Dr. Rani and Dr. Martinelle’s Student Cohort Wins Spring 2019 XCC Project Showcase

The winning team at the Expo with an intentional gap left for those who could not attend. Left to Right: Bee Buachoom, Aditi Mittal, Megan Markovitz (Wheelock), Dr. Swati Kshama Rani, Romil Pandey, Shareen Alsebai

On Saturday April, 27, a team of undergraduate students from a BU Hub Cross-College Challenge section led by Dr. Swati Kshama Rani and Dr. Rob Martinelle claimed first place honors at the Spring 2019 Cross-College Challenge (XCC) Project Showcase,

This cohort of students had worked together throughout the semester in an XCC section titled Learning About Boston & Beyond By Walking It –Exploring One City as a Case Study to Explore Master/Counter Narratives, which Dr. Rani and Dr. Martinelli (both lecturers at BU Wheelock) co-developed.

The course, officially designated HUB XC 433 C1, asked students to physically explore the city of Boston, conducting fieldwork that examines how our city has both resisted and been complicit in the master narratives that shape how we view themes of democracy and colonization.

From that experience, Dr. Rani and Dr. Martinelli’s students produced a set of recommendations that encourage the building and sharing of counter narratives here on campus:

  • A 21-page magazine that maps out a new walk on campus which highlights the counternarrative stories at BU.
  • Recommendations for the old Howard Thurman Center at the GSU to be focused on Boston’s history of counternarratives.
  • Programming recommendations for the new Howard Thurman Center. These included a community engagement initiative with young children having a more active relationship with BU.

At Saturday’s expo, the students from Dr. Rani and Dr. Martinelli’s course presented these ideas to a panel of alumni and faculty judges, who evaluated presentations based on these essential areas of consideration: creativity and innovation, oral and signed communication, research and information literacy, and teamwork. After a Q&A session and a brief intermission, the panel named the BU Wheelock instructors’ students this year’s winner.

When they set out to develop their XCC course, Dr. Rani and Dr. Martinelle envisioned creating an academic experience that got students to engage with and explore Boston as a rich case study of politics, protests, and walks. They also sought to make interdisciplinary collaboration, a theme emphasized across all XCC sections, an overt part of the learning they led.

“Rob and I are a cross cultural exploration as collegiality.  We are very different yet worked together, modeling teaming to our students” says Dr. Rani.  “We have been in this collaboration for two years but ultimately our premise is to study & teach where critical sociological theories meet the application of social studies in education.” 

“My favorite part about the class was getting to learn about topics I have learned about in some of my education classes, in a different context and apply them to a tangible project with a final outcome” says Megan Markovitz (Wheelock ’19), an elementary education major at Wheelock.

“I also liked how the class was focused on the city of Boston rather than critical race theory as a whole; it made it easier to conceptualize,” Ms. Markovitz continues. “The class really got me thinking about the wider scope of things, especially our final product of programming for the HTC, and how that can be applied to education in and outside the classroom, and will be something I take with me into my professional life.”

“The table emphasizes that Boston the city itself was our classroom” – Swati Rani

The BU Cross-College Challenge is the Hub’s signature project-based, one-semester, 4-credit elective course open to juniors and seniors from all 10 undergraduate schools and colleges. “The vision for this one-semester, 4-credit elective course is the result of years of feedback from students, alumni, and faculty and is intended to prepare students for tomorrow’s rapidly changing interconnected world” says XCC Director Bruce Schulman.

Congratulations to all of the students in About Boston & Beyond By Walking It –Exploring One City as a Case Study to Explore Master/Counter Narratives Delivered”

  • Bee Buachoom
  • Aditi Mittal
  • Megan Markovitz
  • Romil Pandey
  • Shareen Alsebai
  • Anuj Jain
  • Connor Dedrick
  • Michaela Pilskin

In the fall, there will be four opportunities for students to take XCC, most of which feature Wheelock faculty:

HUB XC 433 A1
R 12:30pm-3:15pm
Janine Bempechat (Wheelock) and Ashley Davis (SSW)
Challenging Inequities in Suburban and an Urban Elementary School

HUB XC 433 B1
TR 9:30am-11:00am
Rebecca Nichols (Questrom) and Kim Shuckra-Gomez (CAS)
Cross Cultural Exploration of Music

HUB XC 433 D1
M 2:30pm-5:15pm
Samantha Myers (CAS) and Robert Weintraub (Wheelock)
Equipping College Students With the Tools to Bring About Social Change

Grace Hagerty