Ilka Kressner

Associate Professor

Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures

My current research studies poetry in public spaces, such as slams and impromptu recitals in parks, libraries, and bars. I see the function of literature as a social practice in a shared space that connects the individual with the broader community, communicates between bodies, things and words, and links aesthetics with socio-political issues.

As a professor of Spanish, I am an educator of future educators, as many of my students are or will be teachers and professors in higher education. My community involvement ranges from discussions with teachers in the Albany area, related to teaching practices (how to foster intercultural awareness, use technology for real-time discussions, expand students’ learning outside the classroom walls), to scholarly exchange with former students of mine, who have become university professors. For instance, this spring, I will visit Bogotá, Colombia, to participate in a scholarly venue dedicated to collecting in postcolonial contexts, organized by an alumna of UAlbany, Dr. Alejandra Olarte.

I have been organizing tango dance events at UAlbany for the last five years. What started as a grassroots movement by interested dancers on campus has now become the UAlbany Tango Club, of which I am the faculty adviser. We host weekly dance classes for students, staff and faculty, and occasional events for dancers from the Albany area. This semester, our club activities have expanded; we offer free classes on Tuesday evenings on the downtown and uptown campuses (https://www.facebook.com/ualbanytango.club).

Future plans for publicly engaged work:
As a passionate cyclist and user of public transportation in Albany, and member of United University Professional’s (UUP) new Transportation Committee, I help raise awareness of the importance of the creation of protected bicycle lanes on Madison Avenue and the plan proposed by the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) to implement a new rapid route between Downtown Albany and Crossgates Mall, with an exclusive busway through the Harriman State Office Campus and the UAlbany Uptown campus. Both plans are particularly timely given our university’s planning to host the new College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) at the downtown campus, which will likely result in an increase of circulation between both campuses.

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