Discussions with thought-leaders about the future of higher education
Amaka Okechukwu, "To Fulfill These Rights: Political Struggle Over Affirmative Action and Open Admissions" (Columbia UP, 2019)
In 2014 and 2015, students at dozens of colleges and universities held protests demanding increased representation of Black and Latino students and calling for a campus climate that was less hostile to students of color. Their activism recalled an earlier era: in the 1960s and 1970s, widespread campus protest by Black and Latino students contributed to the development of affirmative action and open admissions policies. Yet in the decades since, affirmative action has become a magnet for conservative backlash and in many cases has been completely dismantled.
In To Fulfill These Rights: Political Struggle Over Affirmative Action and Open Admissions (Columbia University Press, 2019), Amaka Okechukwu offers a historically informed sociological account of the struggles over affirmative action and open admissions in higher education. Through case studies of policy retrenchment at public universities, she documents the protracted―but not always successful―rollback of inclusive policies in the context of shifting race and class politics. To Fulfill These Rights provides a new analysis of the politics of higher education, centering the changing understandings and practices of race and class in the United States.
Amaka Okechukwu is an Assistant Professor of sociology at George Mason University.
Schneur Zalman Newfield is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, and the author of Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Temple University Press, 2020). Visit him online at ZalmanNewfield.com.
Jamila Lyiscott, "Black Appetite. White Food. Issues of Race, Voice, and Justice Within and Beyond the Classroom" (Routledge, 2019)
One year to the day after George Flloyd’s murder, Dr. Jamila Lyiscott discusses her book on racial justice in education: Black Appetite. White Food. Issues of Race, Voice, and Justice Within and Beyond the Classroom (Routledge, 2019) A community-engaged scholar-activist, nationally renowned speaker and spoken word artist, Assistant Professor of Social Justice Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and founding co-director of its new Center for Racial Justice and Youth Engaged Research, Lyiscott—who may also invite you to call her Dr. J, if you’re cool—offers educators support for thinking and acting on issues of race, language, and the colonial logics that maintain white supremacy at the expense of Black wholeness through the lens of what she calls “Vision-Driven Justice.”
Personal stories, scholarly citations, original poetry, choice excerpts of literature, and theoretical as well as applied analyses are written in the author’s flow of American Standard English, American Black English, and Carribbean Creolized English to manifest Black Appetite. White Food. The result is a material yet breathing example of what Lyiscott (and others) call fugitive literacies: a book that evades replicating multiple facets of the white supremacy enmeshed in education systems and products. The book invites readers to reflect thoroughly and continuously, but also expects us to move beyond those realms and into action. As Lyiscott writes, “The authority to author new, more equitable social realities belongs to each of us.”
Christina Bosch is an assistant professor of special education at California State University at Fresno.
Pandemic Perspectives from The Chronicle of Higher Education
Welcome to The Academic Life. You are smart and capable, but you aren’t an island, and neither are we. So we reached across our mentor network to bring you podcasts on everything from how to finish that project, to how to take care of your beautiful mind. Wish we’d bring in an expert about something? Email us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Find us on Twitter: The Academic Life @AcademicLifeNBN.
In this episode you’ll hear about: Karin Fischer’s job as a contributing writer for the Chronicle of Higher Education, how she researches stories about international students, what the pandemic means for her work and for the students she writes about, and what she’s hopeful about.
Our guest is: Karin Fischer, a higher-education journalist with a focus on international education, American colleges’ activities overseas, the globalization of the college experience, and study abroad. Her work has appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the New York Times, EdSource, the Washington Monthly, and University World News. Ms. Fischer is also a research associate at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California at Berkeley and an international education leadership fellow at the University at Albany. She is a recipient of the East-West Center’s Jefferson Fellowship for reporting in Asia and the International Reporting Project fellowship. Her work has been honored by the Education Writers Association, the National Press Foundation, and the Poynter Institute.
Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, a historian of women, gender, and sexuality.
Michael Crow: President, Arizona State University
Michael Crow describes his 19-year tenure leading ASU’s transformation from a regional, “party school” to what has been recognized as the U.S.’s most innovative research universities for six years in a row. He outlines the model of “The New American University” that represents “The Fifth Wave” in the Evolution of American Universities”, described in his books with these titles by William DeBars, to create an institution that defines its success by how many students it can serve, rather than how selective it has become, and pushing forward transdisciplinary research that has a positive real-world impact on Arizona and the planet. He sees his role as a design-architect, creating an environment that fosters the development of new schools, colleges and institutes bringing together experts from different fields to seek solutions to important problems.
David Finegold is the president of Chatham University.
Lesley Lavery, "A Collective Pursuit: Teachers' Unions and Education Reform" (Temple UP, 2020)
A Collective Pursuit: Teachers' Unions and Education Reform (Temple UP, 2020) focuses on the idea that individuals, in this case, teachers, are multifaceted and multidimensional actors who pursue goals for a variety of reasons and those reasons are connected to their capacity to do their jobs, to the best of their abilities, as well as their interests as citizens and community members. According to Lesley Lavery’s research, the data indicate that teachers are the most important in-school predictors of student success. This suggests that in thinking about educational structure and reform, the focus should always include the individual teacher in a classroom and their capacity to do their job well. Thus, Lavery’s analysis in A Collective Pursuit is both to understand the capacity and role of the individual teacher in the classroom and in the American educational system, and to understand the role that organized labor has played in working on behalf of teachers but within a changing educational landscape.
This landscape, in recent decades, has seen the advent and expansion of the charter school movement, and various teachers’ strikes in expected places (Chicago public schools) and in unexpected places (West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and elsewhere). Lavery peels apart the various dimensions of these dynamics, examining the establishment of the two largest teachers’ unions in the United States (the AFT and the NEA) and how their origins impact both the way they approach their missions and how they work on behalf of educators. Into this dynamic, of public schools, teachers’ unions, state regulations of funding streams and the perpetual reform of education, we see the advent of charter schools, which are also public schools, but are allowed to operate a bit differently, in a number of states, from the traditional public-school model. Lavery’s analysis examines how charter schools have been integrated into the public-school arena, and now, how the teachers at some of these schools are moving towards unionization efforts and why they are inclined to do so. Lavery explores the important connection between organized labor, the individual teacher, and educational reform efforts. These connections are complex, but they are also at the heart of the American educational system and they need to be considered in context of reform, new approaches, and, as so many have experienced in the midst of the COVID pandemic, home schooling efforts and parent involvement in their children’s education.
Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015). Email her comments at email@example.com or tweet to @gorenlj.
Martin Paul Eve et al. "Reading Peer Review: PLOS One and Institutional Change in Academia" (Cambridge UP, 2021)
Listen to this interview of Martin Paul Eve (Birkbeck, University of London), Cameron Neylon (Curtin University), Daniel Paul O'Donnell (University of Lethbridge), Samuel Moore (Coventry University), Robert Gadie (University of the Arts London), Victoria Odeniyi (University College London), and Shahina Parvin (University of Lethbridge) about their book Reading Peer Review: PLOS One and Institutional Change in Academia, published this year by Cambridge University Press. The book is part of Cambridge UP's "Elements" series. It's also open access. We talk about excellence in higher education and about excellence in scientific research, and we talk about all the trouble that can bring.
Martin Paul Eve : "Yeah, I think that's right that in scholarly communication, we're dealing less with language and more with discourse. And the most frustrating defenses of the humanities disciplines try to claim some exclusivity around language and expression and so on. And really, when you're dealing with extremely complicated scientific concepts, the way you express them does matter, and if there isn't clarity in your expression, it leads to poor communication. I mean, part of the challenge here is that the evolution of the research article in the sciences means that you're only ever really getting a description of what has been done. And so making the description as perspicacious as possible is a core part of that. Now the questions is: Since we have practices like open data, like replication studies that attempt to give more of an insight into the process, into what's going on–––Do they obviate that need for such careful language usage, given that you're exposing more of the process itself or does it remain as important as ever. I think it's probably the latter. But it's interesting to me that this need for precision has evolved, that it does play a role, and that reviewers nearly always comment upon it when they think it's lacking."
Daniel Shea heads Scholarly Communication, the podcast about how knowledge gets known. Daniel is Director of the Writing Program at Heidelberg University, Germany. Daniel's YouTube Channel is called Write Your Research.