In addition to serving as Associate Dean, I teach and do research in education, particularly on issues related to school violence and minority student outcomes in public, mostly urban, K-12 schools. To stay updated on current trends in scholarship and policy, I attend professional conferences when I can. It was my good fortune to attend two in the Fall: the annual meeting of ASHE, the Association for the Study of Higher Education, and LICE, the London International Conference on Education.
The ASHE meeting was in Portland, OR, and attracted hundreds of researchers, teachers, and leaders from colleges and universities across the country. The hardest part of conferences is choosing what sessions to attend since programs are typically filled with so many interesting panels and conversations. I decided to strike a balance and go to sessions on topics that I was more familiar with (e.g., post-traditional college students, immigrant or undocumented students, Title IX) and those where I knew I have much to learn (e.g., NCAA and collegiate athletics). A session on faculty governance was a valuable reminder of how turbulent a year 2019 had been on many college campuses and how student activism is undergoing a period of resurgence as a result.
The highlights of the conference for me were the keynote addresses by Dra. Mildred Garcia, the President of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and Dra. Dolores Delgado Bernal, Professor and Chair of the Department of Chicana(o) and Latina(o) Studies at Cal State LA. I left their lectures inspired and so proud to learn from these two Latinas, both of whom have been generous mentors to so many aspiring scholars and leaders.
I was also lucky to be able to see some of Portland when I was there and it is very walkable - which is high praise coming from someone from NYC. The city itself has distinguished itself as vegan-friendly and is a model for what cities can do to promote sustainability and environmentally-minded practices. Jet-lagged upon arrival, I decided to go to the Portland Art Museum and had the privilege of seeing Brooklyn-based artist Hank Willis Thomas’ (@hankwthomas) exhibit.
A few weeks later, I boarded yet another long flight - this time to London - for the London International Conference on Education. This was my second year attending LICE, and first as a Session Chair. LICE brings together an exceptionally diverse community of researchers and practitioners from - literally - all over the world. I was absolutely impressed by truly how many countries were represented at the gathering. In the session that I chaired - on special education needs and sustainability - each group of presenters hailed from a different country. Being in that kind of truly global space was an absolute privilege. The sessions and discussions were good reminders of how much common ground there is in education; for example, so many countries are trying to do their best to reduce disparities in educational access and quality and there is a collective agreement about how essential education is to economic mobility, health, and an informed populace and electorate. I left LICE promising myself to be much more deliberate when seeking out published research to draw on for my own studies to make sure that I am including authors and perspectives from outside of the U.S.
While I look forward to meeting colleagues new and familiar at other conferences in the Spring, and likely sharing some of my own research later in 2020, I am happy to stay put for a while and enjoy an East Coast winter. Happy New Year everyone!