Virtual School Meanderings

June 15, 2018

TP Msg. #1654 Viva the Scholar-Activist!

This particular item isn’t specifically focused on K-12 distance, online, and/or blended learning; however, the notion of the scholar-activist – basically researchers that use their privileged position in the academia to agitate for positive change.  In fact, this notion of the scholar-activist is one of the main reasons I have continued to maintain this blog for more than 13 years now.  It is also one of the reasons that I am so vocal, so direct, and so blunt about the failures within the practice of K-12 distance, online, and blended learning.  Anyway, here is the item…

Higher education is like mountain climbing — the higher a scholar of color climbs, the whiter it gets.

1654
Viva the Scholar-Activist!

Folks:

The posting below looks at the challenges of a scholar-activist.  It is by Alvaro Huerta,* an assistant professor of urban and regional planning and ethnic and women’s studies at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and it appeared in the March 30, 2018 issue of Inside Higher Ed, an excellent – and free – online source for news, opinion, and jobs for all of higher education. You can subscribe by going to:  http://insidehighered.com/. Also, for a free daily update from Inside Higher Ed, e-mail <scott.jaschik@insidehighered.com>. Copyright ©2018 Inside Higher Ed. Reprinted with permission.

Regards,

Rick Reis

reis@stanford.edu

UP NEXT: Two Core Principles about Learning

Tomorrow’s Academic Careers

———- 1,111 words ———-

Viva the Scholar-Activist!

 

I am a Chicano scholar-activist.

What does it mean for me to be a scholar-activist? (Thanks for asking.) It means, based on my understanding and experience, that I have one foot in the academy or academe and one foot in Chicana/o-Latina/o communities. It means being a bridge between these asymmetric spaces: institutions of higher education and racialized/working-class communities. It means for the former, with its privileged members, to serve the latter — not vice versa, as is the norm.

As an interdisciplinary scholar, I have been trained or socialized to the norms and rules of the academy. This includes elite universities, such as the University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D.), and the University of California, Los Angeles (B.A., M.A.). I say this not to boast or brag (well, maybe a little bit) but to push back against everyone who has questioned my academic abilities — as a Chicano kid from East Los Angeles’ Ramona Gardens housing project or Big Hazard projects — to compete and thrive at the highest levels in higher education. While I am not seeking pity or sympathy — especially given my privileged positionality — too often, similar to my violent upbringing, I must regularly defend myself against academic bullies and haters (to put it in scholarly terms).

A message to the academic bullies and haters: I am not a Mexican boy who you can push around or pat on the head! So, as Kendrick Lamar raps, “Sit down … be humble.”

Higher education is like mountain climbing — the higher a scholar of color climbs, the whiter it gets. As one of the few Chicana/os to obtain a Ph.D. in urban planning and related fields from an elite university, through my graduate studies and academic career, I have often been the only brown body in the room. While I do not get intimidated by anyone or any situation, thanks to being raised on the mean streets of the Eastside, I aim to change this unjust reality. Actually, since my undergraduate years at UCLA, I have advocated for more working-class Chicana/os-Latina/os and other racialized groups to pursue higher education.

As a faculty member and public intellectual, I’m in a privileged position to help more people from similar backgrounds — racialized minorities, children of immigrants, first-generation university students, those from working-class backgrounds or impoverished/violent upbringings, and the like. I encourage historically marginalized youth to not only seek undergraduate degrees but also to pursue professional and graduate degrees. That includes speaking at high schools, community colleges and community forums and organizing on-campus workshops on demystifying and applying to graduate and professional schools.

When it comes to serving or advocating for Chicana/o-Latina/o communities and other racialized groups, while some scholars talk a good game, they don’t walk the talk. Like the concept of the rational actor, which suggests that people act rationally and in their self-interest, these individuals are more interested in advancing their own social status. While I am not against the idea of individual advancement, generally speaking, I am against individuals who purposely exploit racialized and working-class communities — by extracting their knowledge, lived experiences, stories and so on — to advance their own individual agendas and goals without any form of reciprocation.

In my case, not only did I grow up poor, but I also spent over 15 years as a community organizer before pursuing my graduate studies. By doing so, I incurred opportunity costs. In other words, instead of advancing my professional career, I invested my time and energy in serving marginalized communities. Among other actions, that included: leading a grassroots campaign to defeat a proposed power plant in the city of South Gate, Calif. (early 2000s); co-organizing Latino immigrant gardeners against a draconian law in the city of Los Angeles (late 1990s); and co-organizing a hunger strike at UCLA to defend financial aid support for undocumented students (mid-1980s).

In fact, the UCLA hunger strike in 1987 that I helped organize, as a member of MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán), was a precursor to a similar action led by UCLA students (and one faculty member) in 1993. The latter eventually led to the creation of the César E. Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies. This department has helped UCLA create more ethnic studies and social justice classes for its Chicana/o-Latina/o student population. It has also facilitated the hiring of Chicana/o-Latina/ faculty members. Many years later, I am still waiting for my Hallmark thank-you card or box of See’s Candies from UCLA. And since campus/community organizing consists of collective efforts by dedicated individuals and leaders, let’s not forget about the other co-organizers and, especially, the hunger strikers of this historic event.

The scholar-activist, however, like the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield, gets no respect in the academy. While traditional or mainstream scholars refuse to fully recognize our research-action efforts, activists criticize us for operating in the so-called ivory tower. This is a reality or predicament that Mexican-Americans are all too familiar with.

For instance, Mexican-Americans (or Chicana/os) are not “Mexican enough” for “real Mexicans” from the motherland and not “American enough” for white Americans. To deal with reality or resolve this predicament, scholar-activists and Chicana/os must accept our distinct identities with pride, regardless of what others think of us.

While I accept the “publish or perish” mantra in the academy, I publish without losing sight of my ultimate object: improve the living conditions of historically marginalized communities. This is where I separate myself from traditional or mainstream academics, who falsely believe that publishing esoteric articles in peer-reviewed journals will bring about the necessary structural changes to improve the lives of racialized and working-class communities. While I publish in peer-reviewed journals and university/academic book presses, like Helen Sword posits, I aim to write “clearly and engagingly” in my academic publications.

In addition to academic publications, I strongly believe that colleges and universities — both teaching and research based — should give credit (e.g., tenure and promotion) to faculty members for publishing nonrefereed articles, essays and policy papers. Only a small fraction of peer-reviewed articles gets cited, and more people tend to read nonrefereed publications, given their availability and accessible language (mostly). This is especially the case for publications with positive impacts in (re)framing arguments and public policies to advance social, racial and economic equity in this country and beyond. It is also the case for advancing action-research findings in accessible periodicals and reports to improve the lives of los de abajo.

In short, I unconditionally endorse what a wise German philosopher wrote almost 175 years ago, which should be applied to all academic fields: “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.”

———-

About: Dr. Alvaro Huerta is an assistant professor of urban and regional planning and ethnic and women’s studies at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He is the author of Reframing the Latino Immigration Debate: Towards a Humanistic Paradigm, (San Diego State University Press, 2013). He holds a Ph.D. in city and regional planning from UC Berkeley. He also holds an M.A. in urban planning and a B.A. in history—both from UCLA.

 

December 27, 2017

Scopus – Author Citation Alert, Citations for Barbour, Michael K. (Author Identifier 7005949699)

From another one of my scholarship networks (although this one is not an open one).

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Scopus

Author Citation Alert: Citations for Barbour, Michael K. (Author Identifier 7005949699)

Your author citation alert called Citations for Barbour, Michael K. (Author Identifier 7005949699) has found 2 new results.

New document(s) citing
Research and practice in K-12 online learning: A review of open access literature Cavanaugh C.S. et al. 2009
Document Title Authors Year Source
1. Online K-12 Teachers’ Perceptions and Practices of Supporting Self-Regulated Learning Huh Y., Reigeluth C.M. 2018 Journal of Educational Computing Research, 55(8), pp. 1129-1153.
New document(s) citing
Asynchronous and synchronous online teaching: Perspectives of Canadian high school distance education teachers Murphy E. et al. 2011
Document Title Authors Year Source
1. Live synchronous web meetings in asynchronous online courses: Reconceptualizing virtual office hours Lowenthal P.R., Snelson C., Dunlap J.C. 2017 Online Learning Journal, 21(4), pp. 177-194.
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December 18, 2017

Scopus – Author Citation Alert, Citations for Barbour, Michael K. (Author Identifier 7005949699)

From a third academic network (this one not open).  Note the citing research below.

Scopus

Author Citation Alert: Citations for Barbour, Michael K. (Author Identifier 7005949699)

Your author citation alert called Citations for Barbour, Michael K. (Author Identifier 7005949699) has found 2 new results.

New document(s) citing
Research and practice in K-12 online learning: A review of open access literature Cavanaugh C.S. et al. 2009
Document Title Authors Year Source
1. Courses beyond borders: A case study of MOOC platform Coursera Shafiq H., Wani Z.A., Mahajan I.M., Qadri U. 2017 Library Philosophy and Practice, 2017, art. no. 1566.
New document(s) citing
The reality of virtual schools: A review of the literature Barbour M.K. et al. 2009
Document Title Authors Year Source
1. Digital technologies and junior secondary: Learning with and about digital technologies Finger G. 2017 STEM Education in the Junior Secondary: The State of Play, pp. 197-219.
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December 8, 2017

Scopus – Author Citation Alert, Citations for Barbour, Michael K. (Author Identifier 7005949699)

Not an open scholarship network today, but an alert from one of my academic networks.

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Author Citation Alert: Citations for Barbour, Michael K. (Author Identifier 7005949699)

Your author citation alert called Citations for Barbour, Michael K. (Author Identifier 7005949699) has found 1 new result.

New document(s) citing
The reality of virtual schools: A review of the literature Barbour M.K. et al. 2009
Document Title Authors Year Source
1. A virtual reality simulation for children: Build and create from the perspective of a toy figure Axt J., Schmiedecke M., Bucher K., Knote A., Von Mammen S. 2017 2017 9th International Conference on Virtual Worlds and Games for Serious Applications, VS-Games 2017 – Proceedings, art. no. 8056582, pp. 133-136.
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November 15, 2017

Scopus Author Citation Alert: “Citations for Barbour, Michael K. (Author Identifier 7005949699)”

Note this article that may be related to K-12 distance, online, and/or blended learning related.

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Citations for Barbour, Michael K. (Author Identifier 7005949699) – 1 new result
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Document title Author(s) Year Source Cited by
1 Social media technology management in college of technology in Oman an empirical analysis Sharma H., Pillai S.P. 2017 Journal of International Education in Business,
10(2)pp.147-163.
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