It is a tragic fact that American public elementary and secondary education deprives us an opportunity to explore the rich, nuanced terrain of culture, in all its glory. As such, we are left without the knowledge, vocabulary, or experience needed to have consistently positive, meaningful cross cultural interactions. There is a litany of data, primarily derived from the social science literature, detailing everything from factors that impact social development, to those predicting the outcomes of interactions between out-group members. This blog seeks to pair this extensive body of research with that found in multicultural counseling/psychology and higher education to offer best practices, programmatic concepts, troubleshoot challenges, and trek a pathways towards a post-secondary experience not only responsive to the unique challenges affecting minoritized learners, but reconceptualized to address the needs of all learners from the pre-admissions points of access with institutions of higher learning.
I come to the professoriate with a decade of experience in higher education, through such diverse roles as notetaker, proctor, tutor, supplemental instructor, disability affairs coordinator, tutor program coordinator, executive function coach, learning specialist, college counselor, and adjunct instructor. These positions run the gamut of the post-secondary landscape, including community college, private, public, and independent.
As a man of color, I have always been interested in the experiences of others with nondominant identities who are navigating college. This fostered clinical interest in internalized oppression, learning differences, and identity development with a focus on ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Consistently, my research focuses on means by which those in these populations thrive, with emphasis on the role faculty play in this scenario. Of particular focus to this blog will be the role of cultural literacy as a vehicle for student development.
It is important you know I don't think of myself as being the chosen one with regard to these matters. I am far from being alone is championing diversity and inclusion efforts in the present. More importantly, I am far from being alone in valuing the experiences of the oppressed, just read James Baldwin, Paolo Friere, Thomas Parham, Janet Helms, Peggy McIntosh, and MANY others!
What I believe I bring to this conversation is first my experiences as a person with minoritized identities who has successfully matriculated through the acquisition of all levels of post-secondary education. I place my qualitative experiences foremost on this list as cultural responsiveness is only ever effective when we can listen to the voices of those who are experiencing oppression. Second is my experiences having worked in higher education for the past decade. Third is my clinical training as a psychotherapist, which gives me access to a rich understanding of human behavior from an interdisciplinary perspective. It also gives me access to clinical process, the mechanisms by which interactional dynamics are used to facilitate healing in the here-and-now. Fourth is my doctoral training as an educator, which gives me access to the interdisciplinary literature in my field, and thus a robust base from which to offer advise or food-for-thought.
I write this blog to give voice to the silenced. To offer relief to those feeling alone in their experiences of oppression. To offer relevant solutions for those in the positions to affect change, namely professors and administrators. I hope you find value in the forthcoming posts.