years’ expenses. 
  • Waiting to hear from the DSC about fund allocation this year via Gracia (based on enrollment numbers that we won’t know until mid-September). 
  • Hard to plan at this point because there is a possibility that, due to pandemic-related cuts, there may be less funds available. 
  • Will need to revisit once numbers are more solid.
  • Suspending budget vote until next meeting.


Digital Initiatives Officer, Cen Liu
  • Still need to schedule a meeting with Ash to figure out how to organize the resource exchange
  • Main goal is to think about how to make the DTSA Resource Exchange more accessible and visible, less exclusive, and increase awareness on what it is, that it exists, and how to access it.
  • (Ruijiao mentioned issues accessing certain books for booklists.)
  • (Ryan suggested that we should talk to the interactive pedagogy program about formalizing the exchange so that it could live within the Digital Initiatives Lab and could be possibly folded into their duties to maintain. Ryan volunteered to reach out.)
  • Interest was expressed in including book lists, but also a database of fields, including the actual named fields that people have had in the past.
  • Questions were raised about the status and purpose of the DTSA Facebook page, as well as who the admin is. (Ruijiao noted that it is currently very informal and something to think about: what is the purpose of it and is it what we want it to be?)
  • Interest was expressed in there being a centralized, more inclusive space for people to ask for things they are looking for from the community that is accessible to those who are not on social media.


Professionalization Representative, Joned Suryatmoko
  • Joned may not be in person in the spring, so if we are doing in-person work in the spring, Deeps will be stepping in to help facilitate the in-person duties of the professionalization rep.
  • Jim’s calendar is coming together. We will have 5 events, with the 1st event on September 17th.
  • Jim and Peter will keep events in the afternoon 4:15pm.
  • All international students will not be able to join, so Zoom meetings will be recorded. (There will be a note in the calendar event stating that they will be recorded, but Joned will also send a reminder for each event to remind people that it will be recorded for privacy concerns.)
  • Jim is finalizing the calendar and it should be sent out next week.


Admission and Awards Representative, Kiera Bono 
  • November 8th will be the date for Open House, with both a morning and evening session (tentative).
  • Meeting with Peter to finalize the Open House info and admission cycle.
  • Starting to think about ideas for how to expand our applicant pool to hopefully reach people who aren’t otherwise usually applying.
  • Looking to lay the groundwork for recruitment strategies that will hopefully bring in more BIPOC applicants.
  • Also looking to reach out to more practice-based organizations for recruitment.
  • Will be reaching out to alumni to think about ideas for this.


Curriculum and Exams Representative, Ryan McKinney
  • Most recent mock orals over Zoom worked well, with options to set up both through DTSA and also on their own.
  • Still need to schedule a meeting with Erika before the 1st meeting with the larger committee.
  • Trying to reevaluate end-of-semester assessment forms for faculty and courses. Looking specifically into possibly an electronic format in the hopes that it will boost student participation and quality of responses.
  • Ongoing discussion by the committee regarding the placement of the advanced research course, as well as the due dates for the requirement of completed fields and booklists.


[Note: Taylor resumed note-taking for the remainder of the meeting].


Graduate Council and Alumni Engagement Representative, Ruijiao Dong 
  • (no notes taken during this conversation)


International Student Representative, Adam Elsayigh

Incoming international students will not be able to get paid until they are able to get into the country and get SSNs. It is currently unclear when that will be.

  • Planning to think about accessibility and resources for international students, and possibly organizing a meeting to see what the international students need.
  • Working on creating a survey to assess international student needs. Has been in touch with Harry Blain on the PSC, who is also working on a GC-wide international students survey.
  • May organize an international student get-together early on this semester.



Scheduling future meetings 
  • Taylor will send out email to do this. 
  • Meetings will be about once a month.


Adapting for COVID:

Ideas for Replacing In-Person Book Sale
  • Ask people for books they want to sell and then mail them to buyers.
  • Perform readings of books for donations.
  • Performances/poetry readings for donations (with the possibility of also asking faculty to contribute)
  • Ask for volunteers from our program to run online workshops for donations. 


Academic/Teaching Support
  • Arrange monthly or biweekly meetings to share strategies and assignments.
  • Develop a database of old syllabi. (Ryan to set up a CUNY Academic Commons site for this)


Social Events 
  • Jasmeene has created a GCal for DTSA events 


DTSA anti-racism work

  • Taylor asked the board how members felt about some of the ideas that she and Peter discussed regarding the DTSA doing anti-racism work.
  • Kiera asked if there are any plans for hiring new BIPOC faculty after Marvin leaves after this year? 
  • Taylor shared that there is currently a hiring freeze, so we probably won’t be able to replace anyone immediately. The current plan is to move to bring in more consortium faculty to teach more courses in the department.
  • Kiera expressed concern having experienced too many racist things said in classrooms from faculty and from students without any acknowledgement, asserted that there is a lot that needs to be done in the classroom itself. What can we do as far as supporting our students in dealing with these issues when they come up? Suggests idea for a support system within the DTSA as a space for processing and dealing with these issues when they come up.
  • Ruijao suggests a need for a system or mechanism for reporting back to a 3rd party or someone who matters, perhaps something integrated with the class evaluations?
  • Taylor expressed wanting to be careful about making this a students vs faculty issue, that it shouldn’t be a punitive system for faculty. 
  • Adam suggests that we might talk with faculty about anti-racism training that both faculty and students can attend together 
  • Ryan suggested one resource: Nicole Monique Brewer, anti-racist pedagogy in theatre
  • Stressed the ideal being someone being paid to facilitate that work from the outside
  • Taylor said that Nic suggested creating an anti-racist task-force (which we might then be able to get support from the public humanities folks)



Meeting was adjourned at approximately 4pm.