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One of the most critical skills theological school deans need, arguably now more than ever before, is that of problem-solving. The challenges facing theological schools continue to become more technologically complex, socially entangled, costly, and multi-faceted. It is evident that most deans are not just dealing with programmatic, administrative, and ...

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New Scholarship in Critical Quantitative Research - Part Two (New Populations, Approaches, and Challenges: New Directions for Institutional Research, Number 163)

Wells, Ryan S.; and Stage, Frances K., eds.
Wiley, 2015

Book Review

Tags: higher education   |   institutional development   |   quantitative research
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Reviewed by: Cindy Kilgo, University of Alabama
Date Reviewed: November 30, -0001
The New Scholarship in Critical Quantitative Research – Part Two: New Populations, Approaches, and Challenges provides readers with a timely and much needed expansion of the emerging paradigmatic approach of blending critical theories with quantitative methods. This volume substantially supplements the two prior New Direction for Institutional Research volumes that serve as the only other major publications on the employment of critical quantitative inquiry within higher education. Editors Wells and Stage ...

The New Scholarship in Critical Quantitative Research – Part Two: New Populations, Approaches, and Challenges provides readers with a timely and much needed expansion of the emerging paradigmatic approach of blending critical theories with quantitative methods. This volume substantially supplements the two prior New Direction for Institutional Research volumes that serve as the only other major publications on the employment of critical quantitative inquiry within higher education. Editors Wells and Stage garnered a multifarious group of authors to present diverse perspectives and methodological nuances within critical quantitative inquiry. The authors examine underserved and minoritized subpopulations of students, under-researched institutional types, and paradigmatic conflict within methodological techniques. The way Wells and Stage combine these chapters allows readers to preview the utility of employing critical quantitative inquiry by considering areas that are missing within the existing literature (minoritized student populations and community colleges).

In Chapter One, Faircloth, Alcantar, and Stage provide a blueprint for researchers to examine the experiences of American Indian and Alaska Native students who frequently are represented on national surveys in very small sample sizes. These authors not only provided tangible ways to use large-scale datasets to study minoritized groups, but also illustrated multiple ways to conceptualize how researchers operationalize identity variables as quantitative data. Chapter Two examines another minoritized group, students with disabilities. In this chapter, Vaccaro, Kimball, Wells, and Ostiguy propose the idea of critically analyzing samples of students with disabilities to develop “policies and practices that liberate rather than exclude” (38). Chapter Three examines an under-researched institution type, the community college. Rios-Aguilar beautifully delivers a set of tangible possibilities for community college leaders and institutional researchers to collect, analyze, and utilize “big” data for commuter students at two-year institutions. In Chapter Four, Malcom-Piqueux details a study using latent class analysis to discover inequities in college financial aid. Canché and Rios-Aguilar again use the context of the community college, in Chapter Five, to highlight social network analysis. Through a completed research project, they outline basic concepts of critical social network analysis and implications for institutional researchers at community colleges. Hernández, in Chapter Six, diverges from empirical examples to examine the theoretical and paradigmatic tensions of critical quantitative inquiry. Finally, Wells and Stage provide Chapter Seven as an overview of the historical uses of critical quantitative inquiry and implications for the future.

This publication is well-organized and provides readers with a variety of perspectives and empirical examples. While there are several overlaps between the chapters, particularly as it relates to the implications (for example, need to oversample minoritized populations), this overlap in each chapter still diverges slightly from the other chapters. This publication is a bold counter-argument to using strictly positivist and postpositivist methods, which will allow researchers to highlight inequities and better study the experiences of minoritized students in higher education. This publication is worth purchasing if you research or assess the needs, experiences, and outcomes associated with the collegiate experience.

 

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Mentoring as Transformative Practice Supporting Student and Faculty Diversity (New Directions for Higher Education, Number 171)

Turner, Caroline S., ed.
Wiley, 2015

Book Review

Tags: diversity   |   faculty mentoring   |   institutional development   |   mentoring
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Reviewed by: Mitzi Smith, Ashland Theological Seminary - Detroit
Date Reviewed: November 30, -0001
Research literature reveals that effective mentoring has significant and positive impact on student success and persistence for women and people of color. Mentoring as Transformative Practice consists of ten essays concerning effective traditional and nontraditional mentoring strategies for women and underrepresented minorities (URM). The essays presuppose the value of mentoring and also explore its impact on student outcomes and agency. The majority of essays in this volume are written by ...

Research literature reveals that effective mentoring has significant and positive impact on student success and persistence for women and people of color. Mentoring as Transformative Practice consists of ten essays concerning effective traditional and nontraditional mentoring strategies for women and underrepresented minorities (URM). The essays presuppose the value of mentoring and also explore its impact on student outcomes and agency.

The majority of essays in this volume are written by women and persons of color who have successfully mentored others or have been the beneficiaries of effective mentoring relationships. Many of the essays employ a nontraditional methodology for analyzing mentoring relationships and effective mentoring methods. For example, a critical reflective and subjective instrument called scholarly personal narrative is used both to analyze mentoring relationships and as a tool to mentor students. Scholarly personal narratives highlight the author’s voice and communicate their perceptions and interpretations of their lived experiences. Such narratives reveal insights and depth of experience in compelling ways. These are not normally found in research works. They also offer a unique method for constructing new knowledge.

Chapter One uses personal narratives to examine significant aspects of mentoring that impact women and URMs in higher education arguing that they often need psychosocial versus academic mentoring. The authors – one with a national mentoring award – reflect on mentoring practices in their personal narratives. They conclude that students need mentors who offer authentic relationships, understand their experiences as minorities, listen without reprisal, and encourage and model vulnerability at all levels. In Chapter Two, an African American female and associate professor at a research university and six of her students analyze data from their scholarly personal narratives, revealing three consistent behaviors that contribute to the development of student agency: (1) perceived and actual approachability allowing for mutual trust and comfort leading to cultivation of student agency; (2) the balance of challenge and support; and (3) assistance and encouragement to develop a scholarly voice, passions, and vocation. In Chapter Four personal narratives are used as a critical pedagogical tool through which students trace and critically analyze their educational development, comparing their experiences with patterns highlighted by social science theories, quantitative data, and relevant social policies.

The book offers several mentoring takeaways in the remaining chapters. One takeaway is that mentoring can become a racialized experience when it takes the form of protecting a traditional canon from nontraditional perspectives brought to the learning experience by women and minority students. Viewed within the context of social justice, mentoring involves conscientization, the valuing of lived experience, and advocating for students. Nontraditional alternatives to proximate mentoring relationships include “mentoring-at-a-distance” through emails, conferences calls, and so forth, and various unexpected “cheerleaders” who become sources of psychosocial encouragement. Online mentoring solutions provide psychosocial support for students in specific disciplines, like STEM. “Pedagogy for Equity” peer mentoring can focus on three levels – personal biography, collaborative sociocultural group context, and broader institution. Intergenerational and near-peer approaches positively impact retention and achievement from junior high through doctoral programs.

I highly recommend this book as a resource for individual or institutional self-reflection about participation (or lack thereof) in mentoring relationships as mentor/mentee and for thinking about and developing effective mentoring strategies for women and URMs.

 

I find a lot of natural connection between the functioning of effective theological school deans and August Turak's list of "11 Leadership Secrets You've Never Heard About." Credit given for a catchy title, but these are more proven common-sense realities than "secrets." Most experienced and effective leaders know these, and, effective ...

Two years into my deanship a friend asked how the job was going: "Is it between '10. The best job ever;' or, '6. I’d rather shoot my eye out with a nail gun;' and '1. I’m recommending my worst enemy for this job.'?” I responded ...

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