Author Archive

Donna Kessler-Eng, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of English
Bronx Community College at City University of New York

Donna Kessler-Eng is an associate professor of English at Bronx Community College (BCC). She is currently BCC’s Strong Start to Finish Resident (English), and is designing co-requisite courses for students with developmental needs in both English and reading. She earned a Ph.D. in English from the CUNY Graduate Center where she specialized in antebellum American literature and nineteenth century American medical and cultural discourse. She teaches developmental writing, composition, and literature and medicine courses. Her research interests include literature and medicine, pedagogy, first-year writing, developmental education reforms and strategies for community college students’ success. She has served as the coordinator of BCC’s Developmental Writing Program, and as the coordinator of BCC’s Tutorial Intervention Program. She was also a member of CUNY’s Developmental Writing Advisory Committee and CUNY’s Writing Discipline Council.

Contact Information:

Phone: 718-289-3004

Swan Kim, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of English
Bronx Community College at City University of New York

Swan Kim is an associate professor of English and Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) coordinator at Bronx Community College (BCC) at City University of New York (CUNY). She received her PhD in English at University of Virginia specializing in Asian American diaspora. She teaches courses in composition and ethnic American literature. Her research interests include WAC/WID, first-year writing, antiracist pedagogy, diaspora and immigration, race and ethnicity, and Asian American literature and culture. She has been serving as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee co-chair at the Association for Writing Across the Curriculum (AWAC), the co-leader for the CUNY WAC Professional Development, and a faculty senate and council member at her college.

Contact Information:

Phone: 718-239-5745

Prof. Sylvia Maria Ruiz Santiago

Indiantown Adult Learning Center (IALC)
Martin County School District

Ruiz Santiago is a teacher originally from Spain, with two bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Education. Currently she’s pursuing a Ph.D. in Education and Leadership. She has been teaching for twelve years in privates and public institutions from kindergarten to university levels around the world; in Spain, France, Chile and now the USA. Her expertise is how to teach a foreign language. In the United States, she worked for three years as a French Immersion School teacher and later on as a Spanish professor in College. Right now, she’s teaching ESOL for the District of Martin County.

Contact Information:
Phone: 614-843-2726

Dr. Brenda Lee Morales Gonzáles

Kaiser University

Brenda Lee Morales holds a Bachelor’s Degree in General Elementary Education from Universidad del Turabo in Puerto Rico. A few years later he completed a Master’s degree in Educational Administration at the same institution. In 2016, she completed a PhD in Educational Leadership at Keiser University where she had already earned a Specialist in Education degree. Finally, in the academic aspect, Dr. Morales holds a Post Doctorate in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Walden University. She is currently doing another Post-Doctorate at Walden University in the Human Resources area. In terms of work and professional career, she has 27 years of experience working in the field of education in several positions as a teacher, Curriculum Specialist, Director of Federal Educational Proposals, Academic Dean, among others. He has worked at all levels of the education system in Puerto Rico, from Head Start to High School and at the university level. Eleven years ago, she began as Director of Federal Proposals and Professor of University Institutions and currently serves as Dean of Academic and Student Affairs at Humacao Community College in Puerto Rico, in addition to offering online courses to Humacao Community College in Puerto Rico, in addition to offering online courses to university level at the Master’s and PhD level.

Contact Information:
Phone: 787-672-7661

Dr. Frances Vázquez Padilla

NUC University

Dr. Frances M. Vázquez Padilla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, few years later completed a Master’s degree in Advanced Practice in Nursing. In 2020, she completed an Ed. D. in Educational Management and recently she completed a professional certification in Neurolinguistic Programing and Coaching. She is currently doing another certification related to educational neuroscience. She has 14 years of experience working in the field of education in several positions as Faculty, Academic Director, Academic Dean at NUC University. Currently she serves as Chancellor at NUC University, Ponce Campus in Puerto Rico.

Contact Information:
Email: /
Phone: 787-213-2101 – 787-840-4474 –Ext. 7009
Twitter: @DraFrancesVazq1

Dra. Yubelkys Montalvo

Diretora Ejecutiva
HETS Consortium

La Dra. Yubelkys Montalvo trabaja para el Hispanic Educational Technology Services Consortium (HETS, por sus siglas en inglés) desde el año 1999. Desde que fue designada Directora Ejecutiva en el 2006, su enfoque principal es el crecimiento de la organización y la diversificación de los beneficios para las instituciones miembros del Consorcio. Entre las iniciativas desarrolladas se destacan: la creación de nuevos servicios como la revista arbitrada HETS Online Journal, el programa de Estudiantes Embajadores y la colaboración para proponer nuevas alternativas educativas tecnológicas y compartir las mejores prácticas a través de eventos educativos como el Best Practices Showcase y el Student Leadership Showcase y recientemente, webinars para facultad, administradores y estudiantes. Además, ha coordinado y dirigido numerosos adiestramientos internacionales en universidades de Colombia y México, y ha participado en numerosas conferencias y foros Nacionales e Internacionales. La Dra. Montalvo posee un Bachillerato en Comunicaciones de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras, y una Maestría en Relaciones Públicas de la Universidad de Sagrado Corazón. Actualmente, completó su doctorado en el programa: Educación en Liderazgo e Instrucción en la Educación a Distancia de la Universidad Interamericana de PR, Recinto de Ponce.

Contact information:
Phone: (787) 616-3201

Dr. Diana M. Valle-Riestra

Project Director
Title V PPOHA Graduate Grant
Albizu University-Miami Campus

Dr. Diana M. Valle-Riestra is the Project Director of the Title V PPOHA Graduate grant and a faculty member in the Speech & Language Pathology graduate program at Albizu University-Miami Campus. She has a Ph.D. in Special Education and Reading and an M.S. in Learning Disabilities and Emotional Disturbance from the University of Miami, School of Education. She has over 16 years of experience in higher education teaching undergraduate and graduate courses and has served as the Project Director or Principal Investigator for several multi-year education grant projects totaling over $9.5 million in competitive funding.

In addition to Dr. Valle-Riestra’s project management experience and grant writing activities, she is a researcher with interests in the areas of special education, postsecondary inclusive education, working with diverse families, and leadership and advocacy issues within the context of special education. She has experience managing and coordinating undergraduate and graduate programs in special education, research projects, and local school district program evaluations; has consulted and published research on exceptional populations; and has served on several professional Executive Boards.

Contact information:
Address: 2173 NW 99th Avenue, Miami, FL 33172
Email: |Phone: 305-593-1223 X3153

Dr. Amanda (Mandy) Giust

Director, Graduate Student Research Center
Albizu University, Miami Campus

Dr. Amanda Giust holds an Ed.D. in Adult Education and Human Resource Development from Florida International University. She has experience educating young children, adolescents, and adults of all abilities. Dr. Giust has eight years of experience managing a variety of community and federal grants and three years of experience in classroom teaching. Dr. Giust’s research interests include diverse learners, learning across the lifespan, self-directed learning, and career development

Prof. Megan Eberhardt-Alstot

Learning Design Lead
Lecturer, School of Education
California State University, Channel Islands

Megan Eberhardt-Alstot is the Learning Design Lead for California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) Digital Learning Unit. She is also a Lecturer in the School of Education. She earned her BA and Teaching Credential from Pepperdine University and her Master’s in Educational Leadership and Administrative Credential from CSUCI. Prior to joining CI, Megan spent ten years as a K-12 Educator. As part of the Learning Design Team she designs, develops and facilitates faculty learning experiences specific to online and mixed-modality teaching. She also co-created Learning Online 101, an online micro-course to prepare students for success as online learners.  Megan is interested in learning innovation, learning science, and the intersection of pedagogy and technology to create empathetic, equitable and responsive learning environments.

Contact information:

Lydia Dixon, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Health Science
California State University, Channel Islands

Lydia Z. Dixon is an Assistant Professor of Health Science at California State University, Channel Island and holds a PhD is in Anthropology from the University of California, Irvine. Her research is primarily ethnographic and examines health systems and health disparities in the US and Mexico. Specifically, Dr. Dixon has published on midwifery, reproductive health, community health and obstetric violence. Her teaching focuses on ethics, community health, and research methods. She is passionate about inspiring her students towards careers in research and practice through active learning in classroom and virtual spaces.

Contact information:

Jaime Hannans, PhD, RN, CNE

Associate Professor, Nursing
California State University, Channel Islands

Jaime Hannans PhD, RN, CNE is Associate Professor of Nursing at California State University Channel Islands. Dr. Hannans obtained her BSN and MSN from CSU, Chico, and PhD from University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Dr. Hannans has been teaching at CSUCI since 2009, with 20-years critical care nursing experience. She is also the CSU Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) Campus Co-Coordinator, where the campus effort has saved students over five million dollars in the past five years. Her research interests focused on immersive virtual reality, mixed reality, simulation, technology in teaching and learning, textbook affordability, and the use of open educational resources in higher education.

Contact information:

Kristen Faye Linton, MSW, Ph.D.,

Assistant Professor
California State University, Channel Islands

Dr. Linton has a PhD in social work and has been teaching and mentoring Latinx students for seven years; she utilized high-impact practices, such as service learning and undergraduate research. As a social worker and disability expert, she is dedicated to assessing and addressing inequities in education.

Contact information:

Beth Counihan, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of English,
Queensborough Community College-CUNY

Beth Counihan is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Queensborough Community College of the City University of New York.  While in an administrative position at Lehman College, she worked on the HETS Virtual Plaza FIPSE grant and she has been teaching at Queensborough since Fall 2001.  Her interests include High Impact Practices, reading theory and pedagogy, and nature across the curriculum.  Her work has been published in English EducationCommunity College Humanities Review and the edited volume ​What is College Reading

Contact information:

An Open Educational Resource for Teaching Revision: Flesch-Kincaid Readability Statistics.

Author: Beth Counihan
Department of English, Queensborough Community College-CUNY

Author Note:
I have no known conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to:
Beth Counihan, Queensborough Community College-CUNY, 222-05 56 Ave, Humanities 428, Bayside, NY 11364. Email:


As the world begins to emerge from the Covid-19 Pandemic, college faculty are ever more mindful of the high cost of textbooks and other necessities of student life.  Assigning open educational resource (OER) texts lightens the financial burden and helps contribute to a more equitable campus.  Faculty also need to have in our pedagogical tool boxes strategies that work well both in the traditional and virtual classrooms, as we now know we must be prepared for any situation.  With this in mind, I would like to share the promising findings of a qualitative study a colleague and I conducted pre-pandemic, in Fall 2018 with our ENGL101: Freshman Composition students, one that suggests further inquiry.  We assigned an open educational resource, Flesh-Kincaid Readability Statistics, to complement our work teaching college reading and writing skills. Our limited data, the students’ own writing, indicated that using Readability Statistics supported the skill of revision in particular. 

At our urban public community college, seventy-three percent of our students received full financial aid the semester of our study (QCC Fact Book 2020).  We serve a highly diverse student body with no one dominant group.   In addition, our community college is a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution and HETS member institution, with Hispanic students or their families largely from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Ecuador.  Our students each have access to a free subscription to the New York Times–paid through student activity fees, so there is no out-of-pocket expense.   I assign the New York Times as a required text in all levels of my English courses.  We read articles pertaining to our course topics, but also I assign students to read and write summaries of articles of their own choice, each according to their own interests.  Students interested in video games and smart phone technology read and summarize articles in the Times Personal Tech section, for exampleStudents concerned about equity and social justice read and summarize articles about racial reckoning and immigration issues.

To reinforce our classroom work on academic writing revision strategies, I assign students to use OER sites like (although not all features on the site are no-cost)Students paste their summaries into a text box on the site and the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Statistics program is applied, giving students an immediate measurement of the grade level of their writing.  As students revise their New York Times article summaries in, they can see the grade level rise in real time. They see how the grade level rises when they are strategic and mindful about revision, with most students who participated in our study in Fall 2018 seeing an increase of two grade levels in their revised summaries.

Download here the full article in PDF format

Comparison of Connectedness in Online, Blended, and Face-to-Face Research Methods Courses among Hispanic and Low-Income Students.

Authors: Kristen Faye Linton, MSW, Ph.D., Lydia Dixon, Ph.D., Jaime Hannans, RN, Ph.D., & Megan Eberhardt-Alstot
California State University, Channel Islands


When students feel connected to the instructor, they are more likely to remain motivated, engaged, and persist toward completing an online course. Rarely have studies compared connectedness in three modalities: online only, blended, and face-to-face. This study compared perceptions of connectedness among students (N = 27) from an Hispanic Serving Institution with their instructor and peers in a research methods course. The sample of students took the same course in three different sections- each taught in a different modality by the same white instructor. Connectedness and students’ grades were lower for students who took the course fully online. However, student ratings of teachings were highest for those who took the online-only section. Latinx students reported less connectedness in the online-only section than others. The results inform decisions about teaching modalities during the pandemic and in the future; synchronous learning is critical to obtain equitable connectedness among Latinx students.


Teaching modality; connectedness; social presence; Latinx; Hispanic Serving Institution; online teaching; blended learning

Download here the full article in PD format