Advertisement

The Urban Review

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 551–567 | Cite as

The Power of Dialogue and Meaningful Connectedness: Conversations between Two Female Scholars

  • Christine W. Nganga
  • Makini Beck
Article

Abstract

In this paper, the authors examine the power of dialogue and meaningful connectedness from their perspectives as female scholars of color. They draw from the feminist co-mentoring literature, which encourages equal balance of power among participants where each person takes on the role of teacher and learner, or mentor and mentee, since both have something significant to contribute. These contributions are rooted in critical dialogue, which places emphasis on humanizing and empowering those involved in the dialogue. Building community and fostering deeper connections and interactions among the co-mentors is also a key component of this framework. The findings revealed three major themes: (1) Developing an academic and scholarly identity; (2) Battling a sense of place and belonging, and; (3) Finding hope and regaining power and agency. This work is significant because it highlights the critical importance and value of mentoring for women of color in the academy, especially when authentic relationships are rooted in ethical care for one another. Additionally, this research further examines how relationships are created, developed, and sustained among scholars.

Keywords

Mentoring Higher education Dialogue 

References

  1. Acker, J. (1997). My life as a feminist sociologist; Or getting the man out of my head. In B. Laslett & B. Thorne (Eds.), Feminist sociology: Life histories of a movement (pp. 28–47). New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Agosto, V., Karanxha, Z., Unterreiner, A., Cobb-Roberts, D., Esnard, T., Wu, K., & Beck, M. (2016). Running bamboo: A mentoring network of women intending to thrive in academia. NASPA Journal about Women in Higher Education, 9(1), 74–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alexander, R., Jr., & Moore, S. E. (2008). The benefits, challenges, and strategies of African American faculty teaching at predominantly White institutions. Journal of African American Studies, 12(1), 4–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Antonio, A. L. (2002). Faculty of color reconsidered. Journal of Higher Education, 73(5), 582–602.Google Scholar
  5. bell hooks. (1984). Feminist theory: From margin to center. Boston, MA: South End Press.Google Scholar
  6. bell hooks. (1990). Marginality as a site of resistance. In R. Ferguson et al. (Eds.), Marginalization and contemporary cultures. Cambridge Mass: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  7. bell hooks. (1994). Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Blakemore, J. E. O., Switzer, J. Y., DiLorio, J. A., & Fairchild, D. L. (1997). Exploring the campus climate for women faculty. Subtle sexism: Current practice and prospects for change. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  9. Bona, M. J., Rinehart, J., & Volbrecht, R. M. (1995). Show me how to do like you: Co-mentoring as feminist pedagogy. Feminist Teacher, 9(3), 116–124.Google Scholar
  10. Bova, B. (2000). Mentoring revisited: The Black woman’s experience. Mentoring and Tutoring, 8(1), 5–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brock, R. (2005). Sista talk. The personal and the pedagogical. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing.Google Scholar
  12. Butner, B. K., Burley, H., & Marbley, A. F. (2000). Coping with the unexpected: Black faculty at predominately white institutions. Journal of Black Studies, 30(3), 453–462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chang, H., Ngunjiri, F. W., & Hernandez, K. C. (2012). Collaborative autoethnography. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.Google Scholar
  14. Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory. A practical guide through qualitative analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.Google Scholar
  15. Cladwell, L. D., & Stewart, J. B. (2001). Rethinking W.E.B Dubios “double consciousness”: Implications for retention and self-preservation in the academy. In L. Jones (Ed.), Retaining African Americans in higher education: Challenging paradigms for retaining students, faculty & administrators (pp. 193–205). Stylus: Sterling, VA.Google Scholar
  16. Cohen, L. M., Cowin, K., Ciechanowski, K., & Orozco, R. (2012). Portraits of our mentoring experiences in learning to craft journal articles. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 20(1), 75–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (Eds.). (1999). Shaping a professional identity: Stories of educational practice. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  18. Cowin, K. M., Cohen, L. M., Ciechanowski, K. M., & Orozco, R. A. (2012). Portraits of mentor-junior faculty relationships: From power dynamics to collaboration. Journal of Education, 192(1), 37–47.Google Scholar
  19. Dance, K. (2012). Unlikely allies in the academy. Women of color and white women in conversation. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Darder, A. (2009). Teaching as an act of love: Reflections on Paulo Freire and his contribution to our lives and our work. In A. Darder, M. P. Barltodano, & R. D. Torres (Eds.), The critical pedagogy reader (pp. 567–578). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. Davis, D. J., Reynolds, R., & Jones, T. B. (2011). Promoting the inclusion of tenure earning Black women in academe: Lessons for leaders in education. Florida Journal of Educational Administration & Policy, 5(1), 28–41.Google Scholar
  22. Driscoll, L. G., Parkes, K. A., Tilley-Lubbs, G. A., Brill, J. M., & Pitts Bannister, V. R. (2009). Navigating the lonely sea: Peer mentoring and collaboration among aspiring women scholars. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 17(1), 5–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Elbaz-Luwisch, F. (2004). Immigrant teachers: Stories of self and place. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 17(3), 387–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Freire, P. (1993). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York, NY: Continuum.Google Scholar
  25. Freire, P. (1998). Pedagogy of freedom: Ethics, democracy, and civic courage. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  26. Fries-Britt, S., & Kelly, B. T. (2005). Retaining each other: Narratives of two African American women in the academy. The Urban Review, 37(3), 221–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Garrison-Wade, D. F., Diggs, G. A., Estrada, D., & Galindo, R. (2012). Lift every voice and sing: Faculty of color face the challenges of the tenure track. The Urban Review, 44(1), 90–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gibson, S. K. (2006). Mentoring of women faculty: The role of organizational politics and culture. Innovative Higher Education, 31(1), 63–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Giroux, H. A., & Robbins, C. G. (2006). The Giroux Reader. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers.Google Scholar
  30. Grant, C. M. (2012). Advancing our legacy: A Black feminist perspective on the significance of mentoring for African-American women in educational leadership. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 25(1), 101–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Gregory, S. T. (2001). Black faculty women in the academy: History, status, and future. The Journal of Negro Education, 70(3), 124–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Henderson, T. L., Hunter, A. G., & Hildreth, G. J. (2010). Outsiders within the academy: Strategies for resistance and mentoring African American women. Michigan Family Review, 14(1), 28–41.Google Scholar
  33. Hill-Collins, P. (2000). Black feminist thought. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  34. Hinton, D. (2010). Creating community in the margins: The successful black female academician. Urban Review, 42, 394–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Holmes, S. L., Land, L. D., & Hinton-Hudson, V. D. (2007). Race still matters: Considerations for mentoring Black women in academe. Negro Educational Review, 58(1/2), 105.Google Scholar
  36. Irvine, J. J. (2003). Educating teachers for diversity: Seeing with a cultural eye. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  37. Johnson-Bailey, J., & Cervero, R. M. (2002). Cross-cultural mentoring as a context for learning. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 2002(96), 15–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Katuna, B. M. (2014). Breaking the glass ceiling? Gender and Leadership in Higher Education (Doctoral Dissertation, University of Connecticut). Retrieved from https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=Breaking+the+Glass+Ceiling%3F+Gender+and+Leadership+in+Higher+Education.&btnG=&as_sdt=1%2C47&as_sdtp
  39. Lawrence-Lightfoot, S. (1994). I’ve known rivers. New York, NY: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  40. Lorde, A. (1984). Sister outsider. Freedom, CA: The Crossing Press.Google Scholar
  41. McGuire, G. M., & Reger, J. (2003). Feminist co-mentoring: A model for professional development. NWSA Journal, 15(1), 54–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Mertz, N. (2011). Women of color faculty: Recruitment, hiring, and retention. In G. Jean-Marie & B. Lloyd-Jones (Eds.), Women of color in higher education: Changing directions and new perspectives (pp. 41–71). Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited. doi: 10.1108/S1479-3644(2011)0000010007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Parker, D. C., & Scott, R. M. (2010). From mentorship to tenureship: A storied inquiry of two academic careers in education. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 18(4), 405–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Patitu, C. L., & Hinton, K. G. (2003). The experiences of African American women faculty and administrators in higher education: Has anything changed? New Directions for Student Services, 2003(104), 79–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Patton, L. D., & Catching, C. (2009). ‘Teaching while black’: Narratives of African American student affairs faculty. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 22(6), 713–728.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Phillips, D., Harris, G., Larson, M., & Higgins, K. (2009). Trying on—being in—becoming. Four women’s journey(s) in feminist poststructural theory. Qualitative Inquiry, 15(9), 1455–1479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sawyer, R. D., & Norris, J. (2009). Duoethnography: Articulations, (re)creations of meaning in the making. In W. S. Gershon (Ed.), The collaborative turn: Working together in qualitative research (pp. 127–140). Rotterdam: Sense.Google Scholar
  48. Snyder, C. R. (1994). The psychology of hope. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  49. Stanley, C. A. (2006). Coloring the academic landscape: Faculty of color breaking the silence in predominantly White colleges and universities. American Educational Research Journal, 43(4), 701–736.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Stanley, C., & Lincoln, Y. (2005). Cross-race faculty mentoring. Change, 37(2), 44–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Taubman, P. (2000). Teaching without hope: What is really at stake in the standards movement, high stakes testing, and the drive for “practical reforms”. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 16(3), 19–33.Google Scholar
  52. Thomas, G. D., & Hollenshead, C. (2001). Resisting from the margins: The coping strategies of black women and other women of color faculty members at a research university. The Journal of Negro Education, 70(3), 166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Thorsos, N., Johnannessen, G., Beck, M., & Nganga, C. (2016). Synergy, care, and constructive chaos: Understanding the dynamics of an international co-mentoring network. In G. Guzman-Johnannessen (Ed.), Mentoring outside politics, policies, and practices in institutions of higher education (pp. 57–71). New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
  54. Tillman, L. C. (2001). Mentoring African American faculty in predominantly white institutions. Research in Higher Education, 42(3), 295–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Turner, C. S. V. (2002). Women of color in academe: Living with multiple marginality. The Journal of Higher Education, 73(1), 74–93.Google Scholar
  56. Valencia, R. (2010). Dismantling contemporary deficit thinking. Educational thought and practice. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  57. Villaverde, L. (2008). Feminist primer. New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational Leadership, Graduate School of Education and Human DevelopmentGeorge Washington UniversityNewport NewsUSA
  2. 2.Rochester Institute of TechnologyRochesterUSA

Personalised recommendations