Check out the highlights from the HESA Program’s latest e-newsletter.
Check out the highlights from the HESA Program’s latest e-newsletter.
The UConn HESA program is pleased to be participating in ACPA’s Virtual Convention as a whole program this year. Between March 1-17, ACPA 21 will offer a wide variety of educational, scholarly, and networking programs. ACPA21 aims to center attendees’ experience, focusing on building community, dedicated to a strong curriculum, and embracing the future of ACPA’s Strategic Imperative for Racial Justice and Decolonization.
ACPA-College Student Educators International is the leading comprehensive student affairs association that advances student affairs and engages students for a lifetime of learning and discovery. A key focus of ACPA‘s work is the Strategic Imperative for Racial Justice and Decolonization, through which the association directs resources, energy, and time toward addressing racial justice in student affairs and higher education around the world. Many of our HESA program faculty have been actively involved in ACPA, including in commissions and communities of practice. Since we signed up for whole-program registration in the fall, our students have also had memberships to ACPA and been able to participate in year-round programming.
Although we are excited for everything that ACPA 21 has to offer, we are particularly enthusiastic about the five programs that were accepted from faculty and students in the HESA program. We have provided a full list of these sessions below. Convention registrants can access all of them, and the other great convention content by logging in with your ACPA account information to the virtual convention platform.
|Session Type||Date & Time||Title||Presenter(s)|
|Research-in-Process||Monday, March 8, 2021, 2:30-3:30pm||The Personal is Professional: Exploring Emerging Student Affairs Professionals’ Intimacies||Ashley N. Robinson, Sade Erinfolami, Tania Flores, & Trevor Madore|
|Research-in-Process||Monday, March 15, 2021; 1:15-2:15pm||Anti-Blackness and the Monolith Construction of Higher Education Latinidad||Luz Burgos-López|
|Convention Program||Monday, March 15, 2021; 3:45-4:45pm||An Institutional Transformation Approach to Recruiting Racially Minoritized Faculty||Milagro Castillo-Montoya, Ashley N. Robinson, Luz Burgos-López, & Jillian Ives|
|Research-in-Process||Tuesday, March 16, 2021; 2:30-3:30pm||Finding Our Voice: Combating Anti-Blackness and COVID-19 in Higher Education.||Saran Stewart, Milagros Castillo-Montoya, Jasmine Sindico, Irvine Peck’s-Agaya, Nicole Hyman, Alquan Higgs, Rachel Wada, & Kiara Ruesta|
|Research & Practice Poster||Supporting Undocumented Immigrants in the Current COVID-19 Era||Kenny Nienhusser, Omar Romandia-Diaz, Kiara Ruesta|
UConn faculty, students, and post-docs from the Department of Educational Leadership, the HESA program, and Office of Diversity & Inclusion will be involved as presenters and volunteers during this year’s annual ASHE (Association for the Study of Higher Education) virtual conference on November 18-21 and pre-conference for the Council for Ethnic Participation (CEP) on November 13. Ten of our faculty, recent graduates, and graduate students from UConn will present 12 papers and interactive symposia and serve as discussant or chair on five paper sessions and interactive symposia. For those interested in participating in the conference, registration is still available.
The theme for the 2020 Conference is Advancing Full Participation. The association noted that:
Advancing full participation requires dismantling racism, classism, sexism, and other forms of oppression that systematically disadvantage different individuals and groups. It requires that we construct and study “architecture of inclusion” (Sturm, 2006) at various decision points, across sectors, and between siloes. We need to understand the mechanisms most likely to foster inclusion and full participation across public, private, national and international contexts.
Indeed, the scholarship and research that our UConn scholars are sharing during the conference is aimed at advancing full participation, incorporating qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods approaches, and addressing wide-ranging topics from pedagogy and learning, to policy, to student development, to global education. If you are planning to participate in the annual ASHE conference, we hope that you will take time in your schedule to support and learn from the excellent work of our UConn scholars. You can refer to the compiled selection of sessions with UConn presenters, chairs, or discussants below. Of course, we recommend using the official conference schedule for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
|Session Name||Date||Time (EST)||Location||Session Type||UConn Scholar||Role||Paper Title||Link|
|Making Space for Community, Support and Healing in Racial Equity Higher Education Work||Fri, November 13||12:45 to 2:00pm EST||Council for Ethnic Participation Virtual Pre-Conference, Bulbancha Room||Interactive Symposium||Frank A. Tuitt||Co-Chair||http://tinyurl.com/y6fdfx3s|
|Making Space for Community, Support and Healing in Racial Equity Higher Education Work||Fri, November 13||12:45 to 2:00pm EST||Council for Ethnic Participation Virtual Pre-Conference, Bulbancha Room||Interactive Symposium||Milagros Castillo-Montoya||Presenter||http://tinyurl.com/y6fdfx3s|
|Learning Through Engaging: Colleges Developing Activistas, Global Citizens, and Worldviews||Wed, November 18||4:30 to 5:45pm EST||ASHE Virtual Conference, Ida B. Wells Room||Paper Session||Adam M. McCready||Discussant||http://tinyurl.com/yx8z4hlc|
|Difference in Opinion: Making Sense of Student Encounters||Wed, November 18||2:45 to 4:00pm EST||ASHE Virtual Conference, Natchez Room||Paper Session||Ashley N. Robinson||Chair|
|New Perspectives on Faculty Workload Inequities||Thu, November 19||12:00 to 12:45pm EST||ASHE Virtual Conference, Natchez Room||Roundtable||Milagros Castillo-Montoya||Presenter||Braids and Bridges: A Collaborative Postcolonial AutoEthnography of Racially Minoritized Women Teaching Intergroup Dialogue||http://tinyurl.com/y2o2nyxs|
|Examining Race, Culture, and Fit in Higher Education||Thu, November 19||12:00 to 12:45pm EST||ASHE Virtual Conference, Houma Room||Roundtable||Luz Burgos-López||Presenter||The erasure of Blackness and role of Antiblackness in the Construction of Higher Education Latinidad||http://tinyurl.com/yyflojxx|
|Multicultural and Critical Teaching and Learning Perspectives||Thu, November 19||12:00 to 12:45pm EST||ASHE Virtual Conference, Michigan State Room||Roundtable||Joshua Abreu||Presenter||Learning to Teach Through Experimentation: A Multi-Case Study on Three Professors Teaching Historically-Marginalized Students||http://tinyurl.com/y4bbf7t3|
|Critical Perspectives on Service Learning||Fri, November 20||1:00 to 2:15pm EST||ASHE Virtual Conference, Equitable Engagement Room||Paper Session||Milagros Castillo-Montoya||Presenter||Developing Latinx students’ critical consciousness in a sport-based critical service learning||http://tinyurl.com/y5jds384|
|Critical Perspectives on Service Learning||Fri, November 20||1:00 to 2:15pm EST||ASHE Virtual Conference, Equitable Engagement Room||Paper Session||Ajhanai Channel Inez Newton||Developing Latinx students’ critical consciousness in a sport-based critical service learning||http://tinyurl.com/y5jds384|
|The Influence of Policies on Graduate Education and Workforce Development||Fri, November 20||4:30 to 5:45pm EST||ASHE Virtual Conference, Michigan State Room||Paper Session||H. Kenny Nienhusser||Presenter||If You Fund Them, Will They Come?: Findings from a Graduate Student Fellowship Program||http://tinyurl.com/y62dy47f|
|The Influence of Policies on Graduate Education and Workforce Development||Fri, November 20||4:30 to 5:45pm EST||ASHE Virtual Conference, Michigan State Room||Paper Session||Milagros Castillo-Montoya||Presenter||If You Fund Them, Will They Come?: Findings from a Graduate Student Fellowship Program||http://tinyurl.com/y62dy47f|
|Racism Off-Campus and Online: Quantitative Investigations||Fri, November 20||2:45 to 4:00pm EST||ASHE Virtual Conference, Chitimacha Room||Paper Session||Adam M. McCready||Presenter||Does Experiencing Racialized Aggressions on Social Media Predict Mental Health Outcomes||http://tinyurl.com/y42hjwjj|
|Attitudinal Inquires: Mixed-Methods Approaches to Student Safety||Fri, November 20||4:30 to 5:45pm EST||ASHE Virtual Conference, Houma Room||Paper Session||Adam M. McCready||Presenter||Masculinities as Barriers to Full Participation: A Longitudinal Study on Fraternity Masculine Norms and Hazing Motivations||http://tinyurl.com/y6oydyap|
|Teaching and Learning in Global Contexts||Fri, November 20||4:30 to 5:45pm EST||ASHE Virtual Conference, Utah Room||Paper Session||Saran Stewart||Presenter||Decolonizing Academic Spaces: Advancing Full Participation Globally to Promote Racial Equity in Postsecondary Education||http://tinyurl.com/yyfnpr4h|
|Teaching and Learning in Global Contexts||Fri, November 20||4:30 to 5:45pm EST||ASHE Virtual Conference, Utah Room||Paper Session||Frank A. Tuitt||Presenter||Decolonizing Academic Spaces: Advancing Full Participation Globally to Promote Racial Equity in Postsecondary Education||http://tinyurl.com/yyfnpr4h|
|Institutions’ Role in Perpetuating or Disrupting Inequity||Fri, November 20||2:45 to 4:00pm EST||ASHE Virtual Conference, Caddo Room||Paper Session||H. Kenny Nienhusser||Discussant||http://tinyurl.com/yyg87sg4|
|Facilitating College Pathways through College Access Programs||Fri, November 20||1:00 to 2:15pm EST||ASHE Virtual Conference, Caddo Room||Paper Session||Leslie Allen Williams||Presenter||Filling the Potholes: How College Access Programs Aid Participants’ Journeys to, through and Beyond College||http://tinyurl.com/y3kkx37r|
|(Im)Possible Strategy? Globalizing Efforts for Racial Equity in Higher Education||Sat, November 21||1:00 to 2:15pm EST||ASHE Virtual Conference, Houma Room||Interactive Symposium||Frank A. Tuitt||Chair|
|(Im)Possible Strategy? Globalizing Efforts for Racial Equity in Higher Education||Sat, November 21||1:00 to 2:15pm EST||ASHE Virtual Conference, Houma Room||Interactive Symposium||Milagros Castillo-Montoya||Presenter||http://tinyurl.com/y4ty8j8b|
|Student Affairs on the Front Lines: Addressing Hazing, White Supremacy, and Success for Students of Color||Sat, November 21||2:30 to 3:45pm EST||ASHE Virtual Conference, Chitimacha Room||Paper Session||Ashley N. Robinson||Presenter||How Does Whiteness “Show Up” in Student Affairs Work? An Institutional Ethnographic Literature Analysis||http://tinyurl.com/y6skb2dw|
|Taking a Stand: ASHE’s Position Taking Committee Year in Review||Sat, November 21||2:30 to 3:45pm EST||ASHE Virtual Conference, Bulbancha Room||Invited Session||H. Kenny Nienhusser||Presenter||http://tinyurl.com/y3cft87u|
As we reach the end of Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), we want to highlight and celebrate some of our HESA faculty and educational leadership doctoral students’ recent contributions to scholarship, practice, and activism in higher education. Our faculty and students are uplifting Latinx voices and experiences, contributing to the policy and public discourses, and centering, celebrating, and pushing the boundaries of Latinidad in student affairs and higher education.
In this post, we highlight program faculty Dr. Milagros Castillo-Montoya and Dr. Kenny Nienhusser, recent graduate Dr. Joshua Abreu (‘20G), and current Ph.D. student Luz Burgos-López. Though all of their work integrates and spans research, public engagement, service, and activism, we have put specific publications and projects into those categories below. We hope that you will learn more about and engage with their work as we end this month of celebration and uplift, and well beyond.
Castillo-Montoya, M. & Verduzco Reyes, D. (2020) Learning Latinidad: The role of a Latino cultural center service-learning course in Latino identity inquiry and sociopolitical capacity, Journal of Latinos and Education, 19:2, 132-147, DOI: 10.1080/15348431.2018.1480374
Nienhusser, H. K., & Oshio, T. (2020). Postsecondary education access (im)possibilities for undocu/DACAmented youth living with the potential elimination of DACA. Educational Studies, 56(4), 366–388. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131946.2020.1757448
Nienhusser, H. K., & Oshio, T. (2019). Awakened hatred and heightened fears: “The Trump Effect” on the everyday lives of mixed-status families. Cultural Studies « Critical Methodologies, 19(3), 173–183. https://doi.org/10.1177/1532708618817872
While Dr. Nienhusser’s scholarship does focus on undocumented students and about 80% of undocumented immigrants are Latinx, he does not hold this as synonymous to Latinx. In other words, the undocumented community comprises a diverse membership of individuals from a wide array of racial/ethnic identities.
Dr. Nienhusser on the Hablemos de Política podcast. The podcast episode, which is in Spanish, though it did not focus on the U.S. Latinx population, provided an overview of the U.S. higher education system and current issues, including cost of college, international students in US higher education, and undocumented students. The podcast audience is for Spanish-speaking audiences in the US and abroad.
Dr. Joshua Abreu’s article in La Galería magazine, “Gaining Political Power and Losing Bodegas: A Dominican-American Paradox” reflects on community voter engagement in Dominican-American communities, engaging with the tension of increasing voter participation at the same time of increasing gentrification in communities like Washington Heights.
In a recent article in The Crime Report, which was informed by his dissertation research, Dr. Abreu critiques and provides recommendations for criminal justice education. Dr. Abreu highlights the importance of examining instructional equity in Criminal Justice education, “given that about 40 percent of criminal justice degree recipients are either Latinx or Black college students.”
Service and Activism
At UConn, Dr. Nienhusser serves as the faculty director for La Comunidad Intelectual, which is a learning community with a residential community component focused on supporting students who are a member of or have a strong appreciation for the Latinx diaspora.
Ph.D. student Luz Burgos-López is actively involved in activism and community engagement, including founding the online community Non-Black Latinx in Higher Ed: Addressing Antiblackness in Comunidad, the purpose of which is “for non-Black Latinx folx to engage in unpacking our antiblackness in ourselves, our familia, our community, and within our field of higher education.” Luz’s research interests focus on antiblackness in constructions of Latinidad in higher education, and she will also be presenting a scholarly paper titled “The erasure of Blackness and role of Antiblackness in the Construction of Higher Education Latinidad” at the upcoming Association for the Study of Higher Education annual conference.
Luz has also recently co-founded Colectivo Bámbula, a coalition of anti-racist Eduvists cultivating Puerto Rican liberation politics, artistry and scholarship with the intent to re-imagine and honor ancestral knowledge and work towards the decolonization of the past, present and future.
UConn’s Department of Educational Leadership (EDLR) offers a rich and diverse curriculum that prepares both undergraduate and graduate students to be educational leaders in our ever-changing world. The “Courses and Curriculum” series highlights innovative courses within EDLR’s catalog that are changing the education game for the better.
The Department of Educational Leadership’s (EDLR) master’s program in Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) boasts a robust curriculum that prepares students to be well-rounded and reflective student affairs practitioners. EDLR 5105: Structured Group Dialogue in Student Affairs is both an innovative and integral part of the HESA curriculum, giving students a space to consider how dialogue, and intergroup dialogue specifically, can be a tool to explore their own racial identity and socialization, as well as the identities and processes of socialization of others. Students in the course are continually asked to reflect on the personal, professional, and educational implications of their learning. These insights and processes help the students learn how to dialogue with others who have varying perspectives given their own identities and socialization– a much-needed process on college campuses today.
Students in EDLR 5105 engage in dialogue with each other as an entire class as well as in smaller, intra-class groups. One of the major aspects of the course is the Intergroup Collaboration Project (ICP), which, as the closing project for the course, encourages action as a result of learning. Students work alongside their cohort members in assigned groups to create visual representations of their learning, specifically around race and intergroup dialogue in student affairs practice. Through the ICP projects, students dialogue across differences to arrive at an understanding of that year’s selected theme: in 2016, the theme was “allyship;” in 2017 it was “social responsibility;” and in 2018 it was “disrupting race talk.” These visual representations are then shared with the larger UConn community in the form of a HESA Gallery Walk, which engages the larger UConn community in dialogue about race and higher education.
The course is co-taught by Dr. Milagros Castillo-Montoya (she/her/hers) and Danielle DeRosa (she/her/hers). It was Castillo-Montoya who lead the charge several years ago to update HESA’s existing groups-based course. As part of her research on teaching in higher education, she had begun to explore intergroup dialogue, and in the winter of 2015 she was part of a six-person UConn delegation that attended the University of Michigan’s intergroup dialogue training program. Upon her return, she worked with the department chair to incorporate her valuable training into the course, which was first offered in its renovated form in the fall of 2016. The course, which follows the University of Michigan model, is co-taught by design: its two instructors have different social identities which are aligned with focus of the course. In UConn HESA’s case, the central focus of the course is race.
The course is divided into four phases: Forming and Building Relationships, Exploring Differences and Commonalities of Experience, Exploring and Dialoguing About Contentious Issues, and Alliance Building and Social Responsibility. In each phase, says DeRosa, students are both learners and teachers: “My favorite part of teaching this course is learning with and from our students. Students in the HESA program think deeply about the ways in which college campuses can be more inclusive. As a community, we are each able to contribute from our own unique perspectives and lived experiences.”
Castillo-Montoya reaffirms the importance of bringing one’s unique identities and experiences to the course. “My lived experience as a Latina, first-generation college graduate from a low-income background informs my teaching of this course. So does my research expertise in teaching and learning in higher education,” says Castillo-Montoya. “From these experiences, I understand that the content of the course isn’t something ‘out there’ to be learned; it is inside each of us as we unpack our own assumptions and understandings about ourselves, others, and society relative to race. Then we can consider how those things impact our practice”
For DeRosa, her experience working with Husky Sport, a campus-community partnership between UConn and a community in the North End of Hartford, has been important to her ability to complexly and responsibly co-teach this course. “I have had to examine my own positionality as a white woman engaged in work in a neighborhood mostly comprised of people of color. I’ve had to do a lot of the work that we are asking our students to do in the course, and this is work that I continue to invest in; the process of learning about and unlearning our own socialization never ends. It can be helpful to share the journey of understanding my own racial identity as I connect with students.”
Kayla Moses (she/her/hers, HESA ‘20), a student in the course this past fall, says she has learned a great deal about the impact of socialization and the power of her identity. “Within the context of this course, I became more aware of how the world around us, along with our personal stories, can impact the way that we think and develop,” says Moses. “I became more aware of my position as a woman of color and how that has affected my learning. This course allowed me to not only expand my understanding of how my identity can help me relate to my current and future students of color, but also to realize that sharing the load with white peers and colleagues is the only way that this work can be done effectively.”
Fellow student Steven Feldman (he/him/his, HESA ‘20) says that the course opened his eyes to important differences between one-on-one and group dialogue. “In one-on-one conversations, it is more difficult to avoid or disengage from conversations about race, but in group conversations, it is easier to fall into racialized scripts of behavior,” says Feldman. “When this happens, white folks like me tend to stay silent either because we do not feel like we have the tools to talk about race yet or because we are experiencing the discomfort of talking about race. This course challenged me to reflect on my identities and consider the consequences of my words and behaviors in group contexts.”
Castillo-Montoya and DeRosa, who just completed their third year teaching this course together, say it was their best co-teaching semester yet. Along with several of their students, they recently presented on the course at the 2019 ACPA (College Student Educators International) Annual Convention in Boston, Massachusetts. “Having this course makes UConn HESA one of only a handful of programs in the country that includes education on intergroup dialogue as part of their curriculum for future higher education and student affairs practitioners,” says Castillo-Montoya. “Practitioners in the field are increasingly competent in social justice and inclusion, and we want our graduates to be well prepared for their work with diverse students on diverse college campuses.”
“EDLR as a department has supported the development of this course from the outset,” says department head Dr. Jennifer McGarry. “We sent several faculty members to participate in the intergroup dialogue training at the University of Michigan, supported time and space to share about that experience, and encouraged the faculty who took part to integrate their learning with other opportunities to study, participate in, and lead dialogue about race. EDLR is committed to the course, the instructors, and the students: we see this teaching and learning as integral to who we are and what we value.” EDLR 5105 aligns with the Department of Educational Leadership’s mission to “inspire and cultivate innovative leaders for positive change” and Neag’s mission to develop leaders dedicated to improving education for all. The Department of Educational Leadership is proud to have talented teachers such as Dr. Milagros Castillo-Montoya and Danielle DeRosa doing the important work of opening and deepening dialogue on college campuses and beyond.
Dr. Milagros Castillo-Montoya, Assistant Professor in the Higher Education and Student Affairs master’s program, has devoted her career to investigating, pursuing, and implementing inclusivity and access in higher education. Castillo-Montoya’s passion for educational equity stems from her own life. A first-generation Puerto Rican, she was the first in her family to earn a college degree and later graduate degrees. Raised in a family with very little financial means, education served as her entry to a new world. The further she advanced in her education, however, the less Castillo-Montoya found other students who looked or sounded like her or who shared similar lived experiences. During her undergraduate years, she committed herself to serving minoritized students and improving their college educational experiences in the hope that it would support their retention and graduation. A graduate of Rutgers University (B.A., M.S.W.) and Teachers College, Columbia University (Ed.D.), Castillo-Montoya’s research focuses on educational equity for historically underserved college student populations, with a particular emphasis on learning and development for Black and Latinx students.
As a researcher, she is the author of an impressive body of scholarship, and her excellence in research has earned her the Emerging Scholar award from ACPA-College Student Educators International. In 2016, Castillo-Montoya was the co-recipient of a grant from the White House Collaborative on Equity in Research on Women and Girls of Color. In June of 2018, she and Dr. Daisy Verduzco Reyes co-published a study about the impact of Latinx cultural centers on Latinx students’ identity development. And most recently, she is co-authoring a 2019 publication in New Directions for Teaching and Learning that explores how drawing on minoritized students’ funds of knowledge– what they know from their lived experiences– can support their academic learning.
As a teacher, Castillo-Montoya is an innovator who excels at connecting research and practice. She teaches the “Leading in a MulticulturalEnvironment” course (EDLR 5126), in which students engage in equity inquiry projects in which they focus on how practitioners’ beliefs and values shape their practices in support of minoritized college students. Through this project, students use a theory to analyze their findings and inform practice through recommendations for staff and/or faculty. Students sometimes even have the opportunity to share their findings with the offices they have studied in order to help them develop more equity-minded policies and practices. Central to this course, and indeed to all of Castillo-Montoya’s teaching, is an emphasis on humanizing the many inequities that students experience on campus.
She challenges her students to consider what it would mean to center minoritized students in their practice through everyday interactions as well as policies.
And at the heart of Castillo-Montoya’s teaching is a commitment to fostering meaningful connections with her students; in a 2016 article highlighting Castillo-Montoya’s work, HESA alumna Alessia Satterfield (‘16) noted: “There is more than just teaching going on in her classroom; there is constant love and support.”
Castillo-Montoya has a lot on the horizon: she has publications forthcoming in the Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, the Review of Higher Education, the International Journal of Qualitative Research in Education, and more. She currently serves as principal investigator for a research project entitled “Teaching Through Diversity,” in which she is investigating faculty professional development vis-a-vis diversity. Castillo-Montoya’s commitments to diversity and inclusion go far beyond the buzzwords: they are throughlines in her research, integral to her teaching, and central in her life. As the title of her co-authored 2012 article (“Thriving in Our Identity and in the Academy: Latina Epistemology as a Core Resource”) posits, Castillo-Montoya’s work aims to change the academy in ways that supports the most marginalized to thrive in their identities within and outside of the academy.