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THE VERMONT C O NVERMONT NECTION THE

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THE.STUDENT A F F A I R S JOURNAL.OF THE.UNIVERSITY O F. V E R M O N T

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THE.VERMONT CONNECTION

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TA B L E O F C O NT E NT S

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Editor’s Note Julienne R. Oberts Articles

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Race Religion: Exploring the Intersections of Race and Religion and the Implications for Student Affairs Practitioners Sara Lilien Blair

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Hope as a Potential Transformative Power Marlenee Blas

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Transcending Monosexism: Breaking Cycles and a Call for Nonmonosexual Liberation Christine V. Dolan

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Redefining Lives: Post Secondary Education for Currently and Formerly Incarcerated Individuals Erin-Kate Escobar, Tamia Rashima Jordan, & Emery A. Lohrasbi

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The Impostor Phenomenon: Overcoming Internalized Barriers and Recognizing Achievements Queena Hoang

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New Member after College: A Scholarly Personal Narrative on Non-Traditional Membership in College Fraternities Benjamin Z. Huelskamp

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Career Services as a Bridge to International Student Acculturation and Success Jing Luo

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Expanding our Understanding of Nontraditional Students: Family Privilege and its Affect on College Students Julienne R. Oberts


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Jewish American Students: Looking Back to Move Forward Barbara Perlman

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Pedagogy of the Oppressed, The Musical? Using Theatrical ScholARTistry to Transform Teaching and Learning Dirk Jonathan Rodricks

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Removing the Mask: Using Masculine Identity Development in Student Conduct Mathew J. L. Shepard

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The Effects of Consumerism on Access to Higher Education Cornell F. Woodson Reflections

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Tidbits and Tangents: A Guide to Become the Shoulders on Which You Stand Nathan Victoria

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The Kennenth P. Saurman Award Standing at the Intersection: Comfort, Complacency, and Curiosity Jilliene M. Johnson

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The Final Word Dorian L. McCoy

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New Connections Higher Education & Student Affairs (HESA) Class of 2012

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Acknowledgements Kimberlee Monteaux & Nicholas Negrete

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Donors

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Guidelines for Authors


Editor’s Note • 5

EDITOR’S NOTE

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It has been quite a journey preparing for the 34th volume of The Vermont Connection (TVC). For many of us, this journal represents countless brainstorming sessions, telephone calls with alums, editing in pairs, and final “tap” reads. As we work together in these final hours of production week, with an APA manual in one hand and a My Little Cupcake in the other, we engage in a long-standing tradition of contributing to the scholarship of our field. For some of us, this will be our first published article, for others, it will be one of many throughout their professional careers. But for the greater TVC community, this journal provides a forum to come together and engage in an ongoing dialogue about better ways to support our students and our communities. We have been developing our understanding of what it means to be practitioners and administrators throughout our time in the Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration (HESA) graduate program. The initial idea for this year’s theme began in our Cultural Pluralism class, as our weekly sharing of community standards reminded us with great consistency, “there is hope.” For all the “rules” we make around authentic dialogue, we often lose sight of the privilege of sharing that very space. We have been sharpening our skills, preparing to enter the field as change agents and service leaders, and each of us brings personal stories that contribute to a complex understanding that influences the way in which we navigate both this field and the world in which we live. As we notice behavior and discover patterns of power and privilege in our lives, part of our responsibility is to change how we react and develop how we will respond. A very special person once taught me that it takes a “RARE” person to Respond with Awareness to the Realities of the Environment. The reality is that there is a lot of work to do… but there is hope. We are so fortunate – so privileged – to share in this opportunity of advanced scholarship, and the following articles allow us to express our thoughts about the current cycles of higher education. However, the most important qualities of this dialogue do not begin and end with the author. The lessons learned and interpreted by the reader have the capacity to foster hope and evoke change. We have the ability to let our mind sort through and link our personal experiences to each new piece of knowledge – further deepening and strengthening the messages.


6 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 It is in these observations, a contrasting and sometimes blending of personal and scholastic stories, that we better understand how we “show up” in the world. Similar to when we say, “the names stay here, but the lessons leave,” the words on these pages are incapable of making important progress on their own, but you, the reader, are part of the equation now. These following articles are intended to live beyond their existence on the page. This year’s Final Word, written by previous HESA professor, Dorian McCoy, really connected with my personal thoughts about the theme, “There is Hope: Breaking Cycles to Transform Higher Education.” As an art major, I spend a lot of time thinking about the meaning behind images and the use of color; it is no coincidence that this year’s theme and cover color are selected to call to question our current understandings, challenge what we notice, and hopefully encourage greater dialogue. We selected the color this year to break the cycles of language – language that has used the color black as a symbol to represent evil, mystery, sadness, and anger. Just as the language in our articles challenge the cycles of education, our hope is that we encourage others to track their thoughts as they engage with this journal and these articles. The “shoulders upon which we stand” are great, and it has been our honor to be a part of this historical publication. It could not be possible without the time, persistence and hearts of so many. The 2013 and 2014 cohorts came together in an incredible display of commitment to the process – reading abstracts, several rounds of drafts, and final production week edits. We observed an eager first-year cohort connect with the mentorship of second-years in an enthusiastic journey bringing this collection to fruition. We have a journal today because of their tireless commitment. Thank you! We also owe a debt of gratitude to our advisors, Kimberlee Monteaux, and Nick Negrete (’06), who acted as our sounding board, giving us “clear” expectations, delicious meals, reality-checks, and a sense of humor along the way. Many thanks to our faculty advisor, Deb Hunter, for her continued support, and the rest of the HESA faculty for providing resources and guidance as we developed our academic voices. Finally, we thank our alumni/ae and friends of HESA for their ongoing commitment to the future of The Vermont Connection via their generous donations, and engagement with us throughout the year. Whether sharing stories during Phone-a-Thon, forwarding job postings on our Listserv, Facebook page, and now even LinkedIn, they have remained a critical piece of the legacy of TVC. We thank you. I am so honored to introduce the following collection of meaningful and important scholarship in this 34th volume of The Vermont Connection.

Julienne R. Oberts


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8 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34

Race Religion: Exploring the Intersections of Race and Religion and the Implications for Student Affairs Practitioners  

Sara Lilien Blair As student affairs professionals it is axiomatic that social identity plays a significant role in the lives of students. In college, many students enter the most intense stages of their developing social identities and, within the profession, we provide space for students to discuss and explore. However, this willingness to discuss seems to end where students’ religious identities begin. As a result, students with a faith-based identity explore their non-religious identity to the exclusion of their religious identity. The following article explores the interdependence of racial and religious identities and the importance of welcoming that duality into student affairs discussions. This investigation is based on two studies of African American students and the role religion plays in their identity development. The concept that race and religion play an intersecting role in social identity is then applied to student affairs to generate ideas for including religion in identity building practices and programs.

As a profession, student affairs takes pride in providing space for students to discuss their multiple social identities. These discussions typically include race, socio-economic class, sexual orientation and gender. They do not generally include the religious and faith-based identities of our students. Lack of research regarding religious and faith-based identity development contributes to this inadequacy. I speculate that many practitioners step away from interacting with students regarding religion because it is such uncharted terrain. For students, religious and faith-based identity can be tied closely with other forms of identity development, such as racial identity development (Stewart, 2002). Religious identity exploration is a fertile ground for significant meaning-making opportunities for students (Stewart, 2002). More importantly, as Stewart (2002) established, religious identity development can be fundamental in the racial development of Students of Color, specifically African American students. It may Sara Lilien Blair is a second-year Higher Education & Student Affairs graduate student at the University of Vermont. She holds a B.A in Sociology (Emphasis: Inter-ethnic Relations) with a minor in Education and Applied Psychology (Cum Laude) from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Her multiple identities as a Multiracial, Transracially Adopted woman challenged her to spend her second year doing deep self work. “Where you invest your love, you invest your life. [So, invest in you.]” (Mumford & Sons, 2012)


Blair • 9 also represent a significant coping mechanism, without which a student cannot function. Insufficient research on the intersections of religious identity and other forms of identity make it difficult to understand the impact religion has on the development of students, especially students of color, in combination with their other identities (Stewart, 2002). Intersectionality is the new buzzword for the student affairs profession. Exploration of multiple identities, the influence of one identity on another, and viewing students as a whole and not a plethora of fragmented identities, underlies this concept of intersectionality. Unfortunately, as mentioned above, student affairs professionals seems to struggle with discussing the religious identities of students, leaving out for some, a crucial component of their whole identity. Applying concepts of intersectionality, this article explores two studies about African American college students and the role religion played in their identity development. Furthermore, in this article I consider implications for student affairs practitioners based on the studies reviewed. Case Study Review Race and Religion Patterns of faith-identity and race. Stewart’s (2002) article on The Role of Faith in the Development of an Integrated Identity, investigated the role religion and faith played in the identity integration of five African American college students at a predominantly White institution. Stewart presented the idea that identity integration was a crucial concept for African American students as well as for other “cultural minorities” (Stewart, 2002, p. 579). Different from racial identity development models, identity integration views achieving self-understanding as a composition of intersecting identities that influence each other (Stewart, 2002). Each intersecting identity has the potential to influence another and become the interwoven internalized components of an individual. These identities become “salient throughout every area of an individual’s life” (Stewart, 2002, p.580) as they move towards self-actualization. Stewart (2002) stated, “identity integration or wholeness is supported as a spiritual concept that is related to faith and the commitments that are made to certain roles, relationships, and concepts, and that is deeply relevant to the development of young adults” (p.582). Using this concept of identity integration, all elements of identity must be explored, weighed, and balanced. In this sense, race and religion are interconnected. This intersection manifests itself in different ways for each African American student involved in Stewart’s study.


10 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 The patterns. Stewart’s study looked closely at the interconnectedness between race and religion, and analyzed the interconnection through a “three-fold typology of faith-identity patterns” (2002, p.590). Polytheistic faith, henotheistic faith, and radical monotheistic faith focused on the way in which each student’s centralized values made meaning. Centralized values could be religious in the traditional sense of believing in God, or in a non-traditional sense of being non-theistic and spiritual, or faith-based. In her study, Stewart (2002) applied these patterns in both ways. Polytheistic faith-identity is the pattern displayed by those individuals who have more than one center of value (Stewart, 2002). Stewart found two students, Kashmir and Ophelia [pseudonyms], who exhibited this type of faith-identity pattern in combination with the development of their racial identity. Although these two students were operating in this particular pattern, each student led completely different lives, and for reasons described below, shared only the feeling of being an outsider from the African American community at their current institution (Stewart, 2002). Kashmir identified as half Black and half White. Kashmir shifted between her newfound sense of “being Black” with her Black friends, being a woman, and having a close relationship with her White mother (Stewart, 2002, p. 584). Each of these social circles was a strong value center for Kashmir in her search to find wholeness (Stewart, 2002). According to Stewart (2002), Kashmir’s shifting from one value center to another clearly demonstrated a polytheistic faith-identity pattern. Similarly, Ophelia’s centers of value were also race and gender. These dual centers of value also qualified her as polytheistic. However, Ophelia’s commitment to both value centers was not as strong as Kashmir’s, and consequently, her making meaning from these two value centers was limited (Stewart, 2002). Thus, while both women struggled, the less committed or value-driven Ophelia had a more difficult time balancing her identities as a Black woman. Other individuals in Stewart’s (2002) study, such as Poke, displayed henotheistic faith and have identity patterns that have a single value center which is the source of meaning in their lives. Poke’s single value center was based on his relationships with family and friends and not his involvement on campus. He categorized his Black fraternity as his family as well (Stewart, 2002). Poke described himself as the mediator between identity groups and understood that this aspect of his identity was not adequate in times of need. Stewart (2002) defined Polk’s faith in himself as a community builder, as demonstrating henotheistic faith-identity patterns. Those who exhibit radical monotheistic faith-identity patterns place faith and trust into a value center through which all other commitments are viewed (Stewart, 2002). Sage, the student in Stewart’s (2002) study who displayed a radical monotheistic faith-identity pattern, had a single value center outside of herself in which she placed all of her faith and trust in God. Sage was clear about her understanding and belief that, “God created her Black and female and working class and spiritu-


Blair • 11 ality centered, and she recognized that the intersection of all those identities had made her who she was” (Stewart, 2002, p.592). Her devotion to God allowed Sage to be confident in her identities as a spiritual Black woman from a working-class background. She found meaning in her intersecting identities with God as the sole value center. Over time, Stewart came to the conclusion that each student she interviewed in her study “recognized that there was a more optimal way of being and seemed to innately trust that they would eventually reach that point” (2002, p.593). In other words, each student trusted that they would find meaning in their life. Stewart’s (2002) final point was that in order for an individual to “appreciate and integrate multiple identities” (2002, p. 594) they would need a certain level of spiritual maturity. Sage was already at the point where she could appreciate and integrate her multiple identities. However, students Kashmir, Ophelia, and Poke were still in the process of developing an integrated identity. This was displayed in their focus on race as a value center, lack of commitment to multiple value centers, or commitment to a value center that was inadequate for making meaning or providing support when needed most. Racial identity and religious orientation. Similar to Stewart (2002), Sanchez and Carter (2005) explored the racial identity of 270 African American college students and the role of religious orientation withinin that identity. In their study, Sanchez and Carter (2005) mentioned that when searching for answers to existential questions, college students tend to turn to religion. Focusing specifically on the role religion plays in the lives of African American students, Sanchez and Carter (2005) started with the history of the church and religion in African American communities. According to the study, for African Americans the church plays a significant role starting in early life and offers consistent opportunities for individuals to participate in affiliated organizations, clubs, and social groups that are not part of White society (Sanchez & Carter, 2005). High levels of involvement in the church from an early age establish religion and spirituality as important facets of identity for many African American students. Sanchez and Carter (2005) used Helms’s (1990) racial identity development model and looked closely at the stages that were described: pre-encounter, encounter, immersion-emersion, and internalization. The authors combined Helms’s racial identity development model with religious orientation, defined as, “one’s psychological attitude towards one’s particular religious or spiritual beliefs” (Sanchez & Carter, 2005, p. 283). Religious orientation included three dimensions: extrinsic, intrinsic, and quest. Extrinsic individuals were self-motivated in their beliefs, while intrinsic individuals were influenced by their beliefs and were considered true believers. Individuals who were in the quest dimension doubted religion (Sanchez & Carter, 2005). Examining the relationship between attitudes around religion and racial identity was the ultimate goal.


12 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 Results of the study indicated that there was a significant relationship between racial identity and religious attitudes. Furthermore, the results indicated for African American college students that race and religion – and issues that came with those identities – were crucial to the self-identity process (Sanchez & Carter, 2005). Sanchez and Carter (2005) found that for African American men in the immersion-emersion stage, there were lower levels of intrinsic religious orientation than in that of African American women in the same stage. African American men in the immersion-emersion stage may have been withdrawing or distancing themselves from any religious beliefs as they searched for a new African American identity and a new set of beliefs that accompanied. However, women in this stage may have been withdrawing in order to feel the solace of private prayer and faith (Sanchez & Carter, 2005). For African American women, their religious beliefs may have been providing a coping method that allowed them to face the stress that came with creating a racial identity (Sanchez & Carter, 2005). Thus, intrinsic religious orientation was providing women with a way to make meaning of the racial situations they encountered throughout their racial identity development process. Similar differences arose for African American men and women who were currently in the internalization stage of their racial identity development. For African American men, the complexity of their racial perspective and the level of internalization of their racial identity directly correlated with the intricacy of their religious orientation. Sanchez and Carter (2005) speculated that this might have been because African American men in the internalized stage of racial identity development may have felt more free to practice their faith. Furthermore, the resolution of racial situations and issues provided men with a sense of security for future identity and religious exploration (Sanchez & Carter, 2005, p. 291). On the contrary, African American women who were in the internalization stage of their racial identity development showed lower intrinsic religious orientation attitudes. Sanchez and Carter (2005) attributed this to African American women being more comfortable and solidified in their racial identity. Strong racial identity meant that these women had no need for a coping method. Thus, African American women were distancing themselves from religious belief systems in order to focus fully on their racial identity exploration (Sanchez & Carter, 2005). In conclusion, Sanchez and Carter (2005) determined that religious orientation attitudes in the encounter stage of African American racial identity development were more quest-like than intrinsic or extrinsic. Quest religious orientation was attributed to searching for meaning about the importance of race. The concept of quest religious orientation was found to be most present during the encounter stage of African American racial identity development.


Blair • 13 Both studies established that, for African American students, there can be a significant intersection between racial and religious identities. Stewart (2002) and Sanchez and Carter (2005) mentioned in their studies that while African American students were the main focus of their research, similar orientations and attitudes could be found in other groups of Students of Color. While the research is limited, it is clear that there is a need to recognize the intersection between race and religion for many students. Intersectionality Crenshaw (1989) coined the concept of intersectionality in 1989 to emphasize the need for women who were Black to be seen as Black women. Crenshaw (1989) introduced intersectionality in her piece Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics. Crenshaw (1989) argued that in cases of race-discrimination the case was viewed in terms of sex and class privilege. When the case was about sexdiscrimination it was viewed in terms of race and class privilege. In other words, Black women were viewed as Black in sex-discrimination cases and as women in race-discrimination cases, never as Black women; both identities were treated as exclusive from one another (Crenshaw, 1989). Crenshaw (1989) went on to say that, “antidiscrimination doctrine essentially erases Black women’s distinct experiences and, as a result, deems their discrimination complaints groundless” (p. 146). Intersectionality challenged, and still challenges, the way in which individuals view certain issues involving the social and cultural construction of identities. Crenshaw (1989) brought the concept of operating out of multiple identities to the forefront of the legal world. Overtime, some disciplines adopted Crenshaw’s (1989) ideas concerning intersectionality and applied the concepts. However, when it comes to adequate study in student affairs, little to no discussion has occurred on the methodology of intersectionality (Nash, 2008). It has been difficult to find a way to answer some of the fundamental questions when it comes to studying intersectionality on its own (Nash, 2008). Research in the field seems to indicate that it is simpler to focus on one or two intersections at a time. It is clear that those conducting studies like Stewart (2002) and Sanchez and Carter (2005) have focused on the intersections of two identities, religion and race, and not necessarily all of the intersections an individual holds. Although Crenshaw (1989) made it clear that intersectionality of identities is specifically for better understanding the experiences of those who are marginalized, Nash (2008) states that “intersectionality refers to multiple oppressions experienced…but more generally to all women” (p.10). The concept of intersectionality is important to keep in mind when there is a dominant and non-dominant identity held by an individual such as African American and upper class or White and


14 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 queer. It is also important to keep the concept of intersectionality in mind when working with those who hold only dominant identities such as White, male, upper class, and heterosexual. The concept of intersectionality pushes practitioners to take into consideration the wholeness of the students with whom they work. As practitioners, if we are unable, as practitioners, to embrace the whole student then we are silencing a section of that student’s identity. For Practitioners Sanchez and Carter (2005) mentioned the need for continued research in the area of religion and race. While they focused specifically on African American college students, their study, and Stewart’s (2002), could be replicated with other African American college students or with other underrepresented groups. Future research could provide practitioners with more insight into the impact that religion has on other identities and vice versa. Students in Stewart’s (2002) study spoke about a lack of space in which they could explore the multiple sections of their identity. Furthermore, Stewart’s students mentioned a significant lack of mentors who were able to guide them through exploration of their intersecting identities (Stewart, 2002). In order to provide this space we must be willing, as practitioners, to educate ourselves on religion, faith, and spirituality and must continue the research in the area of religious identity. According to Nash and Murray (2010), “on many nonsectarian campuses, there is outright disdain for those students who make and find meaning in their faith experiences” (p. 58). It is also important that we, as practitioners, start the conversation around religion so we are opening the door for our religious and faith based students. The goal is to provide an environment in which they feel comfortable discussing their religious identities and meaning-making in their identity exploration. As Nash and Murray (2010) recommend, learning to talk respectfully and openly about religion is also fundamental in opening the door for our students. Nash and Murray (2010) recommend two more ways in which practitioners can create spaces for students to discuss their religious identities. Their first recommendation is to reexamine personal biases for and against religion. They also suggest making sure that the curriculum we use includes concepts around religion, spirituality, and faith. Both recommendations support the creation of space for exploration around religious identity. In these spaces it is important to continue conversations around the intersections of identity and the ways in which multiple identities influence each other. It is imperative that as practitioners we begin to take the steps necessary to educate ourselves more fully on religion, faith and spirituality. Conducting research on


Blair • 15 religion and the impact that it has on our students who identify with a religion, as well as the impact it has on our atheist or agnostic students, is essential. Continuing to operate under the notion that religion is an unmentionable subject in the halls of our institutions does not serve our students in the best way possible. Regardless of discomfort, it is necessary that multiple identities, including those that are faith-based, be recognized so that students can feel whole.


16 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 References Crenshaw, K. (1989). Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: A black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory, and antiracist politics. The University of Chicago Legal Forum, 139-168. Nash, J. C. (2008). Re-thinking intersectionality. Feminist Review, 89, 1-15. Nash, R. J., & Murray, M. C. (2010). Helping college students find purpose. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Sanchez, D., & Carter, R. T. (2005). Exploring the relationship between racial identity and religious orientation among African American college students. Journal of College Student Development, 46(3), 280-295. Stewart, D. L. (2002). The role of faith in the development on an integrated identity: A qualitative study of black students at a white college. Journal of College Student Development, 43(4), 579-596.


Blas • 17

Hope as a Potential Transformative Power  

Marlenee Blas What is hope? In an effort to break cycles and transform higher education, I propose that we, student affairs professionals, engage in the practice of hope. Drawing from the work of thinkers like Gustavo Esteva (2003), Paulo Freire (1974), and Vaclav Havel (1991), this reflective essay proposes a hope that is impact-conscious of societal expectations. First, I will define hope and explore the inherent expectations. Next, I will suggest a hope that is humble, moving, and alive. From this intervention, I will call for the regeneration of our relations, understanding, and practices of hope as they relate to educational practice. I will conclude with a summary of what hope implies for higher education and student affairs professionals.

As student affairs professionals, we make efforts to assist and mentor students, yet when our services and departments undergo changes, deficits, or conflicts it may be difficult to see past these challenges. In response to the stress and uncertainty, departments and staff personnel may engage in the practice of hope. However, is our hope broadly defined by expectations? How do we practice hope? Drawing from the work of Esteva (2003), Freire (1974), and Havel (1991), this reflective essay discusses the various forms and practices of hope. It also provides an approach that can transform the practice of hope in higher education and student affairs. Defining Hope According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2012), hope is defined as “to cherish a desire with anticipation…desire accompanied by expectation (n.p.).” These conventional views of hope are broadly defined by societal expectations. With this context, it is important to question how hope and expectations of hope relate to student affairs professionals. Chickering, Gamson, and Barsi (1987) highlight the role that expectations play in the profession in Principles in Good Practice for Student Affairs. Generally, there is an underlying assumption that hope is broadly classified by expectations and that those expectations should be used as a tool for “good practice.” Although expectations provide guidance, viewing hope as synonymous with, or solely defined by, expectations opposes conventional practices of hope.

Marlenee Blas is a first-year Higher Education & Student Affairs graduate student at the University of Vermont. She received her B.A. in Global Studies and a minor in Spanish from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research interest raises questions around social justice in higher education.


18 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 Perspectives of Hope Hope and Expectations (Esteva, 2003) Esteva is a prolific activist, organizer, and writer from Oaxaca, Mexico, yet his publications represent only a small fraction of his work with indigenous communities. In his 2003 essay, The Meaning and Scope of the Struggle for Autonomy, he asserts indigenous communities “know that they cannot exist without a vision of the future, but they do not pretend to control that future” (Esteva, 2003, p. 246). They practice, live, and engage in hope “instead of the arrogant expectations of modern man, based on the assumption that the future is programmable” (p. 246). Communities facing struggle, displacement, and violence maintain hope and are aware that these may or may not be fulfilled. Esteva (2003) points out a major aspect of hope, shifting focus from expectations to the act of nourishing hope but without holding onto it. “They have not been able to avoid the experience of modernity, but they have not become rooted in it” (Esteva, 2003, p. 247). This understanding of hope demonstrates the transformative possibilities that arise when hope is practiced and theorized in multiple modes. Focusing on hope as a genuine effort of practice, one that does not attempt to predict, assume, or control the outcome, is powerful. As Esteva (2003) describes, the hope that is rooted in the culture is one that does not expect a specific result; it is one that acknowledges the possibilities, well aware of disappointment. I had the opportunity to meet Esteva in March 2012. In an attempt to illustrate hope, he spoke of a pregnant woman from an indigenous community who never questioned the sex, due date, or even prepared potential names for the anticipated child. Esteva (2012) explained how this community hopes, rather than expects, the baby be born in nine months. Indigenous communities have refrained from Western conventions of seeking answers to control how and when things occur. However, they will do whatever they are capable in order to foster the birth of the child. In this sense, neither the couple, nor the community, depend on or make assumptions of, the future, especially one they do not know and cannot control. This practice about hope is transformative, for it fosters a different perspective on life events, such as birth. Hope and Liberation (Freire, 1974) To better understand this transformative difference between hope and expectation, Freire (1974) offers liberation as a challenge to conventional thinking of hope. In his writing, he introduces the importance of hope in the struggle for liberation. Freire (1974) wrote:


Blas • 19

While I certainly cannot ignore hopelessness as a concrete entity, nor turn a blind eye to the historical, economic, and social reasons that explain hopelessness, I don’t understand human existence, and the struggle needed to improve it, apart from hope and dream. (p. 2) Freire (1974) believed “hopelessness is but hope that has lost its bearing and become a distortion of that ontological need” (p. 2). Freire indicates that the ontological need, the nature and relations of being, is at the focal point. It is important to note, that hope alone is not enough, as Freire suggests, yet it is necessary. According to Freire (1974), “alone [hope] does not win…we need critical hope the way fish needs unpolluted water” (p. 2). Using Freire’s (1974) fish metaphor, unpolluted water allows for the fish to not only live but also to flourish. Similarly, critical hope allows us not only to act but also calls on us to be cautious and intentional with our actions. Critical hope is cognizant of the limitations of political, historical, and social structures that are in place, and yet believes and acts within a hopeful framework. Critical hope, as described by Freire (1974), is vital to liberation, yet it is not naïve; it is powerful and has potential to transform beyond the social structures that may challenge its practice. Hope and Conviction (Havel, 1991) Another perspective that is important to discuss when looking at the practice of hope is that of Havel (1991). He was a writer, politician and human rights advocate and recipient of the Gandhi Peace Prize. In his work he draws the distinction between hope and optimism and affirms that “hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the conviction that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out” (Havel, 1991, p. 181). Havel (1991) illustrates how the conviction and the belief in one’s thoughts and actions are bounded by the belief that what we are doing makes sense. This hope is focused in the journey, the pathway, and the practice. For example, Havel (1991) locates the practice of hope by asserting that: Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good. (p. 181) These actions nourish the hope. They affirm the process, the people, and the decision we make along the way. In this sense, hope is transformative, one that is conscious of the power and impact it can potentially have.


20 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 Hope and Higher Education The writings of Esteva (2003), Freire (1974), and Havel (1991) introduce multifaceted views of hope and provoke us to reflect upon how we as student affairs professionals practice hope. In our field, it is important to examine the process of hope in which we engage while working with students and colleagues. The hope is that we will consider what Esteva (2003) offers: a perspective of hope that is not solely focused on expectations. Furthermore, this opportunity allows us to draw from the pedagogy of Freire (1974). His work challenges us to chart critical consciousness in the practice of hope. Referring to the work of Havel (1991), we are guided by convictions of hope, which invites us to question how we may transform our own conventions and perceptions of hope. This raises the questions: what does hope look like from this framework? What does that mean for educators and students? While guidelines and high expectations are prescribed as models of good practice, we need to further understand the intentions outlined (Chickering et al., 1987). In our role as educators, we may have expectations and goals for the students and communities we foster; however, there is a danger in assuming that such expectations are our practices of hope. Hope, as indicated by Esteva (2003), is communal and aware of the pressures and dangers posed by expectations. With this analysis, and in keeping our creativity and thoughtfulness of how we practice hope, how do we encourage students to be hopeful? Perhaps it is also important that we refrain from using expectation and hope interchangeably so we do not face the emotional effects of disappointment from seeing our expectations unmet. For example, we can orient our hope in our compassion, our critical perceptions of their situation, context, and agency. The transformative power of hope can be a catalyst to our work as we engage with students. Although hope was thoughtful as Freire understood it, he cautioned educators not to turn his pedagogy into a methodology (Williams, 1999). Freire (1974) suggests that we can reinvent the concepts as educators within the context of the learners. According to Giroux (2010): Education and hope are the conditions of social action and political change. Acutely aware that many contemporary versions of hope occupied their own corner in Disneyland, Paulo [Freire] was passionate about recovering and rearticulating hope through, in his words, an ‘understanding of history as opportunity and not determinism.’ (p. 3) From the context of Freire (1974), hope is essential to liberation and transformation, and we need to understand the complexities inherited. As practitioners, we


Blas • 21 need to be conscious and contextualize our ideas in order to reinvent our learning, our practice, and ourselves. Furthermore, taking from the writings of Havel (1991), we can transform our hope into a process. As educators and professionals we are invited to recognize the importance of the journey of hope and thus refrain from controlling the outcome and results. Through this lens, hope is patient and trusts the process. As student affairs professionals, we can do what makes sense at the time based on the circumstances. To transform higher education, we can engage in the process of hope, so that it is reproduced and hence “give rise to the possibility that the students become the owners of their own history” (Freire, 1974, p. 324). In our practice of hope we allow students to be hopeful for their own sake, own creation of dreams, and for their own liberation. The restoration of hope is important and it is an “essential part of learning” that provides students with possibilities. Without such possibilities, “students become immobilized by their own despair” (Tatum, 1994, p. 473). In reflection, we may examine the complexity, unconventionality and broader aspects of hope as a means to transform higher education. These thinkers offer various perspectives and, although they may process hope through different historical and regional contexts, their concerns and contributions may overlap effectively within a United States student affairs practice. I recognize that this essay expands on the perspectives of three men, and acknowledge possible gender variations of the expression and practice of hope. In efforts to trace the complexity and multifaceted practice of hope, I chose the selected works to further understand dynamics and dialogue around hope. This is only a small contribution to the conversation that encourages us to be thoughtful, communal, and open to a process of consideration. The selected life-work of Esteva (2003), Freire (1974), and Havel (1991) offer fascinating insights and understanding of hope through various lenses. Weaving the various perspectives and practices of hope can help us understand the potential transformative power that is vital to contemporary educators and professionals in higher education and student affairs.


22 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 References Chickering, A. W., Barsi, L. M., Gamson, Z. F. (1987). Principles for good practice in undergraduate education. Retrieved October 26, 2012, from http://www.naspa.org/career/goodprac.cfm Esteva, G. (2003). The meaning and scope of the struggle for autonomy. In J. Rus, R. Castillo, and S. Mattiace (Ed.), Mayan lives, mayan utopias: The indigenous peoples of Chiapas and the Zapatista rebellion (pp. 246-247). Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Giroux, H. (2010). Lessons to be learned from Paulo Freire as education is being taken over by the mega rich. Retrieved from http://archive. truthout.org/lessons-be-learned-from-paulo-freire-education-is-being taken-over-mega-rich65363 Havel, V. (1991). Disturbing the peace: A conversation with Karel Huizdala. New York, NY: Vintage Books. Hope. In Merriamm-Webster online. Retrieved from http://www.merriam webster.com/dictionary/hope Freire, P. (1992) Pedagogy of hope. (A. Friere, Trans.) New York, NY: Continuum. (Original work published in 1992). Tatum, B. (1994). Teaching White students about racism: The search for White allies and the restoration of hope. Retrieved from http://web-prod. spu.edu/depts/csfd/documents/teachingwhitestudentsaboutracism. pdf Williams, L. (1999). Rage and hope. Retrieved from http://www.perfectfit. org/CT/freire5.html


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Transcending Monosexism: Breaking Cycles and a Call for Nonmonosexual Liberation Christine V. Dolan Students who are attracted to more than one gender, referred to as nonmonosexual students, face many barriers in synthesizing their sexual orientation identities (Weinberg, Williams, & Pryor, 1994). Monosexism, a form of oppression that promotes exclusive heterosexual, lesbian, or gay behaviors as the only legitimate concepts of sexual orientation, inhibits the thriving of nonmonosexual students and fogs true understanding of nonmonosexuality (Rust, 2000a). Through the intentional study, discussion, understanding, and inclusion of nonmonosexual experiences, student affairs professionals can better support these students’ development and growth in college and as they develop throughout their lifetimes. Sexual orientation identity development research and student development literature both discuss humans’ need to feel that they fit in, belong, and have space (Cass, 1979, 1990; Rust, 2000a; Chickering & Associates, 1981). It is imperative for college students to have access to support and to feel included in order to validate their experiences by influencing their self-assurance and confidence (Erikson, 1980). Not only is it important for students to feel a sense of belonging, recognition and validation of their identities is crucial. In order to best support students, educators and administrators must honor and dignify students as they understand themselves to be, while students explore and celebrate their identities (Taylor, 1992/1996). This idea can be applied to supporting nonmonosexual students, defined as students who are attracted to more than one gender, who often feel silenced and erased by monosexist ideals enforcing exclusive heterosexuality or homosexuality (Rust, 2000a). Information about myths, stereotypes, and falsifications of nonmonosexual identities are typically more widely discussed than central truths, attempts at definitions, or positive experiences of nonmonosexual people. While this is a deficiency model, the illumination of the oppressive cycle of monosexism builds a Christine V. Dolan is graduating from the Higher Education and Student Affairs graduate program at the University of Vermont in 2013 and works as the Graduate Assistant in the LGBTQA Center. Due to her identities as a nonmonosexual and light-skinned multiracial womyn, she often finds herself living at the intersections of intersections. She loves working with students and hopes to work within identity centers in a role encompassing direct student support.


24 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 framework for elucidating nonmonosexual truths in order to liberate nonmonosexual communities. Therefore, a comprehensive explanation of monosexism forms a critical introduction to an affirmative understanding of nonmonosexual student experiences. This positive insight creates an access point for student affairs scholars and professionals to understand the unique barriers and obstacles nonmonosexual students face in order to support them on their paths to positive identity development and self-empowerment. Breaking the Cycle through Noticing and Understanding Monosexism In order to best understand authentic nonmonosexual identity, it is important to highlight the framework of oppression in which it exists. Hegemonic society, by definition, enforces binaries limiting individualism and true expression and understanding of identity (Paul, 2000). While heterosexism and homophobia are clearly pervasive in the United States, an often less-known oppressive influence, known as monosexism, limits the growth and development of nonmonosexual students (Rust, 2000a). Often referred to as biphobia, monosexism is a form of oppression that promotes exclusive heterosexual, lesbian, or gay male behaviors as the only legitimate concepts of sexual orientation (Rust, 2000a). Perhaps the ultimate form of monosexism is binegativity, the outright denial of the existence of nonmonosexual people (Horowitz & Newcomb, 1999; Rust, 2000a). This stems from the idea of a gender binary, placing woman and man on either end, falsely implying that these two genders solely exist and since they are “essentially opposite,” members of one gender must be attracted to the other and never to members of their own (Rust, 2000a, p. 207). Another way in which nonmonosexual identities are made invisible is through making assumptions about people’s sexual orientations based on the perceived genders of their partners (Horowitz & Newcomb, 1999). Often, this is fueled by the concept of “compulsory heterosexuality”, which assumes people universally identify as heterosexual in the absence of any public actions implying otherwise (Rich, 1980, p. 632). This assumption erases all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) people until they are driven to disclose their true identities or remain closeted, yet it uniquely affects nonmonosexual people by creating a false assumption that even people with different-gender partners are always heterosexual. Additionally, Zinik (2000) discovered a “one-drop” rule for monosexuality where a person is perceived as lesbian or gay when any “homosexual” action or behavior is presented “regardless of the amount of heterosexual experience” (p. 56). Rust (2000b) explained that any “homosexual” act renders any “heterosexual” behavior thereafter as counterfeit. Furthermore, monosexual people too often believe non-


Dolan • 25 monosexual people are denying their authentic identities and are truly lesbian or gay, using perceived heterosexual behaviors as a cover (Horowitz & Newcomb, 1999; Rust, 2000a), which enforces horizontal oppression within LGBTQ communities. Nonmonosexual people are stereotyped as wanting the “best of both worlds” without having to commit to or “choose” a monosexual orientation (Rust, 2000a, p. 207). Many people misunderstand nonmonosexual communities as emotionally or psychologically immature, internally conflicted, or unstable because of their orientation’s multiplicity (Rust, 2000a). Often, these stereotypes form the foundation for the belief that nonmonosexual people do not want to commit to one partner (Esterberg, 1997; Rust, 1993, 2000a), and studies have shown that many people believe that nonmonosexual people are “inherently unfaithful” (Hoang, Holloway, & Mendoza, 2011, p. 23). This myth represents nonmonosexual people as “needing” partners of more than one gender or as generally promiscuous due to this need (Horowitz & Newcomb, 1999; Rust, 2000a, p. 207). Similarly, nonmonosexual people are viewed as extra- or hyper-sexual, due to their multiple attractions (Paul, 2000; Rust, 2000a), and many people falsely believe nonmonosexual people to be more likely to spread Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or other sexually transmitted infections (Herek, 2002). Sexual orientation identity models (Cass, 1979, 1990; Fassinger, 1991; Savin-Williams, 1988, 1990; Troiden, 1979, 1988) outline steps and stages of development toward a healthy lesbian or gay identity, focusing on an ideal monosexual identity outcome. Not only do these models not include or represent nonmonosexual identities, they often include a halfway mark that commonly describes a nonmonosexual identity. This stage describes feelings of “experimentation,” “exploration,” and “questioning,” minimizing nonmonosexual experiences as simply part of the linear process toward an exclusive same-sex attraction (Bilodeau & Renn, 2005; Rust, 2000a, p. 207). Feelings of “confusion” and “conflict,” often characterized by internalized homophobia, are integral parts of this stage (Bilodeau & Renn, 2005; Rust, 2000a, p. 207). Lesbian and gay sexual orientation identity models often give permission to those students and their advocates to understand all LGBTQ identities through the limited lens of monosexual experiences. This authorizes a commonly held idea that nonmonosexual people are “fence-sitting” (Ochs, 2001, p. 45) or “fencestraddling” (Herek, 2002, p. 273). Therefore, nonmonosexual students search for affinity and realize they live within two closets (Horowitz & Newcomb, 1999), conditioning them to bracket and closet parts of themselves within monosexual contexts, preventing healthy identity synthesis.


26 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 Nonmonosexual Identity, Clarified Broadly conceived, [nonmonosexual] means of or pertaining to one’s experience of erotic, emotional, and sexual attraction to persons of more than one gender. Such individuals may identify as bisexual, homosexual, lesbian, gay, heterosexual, [transgender], or transsexual or may choose not to label at all… [Nonmonosexuality] here is defined as the capacity, regardless of the sexual identity label one chooses, to love and sexually desire both same- and other-gendered individuals. (Firestein, 1996, pp. xix-xx) Firestein’s (1996) definition emphasizes that nonmonosexual identity is determined by the capacity for attraction to more than one gender. Similarly, Hoang et al. (2011) broadly declared attraction as the indicator for sexual orientation, not behavior or self-labeling. Often asked to prove their sexual orientation’s multiplicity, nonmonosexual people often experience identity confusion or isolation. Recognizing nonmonosexuality as a capacity not only validates nonmonosexual identities, but it affirms and wholly accepts all nonmonosexual people as they are (Hemmings, 2002; Rust, 2000a). Exploring a Nonmonosexual Identity Development Model Weinberg, Williams, and Pryor (1994) developed the first widely recognized model of nonmonosexual identity formation by studying the existing monosexual lesbian and gay identity models. While sexual orientation identity models vary, they typically begin with a period of identity confusion, followed by a state of considering a gay or lesbian potential, which leads to an attempt to synchronize one’s sexual orientation with one’s self-concept (Cass, 1979, 1990; D’Augelli, 1994). Synthesizing this information with what they discovered through interviews with nonmonosexual people, they developed four stages: (1) initial confusion, (2) finding and applying the label, (3) settling into the identity, and (4) continued uncertainty. 1. Initial confusion. Experiences of considerable confusion, doubt, and struggle regarding sexual orientation identities characterize the first stage: initial confusion (Weinberg, Williams, & Pryor, 1994). For some, unsettling, disorienting, and sometimes frightening feelings stem from strong sexual attractions for more than one gender. For some, denial was born from a state of internalized homophobia. For others, the idea of dismantling their longstanding heterosexuality caused confusion. Thwarted attempts to categorize or label their sexual orientations or experiences, due to assumed monosexuality, were another source of turmoil. These feelings often lead to a discovery of nonmonosexual labels and a stage of experimenting with categories.


Dolan • 27 2. Finding and applying the label. Many people approach this stage without previous access to terminology for nonmonosexual orientations, and this discovery provides an opportunity for them to make sense of their feelings and validate their realities. Some land in this stage through sexual behaviors and acts with more than one gender, which they believe finally deem them worthy of nonmonosexual labels. While others arrive by finally surrendering from the imposed monosexual duality, refusing to choose one attraction, valuing all of themselves as wholes. Encouragement and support of peers, partners, or organizations also facilitates the realization of this stage (Weinberg et al., 1994). Labels: A mechanism to unite or to separate? A commonly contentious thread among nonmonosexual communities is confusion and inconsistency surrounding labels and categories. There are many labels used to classify nonmonosexual people, including but not limited to bisexual, pansexual, fluid, ambisexual, omnisexual, nonmonosexual, and queer. Often the definitions of these terms are not universal within each of the specific self-proclaimed communities (Brown, 2002; Diamond, 2008). While this offers the liberty for individual interpretation and an opportunity to personally claim or reclaim a term, it has the potential to create rifts. These disparities prevent access for those who are seeking but do not know how to locate nonmonosexual communities, fracturing the support and role models that nonmonosexual people crave in order to develop healthy identities. Additionally, many people who would otherwise be interpreted as nonmonosexual refuse to identify with their sexual orientation altogether or hold their sexual orientation identities without naming them with widely-recognized labels (Hoang et al., 2011; Rust, 2000a). This may be due to dissonance and stigma associated with the terms (Brown, 2002; Diamond, 2008; Hoang et al., 2011). For others, this refusal aligns with a political agenda, reflecting their views about gender politics, challenging rigid definitions or even significance of gender (Rust, 2000a). Though refusing labels can be an empowering stance for some, this phenomenon makes it difficult to know the prevalence of nonmonosexual identities and experiences, and it creates challenges for people with these identities to find or form affirming communities (Horowitz & Newcomb, 1999). 3. Settling into the identity. The next stage describes a process of settling into a nonmonosexual identity generally leading to a complete transition in self-labeling. Growth throughout this stage is typically the consequence of fuller feelings of self-acceptance and less concern with negative attitudes of others about nonmonosexual sexual orientations. These feelings of self-affirmation are typically attributed to the continual support from peers, counselors, organizations, and resources that validate and affirm the existence of their sexual orientations (Balsam & Mohr, 2007; Horowitz & Newcomb, 1999; Weinberg et al., 1994). This finding serves as a forceful call to action to student affairs professionals to recognize the potential


28 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 for meaningful impact in supporting nonmonosexual students through validating and affirming nonmonosexual identities, facilitating affinity spaces, and providing outreach and resources to nonmonosexual communities (Balsam & Mohr, 2007; Hoang et al., 2011; Horowitz & Newcomb, 1999; Matteson, 1995). 4. Continued uncertainty. Continued uncertainty characterizes the final stage of Weinberg et al., (1994) nonmonosexual identity development model. This stage is unusual in nature, as most sexual orientation identity models end with a stage that typically synthesizes and celebrates their newfound identities as an important and valuable part of a larger whole, leading to deeper feelings and beliefs of inclusion, affirmation, and belonging (Cass, 1979; D’Augelli, 1994). However, the nonmonosexual identity development model ominously closes with little space for hope for a happy ending. This terminal uncertainty and searching is most likely the result of a self-fulfilled prophecy that stems from the falsehood that nonmonosexuality is simply a “stage” of questioning and transitioning (Rust, 2000a; Weinberg et al., 1994, pp. 34-38). The lack of valid representation of nonmonosexual identities compounds with the unfortunate reality of internalized monosexism. Those who begin to selfassign as nonmonosexual ingest monosexist clues and indicators of what being nonmonosexual is. This often leads people to a vulnerable place of doubting the validity of their feelings of attraction toward people of different genders and questioning if they are not simply gay or lesbian, while experiencing pressures from LGBTQ communities to relabel themselves as gay or lesbian in order to conform to assumed monosexuality (Weinberg et al., 1994). As the final stage of this model, continued uncertainty ends the journey toward a healthy identity with an ellipsis, open for continued growth, yet leaves the person without the stability of a crystallized identity (Weinberg et al., 1994). A Call to Allyship, Advocacy, and Action Students are typically exploring, rather than solidifying, their sexual orientation identities during college (Horowitz & Newcomb, 1999). Nonmonosexual students lack validation and affirmation of their identities (Matteson, 1995), which typically leads to identity confusion (Balsam & Mohr, 2007; Weinberg et al., 1994). Additionally, research shows the need for visibility for nonmonosexual people in general and within the context of LGBTQ communities (Balsam & Mohr, 2007; Horowitz & Newcomb, 1999). Nonmonosexual people do not experience the same type of visible, organized communities or support systems that monosexual people who hold lesbian or gay identities do. Nonmonosexual people may even be excluded from lesbian and gay organizations (Baslam & Mohr, 2007). Therefore, the benefits of being in a nonheterosexual environment may be outweighed by the horizontal marginalization or rejection from lesbian and gay people (Balsam & Mohr, 2007).


Dolan • 29 It has been proven that nonmonosexual people find nonmonosexual affinity time to be a very “normalizingâ€? experience (Horowitz & Newcomb, 1999, p. 160). Through a comprehensive and critical understanding of monosexism, student affairs professionals can eradicate the oppressive system and recognize that self-fulfilling prophecies are products of real barriers and not inherent parts of nonmonosexual identities (Horowitz & Newcomb, 1999). By studying and seeking deeper understanding of the barriers that nonmonosexual people face due to monosexism, the meanings and truths of genuine nonmonosexual identities, and what nonmonosexual communities need in order to feel understood and supported, student affairs scholars and professionals can begin to understand the unique barriers and obstacles that these students face (Rust, 2000a).


30 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 References Balsam, K. F., & Mohr, J. J. (2007). Adaptation to sexual orientation stigma: A comparison of bisexual and lesbian/gay adults. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 54(3), 306-319. doi: 10.1037/0022-0167.54.3.306 Bilodeau, B. L. & Renn, K. A. (2005). Analysis of LGBT identity models and implications for practice. New Directions for Student Services, 111, 25-39. Brown, T. (2002). A proposed model of bisexual identity development that elaborates on experiential differences of women and men. Journal of Bisexuality, 2(4), 67-91. Cass, V. C. (1979). Homosexual identity formation: A theoretical model. Journal of Homosexuality, 4(3), 219-235. Cass, V. C. (1990). The implications of homosexual identity formation for the Kinsey model and scale of sexual preference. In D. P. McWhirter, S. A. Sanders, & Reinisch (Eds.), Homosexuality/Heterosexuality: Concepts of sexual orientation (pp. 239-266). New York: Oxford University Press. Chickering, A. W., & Associates. (1981). The modern American college: Responding to the new realities of diverse students and a changing society. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. D’Augelli, A. R. (1994). Identity development and sexual orientation: Towards a model of lesbian, gay, and bisexual development. In E. J. Trickett, R. J. Watts, & D. Birman (Eds.), Human diversity: Perspectives on people in context (pp. 312-333). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Diamond, L. M. (2008). Female bisexuality from adolescence to adulthood: Results from a 10-year longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology, 44(1), 5-14. Erikson, E. H. (1980). Identity and the life cycle. New York, NY: Norton. Esterberg, K. G. (1997). Lesbian and bisexual identities: Constructing communities, constructing selves. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. Fassinger, R. E. (1991). The hidden minority: Issues and challenges in working with lesbian women and gay men. Counseling Psychologist, 19(2), 157-176. Firestein, B. A. (Ed.). (1996). Bisexuality: The psychology and politics of an invisible minority. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Fox, R. (1995). Bisexual identities. In A. R. D’Augelli & C. J. Patterson (Eds.), Lesbian, gay, and bisexual identites over the lifespan (pp. 48-86). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Hemmings, C. (2002) Bisexual spaces: A geography of sexuality and gender. New York, NY: Routledge. Herek, G. M. (2002). Heterosexuals’ attitudes toward bisexual men and women in the United States. The Journal of Sex Research, 39(4), 264-272. Hoang, M., Holloway, J., & Mendoza, R. H. (2011). An empirical study into the relationship between bisexual identity congruence, internalized biphobia and infidelity among bisexual women. Journal of Bisexuality,


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11, 23-38. doi: 10.1080/15299716.2011.545285 Horowitz, J. L., & Newcomb, M. D. (1999). Bisexuality, not homosexuality: Counseling issues and treatment approaches. Journal of College Counseling, 2, 148-163. Matteson, D. R. (1995). Counseling with bisexuals. Individual Psychology, 51, 144 159. Ochs, R. (2001). Biphobia. In R. Ochs (Ed.), Bisexual resource guide: Revised and expanded (4th ed.; pp. 45-52). Boston, MA: Bisexual Resource Center. Paul, J. P. (2000). Bisexuality: Reassessing our paradigms of sexuality. In P. C. R. Rust (Ed.), Bisexuality in the United States: A social science reader (pp. 11 23). New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Rich, A. (1980). Compulsory heterosexuality and lesbian existence. Signs, 5(4), 631-660. Rust, P. C. (1993). Neutralizing the political threat of the marginal woman: Lesbians’ beliefs about bisexual women. Journal of Sex Research, 30(3), 214-228. Rust, P. C. R. (2000a). Bisexuality: A contemporary paradox for women. Journal of Social Issues, 56(2), 205-221. Rust, P. C. R. (2000c). Criticisms of the scholarly literature on sexuality for its neglect of bisexuality. In P. C. R. Rust (Ed.), Bisexuality in the United States: A social science reader (pp. 5-10). New York: Columbia University Press. Savin-Williams, R. C. (1988). Theoretical perspectives accounting for adolescent homosexuality. Journal of Adolescent Health, 9(6), 95-104. Savin-Williams, R. C. (1990). Gay and lesbian adolescents. Marriage and Family Review. 14, 197-216. Taylor, C. (1992/1996). The politics of recognition. In Hebe, A., Palmateer Pennee, D., & Struthers, J. R. (Eds.). New Contexts of Canadian Criticism (pp. 98-131). Troiden, R. R. (1979). Becoming homosexual: A model of gay identity acquisition. Psychiatry. 42, 362-373. Troiden, R. R. (1988). Homosexual identity development. Journal of Adolescent Health Care. 9, 105-113. Weinberg, M. S., Williams, C. J., & Pryor, D. W. (1994). Dual attraction: Understanding bisexuality. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Zinik, G. (2000). Identity conflict or adaptive flexibility? Bisexuality revisited. In P. C. R. Rust (Ed.), Bisexuality in the United States: A social science reader (pp. 55-60). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.


32 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34

Redefining Lives: Post-Secondary Education for Currently and Formerly Incarcerated Individuals  

Erin-Kate Escobar, Tamia Rashima Jordan, & Emery Lohrasbi This article provides student affairs professionals with an overview of the post-secondary education (PSE) for currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. We review their post secondary education entry points as well as challenges to their access and matriculation. Finally, we offer implications for how student affairs professionals may support the experiences of currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. “Prisons do not disappear problems, they disappear human beings. And the practice of disappearing vast numbers of people from poor, immigrant, and racially marginalized communities has literally become big business” (Davis, 1998, p.683).

The failure to respond to the plight of currently and formerly incarcerated individuals is a moral challenge and economic drain on our society. Student affairs offices provide one place to begin to respond to the moral and economic need for reform in the treatment of currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. Upon release, the goal is for these individuals to assume practices and a path that result in a successful livelihood. However, more often than not, these individuals Erin-Kate Escobar is a first-year graduate student in the Higher Education & Student Affairs graduate program at the University of Vermont. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of San Francisco in Politics. She is currently the Leadership Coordinator for the Living and Learning Directors Office at UVM. She hopes that post-secondary education (PSE) for currently and formerly incarcerated individuals will become more of a reality. ErinKate seeks to work within affinity spaces on campuses in PSE. Tamia Rashima Jordan is a 2006 graduate of University of Vermont’s Higher Education & Student Affairs graduate program. Originally from Hackensack, NJ, she graduated from the University of Virgina with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and African American Studies. She is currently the Director of Student Activities at Berklee College of Music. She is encouraged by increased dialogue and action around issues of race, class, and incarceration. Emery A. Lohrasbi is a first-year Higher Education & Student Affairs graduate student at the University of Vermont. He received his bachelor’s degree in Social Welfare from the University of Washington, Seattle in 2012. He is currently the First Year Experience Coordinator in the Department of Student Life. His current interests revolve around access to post secondary education for folks who have experienced fewer life chances (Spade, 2011).


Escobar, Jordan, & Lohrasbi • 33 commit new crimes and return to prison. This “…habitual relapse into crime” is called recidivism (Wordnet, n.d.). The cyclical recurrence of recidivism is one factor in the creation of a permanent underclass defined as a significant number of individuals with no conceivable way to be anything other than poor (Alexander, 2012; Western, 2007; Wilson, 1985). These individuals will continuously struggle to meet society’s expectations. Recidivism, poverty, and permanent underclass status are all cycles of oppression that need to be broken. Tackling any one of these epidemics is daunting, but there is hope. For currently and formerly incarcerated individuals, PSE is a powerful tool to reduce recidivism and achieve positive life outcomes (Holding, Dace, Schocken, & Ginsberg, 2010; Erisman & Contardo, 2005; Fine et al., 2001; Boulard, 2005;). However, a criminal record often prevents these individuals from obtaining the educational opportunities and essential skills to overcome the stigma of their criminal records. This article presents the issues and offers recommendations for addressing the needs of currently and formerly incarcerated individuals hoping to redefine themselves within PSE. Benefits of PSE for Currently and Formerly Incarcerated Individuals Investing in PSE benefits currently and formerly incarcerated individuals and society as a whole. Williams and Swail (2005) stated that, “successfully pursuing a college degree is potentially the best investment an individual can make” (p. iii). Erisman & Contardo (2005) argued that, “nationally, the income of those workers with a bachelor’s degree was, on average, 93 percent higher than those with only a high school diploma” (p. 8). Furthermore, those who have a twoyear degree experience more “non-wage economic benefits” (Williams & Swail, 2005, p. 6). The reduction of recidivism is perhaps the most referenced argument for the support of PSE for currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. Studies proved that, “participants in prison education, vocation and work programs have recidivism rates 20-60 percent lower than those of non-participants” (Aborn, 2005, p. 1). These lower rates of recidivism illustrate the beneficial role of PSE. Without support and access for PSE in prison systems: Prisons are likely to become merely overcrowded holding cells, which release inmates without alternatives and tools and skills to apply for jobs, and become legitimate members of the community. This trend more than likely guarantees these inmates become repeat offenders and return to prisons reinforcing the cycle of crime and punishment. (Granoff, 2005, p. 1)


34 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 Granoff (2005) implies PSE for currently incarcerated individuals is a critical element in rehabilitation. While opportunities such as college sponsored prison education programs, correspondence courses, and post prison rehabilitation programs currently exist they are limited at best. Availability of PSE for Currently or Formerly Incarcerated Individuals The following is a review of one presently inaccessible and several limited accessibility PSE options in existence for currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. Online Education Access to PSE through online educational resources is limited for currently incarcerated individuals. “Online courses would expand access to a large number of inmates, but concerns about allowing prisoners to gain access to the Internet have kept them out of such courses” (Sieben, 2011, n.p.). In a few states, lawmakers have argued for online education for prisoners, but according to correctional-education specialists, “lawmakers’ ideas, particularly about online programs, show a lack of understanding about prison life” (Grissom, 2011, n.p.). In order to provide online education, budget, security and prison infrastructure reforms would have to take place. Perhaps a first step would be to design a pilot program to provide Internet access to a small sample of incarcerated individuals. With all the trepidation regarding cyber security, online education for incarcerated individuals in the United States may not be an option that will profess itself in the near future. Inside Prison Systems Only five percent of incarcerated individuals have access to PSE and an even smaller percentage complete a degree (Erisman & Contardo, 2005). According to Gorgol and Sponsler (2011), the most common method for delivery of education within the system is through on-site instruction. Challenges affiliated with this method include limited physical space for hosting classes, security concerns, and lack of qualified instructors—especially due to the rural locations of prisons. Correspondence courses, an alternate method of delivery, do not share these same challenges. However, they are less accessible because most often students must finance courses themselves (Ohio State University eCampus, 2012, n.p.). Lesser-used methods of instruction include college level examination tests, taking incarcerated individuals offsite to participate in programs on post secondary campuses, and video instruction (Gorgol and Sponsler, 2011). Programs vary in structure and content. These range from liberal arts programs


Escobar, Jordan, & Lohrasbi • 35 to rehabilitation projects, some of which include arts, writing, and opportunities to nurture self esteem (Bard Prison Initiative, n.d.; Ohio State University eCampus, n.d; Aborn, 2005). One prominent example of PSE for incarcerated individuals is a mail based correspondence program through The Ohio State University (OSU). OSU faculty design associate and bachelor degree courses specifically tailored for incarcerated individuals. In order to facilitate this unique program, study guides are sent to help students learn and understand the material. Assignments are submitted to the instructor for evaluation and feedback via postal mail (Ohio State University eCampus, n.d.). Outside the Prison System Formerly incarcerated individuals may view community colleges as an appropriate entry point to PSE. There are many community colleges (such as Community College of Denver in Denver, Colorado, Santa Rosa Junior College in Windsor, California, and Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio) that offer resources for formally incarcerated individuals (Community College of Denver, n.d.; Santa Rosa Junior College, n.d.; Montgomery County, n.d.). Additionally, formerly incarcerated individuals may experience community colleges as a practical option because these institutions are generally more responsive to obligations of this population. In many cases, individuals who are formerly incarcerated have probation responsibilities that may include curfew, which makes the transition back into society difficult. Many four year colleges use the Common Application for admissions which requests the disclosure of criminal records. While a challenge to overcome, disclosure may not lead to denied admission. One example is Norfolk State University, a Historically Black College in Virginia. Their Criminal Record Policy effective since May 2004 is one that requires the disclosure of a criminal record, yet their practice is to approve or deny admission based on their assessment of individual circumstances (Norfolk State University, 2004). While this policy illustrates the ability for some institutions to provide access to formerly incarcerated individuals other institutions are not as willing. This brief review of available PSE opportunities for formerly and currently incarcerated individuals is not an exhaustive list. Furthermore the issue should not be oversimplified as there are many challenges to accessing higher education. Challenges to Access of PSE Financial Challenges According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid information site individuals who are in a federal or state prison are not eligible for


36 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 federal financial aid or Pell Grants. However, upon release most individuals will regain access to federal funding. In 1998 congress passed an amendment to the 1965 Higher Education Act that eliminated federal aid to individuals with drug convictions (American Civil Liberties Union, 2002; US Department of Education, n.d.). While this amendment is still in effect, its impact has been diminished due to the work of many organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (Students for Sensible Drug Policy, n.d.a). Presently individuals with drug convictions will only lose their aid if they were receiving aid at the time of their conviction. These individuals may regain access to federal aid after they have completed certain requirements. However, many of the same organizations continue to call for the full repeal of what is known as the Aid Elimination Provision (AEP). One reason is that drug convictions are the only convictions for which an individual can lose access to federal financial aid (Students for Sensible Drug Policy, n.d.). Many continue to question the role that race and class play in which communities are targeted by police for drug crime surveillance (Alexander, 2012; JFA Institute, 2007; Mauer & King, 2007). Therefore it is believed that those who are most likely to be impacted by the AEP are the poor and people of color. Furthermore it is believed that misinformation combined with the mere presence of the drug conviction question on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, discourages individuals with drug convictions from ever applying (Students for Sensible Drug Policy, n.d., a). This effectively eliminates their access to PSE which Brown, Lane, and Rogers (2002) referred to as “one of this nation’s primary mechanisms to escape the cyclical dynamic of drugs and its concomitant companions–race, poverty, and disadvantage” (p. 234). Additional Challenges There are many blatant and covert structural and social challenges that prevent access to PSE. As previously mentioned, mandated criminal record disclosure can be a challenge. According to Roach (2005), a structural challenge also exists when as many as two-thirds of those released from prison and jail are not ready for college due to the lack of a high school diploma. Furthermore, many currently and formerly incarcerated individuals who pursue PSE are adult learners, i.e. a student older than traditional college age (18-22 years). Literature shows adult learners face challenges such as balancing family obligations and full-time employment with school and other commitments (Komives & Woodard, 2003). R. Dwayne Betts shares his challenging experience as a formerly incarcerated individual. At 16 years old, Betts was convicted as an adult of carjacking and sentenced to nine years in prison. Betts chronicled his crime, conviction, and approximately eight years incarcerated in his 2009 memoir, A Question of Freedom.


Escobar, Jordan, & Lohrasbi • 37 Recounting his own pursuit for PSE upon release, Betts (2009) shared the following account: Two years after I was released from prison I sat in Howard University’s office of Admissions. This was further away from prison than I’d expected to be. We were all, as a part of Prince George’s Community College’s Honors Academy, to receive full scholarships to Howard University. It was simply a matter of signing a sheet of paper. When it was my turn to sign the slip of paper, my right forearm weighing down on the brown table, I paused. The scholarship agreement has the dreaded question: have you ever been convicted of a felony? (p. 234) This anecdote is an example of the impact that policies may inadvertently have on formerly incarcerated individuals. There is a role for student affairs professionals in currently and formerly incarcerated individuals’ struggles to begin productive lives for themselves through PSE. How do we discern who deserves consideration for educational opportunities which can provide essential skills after individuals are released from prison? How do we develop new lenses and processes to evaluate currently and formerly incarcerated students seeking admissions, financial assistance, and general support? While not easy, solutions to structural and social problems include concrete actions such as educating staff, creating programs, and amending policies. Implications for Student Affairs Professionals Student affairs professionals can find a call to action from the experiences of Betts and other currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. We offer the following implications for practice: • • • •

Seek additional resources for self-education. Utilize that knowledge to educate others on campus through dialogue and programming. Create and support a student club, residential learning community, or service learning opportunity that promotes PSE for currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. Review and if necessary amend campus policies and practices inhibiting access and the successful matriculation of currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. Work within our professional associations to challenge federal policies that purposefully or inadvertently create barriers to PSE for currently and formerly incarcerated individuals.

As student affairs professionals who exist in a greater community, we have the


38 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 opportunity to commit to the following: • Volunteer time to programs that provide postsecondary educational opportunities to currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. • Financially support PSE for currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. • Hold a community forum bringing together different stakeholders (formerly incarcerated individuals, policy makers, and community members). • Write letters to your local and state representatives expressing the need for PSE options for currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. Conclusion Efforts focused on access for PSE for currently and formerly incarcerated individuals will cease to exist without continued support. While programs and services are two methods of access, further research should confirm the objective benefits of increasing PSE for currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. Intentional approaches are necessary to end the status quo and ensure that prisons no longer function as life debilitating institutions. There is certainly more to be said about the rights of individuals with criminal records as well as the conspicuous relationship between race, class, and rates of incarceration (Alexander, 2012; Mauer & King, 2007; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, n.d.; The Sentencing Project, 2003). This article only provides a foundation. We aim to inspire additional dialogue and research to support PSE for currently and formerly incarcerated individuals.


Escobar, Jordan, & Lohrasbi • 39 References Aborn, R. M. (2005, March 4). Time to end recidivism. The Nation. Retrieved from http://www.thenation.com/article/time-end-recidivism Alexander, M. (2012). The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness (Rev. ed.). New York, NY: New Press. American Civil Liberties Union. (June 17, 2002). Injustice 101: Higher Education Act denies financial aid to students with drug convictions. Retrieved from http://www.aclu.org/drug-law-reform/injustice-101-higher-educa tion-act-denies-financial-aid-students-drug-convictions Bard College (n.d.). Bard Prison Initiative. Retrieved from http://bpi.bard.edu/ Betts, R. D. (2009). A question of freedom: A memoir of survival, learning, and coming of age in prison. New York, NY: Avery. Boulard, G. (2005). The promise of a better tomorrow. Black Issues in Higher Education, 22, 34-35. Brown, M.C., Lane, J.E., & Rogers, K.R. (2002). Walking a policy tightrope: Balancing educational opportunity and criminal justice in federal student financial aid. Journal of Negro Education, 71(3), 233-242. Community College of Denver. (n.d.). Resources for ex-offenders. Retrieved from http://www.ccd.edu/ccd.nsf/html/webb87cv65-resources+for+ex offenders Davis, A. (1998, September 10). Masked racism: Reflections on the prison industrial complex. Color Lines. Retrieved from http://colorlines.com/ archives/1998/09/masked_racism_reflections_on_the_prison_indus trial_complex.html Erisman, W. & Contardo, J.B. (2005). Learning to reduce recidivism - the Institute for Higher Education Policy. Retrieved from http://www.ihep.org/assets/files/.../g-l/LearningReduceRecidivism. pdf Federal Student Aid. (n.d.). Students with criminal convictions. Retrieved from http://studentaid.ed.gov/eligibility/criminal-convictions Fine, M., Torre, M. E., Boudin, K., Bowen, I., Clark, J., Hylton, D,, et al. (2001, September). Changing minds: The impact of college in a maximum security prison. The Graduate Center of the City University of New York & Women in Prison at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. Retrieved from http://www.changingminds.ws/main_frame.html Gehring, T. (2003) Why educate inmates? Keynote address presented at ‘Unlocking Doors - Rebuilding Lives through Education’. The International Forum on Education in Correctional Systems Australia Conference. Held on 9-11 November 2003 at the Crown Plaza, Surfers Paradise. Gorgol, L. E., & Sponsler, B. A. (2011). Unlocking potential. Retrieved from http:// www.csupomona.edu/~rrreese/nonfla/PrisonEducationArticle.pdf


40 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 Granoff, G. (2005). Schools Behind Bars: Prison college programs unlock the keys to human potential. Retrieved from http://www.educationupdate.com/archives/ 2005/May/html/FEAT-BehindBars.html. Grissom, B. (2011, May 14). Lawmakers and others discuss changes to education programs for prisoners. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/us/15ttwindham.html?_r=0 Holding, C., Dace, T., Schocken, S., Ginsberg, R. (2010, October). Prison higher education programs: An incomplete assessment. Retrieved from http://www.universitybeyondbars.org/.../EJP-Incomplete-Directory on-HIgher-Ed-Prison-Programs.pdf JFA Institute. (2007). Unlocking America. Retrieved from http://www.jfa-associates.com/ Komives, S. R., & Woodard, D. (2003). Student services a handbook for the profession (4th ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Mauer, M., & King, R. (2007). A 25 year quagmire: The war on drugs and its impact on American society. Retrieved from http://www.sentencingproject.org/de tail/publication.cfm?publication_id=170 Montgomery County. (n.d.). Ex-offender reentry resources. Retrieved from http://www.mcohio.org/services/fcfc/exoffender_reentry/docs/ MCOER_Resource_Guide_by_Category.pdf National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. (n.d.) Criminal justice fact sheet. Retrieved from http://www.naacp.org/pages/criminal-justice-fact-sheet Norfolk State University. (May 5, 2004). Prior Criminal Record Policy. Retrieved from http://www.nsu.edu/policies/pdf/PriorCriminalRecordPolicy. pdf Ohio State University eCampus. (n.d.). Integrating Life and Learning. Retrieved from http://www.ohio.edu/ecampus/ Recidivism [Def. 1) (n.d.). In Wordnet, Retrieved from http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=recidivism Research Prison Studies Project. (n.d.). Teaching, Research, and Outreach. Retrieved from http://prisonstudiesproject.org/research/ Roach, R. (2005). Returning home: Scholars say more research is needed on the society re-entry of the formerly incarcerated. Black Issues in Higher Education, 22, 36-39. Santa Rosa Junior College. (n.d.). Resources for formerly incarcerated. Retrieved from http://www.santarosa.edu/for_students/formerly-incarcerated/ Sieben, L. (2011, May 4). Report describes limits of inmates’ access to college education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/Inmates-Access-to College/127375/ Spade, D. (2011). Normal life: Administrative violence, critical trans politics and the limits of law. Boston, MA: South End Press. Students for Sensible Drug Policy. (n.d.). The Higher Education Act. Retrieved


Escobar, Jordan, & Lohrasbi • 41 from http://ssdp.org/issues/the-higher-education-act/ Students for Sensible Drug Policy. (n.d.a). Talking points. Retrieved from http://ssdp.org/issues/the-higher-education-act/talking-points/ The Sentencing Project. (2003). Hispanic prisoners in the United States. Retrieved from http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/ inc_hispanicprisoners.pdf U.S. Department of Education. (n.d.). 1998 amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965. Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered /leg/hea98/index.html Williams, A., & W. S. Swail. (2005). Is More Better? The impact of postsecondary education on the economic and social well-being of American society. Retrieved from http://www.educationalpolicy.org/pdf/gates.pdf Wilson, W. J. (1985). Cycles of deprivation and the underclass debate. Social Science Review, 59, 541-559. Western, B. (2007). Punishment and inequality in America. New York: Russell Sage.


42 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34

Impostor Phenomenon: Overcoming Internalized Barriers and Recognizing Achievements Queena Hoang The “impostor phenomenon” is the crippling feeling of self-doubt, intellectual inadequacy, and anticipated failure that haunts people who attribute their success to luck or help from others rather than their own abilities (Nelson, 2011). These feelings, often undetected by others, manifest as anxiety, self-deprecation, or an irrational fear of failure in light of previous success (Bernard, Dollinger, & Ramaniah, 2002; Langford & Clance, 1993; Leary, Patton, Orlando, & Frank, 2000). Clance and Imes (1978) first discovered this psychological experience while studying high-achieving female college students and professionals and thus coined the term impostor phenomenon (IP). This article will explore the literature around IP, its impact on men and women, graduate level students, and senior student affairs practitioners in higher education, and offer insights and suggestions on how to navigate IP while working with students or colleagues. Fraud, lucky, deceiving, incompetent – these words are often manifested in those who experience the impostor phenomenon. The impostor phenomenon (IP) is based on an internal feeling of fraudulence in areas of success and achievement. Those who suffer from IP believe they do not deserve their success, that their accomplishments were not achieved through genuine ability, but as a means of being fortuitous, having worked harder than others, or having manipulated other’s impressions (Langford & Clance, 1993). Those who experience IP are constantly anxious about being exposed of their “phoniness” and, therefore, are extremely critical of their work and performance. The sense of being a fraud is only one part of the impostor phenomenon as “victims of IP are caught up in a cycle of emotions, thoughts, and actions that can virtually control their lives” (Harvey & Katz, 1984, p. 2). Students can feel mediocre, unqualified, incompetent, and even stupid. These feelings will often transcend their academic work, professional jobs, leadership roles, and even their Queena Hoang is a second-year graduate student in the Higher Education & Student Affairs Program at the University of Vermont and serves as the Coordinator for Campus Programs. Prior to moving to Vermont, Queena attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. Queena’s passion and research interests are around advocacy for her fellow Asian Pacific Islanders and women. Her life motto is “Don’t be a worrier; Be a warrior” (Hoang, 2012).


Hoang • 43 personal lives. “For some people who suffer from IP, the more successful they get, the more severe and crippling it becomes” (Harvey & Katz, 1984, p. 3). The History of the Impostor Phenomenon Clance and Imes (1978) developed the term imposter phenomenon to designate an internal experience of intellectual phoniness that seemed to be particularly prevalent amongst a select sample of high-achieving women (Clance & O’Toole, 1988). Clance and Imes (1978) interviewed 150 highly successful women who all obtained and earned degrees, high scores on standardized tests, or professional recognition from colleagues or organizations, yet these women still felt an internal lack of success. Clance (1985) invented the Clance Impostor Phenomenon Scale (CIP) to help people measure and determine whether or not they have IP characteristics and, if so, to what extent they are suffering (See Appendix A). According to Chrisman, Pieper, Clance, Holland, and Glickauf-Huges (1995), since its formulation, two other separate scales have been developed to measure IP, including the Harvey Impostor Phenomenon Scale (HIP; Harvey, 1981), and the Perceived Fraudulence Scale (PFS; Kolligan and Sternberg 1991). Of the three scales, the validity of the CIP scale and PFS were proven to be most accurate and reliable when compared to the HIP scale. The CIP specifically measures fear of evaluation, fear of not being able to repeat success, and fear of being less capable than others. According to Clance and Imes (1988), those that experienced IP often felt emotions or thoughts of being discovered as incompetent. They would attribute their success to hard work, luck, knowing the right people, being in the right place at the right time, or through interpersonal assets such as charm and adaptability. Those with IP tendencies have difficulty in accepting praise or recognition for accomplishments or positive feedback; they will constantly dwell or focus on negative feedback as a reason for their deficits, mistakes, or failures. While fixated on their flaws, those with IP are afraid of shame and humiliation associated with failure and the feelings of foolishness. And finally, those with IP tendencies will overestimate others’ intellect and competence while comparing their weaknesses with the strengths of others. The Role of Gender in the Work Place and Classroom Impostor phenomenon feelings were initially thought to be “most prominent among female college students” (Craddock, Birnbaum, Rodriguez, Cobb, & Zeeh, 2011, p. 432). Some researchers found that female students had higher correlations to IP feelings than their male counterparts, especially regarding internalized success, expectations of treatment, and fear of failure (Clance & Imes,


44 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 1978; Clance, 1985; Kumar & Jagacinski, 2006). This is especially true for female students who are in environments where society tells them they do not belong, such as fields of study like hard sciences or engineering (McIntosh, 1989). Similarly, senior level administrators that experience IP have feelings of being unqualified for the position. They may also assume they received the job based on qualities such as character or personality and not on experience or skills. IP feelings can be further perpetuated in work environments and settings that are dominated by men. Without actual examples of female role models in these higher-level administrator positions, women often question their skills and abilities to hold such capacities. Additionally, social and cultural factors can contribute to a woman’s fear of succeeding. Psychologists suggest that women deny their success in a “man’s world” in order to avoid the fear of power and rejection (Harvey & Katz, 1984). Additional research on this phenomenon examined the avoidance of success by women due to the fear of being penalized, criticized, rejected, or seen as unfeminine (Harvey & Katz, 1984). Although today’s society is more accepting of women succeeding without paying a penalty or being socially rejected, it is still difficult for women to be as confident as men in senior level positions due to IP as well as other systems of oppression. However, further research has found that men also experience the phenomenon similarly to women (Flewelling, 1985; Harvey, 1981; Imes, 1979; Lawler, 1984). Topping (1983) found that men, in fact, experience IP more frequently than women because men do not openly acknowledge the phenomenon and are more likely to shield those types of emotions or feelings. In order to uphold stereotypical masculine traits of being strong and unemotional, men will suppress negative thoughts or feelings. IP is exhibited differently for men, in that they feel the need to secure a “man’s job” and must avoid traditionally feminine positions such as social work, teaching, nursing, and receptionist work (Topping, 1983). Men are afraid of the penalties that might result from having an atypical male role, or a position that might question his sexuality (Harvey & Katz, 1984). So for men that have IP habits, they may feel incompetent, untalented, or unacceptable towards society. In the Classroom Students who experience the impostor phenomenon are often the most energetic, bright, and hardworking students amongst their peers. Most studies and research around IP have been focused on graduate and doctoral students, and/or high achieving senior leveled administrators. Craddock, Birnbaum, Rodriguez, Cobb, and Zeeh (2011) interviewed six doctoral students in a higher education program in which all participants indicated feelings related to perceptions of IP. The authors found that family expectations, gender, graduate-level coursework, and participants’ racial identities were influential in shaping IP feelings (Craddock et. al, 2011).


Hoang • 45 Students with IP tendencies will often compare themselves to other classmates, have feelings of academic unpreparedness, question their admissions to a graduate or doctoral program, or will attribute their successes (grades, awards, or recognition) to external factors and not acknowledge their own abilities. Students of Color, or students with other underrepresented identities, might question if they received admission because of affirmative action, which is frequently unwarranted and a false assumption. These internalized feelings can cause students to experience self-doubt, and therefore directly hurt their academic performances. The Impostor Phenomenon Beyond the Classroom and Workplace Although the impostor phenomenon is prevalent in the classroom and workplace, it is equally pronounced in other settings. The impostor phenomenon can also be manifested through social interactions, friendships, romantic relationships, and family relationships. In these interactions and relationships, “impostors” feel as though they are “putting up a false front” (Harvey & Katz, 1985). Victims of the impostor phenomenon believe that there is a specific, ideal role that they are supposed to fulfill. In their minds, “they just don’t live up to the image of what a [friend, partner, daughter, or sister] should be” (Harvey & Katz, 1985, pg. 63). In relationships, victims of IP magnify what they perceive as flaws and are then fixated and focused on how to improve and perfect those inadequacies. Similarly, in every day interactions it is important for those with IP to feel approved, accepted, and liked by others. However, people with IP explain that although the world sees them as being inherently good, deep inside they often feel “unworthy, mean, hostile, selfish, envious, and sometimes even evil. They believe that they have deceived others into liking or loving them” (Harvey & Katz, 1985, p. 92). For some, family is the biggest influence toward IP feelings. There are many roles or labels by which a person with IP may feel judged or critiqued, for instance: “the smart one,” “the responsible one,” “the talented one,” “the sensitive one,” or “the good one” (Harvey & Katz, 1985, p. 135). Those who surpass the achievements of their family members may be afraid that “it’s lonely at the top.” Some students with IP may feel guilty about their educational or life successes, thinking that it is somehow wrong for them to be doing better than a parent or sibling (Harvey & Katz, 1985). This fear of success not only manifests itself in familial relationships, but in other relationships and other aspects of their lives. Breaking Barriers: Implications for Student Affairs For some, intrinsic motivation may be enough to get over their impostor phenomenon ideations. This can include thoughts such as, “I want to receive that degree. I won’t give up and have too much pride to walk away,” or “If I can do this, I will be able to help others in the future and work with people as motivated


46 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 as I am,” or “I can be the voice of other People of Color who do not have the opportunities like I do,” or simply, “I know I can do this.” Harvey and Katz (1985) give eleven tips on how to work through these feelings, acknowledging that “IP will not disappear overnight, no matter what you do” (p. 207). These tips include making lists of “impostor feelings” and striking them out, isolating daunting tasks and breaking it down into parts, taking control of situations, practicing being your own person, teaching yourself to accept compliments, talking to others who might feel similarly, and simply owning and naming it (Harvey & Katz, 1985). Although students or new professionals may feel as though they are alone in their impostor feelings, “research suggests that IP feelings are a normal part of graduate study” (Craddock et al., 2011, p. 11). The feelings occur when students are exposed to new environments or stressful and unfamiliar situations in which they feel less secure about their ability to succeed. It is important for faculty members and supervisors of graduate students to acknowledge and not dismiss IP tendencies that they might see. Other possible solutions to help mitigate feelings of IP can be through matching new graduate or doctoral students with a returning, more experienced student who can guide and mentor them through their first year. This can allow students to normalize the experience and offer coping strategies. Providing space and opportunities for students to have healthy dialogue can afford students the support they need to be successful.


Hoang • 47 References Bernard, N. S., Dollinger, S. J., & Ramaniah, N. V. (2002). Applying the big five personality factors to the impostor phenomenon. Journal of personality Assessment, 78(2), 321–333. Chrisman, S., Pieper, W., Clance, P. R., Holland, C., & Glickauf-Hughes, C. (1995). Validation of the Clance Impostor Phenomenon Scale . Journal of Personality Assessment, 65(3), 456-467. Clance, P.R., & Imes, S.A. (1978). The impostor phenomenon in high achieving women: Dynamics and therapeutic intervention. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice, 15(3), 241-247 Clance, P.R. (1985). The impostor phenomenon: Overcoming the fear that haunts your success. Atlanta, GA: Peachtree. Clance, P. R., & O’Toole, M.A. (1987). The imposter phenomenon. Women & Therapy, 6(3), 51–64. Craddock, S., Birnbaum, M., Rodriguez, K., Cobb, C., & Zeeh, S. (2011). Doctoral students and the impostor phenomenon: Am I smart enough to be here? Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 48(4). doi:10.2202/1949-6605.6321 Harvey, J. C., & Katz, C. (1985). If I’m so successful, why do I feel like a fake?: The impostor phenomenon. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press. Langford, J., & Clance, P. R. (1993). The imposter phenomenon: Recent research findings regarding dynamics, personality and family patterns and their implications for treatment. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 30(3), 495. McIntosh, P. (1985). Feeling like a fraud. Wellesley College: Stone Center for Developmental Services and Studies. Nelson, J. (2011, Nov 07). What’s behind the impostor syndrome. Canadian Business, 84, 129-129. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/918797883?accountid=14679 Topping, M.E.H. (1983). The Impostor Phenomenon: A study of its construct and incidence in university faculty members (Doctoral Dissertation, University of South Florida, 1983). Dissertation Abstracts International, 41, 4248A-4249A.


48 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 Appendix A Clance IP Scale For each question, please circle the number that best indicates how true the statement is of you. It is best to give the first response that enters your mind rather than dwelling on each statement and thinking about it over and over. 1. I have often succeeded on a test or task even though I was afraid that I would not do well before I undertook the task. 1 (not at all true)

2 (rarely)

3 (sometimes)

4 (often)

5 (very true)

2. I can give the impression that I’m more competent than I really am. 1 (not at all true)

2 (rarely)

3 (sometimes)

4 (often)

5 (very true)

3. I avoid evaluations if possible and have a dread of others evaluating me. 1 (not at all true)

2 (rarely)

3 (sometimes)

4 (often)

5 (very true)

4. When people praise me for something I’ve accomplished, I’m afraid I won’t be able to live up to their expectations of me in the future. 1 (not at all true)

2 (rarely)

3 (sometimes)

4 (often)

5 (very true)

5. I sometimes think I obtained my present position or gained my present success because I happened to be in the right place at the right time or knew the right people. 1 (not at all true)

2 (rarely)

3 (sometimes)

4 (often)

5 (very true)

6. I’m afraid people important to me may find out that I’m not as capable as they think I am. 1 (not at all true)

2 (rarely)

3 (sometimes)

4 (often)

5 (very true)


Hoang • 49

7. I tend to remember the incidents in which I have not done my best more than those times I have done my best. 1 (not at all true)

2 (rarely)

3 (sometimes)

4 (often)

5 (very true)

8. I rarely do a project or task as well as I’d like to do it. 1 (not at all true)

2 (rarely)

3 (sometimes)

4 (often)

5 (very true)

9. Sometimes I feel or believe that my success in my life or in my job has been the result of some kind of error. 1 (not at all true)

2 (rarely)

3 (sometimes)

4 (often)

5 (very true)

10. It’s hard for me to accept compliments or praise about my intelligence or accomplishments. 1 (not at all true)

2 (rarely)

3 (sometimes)

4 (often)

5 (very true)

11. At times, I feel my success has been due to some kind of luck. 1 (not at all true)

2 (rarely)

3 (sometimes)

4 (often)

5 (very true)

12. I’m disappointed at times in my present accomplishments and think I should have accomplished much more. 1 (not at all true)

2 (rarely)

3 (sometimes)

4 (often)

5 (very true)

13. Sometimes I’m afraid others will discover how much knowledge or ability I really lack. 1 (not at all true)

2 (rarely)

3 (sometimes)

4 (often)

5 (very true)


50 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34

14. I’m often afraid that I may fail at a new assignment or undertaking even though I generally do well at what I attempt. 1 (not at all true)

2 (rarely)

3 (sometimes)

4 (often)

5 (very true)

15. When I’ve succeeded at something and received recognition for my accomplishments, I have doubts that I can keep repeating that success. 1 (not at all true)

2 (rarely)

3 (sometimes)

4 (often)

5 (very true)

16. If I receive a great deal of praise and recognition for something I’ve accomplished, I tend to discount the importance of what I’ve done. 1 (not at all true)

2 (rarely)

3 (sometimes)

4 (often)

5 (very true)

17. I often compare my ability to those around me and think they may be more intelligent than I am. 1 (not at all true)

2 (rarely)

3 (sometimes)

4 (often)

5 (very true)

18. I often worry about not succeeding with a project or examination, even though others around me have considerable confidence that I will do well. 1 (not at all true)

2 (rarely)

3 (sometimes)

4 (often)

5 (very true)

19. If I’m going to receive a promotion or gain recognition of some kind, I hesitate to tell others until it is an accomplished fact. 1 (not at all true)

2 (rarely)

3 (sometimes)

4 (often)

5 (very true)

20. I feel bad and discouraged if I’m not “the best” or at least “very special” in situations that involve achievement. 1 (not at all true)

2 (rarely)

3 (sometimes)

4 (often)

5 (very true)


Hoang • 51

Note. From The Impostor Phenomenon: When Success Makes You Feel Like A Fake (pp. 20-22), by P.R. Clance, 1985, Toronto: Bantam Books. Copyright 1985 by Pauline Rose Clance. Reprinted by permission. Do not reproduce without permission from Pauline Rose Clance drpaulinerose@comcast.net. Scoring the Impostor Test The Impostor Test was developed to help individuals determine whether or not they have IP characteristics and, if so, to what extent they are suffering. After taking the Impostor Test, add together the numbers of the responses to each statement. If the total score is 40 or less, the respondent has few Impostor characteristics; if the score is between 41 and 60, the respondent has moderate IP experiences; a score between 61 and 80 means the respondent frequently has Impostor feelings; and a score higher than 80 means the respondent often has intense IP experiences. The higher the score, the more frequently and seriously the Impostor Phenomenon interferes in a person’s life.


52 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34

New Member after College: A Scholarly Personal Narrative on Non-Traditional Membership in College Fraternities Benjamin Z. Huelskamp While the majority of fraternity and sorority members join during their undergraduate years, some join after receiving their first degree. Nontraditional membership has not been examined or discussed in scholarly literature even though non-traditional members often have a significant impact on undergraduate members as Greek life advisors, chapter advisors, student affairs professionals, and faculty members. This article examines one man’s experience with fraternity and sorority life and the influence of non-traditional members on fraternity and sorority members. Dear Men of Nu Gamma, It is with great respect and immense gratitude that I write this letter to you as a brother, advisor, and friend. This is letter about us, but it is particularly about using my voice to spark discussion within our fraternity, and fraternity and sorority life internationally. You and the vast majority of other members of the fraternal movement followed the traditional path to membership: you joined a fraternity on the campus of your undergraduate institution. You are therefore traditional members. I am not a traditional member, however. As I will recount in detail in this letter I did not join a fraternity as an undergraduate for a variety of reasons. It was only after coming to the University of Vermont (UVM) and becoming an advisor for your chapter that you decided to invite me to join Phi Mu Delta (PMD). Because I was initiated into the fraternity after I had already received my first undergraduate degree, I am a non-traditional member. As you know I talk about PMD a lot, but one of my close friends often confuses the idea of nontraditional membership in a fraternity or sorority with non-traditional students who are undergraduates who are older or have more life experience than a typical student who begins undergraduate study within a few months of graduating from high school. Inasmuch as the study of student affairs is traditional, I have progressed through undergraduate and graduate work as a traditional student. There are many ways this letter and essay could have been written. I chose Epistolary Scholarly Personal Narrative (ESPN) in order to use my voice to address Benjamin Z. Huelskamp is a second-year Higher Educaton & Student Affairs graduate student at the University of Vermont. He received his B.A. in Philosophy from The University of the South. Passionate about helping students find and use their voice, he is particularly interested in men/masculinities, LGBTQIA* issues, and religio-spirituality.


Huelskamp • 53 an issue that I feel is rarely, if ever, discussed in scholarly literature. I follow Nash and Bradley (2011) in placing great importance on the truths that we each possess as people. As you well know, my educational philosophy is rooted in creating space for my students to speak their truths and tell their stories. Non-traditional membership in fraternities and sororities is something that exists in the fraternal movement and may, occasionally, be mentioned in an organization’s newsletter, but is rarely even discussed and each organization has different rules regarding non-traditional members. But I believe that non-traditional membership is vitally important to fraternities and sororities as it allows people who are passionate about the values and educational mission of the organization to be fully recognized. Furthermore, they can use their skills and experience to benefit the members of both local chapters and international organizations. Non-traditional membership also allows organizations without established programs for initiating graduate students to do so if needed. Overall, non-traditional membership has a compelling interest and stake in building strong, effective chapters on college and university campuses. Additionally, inducting administrative and student affairs staff can greatly increase buy-in from administrators outside of the fraternal movement (Rios, 2012). But before I go further with the discussion of non-traditional membership, let me tell you about how I became involved with PMD and the fraternal movement. Before I arrived at UVM in the summer of 2011, I not only had never heard of Phi Mu Delta, but never believed that I would be a member of any fraternity. Unlike you, I came to Vermont not as an undergraduate, but rather a graduate student in the Higher Education Student Affairs (HESA) program. Soon, I responded to a call for fraternity and sorority advisors. While I said that I was open to working with any organization, I secretly wanted to work with either Kappa Sigma or FIJI, if only, because I was familiar with them. The Greek life advisor1 suggested I look up Phi Mu Delta. My initial thought: why would I want to work with such a small national fraternity? I equated “large fraternity” with “better fraternity.” I assumed that a larger fraternity, with the associated larger budget and resources, would make such a fraternity a better fraternity. Beyond the fact that “better” is an inherently subjective concept, each fraternal organization is different with unique histories, traditions, and rituals. After some internal wrestling and several subtle hints about the possibility of joining PMD, I decided to accept the invitation to at least explore being your advisor. Like many men from similar background and identities,2 I first learned about fraternities from Animal House in which beer, parties, and “thank you, sir, may I have another?” were perpetuated as the norm—perhaps even the ideal (Rietman 1 “Greek life advisor” is one of a number of accepted terms used by the Fraternity and Sorority Life community nationally to denote the student affairs professional responsible for the Greek community at a particular institution. 2 I identify as White, from a middle-class background, and a second-generation college student.


54 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 & Simmons, 1978). I never considered fraternity membership until I arrived at The University of the South3 in November of 2004 for a visit day. Even my ever-skeptical mother had to admit that Sewanee’s Greek culture felt different than other schools. Maybe I could “go Greek” here. Less than two years later, I was enrolled at Sewanee and (based solely on websites) had decided that I would join the Kappa Alpha Order (KA), even though my mom thought Delta Tau Delta looked better and my aunt was pushing for Lambda Chi Alpha (LXA)—the fraternity of which my grandfather was a member until his death. Sewanee did not allow first-time, first year students to join Greek organizations until their second semester so I sat back and observed the different organizations. I quickly realized that if fraternity membership was about staying out late and partying then maybe Greek life was not for me. But when formal “rush” arrived in January of 2007, I was intent on pledging LXA,4 because it seemed expected and the right thing for a Sewanee man to do—the student body was 80% Greek-affiliated at the time. At the same time that I was going through rush, I was also beginning my second semester in the University Choir. The head chorister at the time was also the rush chair of LXA. He encouraged me to hold off, wait until the following semester, and meet more of the men. Though I was deeply conflicted, his advice was one of the reasons I chose to forgo rush for the time being. The next semester, more confident in my chances to get a bid, I went through upperclass rush. This time I was out to get a bid to Beta Theta Pi with LXA as a “safe” alternative. Needless to say, on Bid Day, I was without a bid at all. Shortly after that experience, I came out and my mind turned elsewhere. It was also brought to my attention that as an openly gay man it might be more difficult for me to join any fraternity with the exception of LXA, which had several openly queer members. A part of me still wanted to be a member of one of the fraternities, but the loss was not great overall. I graduated from college with friends in every fraternity and with the respect of the people around me. That was enough for me. My first experience with PMD came one day in early October 2011. I went to lunch with three of you and I was nervous, to say the least. Here, I was a man who had never been a member of a fraternity presuming that I could properly advise you on being a fraternity. Not to mention that I already had the idea in my head that I might be able to join you as a brother. I did not have any concrete ideas to give, and it took me almost half an hour to finally give intelligent answers. As you now know, I am not known for my great skills at initiating conversations, and we stared each other down for quite a while during that lunch. That meeting could have gone better, but you decided to give me chance nevertheless. My first meeting with the chapter was a visit with the Executive Director, Tom Murphy, 3 The University of the South is often referred to simply as “Sewanee” after the name of the town in which it is located: Sewanee, TN. 4 It is important to note that LXA nationally and at Sewanee uses the terms “new member” and “new member education” rather than “pledge” and “pledging.” I, however, would only discover that later as I learned more about LXA and its members.


Huelskamp • 55 an event that would have demanded coats and ties at Sewanee. Even though this is UVM and not Sewanee, I broke out a coat and tie. You all were in jeans and letters. More awkwardness on my part, but the silver lining was that I met Derrick, one of our brothers and soon to-be chapter president, for the first time. He would quickly become a friend of mine and the first PMD that I would consider a brother. After that meeting I felt that I could work with you and do more than try to advise you as a fraternity. Though I can only speak from my experience, I think that many non-traditional fraternity and sorority initiates face unique challenges. By the time we returned from winter break, the chapter had installed new officers and then the invitation to join was extended to me. I, of course, accepted, but first weighed the possible challenges of joining a chapter on the campus where I worked. Would this create a conflict of interest as I worked with other students? My supervisor, a member of Zeta Tau Alpha, walked me through that question, but in the end, encouraged me to continue pursuing membership. The next question was how would I complete new member education? To get an answer to questions such as this, a new undergraduate member of PMD would ask the new member educator or another active brother; I called the executive director of the national fraternity, Tom Murphy. After answering that first question, Tom Murphy became my go-to. The other chapter advisor pulled me aside and told me that if I needed questions answered I should go through him or Derrick because an undergraduate would not go straight to the executive director. This was one of the first areas of what has become a delicate balancing act between new member and advisor, brother and student affairs professional. The concern and request made sense in general practice, however, by this point, Tom had become the closest person to what I would call a “big brother.” In many fraternal5 organizations, new members are assigned a big brother/big sister6 who is supposed to support and guide the younger/newer member. Derrick, among many of you, felt that it would be strange to assign me a “big brother” given that I am older than all of you. I never have been sure if this was really the reason or, as I would like to think, many of you had come to see me as some type of “big brother” already. In absence of someone to ask questions to, I turned to a PMD that was both older and more experienced than me. Though I talked to Tom far less than I perhaps should have, without knowing it, he nonetheless guided me through the new member phase. An equally interesting question we had to answer was when and how many of the official new member education sessions I should attend. A traditional new member would be expected to attend all sessions and 5 Within the fraternal movement the word “fraternal” is used for all organizations regardless of the gender identity of its members. 6 Some organizations use terms other than “big brother/big sister.” For example Alpha Delta Pi sorority refers to this position as “diamond sister.”


56 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 make up any that were missed. However, we collectively realized that I knew a fair bit about fraternal life, particularly the history of both the fraternal movement, PMD, as well as the national structure of the movement. We, therefore, determined that my attendance could be limited. My experience with new member education was on one side of the spectrum with other non-traditional members falling at other spots. At PMD’s Mu Alpha chapter in Pennsylvania, a long-time advisor followed the non-traditional track and completed the entire sequence of new member education. That said, the process for non-traditional membership is at the discretion of the individual chapter. When I was in high school, there was a show where cameras followed the “real” life of one fraternity and one sorority. I cannot remember which organizations these were or at which school they were located, but I do remember that each organization had a beautiful chapter house and a completely separate and equally beautiful house for their pledges. Beyond the blatant and indiscriminate displays of hazing, what I also remember about the show is the episode when the men and women were finally initiated. Cameras were not allowed, but when people emerged and were asked about what had transpired inside they all said that it brought them closer together as brothers/sisters. I was struck by how each member seemed to have the same answer. Not disclosing ritual and offering robotic answers are very different ideas. I had that memory in the back of my mind as I arrived at my own initiation. For the most part, you know why I was enthralled by the process and act of joining Phi Mu Delta, but perhaps other readers will ask why knowing the stereotypes and already being beyond college age, was fraternity membership appealing to me? Fraternity and sorority membership is a life-long commitment and a life project of orienting yourself to the larger shared values of an organization. Ferrucci (2006) says that, “without a future, without a project, we are not really human” (p. 96). Our fraternity and brotherhood is one of these projects. That’s why, when just before initiation, more senior members said, “when you have to touch something, don’t touch your face” and images of occultish rituals and “thank you sir, may I have another?” danced in my imagination, I still knew that this fraternity and these men were a commitment I was glad to make. But as members of Phi Mu Delta our secret rituals do not connect us or bind us together, rather it grounds us in an unbroken tradition dating back to our founding in 1918. The bond of brotherhood may be completed at initiation, but it is forged and strengthened as we interact daily with each other. That is what I learned the night I was initiated. Beyond the great joy of being initiated, I was delighted to see one of the alumni members there to welcome me into the alumni association. Rios (2012) noted that when he was inducted into Tau Delta Phi as a non-traditional member, an “invisible wall was taken down and [he] was given full access to the


Huelskamp • 57 inner workings of the undergraduate fraternity/sorority community…” (n.p.). Like Rios, I sensed an inherent shift in my interactions with the university fraternity and sorority life community once I was an initiated member. There is a certain interconnectedness of individuals in the fraternal movement, which requires fraternity/sorority membership, or service as a campus Greek life advisor, to fully enter. Rios (2012) also notes that he was quickly enlisted by his fraternity’s national board to serve on committees and leverage his substantive student affairs experience. While I lack his breadth of experience, I have been asked recently to lead a working group within a larger committee on which I serve. That said, as a non-traditional member, I have never, and will never, be an active undergraduate member. I was inducted as a new member and initiated as an alumni brother. Though this fact makes me no less a brother to you, it does mean that I will never be able to hold many of your roles—officers, big brothers, and more—but the position, and indeed calling, of an alumnus member is an important one nevertheless. As an alumnus and an advisor, I am expected to be a type of “big brother” to all active members of the fraternity regardless of their chapter, but particularly the men of Nu Gamma. I am also expected to model the values we espouse in how I lead, advise, and behave. My position is one of great accountability in that I am accountable to you before I can hold any of you accountable. I have not always been that model, but it is a standard to which I strive to hold myself. Six years ago when I entered college at Sewanee, I wanted more than anything to be a good Sewanee man and join a “frat,” not knowing how offensive that term was then. Now I am honored daily to be a fraternity man in Phi Mu Delta. To anyone who would discuss their membership in a fraternity in the past tense or only hold to their ideals during their collegiate years, let me say that I have found strength and courage in becoming and being a fraternity man after college. Each day, I recite the PMD Founder’s Creed, written by another Nu Gamma man. “I believe in brotherhood…brotherhood that reaches beyond the limits of Phi Mu Delta and welcomes every man as my brother” (Phi Mu Delta, 1918, n.p.). This is my favorite line, though I would join many other PMDs in understanding “every man as my brother” to encompass every person without regard to gender identity. My deepest commitment as an educator is to welcome each student, and indeed each person, as an individual of the highest value due the greatest respect. Phi Mu Delta has given me a framework to do just that each and every day. This letter has a dual intent. Though addressed to my brothers, it is also a work aimed at shedding the first rays of scholarly light on the experiences and path of non-traditional membership in the fraternal movement. Non-traditional members in fraternities and sororities, particularly those who serve as chapter advisors and/ or campus Greek life advisor, have a unique position to address concerns of both potential new members and their respective family members, as well as current


58 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 members. Fouts (2010) named numerous areas which influence the decision of an undergraduate to join or even consider joining a fraternity or sorority. Nontraditional members can have a positive influence on the following: empathizing community, leadership development, and social activity, highlighting the benefits of membership, partnering to address misconceptions; and asking chapters the right questions (Fouts, 2010, pp. 29-30). Fouts (2010) named peer perceptions and peer-to-peer interactions as one of the main influences affecting membership in Greek social organizations. The same is true for the ways in which non-traditional members can influence their peers, namely colleagues, faculty, and parents. Rios (2012) also notes that non-traditional members and others within the fraternal movement should create ways in which non-members, particularly faculty, staff, and students, can engage in fraternity and sorority life on their respective campuses. The second intent of this letter is a work of appreciation for my PMD brothers, particularly the men of Nu Gamma, as well as the men and women of the fraternal movement internationally. Hopefully that showed forth for them as I hope it does every day. They have thanked me many times for being their advisor and friend, but I have never formally thanked them for the gift of brotherhood and fellowship. It is my hope that they will take this letter as a small token of my thanks, to my brothers and friends; men for whom I hold the utmost respect. Fraternally, Benjamin Z. Huelskamp, Nu Gamma H’12


Huelskamp • 59 References Ferrucci, P. (2006). The power of kindness: The unexpected benefits of leading a compassionate life. New York: Penguin. Fouts, K. S. (2010). Why undergraduates aren’t “going Greek”: Attraction, affilation, and retention in fraternities and sororities. Oracle: The Research Journal of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors, 5(1), 24 33. Nash, R. J. and Bradley, D. L. (2011). Me-search and re-search: A guide for writing scholarly personal narrative manuscripts. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. Phi Mu Delta. (1918). The founders’ creed. Retrieved from http://www.phimudelta.org/?page=FoundersCreed Reitman, I., Simmons, M. (Producers), & Landis, J. (Director). (1978). Animal House [Motion Picture]. United States: Universal Pictures. Rios, J. (2012, March). Creating in-group experiences for non-fraternity/sorority members: Perspectives from a former outsider. Essentials. Retrieved from http://www.afa1976.org/Publications/Essentials/EssentialsPreviou sIssues/March2012PerspectivesfromOutsider.aspx


60 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34

Career Services as a Bridge to International Student Acculturation and Success Jing Luo The recruitment of international students is a current trend in United States postsecondary institutional development. How to support international students as best as possible is highly related to the retention of international students. This article will explore how career services offices help international students better integrate academically and culturally. Additionally, this paper will discuss career services’ impact on the retention of international students and institutional long-term development. The number of international students has grown substantially among United States colleges and universities. According to the Institute of International Education (IIE), total international student enrollment in the U.S. increased 6% between 2011 and 2012 to a record high of 764,495 international students (Institute of International Education, 2012). Among various types of institutions around the world, American colleges and universities are one of the leading destinations for students from around world (Crockett & Hays, 2011; Shen & Herr, 2004). As international students enter campus, they encounter language barriers, culture shock, isolation, homesickness, disorientation, and depression (Crockett & Hays, 2011; Shen & Herr, 2004). Sherry, Thomas, and Chui (2009) noted that “students who are not offered effective social, cultural and economic support are more likely to be vulnerable to exploitation or social exclusion” (p. 35). Therefore, it is imperative to help international students engage in local communities and acclimate to host campuses’ cultures. Moreover, international students’ main objective through overseas study is to obtain degrees, specifically by succeeding academically (Tidwell & Hanassab, 2007). A portion of international students pursue academic ambitions while dealing with the pressures of physical and emotional discomfort in order to achieve their career aspirations (Leong & Chou, 1996; Pedersen, 1991). As a result, by linking academic success to professional development, international students will gain more exposure to U.S. culture and improve their acculturation. Jing Luo is a first-year Higher Education & Student Affairs graduate student at the University of Vermont. She received her B.A. in teaching English from Fujian Normal University, China and also holds a M.Ed in Educational Leadership from the University of Vermont. Her identity as an Asian student influences her research interests in international students’ acculturation. She enjoys every moment working with students and she is determined to stay in the field of international education.


Luo • 61 Career Services for International Students While the primary purpose for international students may be to gain a necessary degree, the skills and opportunities they receive far exceed those gained in the classroom. Student success encompasses much more than earning a high GPA; success also includes leadership skills that aid in gaining a career after graduation. Support outside of the classroom concerning academic success is necessary to improve practical skills that will benefit international students both inside and outside the classroom. As a result, career services can serve as a bridge between academia, the workforce, and the student’s adaptation to a new culture. Previous literature suggests that international students appear to have a more difficult college transition when compared to that of U.S.-born students (Olivas & Li, 2006). Also, international students tend to be more hesitant than their U.S. peers about seeking career counseling (Mori, 2000). Previous research also indicates that many students exclusively rely on their academic programs to meet their professional needs. This includes professional activities, academic conferences, and their personal connections, such as family, friends, and colleagues (Crockett & Hays, 2011; Olivas & Li, 2006; Shen & Herr, 2004). In some majors like math, science, and engineering, students tend to think that they will find a desirable job as long as they have outstanding academic performance records, professors’ recommendations, and strong reputations within their departments or programs (Shen & Herr, 2004). This conventional approach to seek professional assistance from academic resources may prevent international students from seeking assistance from career services. Many international students think that campus career services offices are designed to be primarily U.S.-oriented and geared toward American undergraduate students (Davis, 1999; Leong & Sedlacek, 1989; Mori, 2000; Shen & Herr, 2004; SpencerRodgers, 2000). Many jobs and internship opportunities only apply to domestic students, and, as a result, international students may think that they will not get accurate career assistance. Shen and Herr’s (2004) research suggested that if career services offices clearly advertised supporting international students in obtaining information about internships or jobs, more students would access such services. Thus, adequate communication between international students and career counseling personnel needs to be encouraged. Some international students come from countries without career services in their higher education institutions (Shen & Herr, 2004). As a result, many lack motivation and awareness to consider their professional development and do not take initiatives to access services (Shen & Herr, 2004). A small portion of international students do occasionally utilize career counseling but only to obtain general services, such as résumé building, polishing cover letters, teaching interview skills,


62 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 and job-searching workshops (Shen & Herr, 2004). Thus, it is necessary to motivate and encourage international students to be familiar with career counseling, as “positive attitudes toward seeking professional counseling often help require the students to have a higher level of acculturation” (Shen & Herr, 2004, p. 24). Language barriers and cultural gaps can also contribute to infrequent interactions between career counseling personnel and international students. These barriers discourage international students from seeking help and hinder their proactive behaviors to pursue career aspirations (Mori, 2000). In their interviews, Shen and Herr (2004) found common differences related to cross-cultural considerations, including cultural expression and communication. Shen and Herr (2004) also found that Asian students tended to be more soft-spoken, and European students seemed to be more aggressive in communication than domestic students. These nuances in cultural communication may prevent international students from seeking career counseling. Career services centers may not advertise clearly that they can provide international students career assistance (Shen & Herr, 2004). It is typical that U.S. postsecondary institutions offer multifaceted career services and highly encourage students to take advantage of their assistance (Crockett & Hays, 2011). Such services are crucial for international students as they experience more difficulty in career and internship placement than domestic students due to their visa restrictions and cultural barriers (Crockett & Hays, 2011). However, career counselors may not know what international students need and the specific laws associated with their visas. International students are only allowed to find a job placement highly related to their majors in the U.S. according to immigration laws (Crockett & Hays, 2011; Shen & Herr, 2004). When career counselors merely provide general advice, which is more likely to apply to domestic students, international students may assume that it is a waste of time and thus are not willing to seek their help. Career Services and Acculturation International students “have always remained one of the most quiet, invisible, underserved groups on the American campus” (Mori, 2000, p. 143). They are frequently unprepared emotionally and psychologically for being a minority in an unfamiliar majority culture (Murphy, Hawkes,. & Law, 2002). International students’ complex transitions are intensified as they undergo the difficult process of moving towards university study (Mori, 2000). Acculturation is “the dual process of cultural psychological change that takes place as a result of contact between two or more cultural groups and their individual members,” (Berry, 2005, p. 698) and it is an unavoidable stage for all international students. International students will often go through the transition of language communication, sociocultural change, educational pressures, psychological adaptation, and practical stressors


Luo • 63 when they shift to a foreign country and college life (Owens & Loomes, 2010). Learning to adapt to new cultural norms has significant challenges and should be approached from various angles (Sherry, Thomas, & Chui, 2009). Student counseling services is a potentially positive coping resource for international students who are facing acculturation-related stressors. However, research suggests that counseling services are underutilized (Smith & Khawaja, 2011). Smith and Khawaja (2011) stated that “universities may have adopted an assimilation attitude, expecting international students to utilize services that are culturally acceptable for domestic students, but may not be culturally appropriate for some international students” (p. 706). Therefore, career counseling may be geared towards U.S. undergraduates and not offer culturally sensitive counseling for international students. As a result, career counseling may not offer assistance for international students and might make acculturation more difficult. Work restrictions in the students’ host countries can also be a concern for international students. It is hard to transfer academic knowledge and skills to practice due to legal barriers. Career counseling plays an integral role in addressing careerrelated stressors. According to Love and Maxam (2011), helping relationships are central to the profession of career counselors. In this relationship, problem solving is the most frequently used skill by counselors. Counselors must avoid establishing premature boundaries, such as their personal predispositions, that might restrict their abilities to see creative solutions (Love & Maxam, 2011). According to Roe Clark (2008), “effective helping is not accidental, but rather the intentional result of a skilled and structured interaction intended to foster rapport, self-understanding, and positive action” (p. 167). Intentionally avoiding preliminary perceptions and creating interventions to meet international students’ needs is the first step to address the gap between career service personnel and international students. Conversely, conducting interventions without reflecting and deliberating with effective practices in the profession might constitute negligence and educational malpractice (Harper, 2011). Not all interventions are designed to reach all students as some strategically focus on particular groups of students. This strategy is likely to meet individual needs, promote exchanged ideas and resolve conflicts as they arise. The interventions and programs of career services may increase international students’ chances of completing their programs by enhancing interconnectedness of academic performance and practical experiences while strengthening belonging, cultural integration, and integrity (Owens & Loomes, 2010); this contributes to their acculturation. Behavioral interventions have been carried out through peer mentoring programs in which international students are paired with domestic students, further aiding social adjustment and enhancing social support (Mamiseishvili, 2011). Such programs also help to improve academic achievement and increase


64 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 utilization of university services including counseling services. One advantage of pairing students in this way is the sharing of experiences that broaden the views of both students. This strategy will help students step out of their comfort zones and integrate into new environments. Although career services is just one small aspect in an international student’s life, consistent contact and support from career services can make a difference in helping international students transition more smoothly from college life to social independence. Throughout this transition, the cultural exchange is a mutual learning process for both international students and career counselors. International students have the opportunity to learn how to maintain their cultural identities to be successful, view the social change as a positive part of educational experiences, and adapt themselves to dominant norms of the institution (Andrade, 2007). Meanwhile, career counselors are able to explore ways to prepare international students for their career successes, implement practices to provide culturally sensitive support, and deepen their awareness of cultural integrity and integration (Andrade, 2007). Undoubtedly, career assistance is an indispensable part of international students’ transitions as well as a major contributor to acculturation. Implications Due to international students’ needs for individualization when addressing career assistance, career counselors need to enhance their multicultural consciousness, sharpen their cultural sensitivity, and apply global perspectives (Olivas & Li, 2006). “Increased awareness of strategies and factors that may lead to both positive adjustment and experiences for some international students can help college counselors and personnel develop programs or interventions to aid students in achieving [a] high level of adjustment” (Olivas & Li, 2006, p. 219). Therefore, encouraging counselors to obtain a theoretical and practical understanding of international students’ needs and experiences is strongly warranted (Yoon & Portman, 2004). After professionals are aware of international students’ internal and external pressures and needs, it is more likely that professionals will provide effective services and guidance through designed programs which provide students with enriched learning experiences (Yoon & Portman, 2004). One way of accomplishing this is to establish and develop partnerships with other offices and professionals. International education offices are one of the best resources with which to collaborate (Shen & Herr, 2004). These units offer workshops that disseminate information about international students’ legal restrictions, general requests, and disparate cultural gaps. Therefore, career counselors will gain a basic sense of international students’ cultural backgrounds and psychological needs. Another group with whom career services might collaborate are faculty members. As international students are only allowed to seek a job highly related to their majors, it is crucial to


Luo • 65 get basic information about their majors from faculty departments, subsequently providing international students career guidance based on their academic uniqueness and career aspirations. Partnerships with international alums are crucial. Partnering with graduates may help provide students with new perspectives, and will help current international students gather information, reflect upon their own professional development, and expand their networks. Moreover, working with graduates helps to build a database to increase accountability in tracking job opportunities for international students. This will help record the specific processes of how career counseling helps international students seek placements and meanwhile provide future international students resources. To best serve international students, career service offices must develop outreach partnership programs with offices of international education, faculty members, academic departments, and international alums. Through this programming, career counselors will have more contact with people from other fields, cultural backgrounds, and people who hold different perspectives. In formal counseling, career counselors will capitalize on their cultural consciousness, skills, and expertise to provide guidance. Conducting counseling sessions with students from different regions will enrich counselors’ multiple cultural perspectives, behaviors and norms, and help counselors improve their counseling effectiveness (Killick, 2011). This “reciprocal relationship that could aid in cultural awareness and sensitivity” is highly emphasized and recommended (Olivas & Li, 2006, p. 219). Impact Supporting international students should not be viewed as the responsibility of only one office or department. Instead, it should be regarded as a joint responsibility of a broader campus community, including faculty members, students, and student affairs professionals. “Embracing the role of helper as central to the mission and goals of student affairs allows practitioners to not only contribute to the growth, development, and well-being of students but also benefits the larger campus community” (Love & Maxam, 2011). By providing substantial support for all international students, the institution can increase retention, recruit more international students, build the institution’s global reputation, and create a campus environment that is “intentionally designed to offer opportunities, incentives, and reinforcements for growth and development” (Harper, 2011, p. 289). Though career counseling is only a small part of student affairs at an institution, it enables international students to transition from college life to social integration with deeper and broader understandings of acculturation and cultural integrity. Furthermore, support is more likely to retain international students because the


66 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 support gives them opportunities, enhances their practical skills, increases their confidence, enriches their experiences, and enables them to be prepared for the world outside of college. Providing quality support will contribute to international students’ retention and an institution’s sustainable recruitment and development. Conclusion “Students’ integration both into the social and academic systems of the institution has a positive impact on their subsequent goal and institutional commitment that consequently enhances the likelihood that they would persist to completion of their postsecondary education” (Mamiseishvili, 2011, p. 4). Every student affairs professional’s knowledge, insight, and cultural awareness into who international students are and what they need in order to learn, grow, and be responsible enables the institution to steadily develop (Love & Maxam, 2011). Career services must assume some of the responsibility of linking academic and social systems and helping international students adapt themselves to the outside world. These efforts will increase international students’ retention while improving institutional reputations.


Luo • 67 References Andrade, M. (2007). International student persistence: Integration or cultural integrity. Journal of College Student Retention, 8(1), 57-81. Berry, J.W. (2005). Acculturation: Living successfully in two cultures. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 29, 697-712. Crockett, S., & Hays, D. (2011). Understanding and responding to the career counseling needs of international students. Journal of College Counseling, 14, 65-79. Davis, T. M. (1999). Open doors 1998/1999: Report on international educational exchange. New York: Institute of International Education. Harper, S. (2011). Strategy and intentionality in practice. In J. H. Schuh, S. R. Jones, & S. R. Harper (Eds.), Student services: A handbook for the profession (pp. 287-302). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Institute of International Education. (2012). Open Doors 2012: International student enrollment increased by 6 percent [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.iie.org/Who-We-Are/News-and-Events/Press-Center/ Press-Releases/2012/11-13-2012-Open-Doors-International-Students. Killick, D. (2011). Seeing ourselves in the world: Developing global citizen ship through international mobility and campus community. Journal of Studies in International Education, 16(4), 372-389. Leong, F. T. L., & Chou, E. L. (1996). Counseling international students. In P. B. Pedersen, J. G. Draguns, W. J. Lonner, & J. E. Trimble (Eds.), Counseling across cultures (pp. 210-242). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Leong, F. T. L., & Sedlacek, W. E. (1989). Academic and career needs of international and United States college students. Journal of College Student Development, 30, 106-111. Love, P., & Maxam, S. (2011). Advising and consultation. In J. H. Schuh, S. R. Jones, & S. Harper (Eds.), Student services: A handbook for the profession (pp. 413-432). San francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Mamiseishvili, K. (2011). International student persistence in U.S. postsecond ary institutions. Higher Education, 64(1), 1-17. Mori, S. (2000). Addressing the mental health concerns of international stu dents. Journal of Counseling & Development, 78(2), 137-144. Olivas, M., & Li, C. (2006). Understanding stressors of international students in higher education: What college counselors and personnel need to know. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 33(3), 217-222. Owens, A. R., & Loomes, S. L. (2010). Managing and resourcing a program of social integration initiatives for international university students: what are the benefits? Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 32(3), 275-290. Pedersen, P. B. (1991). Counseling international students. The Counseling Psychologist, 19(1), 10-58.


68 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 Roe Clark, M. (2008). Microcounseling skills. In A. L. Reynolds (Ed.), Helping college students: Developing essential support skills for student affairs practice (pp. 131-167). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Shen, Y. J., & Herr, E. L. (2004). Career placement concerns of international graduate students: A qualitative study. Journal of Career Development, 31(1), 15-29. Sherry, M., Thomas, P., & Chui, W. H. (2009). International students: A vulnerable student population. Higher Education, 60(1), 33-46. Smith, R. A., & Khawaja, N. G. (2011). A review of the acculturation experiences of international students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35(6), 699-713. Spencer-Rodgers, J. (2000). The vocational situation and country of orientation of international students. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 28, 32-49. Tidwell, R., & Hanassab, S. (2007). New challenges for professional counselors: The higher education international student population. Counseling Psychology Quarterly, 20(4), 313-324. Yoon, E., & Portman, T. A. (2004). Critical issues of literature on counseling in ternational students. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 32, 33-44.


Oberts • 69

Expanding our Understanding of Nontraditional Students: Family Privilege and its Affect on College Students Julienne R. Oberts This article reviews current literature on the topic of nontraditional students. Additional materials related to social capital in the forms of family involvement and parental support are also reviewed to illustrate their relation to the present understanding of the experiences of nontraditional students in higher education. The current definition of what it means to be nontraditional is not sufficient, and an argument for the inclusion of considerations of family privilege is presented. For years, student affairs practitioners have been developing categories and classifications to better understand students – as female or male; as African American, Latin@, or White; as over or under 24. Although these categories can be useful to advance research, their rigid limitations fail to capture the complexities of student identities and most often limit our understanding of the experience of traditional students. Following this realization, I set forth to review current literature on the topic of nontraditional students and consider the effect that family privilege has on the experiences of these students. In this article, I present a thorough review of the concept of family privilege within the framework of the following categories: adoption and foster care, long-distance and international support, abusive and dysfunctional families, and students with elderly or deceased parents. Finally, I further develop this concept of family privilege and strive to expand the understanding of nontraditional students in order to include these additional traits. The intent is to closely examine this population through the lens of family privilege to better understand the differences that these students may experience in higher education. Nontraditional Students Traditional students, those who range in age from 17 to 19 upon entry to colJulie Oberts is a second-year graduate student in the Higher Education & Student Affairs program at the University of Vermont and serves as the Graduate Assistant for Davis Center Operations. She earned her B.A. in Art Education from Eastern Michigan University in 2007. Prior to coming to UVM, she worked in Residence Life at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. Her experience as a nontraditional student, combined with her interest in how students with varying forms of family support navigate higher education, are driving forces in her academic work and passion for student affairs.


70 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 lege, are most often viewed as those continuing from high school to college and are considered students first (Levin, 2007). Nontraditional students are typically viewed as the antithesis of the traditional. In general, nontraditional refers to students who do not fit the typical profile of the 18-22 year old full-time undergraduate (Giancola, J., Munz, D., & Trares, S., 2008). The literature has defined nontraditional students with age ranges such as 22 and older (Giancola at al.), 24 and older (Horn 1997), and 25 and older (Kasworm, 2008). At the University of Vermont, a nontraditional student is defined as someone who is 23 or older, and for the purposes of housing, includes students with families, single parents (50% custody), and transfer students 21 years and older. Although much of the literature about nontraditional students centers on age, contemporary research, like that of Susan Choy (2002), defines nontraditional students with additional characteristics such as: • • • • • • •

Delay in enrollment (does not enter post-secondary education in the same calendar year that the student finishes high school); Part time attendance for at least part of the academic year; Working full time (35 hours or more per week) while enrolled; Financial independence as it pertains to determining eligibility for financial aid; Having dependents other than a spouse (usually children, but sometimes others); Being a single parent (either not married or married but separated and has dependents); or Not having a high school diploma (completed high school with a GED or other high school completion certificate or did not finish high school).

The definition of what it means to be a nontraditional student is expanding with an increase in student populations and inclusion of a more contextual understanding of various educational institutions. However, a more useful way to view nontraditional students is not as a population characterized by such specific and quantifiable traits, such as age and marital status. Rather, nontraditional students, or what Levin (2007) refers to as “new” nontraditional students, might be better understood as a disadvantaged population (p. 10). This disadvantage can be associated with a number of conditions such as economic status, cultural background, ability, social or human capital, or family privilege as a type of social capital. The concept of social capital was first introduced by Bourdieu (1980), and explained by Seita (2001) as “the aggregate of the actual or potential resources which are linked to possession of a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance or recognition” (p. 10).


Oberts • 71 Family privilege, then, is a form of social capital. Seita (2001) defines family privilege as the benefits, mostly invisible, that come from membership in a stable family. It is a set of advantages such as a sense of belonging, feeling of safety and unconditional love, and introduction to spiritual values. Dissimilar to other types of privilege, benefits of family privilege can appear at birth, conditionally change, or dissolve over time. In most instances of family privilege, children observe parents or older siblings as a model for how to be successful in life (Seita, 2001). Schultz (1961) first used the words “human capital” as a term to further describe social capital (p.5). He was the first scholar to make a direct connection of social capital to family. He proposed that time spent with members of one’s family creates positive connections and, similar to other types of social gain, the benefits of sharing time and cultivating a positive relationship with family accrues over time (Setia, 2001). Passed from parents to children, human capital “includes the social and educational skills that allow young people to follow rules, solve problems, and communicate at a high level” (Seita, 2001, p. 130). However, there are many students in higher education who do not have the consistent support of a traditional family, the resources provided by an extended family, or other forms of family privilege. Even in what could be considered a traditional family, the existence of family privilege is not certain. The creation and development of social capital must be intentional and can often be taken for granted. Seita (2001) likens family privilege to oxygen: “we would never notice its absence unless we were suffocating” (p. 3). Adoption Adoption is among the number of ways that students are impacted by family privilege. According to The Adoption Institute Organization (2012), there are over 1.5 million adopted children in the United States. This is more than 2% of children in the United States. The United States Department of Health and Human Services and Child Welfare Information Gateway authored some important considerations regarding the impact of adoption on adopted persons and the resulting impact on their higher education experience (2012). It was noted that many questions about identity begin during adolescence, and that adopted adolescents’ identity development typically includes several factors. For one, there may be unresolved questions about where they belong socially, educationally, and culturally that could impact their readiness to participate in college. Adoptive identity is difficult to understand without considering the societal attitudes towards kinship and bloodlines (Wegar, 2000). It has been argued that Western society bases family ties primarily on blood relations. This puts adopted children in a difficult position as they consider their own identity within familial relations. Since their family experience has been rooted in “nurture” rather than “nature,” adoptees can feel marginalized within the dominant culture (Wegar, 2000, p. 364).


72 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 Grotevant, Dunbar, Kohler, and Lash Esau (2000) identify three aspects of identity development specific to adoptees that student affairs practitioners should consider when trying to understand this population. They give context to the experience by addressing the following: the student’s self-definition of identity, the coherence of how they understand their personality and relation to their identity, and a formation of how they link their past, present, and future (Grotevant et al., 2000). Although it has been surmised that adoption can present additional challenges for the adoptee’s development of a sense of self, the intersection between the student’s sense of self and the social interactions with family can further explore and challenge the context of these understandings (Grotevant et al., 2000). Student affairs professionals working with adopted students should take into account the student’s sense of self and personal identity development to avoid the “one size fits all” approach. For some, a connection to cultural or ethnic support services may be useful, but for others, may be ineffective. Similarly, searching to reconnect or learning more about their biological family may be important to many, but not all. Much like concepts of inclusive language, it is important for student affairs practitioners to follow some general guidelines when working with adopted students and their families. The use of positive adoption language helps to illustrate that adoption is one way to build a family, but not the only way to do so (Adoptive Families - Positive Adoption Language, 1992). One is not more important than the other. For example, it is best to say, “birth-parent” rather than “natural parent,” otherwise suggesting that there is something “unnatural” about adoptive parenting. Other examples of positive adoption language include: birth child, parent, and they were adopted as opposed to their negative alternatives: own child, adoptive parent, and they are adopted. It is important to approach each student independently and to allow the self-perceptions surrounding whichever part of that student’s identity is most salient to inform how we offer support. Long Distance and International Family Support Without question, the percentage of international students on United States’ college campuses has been increasing steadily for the last several years (Lee & Rice, 2007). For many schools, the enrollment increase is a result of some intentional admissions efforts. Among several motivations, a shift toward viewing students as “customers” has contributed to the increase in pursuing international students for additional revenue and other benefits (Lee & Rice, 2007, p. 383). According to Lee and Rice (2007), increased enrollment of international students in American institutions not only provides additional revenue, but also increases the diversity of the student body and contributes a new perspective to classroom discussions, thereby increasing awareness of other cultures. Unfortunately, enrollment increases have not been matched with an equal amount of support or consideration of their experiences, and may be contributing to some of the dissatisfaction of


Oberts • 73 international students (Lee & Rice, 2007). For a traditional-aged international student, the initial decision to approach their family to ask permission to pursue education is often the first of many difficulties faced when coming to the United States. Beyond that, the processes required for immigration are full of specific protocols with regulations and interviews that are often so burdensome that students become discouraged from completing the process (Altbach, 2004). The students who make it through these initial difficulties find themselves far from home without the accessible support of their family as they transition to life as a college student in the United States. Parental support and involvement in the initial stages of the college process often helps shape the path of opportunity and continued success in college (RowanKenyon, 2008). For international families, the unfamiliarity with the United States’ education system can make it difficult to for them navigate, further challenging their ability to support their students from a distance. College visits, conversations about college expectations, and descriptions of college-related activities can have a profound impact on a student’s readiness to encounter such activities (Rowan-Kenyon, 2008). Assumptions about a student’s familiarity and experience with these understandings can have implications for student affairs professionals’ encounters with these students. Other research has indicated that families unfamiliar with the United States’ education system lacked the confidence to communicate directly with school administration, further supporting the importance of specific resources for international students’ families. Some researchers found that low-income international families did not believe they had the skills to help their students navigate the educational system and often relied on the school’s staffs to both initiate and assist with the process (Horvat, Weininger, & Lareau, 2003). For some adult international students, the need to take care of their parents from afar can present additional challenges. Relocation and the decision to move abroad for many young adults can be attributed to several factors, such as change in employment, decision to raise a family, pursuit of higher education, or all three (Smith, 1998). The decision to move abroad for nontraditionally aged international students can be complicated for those who serve as caregivers or providers of support for their parents. Additional concerns can be created by the challenge to regularly communicate with parents and family members who may have previously relied on their children for support. According to Parreñas (2005), some families report a varied amount of access to resources (e.g., internet connections, reliable telephones) that would aid in maintaining familial connection abroad. For many working-class families, the


74 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 means to keep up transnational communication is difficult at best, thus increasing the potential for feelings of abandonment and disconnection between members of a family. Although current advancements in technology allow many families to maintain and sustain transnational communication, it does not, and cannot, act as a substitute for full family intimacy. “The joys of physical contact, the emotional security of physical presence, and the familiarity allowed by physical proximity are still denied to transnational family members” (Parreñas, 2005, p. 333). Long distance families and social inequalities experienced by international students shape the quality of their experience in higher education as well as impact their experienced intimacy of family life. Abusive and Dysfunctional Families The need to expand the definition of a nontraditional student in today’s colleges and universities through the lens of family privilege requires a deeper look into the experiences of children from abusive and dysfunctional families as well as those who consider themselves to be independent. In spite of the fact that research centered on the educational experiences of children from abusive families is limited, some outline important findings related to the potential impact of early emotional bonds with primary caregivers. Lopez, Melendez, and Rice (2000) described how the quality of one’s relationship and emotional bond with their parent or guardian impacts future adult relationships. Lopez et al.’s (2000) interpretation of adult attachment theory supports the idea that students’ histories, interactions, and dependence on consistent parental support not only impacts their ability to connect and trust adults in their lives, but also their introduction to higher education. Another article gathers data that show some of the risks of growing up as adult children of alcoholics (ACOA) and adult children from dysfunctional families (ACDF) (Fischer, 2000). Aside from the research illuminating the fact that ACOAs in college showed signs of poor physical and mental health, they also demonstrated significantly fewer coping strategies than non-ACOAs (Fischer, 2000). Researchers report that a greater correlation exists in the manifestation of psychological distress in ACOAs as compared to non-ACOAs (Fischer, 2000). The main predictor of these outcomes seems to be the experience of growing up in a family that is dysfunctional, not merely the existence of alcoholic parents. It should be no surprise that in instances where parental alcoholism is present, college students experience greater levels of stress and anxiety when faced with cultivating positive adult relationships. However, ACDFs experience a greater amount of self-reported stress than ACOAs, therefore the presence of dysfunc-


Oberts • 75 tion in the family seems to be a more accurate predictor of stress than alcoholic parents (Fischer, 2000). For students who come from family environments such as these, their lack of family support while on campus may be met with additional unseen stresses when school is not in session. Elderly and Deceased Parents When considering the impact of parental or family involvement on the college experience of nontraditional students, it is important to consider students who have choosen to leave behind an elderly parent, or those who experienced the loss of one or more of their primary guardians. These students may encounter the college experience in a very different way than their peers and have additional challenges. An older student who moves away to pursue higher education may experience feelings of guilt about their ability to contribute to the care of their elderly or aging parents. This decision may impact the ease with which students are able to relocate for school. Smith (1998) uses the changing family constraints model to examine how difficult it may be for an adult student to decide whether or not to relocate for an educational opportunity when considering the need to take care of their aging parent. The ability of a student to access financial resources can also affect locations of potential higher education institutions, thus impacting future contact with their aging parents. Middle-class young adults may decide to relocate for a number of significant life-changing events in addition to the pursuit of a higher education degree such as marriage, childbearing, or a career change (Smith, 1998). Among the list of potentially major life-changing events, the loss of a loved one is often regarded as the most significant. Data show that “approximately 25% to 30% of college students are in the 1st year of bereavement and that between 40% and 50% are within the first 2 years of experiencing the death of a family member or friend” (Servaty-Seib, & Taub, 2010, p. 947). For students who have been touched by the death of a loved one, they “often regard the story of their lives as being demarcated by their death loss experience” (Neimeyer, Laurie, Mehta, Hardison, & Currier, 2008, p. 30). The loss of a parent for traditionally aged students can lead to identity development disruptions, especially if they had depended on their parents for regular assistance and emotional support. Nontraditionally aged students who have experienced the loss of a parent might also feel an additional level of isolation from their millenial peers. While millenials are often characterized as “being sheltered, feeling special, being close with parents, and being team oriented” (Servaty-Seib, & Taub, 2010, p. 954), nontraditional students tend to hold dissimilar characteristics such as a “higher degree of cynicism, [and] orientation toward individualism


76 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 and independence” (p. 955), further inhibiting their ability to identify with their younger peers. The tendency for nontraditional students to keep personal issues to themselves further adds to the feeling of isolation and lack of support for bereaved nontraditional students. Feelings of sadness while experiencing grief are often coupled with additional stressors such as a decreased ability to concentrate on schoolwork, or insomnia that often worsens over time following the loss. Many nontraditional students report experiencing a “changing of the guard” as they begin to take on responsibilities of the deceased parent such as the mortgage, family finances, care of a surviving parent or siblings, or arrangements for the “reorganization of life without the loved one” (Stroebe & Schut, 1999, p. 214). For student affairs practitioners, a lesson from counseling psychology literature may prove helpful. Servaty-Seib and Taub (2010) described how “there is a societal pull to inhibit grief, [therefore we have] an opportunity to provide acknowledgement and recognition that others, particularly on a college campus, may not be offering” (p. 965). Although many students find ways to deal with loss while enrolled in higher education, many students may not find the support they need to grieve. Further research on the experiences of these students may provide higher education professionals with ideas that could inform their interactions with students, development of programs, and improvement of policy. Conclusion Research in the field of student affairs has contributed to a greater understanding of the students with whom we work and broadened our awareness of students who have unique needs. However, perpetual use of the term nontraditional will distract from our understanding of the needs of this population. We need to expand the definition to include students’ perceptions and understandings of their identity. Taking into account additional factors such as those mentioned by Choy (2002) full/part time enrollment, employment, financial independence, care of dependent[s], high school diploma, etc., increases our understanding of this population and improves upon the definition. Recognizing the differences between nontraditional students is a start. Nontraditional students are a significant percentage of the college population, and are in need of more updated research in the field of higher education. The concept of family privilege may provide an additional framework that administrators can use to better understand these students. Various levels of family privilege can be found among adopted students, in long distance and international students, students from abusive and dysfunctional families, and students with aging or deceased parents. It is important to note that this is not a comprehensive list, but rather a place to


Oberts • 77 begin as we consider additional characteristics to expand our understanding of nontraditional students. Updating our definition and increasing our awareness of family privilege are important ways in which student affairs educators can create more meaningful experiences for these students.


78 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 References Altbach, P. G., & Cohen, R. (1990). American student activism: The post-sixties transformation. The Journal of Higher Education, 61(1), 32–49 doi:10.2307/1982033 Bourdieu, P. (1980). Le capital social. Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, 31, 2-3. Choy, S. (2002). Nontraditional Undergraduates: Findings from “The Condition of Education, 2002.” Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWeb Portal/detail?accno=ED471077 Downloadable Adoption Handouts - Adoptive Families. (1992). Adoption News and Information from Adoptive Families. Retrieved from http://www.adoptivefamilies.com/clip.php Fischer, K. E., Kittleson, M., Ogletree, R., Welshimer, K., Woehlke, P., & Benshoff, J. (2000). The relationship of parental alcoholism and family dysfunction to stress among college students. Journal of American College Health, 48(4), 151–156. doi:10.1080/07448480009595690 Giancola, J. K., Munz, D. C., & Trares, S. (2008). First- versus continuing generation adult students on college perceptions: Are differences actu ally because of demographic variance? Adult Education Quarterly, 58(3), 214–228. doi:10.1177/0741713608314088 Horn, L., Carroll, C. D., & National Center for Education Statistics. (1996). Nontraditional undergraduates: Trends in enrollment from 1986 to 1992 and persistence and attainment among 1989-90 beginning postsecondary students. Washington, D.C: U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement. Horvat, E. M., Weininger, E. B., & Lareau, A. (2003). From social ties to social capital: Class differences in the relations between schools and parent networks. American Educational Research Journal, 40(2), 319–351. doi:10.3102/00028312040002319 Kasworm, C. E. (2010). Adult learners in a research university: Negotiating undergraduate student identity. Adult Education Quarterly, 60(2), 143–160. doi:10.1177/0741713609336110 Lee, J., & Rice, C. (2007). Welcome to America? International student perceptions of discrimination. Higher Education, 53(3), 381–409. doi:10.1007/s10734-005-4508-3 Levin, J. S. (2007). Nontraditional students and community colleges: the conflict of justice and neoliberalism. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan Lopez, F. G., Melendez, M. C., & Rice, K. G. (2000). Parental divorce, parent–child bonds, and adult attachment orientations among college students: A comparison of three racial/ethnic groups. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 47(2), 177–186. doi:10.1037/0022-0167.47.2.177 Neimeyer, R. A., Laurie, A., Mehta, T., Hardison, H., & Currier, J. M. (2008). Lessons of loss: Meaning-making in bereaved college students. New


Oberts • 79 Directions for Student Services, 2008(121), 27–39. doi:10.1002/ss.264 Rowan-Kenyon, H. T., Bell, A. D., & Perna, L. W. (2008). Contextual influences on parental involvement in college going: Variations by socioeconomic class. The Journal of Higher Education, 79(5), 564–586. Schulman, I., & Behrman, R. E. (1993). Adoption: Overview and major recommendations. The Future of Children, 3(1), 4–16. doi:10.2307/1602398 Schultz, T. W. (1961). Investment in Human Capital. The American Economic Review, 51(1), 1-17 Seita, J. R. (2001). Growing up without family privilege. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 10(3), 130–32. Servaty-Seib, H. L., & Taub, D. J. (2010). Bereavement and college students: The role of counseling psychology. The Counseling Psychologist, 38(7), 947–975. doi:10.1177/0011000010366485 Smith, G. C. (1998). Residential separation and patterns of interaction between elderly parents and their adult children. Progress in Human Geography, 22(3), 368–384. doi:10.1191/030913298673626843 Stroebe, M., & Schut, H. (1999). The dual process model of coping with bereavement: Rationale and description. Death Studies, 23(3), 197-224. doi:10.1080/074811899201046 The United States Department of Health and Human Services, Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2012). Adoption. Retrieved from https://www.childwelfare.gov/adoption/


80 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34

Jewish American Students: Looking Back to Move Forward Barbara Perlman As Jewish students enter college campuses in large numbers, it is crucial that student affairs educators understand their history as a means of best serving this population and combating anti-Semitism. In realizing the dualistic nature of Judaism as a religion and ethnicity, this paper examines the history of anti-Semitism experienced by Jewish American both abroad and nationally, particularly in institutions of higher learning. Additionally, anti-Semitism and Jewish life on campuses today is discussed as a means of assessing institutional support. Widely recognized for their love of higher learning, Jewish students have been present on college campuses since their immigration to the United States. Over 85% of traditional college-aged Jews are attending institutions of higher education today, which amounts to approximately 400,000 students (Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, 2012). Understanding, supporting, and considering Jewish American students is imperative in maintaining and enacting a mission of diversity, inclusion, and justice. While the Jewish population has long been applauded as a beacon of minority success in the United States, the discrimination and anti-Semitism that it has faced both abroad and nationally is sobering. While many may see such issues of anti-Semitism as antiquated history, the discrimination and hate that many Jewish people still experience today is both legitimate and pervasive. As a result, it is crucial that student affairs educators know how to best serve both the Jewish community and general student population in order to best protect, educate, and serve these students. The Jewish community is complex with religion, ethnicity, and culture all seamlessly and intrinsically intertwined. Greatly impacted by their past, Jewish students today are raised in a unique setting guided by both history and modernity. By examining their long history of persecution, genocide, and exclusion, one will be better versed in how to best serve current Jewish students.

Barbara Perlman is a second-year Higher Education and Student Affairs graduate student at the University of Vermont. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Education from Bucknell University in 2009. Her current research interests include religion and spirituality, ethics, and access. She is passionate about mentorship and leadership development and is excited to see where her student affairs journey will lead.


Perlman • 81 Coming to the United States, the 20th Century Russian and European Jew In an ever-evolving world where each passing year looks vastly different from the last, it is crucial to look to the past as a means of understanding how to move forward. Retrospection is crucial in appreciating the behaviors of any group of people and in learning how to best serve, support, and work within a given population. Consequently, no current view of today’s Jewish American is complete without delving into the past century of the rich, yet tragic, history of the Jewish people. The journeys of the grandparents and great-grandparents of the modern American Jew are pivotal in understanding collective psyche and behavior. Indeed, the past century of Jewish history, from Eastern Europe to the Middle East to Ellis Island has been marked by perseverance, irreconcilable hatred, and chutzpah, or audacious nerve and strength. Beginning as early as 1654, “Jewish migration [to the United States] has been continual, ebbing and rising in response to economic factors and the persecution of Jews in various parts of the world” (Vander Zanden, 1983, p. 267). The origins of American Jews directly correlate with hatred abroad as early groups of Jewish settlers originated from Spain and Portugal, while the 1800s ushered in “a great migration of Jews from Eastern Europe [and] Russia” (Vander Zanden, 1983, p. 267). While anti-Semitism, has long followed the Jewish people and incited mass immigration to United States, this section will focus on the Jews of Russia and Europe before and during their entry to the United States as they are the ancestors of the majority of Jewish Americans today. Pogroms, Concentration Camps, and the Mass European Exodus Tales of scapegoating, mass murder, and alienation comprised much of the Jewish experience in both Russia and Europe. In Russia, Jews were targeted as a means of protecting the political regime. Takaki (2008) recounts the observation of an immigrant during the 1880s, Abraham Cahan: “‘by making the Jews the scapegoats, it had confused the common people so that in the end the peasants were certain that the Jews and not the Czar were the cause of their troubles,’” (p. 262). Government officials frequently enacted acts of violence against Jews, known as pogroms (Takaki, 2008). These Russian Jews were herded together in Jewish villages called shtetls in what was known as the Pale of Settlement, separated from the rest of society by special borders. Anti-Semitic violence was also commonplace. One Russian Jew recalled, “‘I feel that every cobblestone in Russia is filled with Jewish blood’” (Takaki, 2008, p. 263). Another Russian immigrant described how “‘absolutely every year, there was a pogrom before Pesach [Passover]. In big cities during the pogroms, they used any reason to get rid of you. As many Jews as they could kill, they did’”


82 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 (Takaki, 2008, p. 263). Jewish families feared the destruction of their homes, businesses, synagogues, and families at the hands of such massacres every day. As Europe provided little sanctuary from the pervasive anti-Semitic sentiment, many Russian Jews saw the United States as a land of promise and freedom from violence. European Jews had many similar experiences of anti-Semitic persecution, particularly during World War II at the hands of Hitler’s “final solution” – the “ultimate pogrom” (Takaki, 2008, p. 375). Starting in Germany and spreading throughout Europe, Jews were forced to mark their businesses and clothing with a yellow Star of David emblazoned with the word “Jude” (Jew). Literally branded as “the other” in Europe, Jews were identified as responsible for many of the failings of a post-World War I Europe. Hitler’s Europe had its own version of Jewish settlements and shtetles in their ghettos and concentration camps. Conceived as a streamlined, systematic method of executing vast amounts of Jews, the camps were sites of unfathomable torture. The Nazi “extermination effort – the methodical and complex apparatus of trains, barracks, factories, gas chambers, and crematoria” are forever etched in the collective memories of the Jews throughout the world (Takaki, 2008, p. 375). At the peak of Hitler’s regime, the gas chambers at Auschwitz were murdering approximately 12,000 people each day. In the end, at least six million Jews had been murdered, “killed [only] because they were Jews” (Takaki, 2008, p. 378). Nonetheless, despite abundant proof of genocide, the United States government was reluctant to aid those suffering abroad. Popular opinion suggested that the American public did not want to admit Jewish refugees into the United States, so boats teeming with European Jews were sent back, to a grim end. This deafening silence was a tragic outcome, as the United States, the land of the free, turned its collective back on a people being slaughtered out of hatred. While this Russian and European history is not necessarily indicative of the American Jewish experience, the memory of such blinding anti-Semitism, the fear of being a Jew, and the incessant desire to remain in highly concentrated Jewish regions are very much present in the Jewish American community. The history of the Jewish immigrant, combined with the experiences of the Jew on the shores of the United States, comprises a very distinct picture. Indeed, Jewish Americans today are the very products of their tragic history marked by perseverance. Anti-Semitism in United States and Its Impact on Higher Education Shrewd, mercenary, intelligent, ambitious, aggressive, sly, intruder – all are adjectives ascribed to Jewish people (Vander Zanden, 1983). Since the first known


Perlman • 83 Jewish immigrants arrived in New Amsterdam, anti-Semitism has been prevalent. Deep-rooted stereotypes seen frequently in the media were commonplace. The addition of print media in the late 19th century increased the spread of antiSemitism as “popular literature, dime novels, the graphic weeklies, and drama exploited this theme” (Dobkowski, 1977, p. 171). Images of Jewish people in American society: lent credence to the view that Jews participate whenever they can in antisocial activities, that they are predisposed to find ways of making money even illegally, that they undermine the American work ethic, that they do not engage in the legitimate pursuit of wealth but are involved instead…in clandestine endeavors masked by the mysterious subterranean society of Baxter Street and Broadway [in New York]. (Dobkowski, 1977, p. 171) Intense hatred of Jewish Americans has remained pervasive throughout history. Even the most highly regarded and educated leaders throughout the country participated in Jewish stereotyping. By the 1920s, testimony given to the House Immigration Committee by State Department officials claimed that “America was threatened by an inundation of ‘abnormally twisted’ and ‘unassimilable’ Jews – ‘filthy, un-American, and often dangerous in their habits’” (Karabel, 2005, p. 85). Many asserted that Jews are of a distinct racial group. With descriptors of the Jewish “race” as “short to medium stature; black hair; a long, hooked nose; greasy skin; a dark complexion; and a tendency for the women to be somewhat hefty,” the portrait of the American Jew was painted as both undesirable and inferior (Vander Zanden, 1983, p. 41). Seen as undesirable and unequal, American Jews were frequently denied access to jobs, housing, and education. By the 1950s, clear barriers in employment access were created – out of 40,000 jobs identified through Chicago employment agencies, 22% restricted Jewish applicants. Similarly, of 5,500 firms assessed, over 27% restricted Jews, and advertised “we’re desperate, but not desperate enough to hire Jews” (Vander Zanden, 1983, p. 268). Similarly, it was common practice in real estate for brokers to warn “when anyone telephones us in answer to an ad in any newspaper and their name is, or appears to be, Jewish, do not meet them anywhere” (Vander Zanden, 1983, p. 269). While distaste and disdain towards Jewish Americans was truly widespread, perhaps the clearest examples of antiSemitism in the country were found in the epicenters of original thought and education – the nation’s colleges and universities. The Jewish Question Common belief holds that Jewish people as a whole place a great emphasis on


84 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 education, and that “Jews have made a remarkable success of themselves in the United States, rising from rags to riches” because of this passion (Gorelick, 1981, p. 3). While there is certainly truth to this, most Jews did not simply leap from poverty to the comforts of the middle class by going to college. Instead, work in skilled professions and unions precipitated this rise in Jewish higher education once families had the means to support their children in further education (Takaki, 2008). There certainly was a distinct commitment to education within the Jewish community. One Jewish newspaper editorialized, “the Jew undergoes privation, spills blood, to educate his child. In [this,] is reflected one of the finest qualities of the Jewish people…[and demonstrates] our love for education, for intellectual efforts” (Takaki, 2008, p. 285). Seemingly at once, Jewish students began flooding the halls of the nation’s colleges and universities, many of which were historically White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. By 1916, 44% of enrollment at Hunter College and 73% of enrollment at City College were comprised of Jewish students, and by 1920, 20% of the student population at Harvard University was Jewish (Takaki, 2008). The addition of a minority outsider to the landscape of higher education, particularly in the most highly regarded institutions, caused major backlash. One Harvard alumnus of the era put the popular sentiment best: There were Jews to the right of me, Jews to the left of me, in fact they were so obviously everywhere that instead of leaving the Yard with pleasant memories of the past I left with a feeling of utter disgust of the present and grave doubts about the future of my Alma Mater…Are the Overseers so lacking in genius that they can’t devise a way to bring Harvard back to the position it always held as a ‘white man’s’ college? (Karabel, 2005, p. 105) Disdain of Jewish students was common in the student population on campus as well. In 1917 at Rutgers University, a student mob attacked Jewish students, accusing them of dominating the scholarships and highest honors, and declaring “we don’t want you Jews here” (Greenberg & Zenchelsky, 1993, p. 301). While there were Jewish supporters at many institutions, such perspectives comprised the widespread majority, and caused many to seriously consider how to solve this “Jewish question” and reclaim the university for the “preferred” student. In reference to the “Jewish problem,” the leadership at many Ivy League institutions saw the ideal student, the “White Anglo-Saxon Protestant elite,” abandoning any given college as a result of the influx of Jewish students (Karabel, 2005, p. 86). As a result, many Ivy League institutions set out to amend their admissions policies to solve the Jewish question by instating quotas on Jewish students to curtail their enrollment. To support their anti-Semitic bias, the leaders of


Perlman • 85 these institutions pointed to skewed data to further prove the inadequacy of Jewish students and the need to limit their numbers. President Lowell of Harvard University cited statistics on offenses perpetrated by students, finding that Jewish students were more likely to be found guilty of “offenses invoking dishonesty” (Karabel, 2005, p. 97). Lowell also spoke of the fact that Jewish students participated in athletics and extra-curricular activities at a much lower rate (Karabel, 2005). However, much of this imbalance was due to Jewish students being actively excluded, as well as being a largely commuter population, not because of complacency (Karabel, 2005). Due to its location in New York City and its consequent proximity to large pockets of Jewish immigrants, Columbia University was the first of the most elite institutions to feel pressure to shrink the number of Jewish students (Karabel, 2005). To lessen the “number of ill-prepared and uncultured Jews who were trying to gain admission,” Columbia created the very first Office of Admissions in “direct response to the ‘Jewish problem’” (Karabel, 2005, p. 129). This new office focused on much more subjective criteria like character and leadership, and strategically admitted and rejected students based on factors other than academic merit. Thus, Columbia became the first institution to establish major changes in how universities admit students: “The establishment of an office of admissions, the use of nonacademic criteria…, the imposition on a limitation of numbers, and finally the employment of an outright quota” (Karabel, 2005, p. 130). At Harvard, in order to differentiate a Jewish applicant from a non-Jewish one, President Lowell implemented a series of identifying application questions (Karabel, 2005). Beginning in 1922, applicants were required to answer such questions as “race and color, religious preference, maiden name of mother, birthplace of father, and what change, if any has been made since birth in your own name or that of your father”? (Karabel, 2005, p. 94). Additionally, to prevent any Jewish students from passing through undetected, the principal or headmaster of the students’ high school was required to fill out a short informational recommendation form. As a result, the holistic application process utilized today throughout the United States was established. Princeton University took this a step further, by advancing admissions practice towards what it is today. As a means of admitting “men of broader qualifications,” Princeton created the position of a full-time director of admissions to allow for greater flexibility in admitting students of both high scholarship and character (Karabel, 2005, p. 122). While student sentiment – via the exclusion of Jewish students from all social honors – certainly kept the “Jewish problem” at bay, the admissions committee’s “rigid selection based upon a closer inspection of all questionable candidates” eradicated much of this issue. Princeton relied heavily on this personal interview, which proved to be the ideal method in as-


86 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 sessing unquantifiable traits such as appearance, decorum, and ethnic, racial, and religious background (Karabel, 2005). Additionally, the Director of Admissions made personal visits to the most prestigious boarding schools to recruit more ideal candidates for admission (Karabel, 2005). With the onset of World War II, many of these institutions quietly dropped their blatant discrimination against Jews and instead raised academic standards and increased scholarship-aid programs (Synnott, 1982). With these changes, Jewish students entered colleges and universities in even greater numbers. The blatant anti-Semitism and discrimination towards Jewish Americans also lessened with changing times. Nonetheless, there is still much that needs to be both continued and done to support the often sizable Jewish communities on many campuses throughout the country. Today’s Jewish American College Student The United States higher education system has come a long way from the religious, anti-Semitic quotas that prevailed until World War II. James O. Freedman, President Emeritus of Dartmouth College, the first Jewish president of the Ivy League institution, confirmed this, saying, “Jews have long since succeeded in making their mark on American life, primarily by means of education” (2000, p. B7). Freedman (2000) went on to cite that in 1995, while Jewish American comprised less than three percent of the total population, they made up 50% of the top 200 intellectuals, 40% of Science and Economics Nobel Prize winners, and 20% of faculty at the nation’s leading colleges and institutions. Additionally, Jewish students now attend Ivy League institutions at an impressive 12 times the rate of their presence in the general American population – a far cry from the days of Jewish quotas (Freedman, 2000). Despite such improvements, there is still much work to be done as statistics remain sobering. In 1993, 114 anti-Semitic incidents were reported at 60 campuses across the country. Similarly in 2002, 106 acts of anti-Semitism were reported at the Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents (Hoover, 2003). These acts included namecalling, the drawing of swastikas, vandalism, and anti-Semitic Jewish themed parties (Hoover, 2003). Indeed, the student-run Stanford Review newspaper ran an article in 2011 stating, “anti-Semitism has become a fixture of today’s college campuses” (Katz, 2011). Between the years 2008 and 2010, the Anti-Defamation League reported a minimum of 260 anti-Semitic incidents on campuses across the country. With an increase in anti-Israeli sentiment becoming popular amongst faculty and students, many have now laid claim that campuses are becoming more hostile towards Jewish students. Lawrence Summers, the first Jewish president of


Perlman • 87 Harvard University, noted, “serious and thoughtful people are advocating and taking actions that are anti-Semitic in their effect if not their intent” (Rooney, 2002, p. n.p.). Similarly, in 2005 representatives of Jewish groups appeared at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights asserting that anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism is rampant on campuses nation-wide and that such beliefs have become “systemic ideologies in higher education” (Jacobson, 2005, p. A21). While such reports are disheartening, there have certainly been great strides in acceptance and inclusion of Jewish American students. In 2002, over 300 college presidents signed a statement published in The New York Times condemning antiSemitism, further demonstrating the commitment to supporting Jewish students across the country (Bartlett, 2002). Likewise, the increase in Jewish-identifying campus leadership, the great surge of active Hillel organizations on campuses, the strength of Holocaust and Jewish studies programs, and the dedication of countless state of the art Jewish centers across the country demonstrate how far this nation has come. What Now? Despite the large number of Jewish students studying on campuses throughout the country, higher education, and indeed the country in general, remains a place of Christian privilege. As institutions stereotypically shy away from conversations of religion, this privilege is discussed infrequently. As a result, Judaism and anti-Semitism are commonly absent in classroom discussions of multiculturalism and cultural pluralism (Evans, Forney, Guido, Patton, & Renn, 2010). Despite antiquated notions of a Jewish “race” and “appearance,” students’ Jewish identities can remain invisible throughout their time on campus and beyond. Evans et al. (2010) affirmed that Jewish students are “likely to project different public and private identities and fear being publicly identified as Jewish” (p. 244). In a Christian-dominated nation, with images of blinding hatred burned into collective memory, it is easy to understand why Jewish students would be compelled to hide their ethno-religious identity. Campuses with small Jewish student populations in locations with little to no Jewish community may feel unwelcome or unsafe to Jewish students. As many of these students are raised in densely populated areas with tight-knit Jewish communities, Jewish students transitioning from their familiar, insular surroundings to the unfamiliar college campus may experience extreme discomfort, isolation, and/or culture shock. Consequently, it is imperative that colleges and universities understand this population’s specific needs, and recognize the dualistic nature of Judaism as both a religious faith and ethnic identity. As a result, the support network that Jewish students may need would be both religiously and culturally affirming. Additionally, it is crucial to recognize the tragic history of the Jewish people throughout the world, and for


88 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 universities to be transparent about their own anti-Semitism as a means of initiating active dialogue and keeping communication open. Conclusion Nearly a century after instating Jewish quotas, and generations after eradicating the practice, it would appear as if the Jewish community is flourishing on the American college campus. Nonetheless, some “Jewish questions” remain unanswered. As a historically persecuted minority group, it is imperative that colleges and universities not only recognize and discuss the horrifying history of the Jewish people, but also do everything possible to stop the anti-Semitism still rampant on campuses today. By supporting Jewish students in both their religious and ethnic identities, the institution better demonstrates its commitment to diversity and multiculturalism. As colleges continue to extend resources and support to culturally diverse groups, all students will benefit as the campus becomes a safer, more culturally competent place.


Perlman • 89 References Bartlett, T. (2002, October 8). More than 300 college presidents sign statement condemning anti-Semitism. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/More-Than-300-College/116677 Dobkowski, M.N. (Summer, 1977). American anti-Semitism: A reinterpretation. American Quarterly, 29(2), 166-181. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2712357 Evans, N.J., Forney, D.S., Guido, F., Patton, L.D., & Renn, K.A. (2010). Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice (2nd Edition). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Freedman, J.O. (2000, December 1). Ghosts of the past: Anti-Semitism at elite colleges. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/Ghosts-of-the-Past-/2662 Gorelick, S. (1981). City College and the Jewish poor. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Greenberg, M., & Zenchelsky, S. (1993). Private bias and public responsibility: Anti-Semitism at Rutgers in the 1920s and 1930s. History of Education Quarterly, 33(3), (pp. 295-319). Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/368195 Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish campus Life. (2012). Hillel: Who, what, where, why. Retrieved from http://www.hillel.org/about/facts/who_what/default Hoover, E. (2003, March 27). Anti-Semitic incidents on campuses increased in 2002, report finds. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/Anti-Semitic-Incidents-on/109938 Jacobson, J. (2005, December 2). Civil-Rights panel hears complaints of anti Semitism on campuses. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/Civil-Rights-Panel-Hears/25353 Karabel, J. (2005). The chosen: The hidden history of admission and exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company. Katz, A. (2011, January 18). Anti-Semitism thrives in academia. The Stanford Review. Retrieved from http://www.stanfordreview.org/article/anti semitism-thrives-in-academia Rooney, M. (2002, September 20). Harvard president denounces ‘upturn in anti-Semitism’ on the campus and in the world. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/eHarvard-President-Denounces/115363 Synnott, M. (1982). The half-opened door: Researching admissions discrimination at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. The American Archivist, 45(2), 175-187. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40292482 Takaki, R. (2008). A different mirror: A history of multicultural America (Revised


90 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 Edition). New York, NY: Back Bay Books. Vander Zanden, J.W. (1983). American minority relations (Fourth Edition). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, Inc.


Rodricks • 91

Pedagogy of the Oppressed, the Musical? Using Theatrical ScholARTistry to Transform Teaching and Learning Dirk Jonathan Rodricks Every classroom is a performance space (Pineau, 1994). The relations of power inherent to every classroom must be dismantled to transform pedagogy and make learning mutually liberatory for both teacher and student (Freire, 1996). Using Friere’s (1996) Pedagogy of the Oppressed as a theoretical foundation, this article presents ScholARTistry as a medium to (re)imagine teaching and learning. Simply put, ScholARTistry is a hybrid practice that combines tools used by the literary, visual, and/or performing arts with tools used by educators and other social scientists to explore the human condition (Cahnmann, 2006). First, Freire’s (1996) contributions to emancipatory scholarship and educational discourse are discussed. Next, ScholARTistry is reviewed as a medium exploring the transformative relationship between art and social justice. Finally, using an instrumental case study (Stake, 2003), I illustrate how theatrical ScholARTistry can be used to dismantle normalized discourse and transform teaching and learning. “Changing what we teach means changing how we teach” (Culley & Portuges, 1985, p. 2). Yet since the Supreme Court mandated diversity as a compelling state interest (Grutter v. Bollinger, 2003), colleges and universities have diversified their respective student populations without adequately preparing and supporting educators to effectively serve them. Most educators are trained in the “banking model” of education where they “deposit” hegemonic concepts into students’ “accounts” (Friere, 1996, pp. 71-72). According to Vacarr (2003), most of the social justice work on college campuses has focused training on developing curriculum to reflect multiculturalism. This leaves a gap between conceptual understanding of social identity marginalization and the ability to respond to interpersonal reactions with the “other” (Vacarr, 2003). Dirk Jonathan Rodricks is a second-year HESA student at the University of Vermont where he also earned his B.A. in Theatre (magna cum laude). Originally from Mumbai (India), Dirk thrives at the crossroads of race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, social class, and national origin. As a performing artist, prospective doctoral student, and aspiring member of the faculty, he is interested in exploring how these intersecting identities are “performed” by historically marginalized communities in their access to and pursuit of education.


92 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 The teaching and learning process is about relationships; and at the essence of that relationship is power. How can educators make teaching and learning more mutually liberatory rather than singularly oppressive? A way to effectively achieve this is through ScholARTistry where the human condition is deconstructed through creative expression: visual, literary work, or performance art. Simply put, ScholARTistry is a hybrid practice that combines artistic tools with those used by educators and other social scientists to explore the human condition (Cahnmann, 2006). I examine ScholARTistry as a medium and apply it to social justice education using an instrumental case study approach (Stake, 2003). The case study aims at dismantling normalized discourse around the subject of teaching and learning and illustrates how ScholARTistry may give voice to those living on the margins. Toward a Critical Pedagogy Systemic oppression is rooted in White superiority, typically unrecognized by the majority, and in turn establishes a master narrative (Stanley, 2007; Taylor, 2009). This facilitates “othering” at an individual level, defined by Yep (2003) as a process whereby individuals, groups, and communities “are deemed to be less important, less worthwhile, less consequential, less authorized and less human based on historically situated markers of social formation such as race, class, gender, sexuality and nationality” (p. 18). Sustained dominance of this master culture is normalized through social regulation, control, and othering. Higher education is driven by and operates under this dominant culture of power (Delpit, 1988). As an institutional space, the classroom unites - without interruption - the systemic oppression and individual interactions between different social identities contributing to its reproduction in larger society (Bourdieu & Passeron, 2000). Freirian philosophy underscores education as subversive and challenges educational institutions to be agents of change and challenge ‘othering’ to dismantle hegemony. Core Principles of Freirian Theory Used as one of the foundational authors for anti-oppressive education, Freire’s writings have proven to be difficult to understand and operationalize (Bartlett, 2005). Freire challenges educators to reject a “banking” model where students were passive recipients of an educator’s knowledge and actions. He instead advocates for “problem-posing” mutually liberatory education where teacher and student embrace dialogical learning and a dismantling of traditional roles where teacher becomes learner. In problem-posing education, people develop their power to perceive critically the way they exist in the world with which and in which they find themselves; they come to see the world not as a static reality, but as a reality in process, in transformation. (Freire, 1996, p. 83)


Rodricks • 93 All learning is relational and knowledge is produced in these interactions. Freire advocated for a dialogical dynamic of critical reflection, action, and re-reflection. He refers to this reflective-action/actionable-reflection process as “praxis” (Freire, 1996, p. 87). Through praxis comes the awakening of critical consciousness or “conscientização” (Freire, 1996, p. 109). Praxis is intended to be cyclical. Students are encouraged to become social agents, developing their capacity to confront real-world problems that face them and their community. The reflective part of the process develops the understanding that complex problems require complex solutions that must be revisited, revised, and re-implemented to reach a full solution (Duncan-Andrade & Morrell, 2008, p. 25). Freire (1996) cautions against “false generosity” where educators “attempt to soften the power of the oppressor in deference to the weakness of the oppressed” (p. 44). This only serves to perpetuate the injustice and maintain the status quo of oppression and the roles of oppressor and oppressed. Duncan-Andrade and Morrell (2008) posit “educators must constantly reflect on their pedagogy and its impact on relationships with students” without striving “for affirmation of their own generosity but to destroy the causes of false generosity” (p. 26). Thus, Freire’s work is rooted in dialogical teaching with a fundamental goal of creating “a process of learning and knowing that invariably involves theorizing about experiences shared in the dialogue process” (Macedo, 2005, p. 18). Failure to link these experiences effectively to the politics of power in the hegemonic narrative reduces Freire’s work to a methodology (Macedo, 2005). This not only offers a low-risk pedagogically-safe approach for the educator, but also fails to position the learner as teacher – a central tenet for mutually liberatory education. hooks (1994) drew on Freirian theory and called this engaged pedagogy where educators must be “actively involved and committed to a process of self-actualization if they are to empower students” (p. 15). Freire’s pedagogy is not a method, yet its core values and principles are reflected in ScholARTistry, an arts-based approach to reimagining teaching and learning. ScholARTistry as Methodology Most social scientists are professionally socialized to view the study of the human condition solely through the scientific lens and constantly seek the highest degree of certainty in their findings. Once published, such findings aim to predict and control the future. Arts-based research is a form of qualitative inquiry of human condition using the “premises, procedures, and principles of the arts” (Cole & Knowles, 2007, p. 55). There is no attempt to seek a single truth. Rather its purpose lies in the diversity of thought, word, and actual experiences. It is a “means of transcending borders, of building and discovering possible forms of connec-


94 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 tion and relatedness” (Stasko, 2008, p. 24). Behar (1996) summed up arts-based research as an evolving research methodology “that explores an intermediate space [that] we can’t define yet, a borderland between passion and intellect, analysis and subjectivity, ethnography and autobiography, art and life” (p. 174). ScholARTistry is one such form of arts-based research. ScholARTistry Defined Neilsen (2001) defined ScholARTistry as the educators’ use of art to make meaning of the world around them and integrate this meaning into teaching, learning, writing, and research. According to Neilsen, (2007), “doing so, allows for ‘scholARTists’ (2001) to do more than know about experiences – they transport us through the imagination, drawing on embodied knowledge and lived experiences as tools for understanding” (p. 96). Clarity and creativity are the legitimate cornerstones to interconnect social science research and the arts (Cahnmann, 2006). According to Knowles and Cole (2008), ScholARTistry is evidenced in the literary (novels, short stories, poetry, memoirs, etc.), visual (photography, film, sculpture, paintings, etc.), and performing arts (dance, music, ethnodrama, etc.) as well as at their intersections. Art connects personal narrative to theoretical concepts. The arts have also long used ordinary conditions as the center of their creative manifestations (LaMarche, 2010). Through various forms such as film, theatre, photography, and books, the arts have effectively presented real life conditions where people live and work. In the process, the greater consciousness has mobilized movements that advocate justice for those living on the margins. Over the last sixty years in the United States, many social movements (e.g. civil rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, etc.) have underscored this participatory relationship between art and society, thus engaging affected communities directly in self-advocacy (Boal, 2006; LaMarche, 2010). Social theatre is one such medium to engage groups living on the margins. . Social Theatre as ScholARTistry Social theatre as an experience stands out as perhaps the most striking form of ScholARTistry. In its rightful sense theatre should do more than entertain, it should teach. Bertoni (2000) described theatre as a relational and symbolic form of communication that juxtaposed personal experience to a particular context and the world. Tracing the origins of social theatre is useful to better understand it as a tool to enliven Freirian pedagogy. Brecht’s (1964) Epic Theatre in 1930s Germany challenged the realism of theatre as passive and by extension suppressive to active participation in life. He used techniques of “alienation within the dramatic action, including episodic scenes


Rodricks • 95 interrupted by narration, songs, and projection of images to break the illusion of the performance and make audiences active interpreters of the multilayered text rather than a play on their emotions” (Conrad, 2009, p. 164). Simply put, Epic Theatre aimed to awaken a critical consciousness in the spectator. Like Brecht, Freire’s (1996) Pedagogy of the Oppressed focused on getting citizens to take an active role in their lives. His praxis involved the development of critical consciousness or conscientization that allowed people (especially those living on the margins) to question the nature of their historical and social situations and move from object to subject in the creation of a more democratic way of life (Freire). Inspired by Brecht’s theatrical techniques and Freire’s pedagogical approach, Boal (1979) developed a specific set of theatrical techniques called Theatre of the Oppressed. Challenging traditional theatre as the dominant narrative, Boal proposed a tool for oppressed individuals to use towards altering their social reality, theatre for the people, by the people, “a rehearsal of revolution” (Boal, 1979, p. 155). Thus, social theatre is a medium in ScholARTistic methodology and Boal’s approach is its tool. Social theatre focuses on direct engagement with the problems of individuals and communities in specific areas. According to Thompson and Schechner (2004), “social theatre is a complex process of interdisciplinary performance…the most effective social theatre rubs up against and reveals the performative in the setting, complementing or undermining it, challenging or further heightening it” (p. 13). Thus, social theatre offers a qualitative researcher’s dream, not just observing lived experiences, rather experiencing it, live. Art must go beyond entertainment to educate. Using ScholARTistry in Education In higher education, with the growing complexity of intersecting identities and student narratives, educators are not immune from lifelong learning. The willingness of educators to embrace “teacher as learner” is central to Freirian pedagogy. Research and teaching methods are still linked to the hegemonic master narrative concept putting a premium on autonomy by rewarding individualism. For example, quantitative research often focuses on personal detachment and analytic objectivity at the cost of “personal, emotional, embodied, and spiritual aspects of knowledge and experience and as a result fails to recognize and value the process by which researchers may participate in, relate to, and co-create subjective realities of their work under study” (Dobson, 2007, p. 10). At its core, ScholARTistry challenges educators’ personal and cultural assumptions ignored in educational discourse (Barone, 2006). Staska (2008) advocated for “a dynamic and transcendent process of creative inquiry” over “being guided


96 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 by a desire to know in a static sense” (p. 24). Social theatre is founded on process rather than finished product (e.g. traditional notion of a theatrical performance-run reproduced nightly). The focus is on the development of relationships through dialogical process. “The objective is to question society, with the living presence of its differences, rather than to be purified and brought back to a ‘normal’ value system or social code” (Schininà, 2004, p. 24). Social theatre is often applied reactively to expose difference and thoughtfully engage and empower participants to greater points of action on issues. Can social theatre as ScholARTistic methodology be applied proactively? How can social theatre help the case for Freire’s problem-posing education model? I present a case study to illustrate how social theatre, as a scholARTistic medium, can impact teaching and learning. ScholARTistry Applied: Case Study Fry, Ketteridge, and Marshall (1999) described case studies as complex examples that give an insight into the context of a problem as well as illustrating the main point. A case study is instrumental if a particular case is examined mainly to provide insight into a larger issue or to redraw a generalization (Stake, 2003, p. 137). Here Pedagogy of the Oppressed, the Musical is an example of theatrical ScholARTistry. Pedagogy of the Oppressed is Paolo Freire’s call for a more liberating and humanizing approach to the learning process. The play is meant to make some of these ideas more accessible to an everyday audience. But it’s also a celebration of those students, those parents, [and] those people who work in the sometimes-oppressive system who stand up for their humanity. (Flowers, 2011) Based on the work of Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, The Musical is an original experience by Falconworks Artists Group of Brooklyn, NY. It dramatizes the diverse experiences of students, teachers, and parents in educational environments and the moments influencing perceptions of those experiences (Kapp, 2011). According to one of the young actors, Anthony Wilson, the creation exposes education as both corrupt and organized. They have it organized in a way that you learn something that might be their opinion and you to have learn it in like [sic] that way and it’s just like [sic] very corrupt that they teach you like that. (Flowers, 2011) Using a fresh approach to learning and the teacher/student relationship, the play weaves “satire, smart mob, documentary drama, and a call for education reform”


Rodricks • 97 into a single musical theater experience (“Pedagogy of the Oppressed: The Musical!” n.d., para. 1). Using ScholARTistry, the production embraces Boal’s techniques to create the inter-active event where there are no spectators (observers), only actors and spec-actors. Focusing on process rather than product, scripted stories emerged from real lived experiences and are dramatized to include the mutually liberatory opportunity for spectators to join-in the performance and be part of the dialogue. The script seemingly frames interactions between teachers, students, and parents and their respective decisions to engage or not engage, persist or not persist, succeed or not succeed in and outside the classroom environment. For example, a particular scene focuses on student voice to challenge the curriculum or they way it is being taught while another scene challenges the actions (or lack thereof) by a teacher to intervene effectively in an interaction between students in the classroom. The beauty of an experience like this is complexity of identity and its increasing relevance within the higher education context. In this case, issues of race, gender, sexuality, religion, (dis)ability, and class are all layered in each scene (whether intentional or not) making the performance rich for critical analysis. Watching these performed interactions allows one to, without fear or mandate to participate, identify with, and learn from through self-reflection. A 65-year old Fordham University faculty member in the audience noted the performance increased his awareness and understanding of the issues both teachers and students face (Kapp, 2011). Whether this increased knowledge impacts curriculum construction and pedagogy is left unexplored and merits further longitudinal research. Implications for Educators According to Boal, “you cannot teach if you don’t learn from those you are teaching” (as cited in Schechner & Chatterjee, 1998, p. 87). Recognizing that all areas of social life can be used as topics for artistic study, ScholARTistry has the potential as a powerful and necessary interdisciplinary tool to lead art out of the shadow of academe and dismantle relations of power. Educational researchers and faculty can do more to integrate its numerous mediums, tools, and techniques into research and teaching beyond just case studies and role-plays. For example, integrating institutional and community arts events into course assignments or through course design which may include artistic service learning, can lead to heightened non-traditional levels of engagement. Educational institutions can help mitigate this issue by encouraging and supporting innovative scholARTistic innovations. Yet more research is required to study the effectiveness of ScholARTistry to dismantle hegemony in teaching and learning environments. The implications for such research are many: increased cultural competency, more affirming teaching and learning environments, and increased academic student success.


98 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 References Barone, T. (2001). Science, art, and the predispositions of educational researchers. Educational Researcher, 30(7), 24–28. Bartlett, L. (2005). Dialogue, knowledge, and teacher-student relations: Freirian pedagogy in theory and practice. Comparative Education Review, 49(3). 344-364. Behar, R. (1996). The vulnerable observer: Anthropology that breaks your heart. Boston, MA: Beacon. Bertoni, A. (2000). Dramatherapy. In C. Bernardi (Ed.), Offstage experiences and reflections of social drama. Milan, Italy: Euresis Edizioni, 185-195. Boal, A. (1979). Theatre of the Oppressed. (C. A. McBride & M.-O. L. McBride, Trans.). New York: Urizen. (Original work published in 1974). Boal, A. (2006). The aesthetics of the oppressed (Adrian Jackson, Trans.). New York, NY: Routledge. Bourdieu, P. & Passerson, J.C. (2000). Reproduction in education, society and culture, 2nd ed. (R. Nice, Trans.). London: Sage. (Original work published 1977). Brecht, B. (1964). Brecht on Theatre: The Development of an Aesthetic (J. Willet, Trans.). New York, NY: Hill and Wang. (Original work published in 1957). Cahnmann, M. (2006). Reading, living, and writing bilingual poetry as ScholARTistry in the language arts classroom. Language Arts, 83(4), 342-352. Cole, A. & Knowles, J. G. (2007). Arts-Informed Research. In J. G. Knowles & A. Cole (Eds.), Handbook of the arts in qualitative research: Perspectives, methodologies, examples and issues. Halifax, NS: Sage Publications, pp.55-69. Conrad, D. (2009). Exploring risky youth experiences. Popular Theatre as a participatory, performative research method. In P. Leavy (Ed.), Method meets art: Arts-based research practice, pp. 162-178. New York, NY: Guilford Press. Creative DIY Cultures and Participatory Learning (n.d.). Pedagogy of the oppressed: The musical! Retrieved from http://diycultures. org/2011/09/21/pedagogy-of-the-oppressed-the-musical/ Culley, M., & Portuges, C. (1985). Gendered subjects: The dynamics of feminist teaching. Boston, MA: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Delpit, L. (1988). The silenced dialogue: Power and pedagogy in educating other people’s children. Harvard Educational Review, 58, 280-298. Dobson, D. (2007). Transformative teaching: Promoting transformation through literature, the arts, and Jungian psychology. Toronto, ON: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.


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100 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 The Drama Review, 42, 75-90. Stake, R. (2003). Case studies. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Strategies of qualitative inquiry (2nd Ed.), 134-164. Stanley, C. (2007). When counter narratives meet master narratives in the journal editorial- review process. Educational Researcher. 36(1), 14-24. Stasko, K. (2008). Research at the edge: An ode to arts-informed research. Arts-Informed, 6(2), 22-26. Taylor, E. (2009). The foundations of critical race theory in education: An introduction. In E. Taylor, D. Gillborn, & G. Ladson-Billings (Eds.), Foundation of critical race theory in education (pp. 1-13). New York, NY: Routledge. Thompson, J., & Schechner, R. (2004). Why “social theatre”? The Drama Review, 48(3), 11-16. Vacarr, B. (2001). Moving beyond polite correctness: Practicing mindfulness in the diverse classroom. Harvard Educational Review, 71(2), 285-295. Wallace, B. (2000). A call for change in multicultural training at graduate schools of education: Educating to end oppression and for social justice. Teachers College Record, 102(6), 1086-1111. Yep, G. A. (2002). The violence of heteronormativity in communication studies: Notes on injury, healing, and queer world-making. Journal of Homosexuality, 45(2-4), 11-59.


Shepard • 101

Removing the Mask: Using Masculine Identity Development in Student Conduct Mathew J. L. Shepard Research showing men’s overrepresentation in student conduct processes (Harper, Harris, & Mmeje, 2005) provides relevance for using masculine identity theory in student conduct administration. By connecting literature regarding student conduct with that of masculinity in college men, specifically focusing on Edwards and Jones’s (2009) grounded theory, implications for student conduct administrators to better support students are suggested. American institutions of higher education have historically held student discipline as one of their primary functions. Under the notion of in loco parentis, institutions took a vested interest in, and authoritative control of, student behavior (Cohen & Kisker, 2009). Over time, student affairs professionals began to strive for educating students both academically and developmentally (American Council on Education, 1937, 1949). As part of this movement, in loco parentis deteriorated and institutions relaxed their punitive philosophies and shifted toward sanctioning students with more educational goals. The idea of educational purpose theory “defines the student-institutional relationship as an educational function and limits its authority to behavior that is related to the institution’s purpose of its educational mission” (Dannells, 1997, p. 21). Much literature exists detailing the history and rise of authority of campus conduct processes, yet there is a lack of knowledge regarding the effectiveness and impact of conduct administration on students. Dannells (1997) called for research in student discipline with regard to institutional program effectiveness, disciplinary counseling, student behavior, and the impact of student culture on behavior. Furthermore, he argued for increased usage of student development theories in student discipline as a means to better develop the whole student. Reviewing recent masculine identity development literature with a student conduct lens reveals implications for student conduct administrators to better support college men.

Mathew J. L. Shepard is a second-year Higher Education & Student Affairs graduate student at the University of Vermont. He received his B.A. in Economics and Environmental Studies from the University of Kansas in 2011. His research interests include social class identities, enrollment management, and supporting men on campus. He is currently an Assistant Residence Director in the Department of Residential Life at the University of Vermont.


102 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 Men in Student Conduct Processes Harper, Harris, and Mmeje (2005) demonstrated that men are disproportionately more likely than other students to break campus policies and appear in the student conduct process. This overrepresentation of men indicates that the student conduct process presents opportunities to create meaningful experiences, provided that conduct administrators are knowledgeable about men’s issues. Since college men commit a disproportionately large number of campus policy violations, especially those involving physical and sexual assault, addressing masculine identity in conduct administration with appropriate knowledge of current research and theory could potentially improve campuses for not only men, but for all members of the community (Edwards & Jones, 2009). In his overview of student discipline, Dannells (1997) noticed that the majority of students who were entering the conduct process were traditionally aged first- and second-year men. Harper et al. (2005) supported this observation and added that “some male undergraduates, to varying degrees, willingly disregard campus policies and risk being subjected to judicial sanctioning. Sudden freedom from parents and living on one’s own only intensifies this problem” (p. 570). Dannells (1997) suggested that another factor affecting younger college men’s disproportionate representation in conduct processes was a lack of cognitive and identity development. This concept led Ludeman (2004) to conclude that: It would seem beneficial…for student affairs practitioners and male college students to understand better how gender roles and socialization affect male students in the collegiate environment in order to proactively intervene at early stages of misconduct to prevent increasingly disruptive patterns of behavior. (p. 77) To help college men become cognizant of society’s expectations of manhood and their own actions and beliefs, it is helpful for educators to be competent in theories regarding the creation and development of masculine identities. Masculine Identity in College Men Past student development research conducted by studying only college men, has been thought to describe the development of masculine identities, but the resulting models were not constructed with a gendered lens and thus are inadequate to serve as theories for masculine development (Davis & Laker, 2004). Davis and Laker (2004) warn that ineffective use of these models for masculine development “leads to either reliance on stereotypical gender scripts or failure to consider men as gendered beings. Both are problematic and unprofessional” (p. 49).


Shepard • 103 Social Context and Influences Similar to racial, socioeconomic, sexual, and other social identities, students’ previous interactions with, knowledge of, and experiences in their gender identities greatly impact their perceptions and misperceptions of their identities (Harper et al., 2005). Men’s peer groups attempt to mirror society’s expectations of manhood and ostracize those who do not act and behave within the socially constructed hegemony. Popular culture portrays men as physically strong, emotionally limited, and sexually active—perceptions perpetuated through peer groups, sports, and the media, thus becoming “a core component of the male identity” (Harper et al., 2005, p. 574). These influences impact colleges and universities, which underscores the potential for institutions of higher education to impact not only the social constructions of masculinity, but also their power to help students create their own individualized construction of what being a man entails (Harris, 2008). Masculine Identity Development Theory Edwards and Jones (2009) conducted interviews with undergraduate men who represented a variety of identities (i.e. race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, and campus involvement) at a large, public, research university on the East Coast. Each man was interviewed three times with the following research questions framing the discussions: “(a) How do college men come to understand themselves as men; (b) how does this understanding of what it means to be a man change over time, if at all; and (c) what are the critical influences on this process?” (Edward & Jones, 2009, p. 212). The study resulted in a theory which attempts to explain a process some men navigate to overcome hegemonic definitions of masculinity. The study affirmed the socialization of the participants to cultural expectations of them as men (Harris & Edwards, 2010). These expectations set “very narrow, rigid, and limiting ways of being a man…expectations were not just about who men were supposed to be but also about who they couldn’t be, such as gay, feminine, or vulnerable” (Edwards & Jones, 2009, p. 214-215). The participants were socialized throughout their lives, practically beginning at birth with simple expectations such as wearing blue, playing with action figures, and participating in sports. Society’s ideals grew in complexity from additional expectations such as suppressing emotions, maintaining competitiveness, gaining physical strength, and breaking rules. Men in Edwards and Jones’s (2009) study spoke about living up to society’s expectations as a form of performance. The first phase of this performance describes men facing increased pressures to conform to hegemonic expectations of masculinity. Men in the study felt as though they needed to put on a “mask” in order to be


104 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 perceived as men (Edward & Jones, 2009, p. 214). This need to perform comes from students’ desires to conceal their personal inadequacies relative to the social construction of masculinity; needing to put on the mask occurs both intentionally as well as unintentionally to the student. The second phase involves male students wearing the mask and performing to meet the expectations of men (Edwards & Jones, 2008). A similar stage is also described in Harris’s (2008) study in which he refers to men’s performance as hyper-masculinity which “encompasses the exaggerated behaviors and attitudes the participants employed strategically to express a stereotypical male gender identity” (p. 464). These performances include, but are not limited to, the abuse of alcohol and other drugs, engaging in misogynistic and homophobic behavior, breaking rules, and academic disinterest (Harris & Struve, 2009). College men spoke of performing these hypermasculine acts to gain acceptance to peer groups and to feel a sense of belonging, but such actions result in consequences (Harris, 2008). The third phase is men realizing the consequences of wearing the mask and performing to meet society’s expectations (Edwards & Jones, 2009). Consequences of performing to the hegemonic tradition of masculinity identity: policy and rule violations, the degradation of women, and the lack of meaningful relationships with women and other men, such as peers and family members (Harper et al., 2005). Edwards and Jones (2009) explain that men in their study experienced a loss of identity “and sacrificed some of their humanity by denying aspects of who they really were” (p. 219). This loss of self was not apparent while participating in hypermasculine behavior; it was later that men became aware of the conflict between actions and personal beliefs and values. This realization resulted in feelings of regret, shame, confusion, and disappointment. These emotions trigger the process in which men attempt to overcome hegemonic masculinity (Edwards & Jones, 2009). Beginning to accept the ways in which the traditional concept of masculinity does not match their personal values and beliefs, described in the study as “accepting how the mask does not fit” (Edwards & Jones, 2009, p. 215), is the final stage of development for these men. Participants used these recognitions as starting points for finding ways of overcoming detrimental societal expectations, and eventually developed personal definitions of masculinity that allowed them to maintain their image of a man within more acceptable parameters. In both the Edwards and Jones (2009) and the Harris (2008) study, men listed a variety of specific events and individuals that aided their attempts to transcend the hegemonic definition of masculinity. These influences included academic courses (especially courses in women’s studies), violent familial relationships, romantic relationships, and exposure to alternative masculinities, such as gay men, transgender men, and men with disabilities. Participants in the Edwards and Jones (2009) study described


Shepard • 105 their experiences with the research interviewers as beneficial to their reframing of masculinity, as interviews allowed for reflection on their masculine identities and behaviors on a regular basis. It is important to note positive attributes associated with masculinity. Participants in a similar study with greater representation of junior and senior students described expectations of manhood that are viewed positively, such as “‘good character,’ ‘respect’, and ‘integrity’. [The students] also characterized manhood as ‘doing the right thing’ even when peers and circumstances encouraged otherwise” (Harris, 2008, p. 469). Despite the participants naming these traits as part of the social construction of masculinity, they reported hypermasculine actions performed by themselves and peers that were not in line with these values as typical masculine behavior (Harris, 2008). Implications for Student Conduct Administrators The overrepresentation of men in campus conduct cases, and the actions that put them in the process, are of serious concern to student affairs administrators (Ludeman, 2004). Although Harper et al. (2005) advocated that interventions with men need to be developed to encourage college men to express inner values and beliefs and to discuss perceptions of manhood as well as to provide examples of positive masculinity, few campuses provide such experiences (Harris & Struve, 2009). Since research shows that the majority of students interacting with student conduct processes are men, conduct administrators have an opportunity to intervene with negative manifestations of masculinity and attempt to promote positive masculine identity development. Student conduct administrators sanction policy violators with goals of educating students about their actions’ consequences, preventing future infractions of policies, and helping students through issues that lead to negative behavior, which include issues with masculine identity (Harper et al., 2005). As Dannells (1997) suggested, “perhaps [student conduct administrators] need to reframe [their] approach…wherein the student’s behavior is critically examined in a supportive relationship and the central goal of the process is to see what can be learned from the situation” (p. vi). In order to meaningfully engage and address the developmental needs of college men in conduct processes, three criteria for interacting with students are suggested: (1) interventions need to be grounded in theory and research about masculine identity, (2) administrators need to understand that all men are different and unique, and (3) men must be given adequate challenge as well as support (Davis and Laker, 2004). Conduct administrators need to be knowledgeable of current student identity concepts, issues, research, and applications, as well as the social construction of


106 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 identities, in order to understand the expectations students face from society and thus of themselves (Waryold & Lancaster, 2008). Understanding these topics helps conduct affairs practitioners answer the question of whether to “respond to the behavior [of men] as a character flaw, or as an artifact of absorbing the gendered messages consistently reinforced in the culture” (Davis & Laker, 2004, p. 50). Switching views from “Why did you break the rules?” to “Why did you try to fit in?” requires understanding how society restricts men to socially defined masculine roles. By understanding the process through which identity develops into transcendence of societal expectations, conduct administrators can better shape their questions and interactions with men into more meaningful conversations (Waryold & Lancaster, 2008). Another practical application of understanding literature on college men comes from Davis and Laker (2004): Instead of relying on the popular myth that men are simply inexpressive, student affairs professionals should consider how physical activity might be used to promote men’s expression.… Student affairs professionals should consider engaging men in action-oriented activities such as going for a walk or some other “doing” activity in order to get beyond the mask of masculinity. (p. 51) Knowledge of issues facing college men reveals strategies for creating more conducive environments for all members of the campus community. Theories and research on identity development should be incorporated into training for all student conduct administrators. Davis and Laker (2004) suggested that to avoid generalizing the actions and motives of one or a few men to all men who violate similar policies, administrators must understand that all men are different. Administrators must not assume what identity, masculine or another, is the most salient or influential identity for a student at any time, including the moments surrounding a specific incident or behavior (Davis & Laker, 2004). Educators need to ask questions and allow for adequate reflection in order for the student to determine which identity influenced their actions, guiding the discussion to a more meaningful outcome. Furthermore, conduct affairs administrators need to understand their own identities and remain cognizant of personal biases and feelings. Policy violations may include misogynistic and homophobic actions or comments, and conduct administrators that identify with these targeted groups must remain developmentally in line with their knowledge of masculine identity development (Davis & Laker, 2004). The third criterion suggested by Davis and Laker (2004) is that student conduct administrators must provide challenge and support. According to Kegan (1982), as cited in Davis and Laker (2004), men need to feel a sense of confirmation, which “can take the form of identifying commonalities with the student; estab-


Shepard • 107 lishing and modeling ground rules for respectful listening; affirming that it’s OK to be uninformed and confused; and identifying misinformation, stereotypes, or assumptions” (p. 53). Framing a safe environment in student conduct hearings is vital for authenticity and effectiveness of an intervention. This can be created by emphasizing the separation of the student’s actions from the character of the student, disclosing examples of the administrator’s personal struggles with identity and hegemony, giving men permission to express feelings and emotions, and not patronizing the student or confusing him with due process and legal terminology (Gehring, 2001). Furthermore, in an effort to provide support, conduct administrators should praise college men for what they do well. “The benefit of highlighting positive behavior is two-fold: (1) It rewards the individual or group exhibiting desired and productive behaviors, and (2) it exposes conflicted students to healthy role models” (Harper et al., 2005, p. 581). The reinforcement of men’s positive behaviors assists in college men’s attempts to create personal, healthier, definitions of masculinity (Edwards & Jones, 2009). It is important for college men to receive continued, regular support from peer groups that affirm positive behaviors after the student conduct process (Harper et al., 2005). Creating and sanctioning college men to attend support groups that discuss masculinity in an open, safe environment provide men struggling with hypermasculine tendencies with resources and guidance from other men allowing a deeper understanding of masculine issues. Sanctioning college men to attend men’s group meetings, interviewing male leaders on campus, such as resident advisors or men formerly in the conduct process, and meeting with a professional specializing in men’s issues can help college men redefine their masculine identities. Groups such as peer conduct boards, in which students are adjudicating conduct hearings, and organized student groups also provide exposure to positive behavior, provided that men are adequately represented. Conduct administrators may find continued support for college men’s identity development in parents if parental messages mirror the communications of the institution (Harper et al., 2005). Parental notifications triggered by alcohol and drug violations may start the discussion about student behavior, but these conversations are further supported by coupling notification letters with information about campus resources and advice for how to discuss such behavior concerns with students. Follow-up correspondence to parents could help keep parents involved in discussions with their students about actions and masculine identity. In addition to these applications, further research of the effectiveness of student conduct processes in college men’s development will provide insight into how to best approach negative behavior. Research exploring the intersections of identities in men, as well as the critiques of existing theories, will create a more holistic view of men’s issues.


108 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 Conclusion College and university student conduct systems have developed from a punitive process to striving for educational outcomes. As men continue to be overrepresented in issues of student conduct, it is pertinent for conduct administrators to understand the social construction of masculinity and theories that describe how college men develop positive, individualized definitions of their identities. By applying knowledge of identity development and supporting and challenging college men both during and after conduct hearings, administrators can create more effective, meaningful interventions. These practices educate men of the societal expectations placed upon them and promote the removal of the hypermasculine mask through the development of men’s personal redefinitions of manhood.


Shepard • 109 References American Council on Education. (1937). The student personnel point of view, 1937. Washington, DC: Author. American Council on Education. (1949). The student personnel point of view, 1949. Washington, DC: Author. Cohen, A. M., & Kisker, C. B. (2009). The shaping of American higher education: Emergence and growth of the contemporary system. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Dannells, M. (1997). From discipline to development: Rethinking student conduct in higher education. ASHC-ERIC Higher Education Report, 25(2). Washington, D.C.: The George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development. Davis, T., & Laker, J. A. (2004). Connecting men to academic and student affairs programs and services. New Directions for Student Services, 107, 47-57. Edwards, K. E., & Jones, S. R. (2009). “Putting my man face on”: A grounded theory of college men’s gender identity development. Journal of College Student Development, 50, 210-228. Gehring, D. D. (2001). The objectives of student discipline and the process that’s due: Are they compatible? NASPA Journal, 38, 466-481. Harper, S. R., Harris III, F., & Mmeje, K. (2005). A theoretical model to explain the overrepresentation of college men among campus judicial offenders: Implications for campus administrators. NASPA Journal, 42, 565-588. Harris III, F. (2008). Deconstructing masculinity: A qualitative study of college men’s masculine conceptualizations and gender performance. NASPA Journal, 45(4), 453-474. Harris III, F., & Edwards, K. E. (2010). College men’s experiences as men: Findings and implications from two grounded theory studies. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 47(1), 43-62. doi:10.2202/1949-6605.6085 Harris III, F., & Struve, L. E. (2009). Gents, jerks, and jocks: What men learn about masculinity in college. About Campus, 14(3), 2-9. Ludeman, R. B. (2004). Arrested emotional development: Connecting college men, emotions, and misconduct. New Directions for Student Services, 107, 75-85. Waryold, D. M., & Lancaster, J. M. (2008). The professional philosophy of student conduct administration. In J. Lancaster, & D. Waryold (Eds.), Student Conduct Practice: The Complete Guide for Student Affairs Professionals (pp. 6-13).


110 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34

The Effects of Consumerism on Access to Higher Education  

Cornell F. Woodson The consistent rise in tuition continues to prevent underprivileged groups from accessing higher education. Institutional leaders are charged with finding creative ways to cut costs while still maintaining a high quality academic experience. This article presents the argument that consumerism is an unaddressed cause of the high price tag needed to operate America’s institutions and offers a definition of consumerism as it relates to the higher education industry. Statistical data is presented to illustrate the domino effect that happens as a result of the various methods in which institutions cater to the materialistic ways of today’s consumers.

The American higher education system is under an immense amount of pressure to gain control of the rising cost of tuition, which limits the number of people who can access higher education. While leaders should begin thinking outside of the box when they create their annual operating budgets, there is another component to the rising cost that must be addressed. Consumers have come to expect nothing but the best for the money they spend. Like other consumer decisions, they base their college choice on a very high standard. As institutions work to meet the growing expectations of the consumers they are looking to attract, the cost of tuition will continue to rise. Those who cannot afford the high price tag of tuition will be forced out of the opportunity to earn a degree. Institutions of higher education must learn to influence consumers perceived needs just as other industries have done. Consumerism Defined Consumer spending is responsible for more than two-thirds of the domestic demand in the United States (McCully, 2011). According to Novotney (2008), the rate at which Americans save decreased from 11% to below zero since 1982. This phenomenon did not happen without cause. Advertisers spend millions of dollars to create marketing campaigns to influence consumers to spend more Cornell F. Woodson is a second-year Higher Education & Student Affairs graduate student at the University of Vermont. He received his B.S. in Communications with two minors in Healthcare Management and Healthcare Communications at Ithaca College in 2009. His proudest moments are working with his former high school students in Atlanta and watching them earn their diplomas. Cornell hopes to someday improve the education system in the United States as a college or university president.


Woodson • 111 money (Novotney, 2008). While watching a television show, one might notice the ever so slight placement of products in the background. When sitting in silence, reflecting on the day, the last catchy jingle plays in one’s head. Even some religious entities have begun adopting logos and marketing plans to draw people into their places of worship (Miles, 1998). Society obsesses over creating new ways to draw people in and influence consumer behavior. According to Miles (1998), most people attempt to define consumerism by immediately and solely connecting the phenomenon with the consumption of goods and products. However, consumerism is much more than the act of purchasing things. Consumerism is also the promotion of consumer need, which is usually done by companies that convince people they need a new product (Miles, 1998; Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2013). Today, need does not just include the basic necessities of food, water, safety, and love, as indicated by Maslow’s (1943) hierarchy of needs. Need has now come to include more extravagant items, such as electronics, fancy cars, and big houses. As a result, I adopt the definition of consumerism as a sociological interest driven by a common psychological perception that we need materialistic items to gain status. Miles (1998) argued that “consumerism should not and cannot be morally condemned, but must rather be considered in a systematic fashion as an arena within which social lives are currently constructed” (p. 4). However, when the systematic fashion in which people construct their social lives can only be accessed by a small minority and hinders the ability of lower-class people to participate fully in society, it is an issue. This new manner in which people find meaning in their lives is a form of oppression. Institutions of higher education play into the game of supply and demand, which requires them to stay abreast of what consumers want. Consumers in education are no different from the consumers who shop feverishly during Black Friday. If an institution does not supply what they want, then they will go somewhere else. Meanwhile, tuition rises every year and many lower-class students often cannot access higher education because only the needs of upper-class families are being met. Consumers in Higher Education Each year many families take their college-bound students to visit campuses across the country looking for the perfect place to spend their college years. Students and their families bring a list of non-negotiable items that they are looking for on a campus. As a result, institutions funnel millions of dollars into various initiatives to entice competitive students into choosing them. They spend large sums of money to finance the payments for multimillion-dollar buildings to stay competitive and work relentlessly to ensure they have what students want (Potter, 2011). So, how do students choose the right school for them?


112 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 Mooney (2007) says that students choose a school based on various components. One component is the student’s chosen program’s ranking and their reputation based on the various tools they use to research schools. Many turn to the U.S. News and World Report, family members, friends, and alumni. Word of mouth is also a highly ranked method for choosing a college (Mooney, 2007). Other factors that sometimes affect how students choose a school includes: class sizes, relationship with professors, and a college’s online presence using Twitter, Facebook, and mobile applications (Mooney, 2007). This generation of college-bound students is extremely internet-savvy with their iPads, iPhones, and other pieces of technology. The Internet has become the main source for potential students to obtain information (Carnevale, 2005). Various admission offices have created elaborate websites with incredible interactive features like virtual tours of their residential halls and student center. To cater to students’ need for instant access, some institutions have created personalized web pages for each applicant. For example, Minnesota State University, Mankato created a portal that allows applicants to sign into their personal page to determine what forms they have or have not submitted (MSU, Mankato, n.d.). The personalized page also includes links to student clubs’ and departments’ webpages, as well as articles that may interest the student based on information they shared on their application. Other factors used to choose a school include involvement opportunities, financial aid packages, and the distance from home (Carnevale, 2005; Mooney, 2007). However, students cite the maintenance and existence of buildings related to their chosen major as most influential to their decision (Reynolds, 2005). The Effects of Campus Buildings on Consumer Choice According to Reynolds (2005) and the Association of Higher Education Facility Officers, 73.6% of students rated facilities related to their major as extremely important or very important when choosing a college. Other academic buildings such as libraries, technology, and classrooms came next. Of the students who participated in the study, Reynolds (2005) found that 42.2% rated residential halls as a key factor in their decision making process. During visits to campus, 56.8% of students listed buildings housing their major as an important part of what they wanted to see on their tour. Residential halls came in at 53.1%, the library at 48.4%, classrooms at 46%, and technology buildings at 40% (Reynolds, 2005). Of those respondents, when asked specifically about the maintenance and existence of those facilities, 29.3% indicated they had rejected an institution because it lacked a facility they felt was important (Reynolds, 2005). 26.1% rejected an institution because an important facility was inadequate, and 16.6% rejected an institution because an important facility was poorly maintained (Reynolds, 2005).


Woodson • 113 Consistent planning for new construction, constant maintenance, and replacement of facilities is imperative and should be an essential component of an institution’s strategic plan (Williams, 2006). Poorly maintained facilities can be detrimental to an institution’s image and would not make it a viable option, but maintaining and constructing facilities is also costly (Supiano, 2008). To remain competitive, most institutions are trying to supply everything that students and parents look for when shopping around for the right campus. Therefore, they are constructing expensive facilities that look more like four-star hotels and purchasing top of the line technology to draw students to their campus (Potter, 2011). However, as generations become more sophisticated in their technology use and taste, colleges will continue chasing consumers’ desires in order to keep them satisfied. When institutions focus on providing what consumers want, their operational budgets soar. When their operational budgets soar, the cost of the product increases. The Rise in Tuition Higher education is a $420 billion industry and the rise in tuition at both public and private institutions has more than doubled over the past decade (Hacker & Dreifus, 2010). The increase in tuition is usually said to be caused by the growing cost of faculty and staff salaries, their healthcare benefits, energy needs due to new buildings on campus, and the financing of multimillion-dollar facilities (Supiano, 2008). Institutions consistently face the reality of working with less and the pressure to maintain the high quality collegiate experience college-bound students and their parents have come to expect from America’s institutions of higher education. However, most students and their parents do not understand that the more they expect institutions to provide, the heftier the price tag will become. In the higher education industry, the amount of tuition paid to send students to college is known as net tuition, while gross tuition is the actual cost the school needs to educate each student. When visiting a college or university’s website, net tuition is what visitors will find. According to the College Board (1999, 2008), from 1998-2008 public institutions saw a net tuition increase of 32%, but the gross tuition increase grew 50%. Tuition at public institutions rose 10% during the 2003-2004 academic year alone. Private institutions saw a net tuition increase of 22% and a gross of 27% during the same time. Even with the consistent rise in tuition, what consumers actually pay is not enough to cover what it takes to operate the institution for a full academic year. In order to educate parents and students of this fact, several colleges and universities around the country have implemented a program called “Tuition Runs Out Day” (Redden, 2007). At many colleges and universities, tuition only covers two-


114 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 thirds of what it costs to educate a student for the full academic year (Supiano, 2012). Advancement offices work tirelessly to engage alumni to help fill this gap. Therefore, if it were not for alumni giving each year to annual funds and endowments, many colleges and universities would not be able to operate. Nonetheless, Hacker and Dreifus (2010) note that students still graduate with six figures’ worth of debt and are hindered by staggering loans. While many middle- and upperclass students and their families are forced to make sacrifices and go into debt to pay for school, most lower-class students never earn a degree. Access for Marginalized Groups Bowen, Chingos, and McPherson (2009) noted that the rate at which students from lower-class families attempt to obtain a degree of higher education is directly influenced by the cost of tuition at a higher rate than students from upper-class families. Furthermore, students from middle- and upper- class families are five times more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree than students from lower-class families (Bowen, et al., 2009). This is largely due to lower-class students’ lack of access to money to fund their degree. A typical financial aid package includes a variety of contributions from federal and state government, institutional funds, parents, and students themselves (Bowen et al., 2009). A student’s background, their parents’ financial resources, and the student’s academic promise play a large factor in the kind and amount of student aid included in a financial package. According to Bowen et al. (2009), lower-class students receive significantly more grants than upper-class students because federal student aid grants such as the Pell Grant are focused on lower-class students. However, state and federal government drastically cut back their support of higher education due to the economic downturn of 2008, which means grants have become much smaller. When grants and scholarships do not cover the full cost of what a student must pay, loans are used to fill the gap. Federal loan programs have placed a cap on the amount people can borrow, which is about $5,550 according to the U.S. Department of Education (2012). Despite their vast need, lower-class students can only borrow up to this maximum amount. Many students are relying more on parental contributions to meet the cost of tuition (Bowen et al., 2009). This is because parents, given credit approval, can borrow any amount they want, such as the entire cost of tuition. While many upper-class students can often turn to their parents for help, most lower-class students do not have that option. Most often lower-class parents have less than perfect credit and cannot help by taking out loans for their student (Birkenmaier, Curley, & Kelly, 2011). Many students can turn to the private loan sector, but only if they have good credit or a co-signer (Bowen et al., 2009).


Woodson • 115 Bowen et al. (2009) noted that the net cost of attending school and a family’s resources significantly affect the chances that a student will be able to complete their degree. Therefore, even if lower-class students do find the funds to begin taking classes toward their degree, the cost of tuition goes up each year. If a student’s aid does not also increase, they may not be able to continue their studies. Conclusion If institutions truly want to diversify their campuses and open the doors to higher education for more people, then the leaders in this industry should consider clearly laying out what consumers should expect them to provide. Institutional leaders should take a stand and create a different standard of consumer choice within the higher education sector. Consumers need to remember the original purpose of our higher education system, to provide quality teaching, opportunities for scholarship, and a supportive academic environment (Carey, 2009). Furthermore, the purpose was to provide a campus culture that allowed students to develop through various forms of involvement in and out of the classroom (Carey, 2009). All of these things can be provided without lavish buildings. Finally, colleges are not doing enough to provide consumers with the right information in order to make decisions based on the important characteristics of an institution (Carey, 2009). Important data is often buried on the website, e.g., student to faculty ratios, graduation rates, the percent of graduates who find jobs after college, faculty credentials, and information on the diversity of the community. These are the characteristics that institutions should be encouraging consumers to use to pick a school, so this information should be at the forefront instead. Continuing to construct expensive buildings that drive up the operational budget in order to attract students to their campus further creates roadblocks for lower-class students. In order to provide better access to post-secondary education for these students, it will be important for student affairs professionals and higher education administrators to return to the original mission of educating students. Institutions cannot be everything to everyone.


116 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 References Birkenmaier, J., Curley, J., & Kelly, P. (2011). The financial credit profile of low-income families seeking assets. The Journal of Financial Therapy, 2(2), 68-85. Bowen, W., Chingos, M., & McPherson, M. (2009). Crossing the finish line: Completing college at America’s public universities. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. Carey, K. (2009, June 24). College consumerism run amok? The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://www.chronicle.com Carnevale, D. (2005, June 10). To size up colleges, students now shop online. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://www.chronicle.com College Entrance Examination Board. (1999). Trends in college pricing. Washington, D.C.: College Board. College Entrance Examination Board. (2008). Trends in college pricing. Washington, D.C.: College Board. Consumerism [Def, 1]. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster Online. Retrieved November 15, 2012 from http://www.merriam-webster.com/diction ary/consumerism Hacker, A., & Dreifus, C. (2010, July 11). Are colleges worth the price of admissions. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://www.chronicle.com Maslow, A. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50, 370-396. Mooney, C. (2007, April 27). Choosing a college: Student voices. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://www.chronicle.com Miles, S. (1998). Consumerism as a way of life. London, England: Sage Publications. Minnesota State University, Mankato. (2013). Admissions: Personalized Web Page. Retrieved January 1, 2013, from http://www.mnsu.edu/admissions/vip/ Novotney, A. (2008). What’s behind American consumerism. Monitor on Psychology, 39(7), 40-47. Potter, C. (2011, November 9). On the nature of change in higher education: Assessing the costs. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://www.chronicle.com Reynolds, G. (2005). The impact of facilities on recruitment and retention of students. New Directions for Institutional Research, 135, 63-80. Redden, E. (2007, February 20). Tution Runs Out Today. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved January 28, 2013 from http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/02/20/albright Supiano, B. (2008, Feb 21). How colleges can stem the rising cost of higher


Woodson • 117 education. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://www.chronicle.com U.S. Department of Education. (2012). Federal Pell Grant Program. Retrieved January 28, 2013 from http://www2.ed.gov/programs/fpg/ index.html Williams, A. (2006, June 9). Facilities play a key role in students’ enrollment decisions, study finds. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://www.chronicle.com


118 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34

REFLECTIONS

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As members of the UVM HESA community, past and present, we acknowledge the value in listening to one another’s stories. To commemorate the 33rd anniversary of The Vermont Connection, authors are invited to reflect on meaning-making and lessons learned from higher education and student affairs, the HESA program, and the community that unites us. We hope that you will enjoy these reflections as they chronicle the continuing journeys through HESA’s past, present, and future.


Victoria • 119

Tidbits and Tangents: A Guide to Become the Shoulders Upon Which You Stand Nathan Victoria Finding the right opening hook for a paper, especially reflective essays with their often vague prompts, was one of the hardest parts of my time at the University of Vermont (UVM). One may assume that unpacking my multiple identities of power and privilege, adjusting to sub-zero wind chills and “lake effect” snow, or functioning from the perspective of being one of two, rather than one of many, were harder to overcome. OK. Upon further reflection, they were. But I still never enjoyed searching for just the right literary launching pad to begin. Then why you might ask did I willingly accept the invitation to write this reflection? Three words—The Vermont Connection (TVC). You see, TVC is one of my many networks to which I commit first, ask questions later. Through my travels on behalf of NASPA, I have seen how far our diverse network of professionals reaches; a network that would not be what it is today without the commitment of our matriculated generations of cohorts. The spirit of giving instilled in me at UVM is why I feel so privileged working for NASPA, a professional association working for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. I get to give to a profession that has already given so much to me. Each day, I influence and shape the professional development of our field to break cycles and build bridges to transform higher education. It is from this bird’s-eye perspective that I share some insights. For those of you who have communicated with me at NASPA, you know I tend to ramble with disjointed thoughts, seeing connections among disparate objects. But I’ve tried to distill my thoughts into succinct statements at the end of each section. Hopefully that will help translate my “Nathan speak.”

Nathan Victoria is the Director of Member Engagement and Student Initiatives for NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the leading voice for student affairs administration, policy, and practice. Although the prospects of being a dancing psychologist were tempting (Nathan received his bachelor of arts in dance and psychology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT), he enrolled immediately into the University of Vermont’s Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) program, where he is a 2007 graduate. He finds it fitting that his journey has brought him to work for NASPA, as a Region I undergraduate pre-conference showed him the possibilities of a career in student affairs and higher education.


120 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 To successfully break the cycles and transform higher education, you must use the privileges you have been given. Always make room on the bench. Going directly from college to graduate school and then to NASPA as my first professional home was nerve-wracking. I continually questioned my qualifications to plan professional development for the field. Having never worked professionally on a campus, what sort of guidance and leadership could I provide the NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program (NUFP) Fellows, undergraduate students participating in a NASPA initiative I was tasked to run? It would take my attendance at my first Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) (Arkansas, 2008), now named the Dungy Leadership institute after NASPA’s Exec Director Emeritus Gwen Dungy, to realize how I could contribute in this position. (For those of you who do not know, the mission of NUFP is to increase the number of persons of ethnic-minority, persons with disabilities, and/or persons who identify as LGBTQ in student affairs and higher education.) Being a sound travel agent and binder producer (OK, clearly I did more than that), I proved my competence to the SLI faculty. But what about the students? Well, when one of the Fellows came up to me and asked “can we talk later because I have a few questions before SLI ends,” I received my opportunity to overcome my fear of being “just” a new professional. Little did I know this seemingly innocuous request would become one of those moments I would treasure throughout my career. Jamie [a pseudonym] was a Fellow I met earlier in the year at the 2008 NASPA Annual Conference in Boston. Knowing very few Asian Americans in the field, let alone males, I saw it as my mission to make Jamie feel comfortable. I had an inkling about what he wanted to talk about, but when Jamie began by posing a series of general questions, including how I got to work in the NASPA office, I thought perhaps my ‘dar was rusty. As dinner ended and dancing commenced, I could tell that Jamie had more questions so we went outside to sit on a bench, giving him the privacy needed to ask whatever questions he had left. I don’t remember how long we talked, but Jamie says it was “long enough for all the Fellows to stare at me like I was going through a mid-life crisis.” In truth, I do not really remember all the specifics of what we talked about. I just remember being in the moment, talking from my heart, and hoping that I was what Jamie needed at that moment: a confidant. It did not matter that I did not see myself as a role model, or I had feelings of inadequacy, or I was a new professional. By reaching out, he enabled me to assume a role I was not certain I was ready for, yet one that has since been the crux of my professional fulfillment and personal pride: a mentor. The conversation did eventually take


Victoria • 121 the turn I had anticipated, and I was able to not only support but also challenge Jamie to give voice to that part of himself previously silenced. I will always carry with me the honor of being a part of his coming out process. I was sad to leave Arkansas and SLI 2008. Never before had I participated in a leadership retreat where every member bonded so quickly and deeply. I had left Washington D.C. questioning my qualifications to help facilitate this institute, but I returned reassured of my skills, accepting of my new hat as an accessible and open-hearted role model for the Fellows, and feeling connected to a few new mentors of my own. A few days after I got back to D.C., I received this note from Jamie: I owe you a special thanks for taking some time to talk about ‘life.’ Being an Asian male who is in the field, proudly out, and most importantly, happy, is who I aspire to be. Looking up to you and talking with you this past week made me realize that it’s not impossible. If I can impact students’ lives the same way that you have mine and the other 25 fellows who attended the institute, I’ll be a satisfied man. I know that this is the one field where I can do that! You may be sorry that you told me to be in touch about everything going on in my life! I look forward to continuing our conversations in the future and seeing you around! (Personal communication, July 13, 2009) I know I am not sorry, Jamie. Notes like this are why I am inspired to be in student affairs. And the icing on the cake? Jamie has had his own bench conversations with students on his campus. To successfully break the cycles and transform higher education, you must speak your truth and encourage those around you to speak theirs. Grow where you are planted. Aside from being a part of a formative experience for future student affairs professionals, SLI has also offered me opportunities to find my own mentors. The year after my experience with Jamie, I had the opportunity to have my own bench session with then NASPA Board Chair, Mike Segawa, Dean of Students at University of Puget Sound. Struggling with whether to return to a campus or continue with my path at NASPA,


122 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 I asked Mike what he thought my next professional step should be. He looked out onto the Puget Sound (instead of the streets of Fayetteville, AR, this celebration dinner was on a boat) and said “Grow where you are planted” (M. Segawa, Personal communication, July 9, 2009). Mike proceeded to tell me that the student affairs journey is one with many twists and turns. Life will often take us places where we thought we would not be. While we can complain and try to get out of these situations, we can instead choose to establish ourselves where we are and make the best of the situation. This sage piece of advice was passed onto Mike by one of his mentors, and it was exactly what I needed to hear from him at that time. Without this perspective I’m not sure I would be professionally where I am today. To successfully break the cycles and transform higher education, you must make the most of your situation and live in the moment. Squeak strategically, but know why you are squeaking. I was recently interviewed and featured in a cover article for Associations Now, the monthly publication of ASAE - The Center for Association Leadership, my professional association, (yes, there is an association for association professionals, meta, I know). Profiling three “Executives of the future,” I was coined the “change agent” who “has a method for getting ahead in association management. Call it strategic squeaking.” (Full text available at http://associationsnow.com/2012/09/exec-ofthe-future-the-change-agent/). In the article, I stated “I’m sure you have heard of the aphorism ‘the squeaky wheel gets the oil’. The squeaky wheel is also annoying and sometimes, after enough oil, it just gets flat-out replaced.” To be a competent administrator and make the change you wish to see, you have to remain in the game to make an impact. Often as new professionals, we have a list of black and white standards driving our professional philosophy. But as we mature professionally, we realize confronting every issue all the time is debilitating. Through trial and error, we learn our nonnegotiables, raising our important issues to appropriate parties in a timely fashion, rather than addressing every injustice all the time. We need to ensure our voice is not ignored nor forgotten by identifying our allies and utilizing our networks to effectively make change on both an institutional and individual level. We squeak strategically, finding others to share our concerns in concert together. To successfully break the cycles and transform higher education, you must be an effective voice for change. At Wesleyan, we… Victor Butterfield was the 11th president of my alma mater, and although I do


Victoria • 123 not remember the exact quote or when it was stated, he shared a concept similar to the following—If Wesleyan was the best time of your life, we’ve failed you. This sentiment resonates strongly for our field. As student affairs professionals, we not only facilitate welcoming and empowering environments for our students while they are on campus, but also create opportunities for a better future. We encourage these individuals to move past the theoretical lives of college education to apply and practice what they learn in the world. There is hope in our future, and I am reminded of that possibility with every interaction with TVC. One of my favorite times at the NASPA Annual Conference is attending the TVC Reception. To see past alumni, current students, and potential applicants all interacting in one space inspires me. But these fleeting interactions show how TVC respects the past and works to reinvent the future in the moment. When we are not at conferences, when we do not have these structured gettogethers, how are we building on the foundation that UVM has given us? And how are we ensuring that this foundation stays just as strong in the future? We stand on the shoulders of those that have come before us. We need to ensure that our shoulders are well built to be stood upon. .


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THE KENNETH P. SAURMAN AWARD This award honors Kenneth P. Saurman, who will long be remembered for his dedication to the field of student affairs and to the graduate program at The University of Vermont. After his death in 1980, a memorial fund was established for a prize recognizing the outstanding graduate in the program. This award is a reminder of the professional excellence and commitment Kenneth P. Saurman inspired in his students and colleagues. Each spring, a committee of faculty members in the College of Education and Social Services selects a student, or students, who best display(s) the established award criteria. Those recognized: (a) show a record of outstanding achievement; (b) demonstrate ability to make outstanding future professional contributions at both local and national levels; (c) demonstrate future ability to make outstanding intellectual contribution to the field in the areas of research and scholarship; (d) show evidence of having fostered a sense of community and cooperation among peers, staff, and faculty; and (e) show evidence of outstanding contribution to the University through internship and practical experience. In May 2012, the Kenneth P. Saurman Award was proudly presented to: Jilliene M. Johnson


Johnson • 125

Standing at the Intersection: Comfort, Complacency, and Curiosity Jilliene M. Johnson 2012 Saurman Award Recipient Standing at the threshold of an intersection is something each one of us does, consciously or subconsciously, every day. The lives we lead offer a multitude of options about whom we will be and how we choose to interact with the world. Some of these options take only a few minutes or even seconds to determine, such as deciding on what to have for breakfast, selecting an outfit for work, or figuring out if you will actually attend that 6 AM yoga session. Other decisions take us a few weeks, months, or even years to discern. Should I pursue a graduate degree? Should I continue in my current relationship? Should I stay in my present job, or should I make a career change? Once we acknowledge this tension between comfort, complacency, and curiosity we must respond. The logical steps would be: 1) Acknowledgement, 2) Decision-making, and 3) Execution. This is not always simple. In fact, I have moments of doubt, anxiety, insecurity, and confusion when I am ultimately unsure of which path to follow. My intersection revealed itself in the last few months in the Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) program. Uncertain of what I truly wanted to do after completing my degree, I cast a wide net and hoped for the best. The question I grappled with was: Do I stay in residential education, leap into government relations at an institution of higher education, or charter an unknown territory – a congressional fellowship? Adhering to due diligence and working to relieve my own anxiety, I took part in the industry standard, attending one of our national conferences, participating in intensive interviews, speaking with mentors and friends, and scouring the internet searching and applying for potential job opportunities. My search spanned over five months and ultimately resulted in me accepting a position as the Education Fellow for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF). Reflecting on this journey, it became evident that I needed to critically consider each potential avenue of comfort and complacency in order to take a position that fueled my passion, offered opportunities for inquiry, and made an impact on the communities that mattered most to me.

Jilliene M. Johnson serves as the Education Fellow for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in the office of Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11). Her legislative portfolio includes health care and education as it relates to undeserved communities. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from The College of Wooster, and completed her master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration at the University of Vermont in 2012. She is grateful for her family, friends, colleagues, students, and mentors for their unwavering support and love.


126 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 Nestled in Comfort The idea of comfort sounds so blissful when you feel you are in multiple transitions and facing the looming reality that at some point you have to leave the familiar. For me, that place had become the University of Vermont and the HESA community. I could not have imagined that my decision to attend the HESA program two years prior would have a profound impact on how I make judicious decisions about my personal and professional life. My ability to find comfort in the HESA world was grounded in my past experiences of being a student, a residential educator, and my ability to build community. My acquired knowledge assisted me in navigating my environment on three levels: (1) institutionally; (2) structurally; and (3) individually. At the institutional level, I felt I understood where I was. My zip code may have changed but working and living on college campuses had not. Vermont was certainly not Massachusetts or Ohio, but this world was not completely foreign. Although cultural norms, climate, and the overall community disposition varied, I took great solace in knowing that I would live in the building I worked in, have my students as neighbors, and a swipe card that could produce a warm meal now and again. Structurally, I would formally be back in the role of a student. I knew my expectations were to attend class, read scholarly articles, write papers, and participate in experiential learning opportunities such as the assistantship and practicum programs. At the personal level, I knew I would be able to foster relationships. My choice to join the HESA community just felt right from the moment I came to the Interview Day. When I left that weekend I knew that I had made a heart-soul agreement. I was reassured to know that I would learn about social justice and how to be a student affairs scholar-practitioner in a community that was developmental and supportive. The opportunity to build relationships with amazing practitioners, who also would become friends and mentors, truly allowed me to flourish personally, academically, and professionally. When I wanted to create a new practicum or present at a conference, I was met with neither hesitation nor reservation. Instead, I encountered intrigued colleagues that discussed my requests, raised deeper questions, and provided lists of resources to help me pursue my endeavors. I left the conversations feeling encouraged, inspired, and often times reassured that I could accomplish my dream because someone believed in me, even when I questioned its feasibility. What a powerful feeling – to have a community who believes in you and your dream. This precious gift of support certainly benefited me during my months of uncertainty, and still does to this day. Although I was in a nurturing environment, I had reservations about contentment and where I wanted to be as I considered my future career path.


Johnson • 127 Considering Complacency The act of being complacent is often difficult for me to determine. If I had to define complacency it would be accepting the status quo because one feels secure with their current position. The only inherent problem with complacency is that it does not allow us to consider or pursue options external to our present circumstance. Honestly, parts of me were satisfied professionally. The work I did prior to HESA and my work as a graduate student made me happy, and more than that, I loved the people with whom I worked. It was gratifying to see my students discover their identity, explore their world, and question their future. I even enjoyed working in my office until 11:30 p.m. and having my students stop by to chat or seek my advice about their dilemmas. But at the core I appreciated how vulnerable I could be with my students. We discussed a range of topics from our greatest joys to the moments where we felt discouraged, isolated, and marginalized. The student-teacher/teacher-student relationship is powerful and it challenged me to grow and reflect on my past and current philosophic approach on life. As a practitioner, I came to understand that possibilities only emerge when we authentically connect. If I left the student affairs world, would I lose the ability to have these types of conversations? Would I miss seeing my students around campus and supporting them at their events? Is it possible to find colleagues who would challenge me out of a place of care? I was unsure if leaving the student affairs arena was worth the sacrifice. If I stayed on the “higher ed trackâ€? I theoretically could have this while I moved into a comfortable mid-level residential position. But would it be enough? I was still yearning for more. Was I being selfish or fearful, especially when wanting more only led to unfamiliar avenues and could mount to unhappiness? Curiosity Leads to Clarity It was over the course of interviewing for several positions that these queries continued to linger, which prompted several reflective journal entries about what mattered most to me and truly excited me professionally. As the summer progressed, job opportunities were presented and with each I asked, does this honor me and my vision? Often I already knew intuitively, but there were always other elements to consider such as how would this decision affect me and my loved ones? As I considered various positions, I also remembered a fellowship opportunity that I learned about in 2008. The CBCF program was designed to increase the number of African American professionals in the Unites States Congress, and provide subsequent generations with increased access. I envisioned this learning opportunity as a platform to gain the necessary skills to create systemic political


128 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 and legislative changes for the betterment of American higher education and the health care system. Specifically, being a CBCF Fellow would provide a foundation to be a change agent. Federally, I would be able to advocate for justice and challenge convention. As a Black woman, I had encountered marginalization and discrimination in my life, but as an educator, I was also becoming aware of it professionally. When I spoke with my students I heard it in their voices and saw it in their eyes, and I wanted to bring those experiences to Congress. Even with a clear vision about what being a Fellow would mean to me and the community I served, I was still anxious. The process of reviewing applications was delayed due to the high volume of applicants, which meant I had to make decisions on job offers prior to hearing back from the Foundation. Talk about needing to lean on my faith, family, and community! I did my best to stay faithful to my dream of the fellowship, but it was my support system’s unwavering commitment that kept me determined to not give up. In the role of a practitioner, I still felt some pressure to know the correct answers, but as a fellow, I felt there was room for further inquiry and intentional development. I understood that I lacked knowledge about the legislative process, possessed a basic understanding about how Congress worked, and even less knowledge about how to navigate politics. What I did know however, was the adverse impact laws may have on marginalized communities and the dissatisfaction I felt seeing people denied access, equity, and equality. I felt that my HESA education prepared me to be acutely aware, raise questions, and pursue change in the academy, but my curiosity about the legislative process was essential because legislation serves as a vehicle to inform our polices, and our policies guide our practices. The Vision for Heart-Soul Agreement Now as I enter my fifth month of the fellowship, I can clearly see the importance of process. In the beginning of my quest, I craved a clearly defined familiar path where I knew I would excel. And yet, what I yearned for was the challenge – the challenge of not knowing the correct response to a question, having to learn a new language, and learning how to navigate a new environment – Capitol Hill. I have realized that I do not have to be perfect, but I can at least be brave. In the Student Affairs profession, we challenge our students to dig deeper, look harder, and pursue their dreams. As educators, we must always remember that we too, must adhere to our own words of wisdom. If I am to serve as a leader, I have to reflect the values I so passionately preach. This year’s journal theme is “There is Hope: Breaking Cycles to Transform Higher Education,” and this is our call to act. As staff, faculty, and administrators, we will be faced with opportunities to speak up and out about the needs of the communities we belong to and work


Johnson • 129 with. Personally and professionally we will have moments when comfort, complacency, and curiosity may be present at our intersection; but it does not have to define our destination. My hope is that we are not bound by complacency and fear, but rather uplifted by hope and faith to listen to what feeds our soul. We can all dream about how we will have heart-soul agreement, but we must start with a vision. Our vision of who we want to be and how we will interact with the world often emerges from the continuum between love and fear. Mine was born out of experiences and stories of dissatisfaction about what happens to the voices that often go unheard. As I continue my journey I have come to understand that my vision to serve will continue to be honed over time, and at the core it must have heart-soul agreement if I am going to be authentically me.


130 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34

THE FINAL WORD

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Each year, we invite a member of our community to write The Final Word. This contributor is the consummate student affairs educator and serves as a role model to us all through dedication, wisdom, and compassion. This year, we are fortunate to conclude with Dorian L. McCoy, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies University of Tennessee, Knoxville


McCoy • 131

The Final Word Dorian L. McCoy I am humbled and consider it a tremendous privilege to have been invited to write The Final Word for the 34th volume of The Vermont Connection. I am truly grateful to have been at the University of Vermont for the past six years and despite leaving the University, I will always be a part of the HESA Family. I spent considerable time thinking about what I would discuss. I reviewed Final Words from previous volumes of The Vermont Connection and that only increased my anxiety about writing the piece. It is a significant challenge to follow some of the distinguished voices that have spoken so eloquently about higher education, student affairs, and social justice among other topics. Some have shared the story of their journey, others have offered words of wisdom for both our professional and personal lives, some sought to motivate, while others have discussed challenges we face in higher education and student affairs. I began drafting one version of the article and then deleted it. It dawned on me while watching President Barack H. Obama’s Second Inauguration that in 2013 we celebrate anniversaries for two significant historical events. First, 2013 marks the sesquicentennial of President Abraham Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation (January 1, 1863). Second, this year marks the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech (August 28, 1963). In addition, President Obama’s Inauguration Celebration coincided with Dr. King’s Holiday and a National Day of Service (January 21, 2013). I concluded I would attempt to use my words to motivate and challenge you as you continue your social justice journeys and assume leadership roles in higher education and society. This past weekend, I participated in the University of Tennessee’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. We painted at a Boy’s and Girl’s Club located in the midst of a local housing project. As we engaged in this service project, it could not have been more readily apparent that as we celebrate/recognize the aforementioned anniversaries and President Obama’s Inauguration that we continue to live in a society that is deeply divided. We have “Red” and “Blue” states. We have the Dorian McCoy is an Assistant Professor in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Tennessee. He was a George Washington Henderson Post-Doctoral Fellow and Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont from 2006-2012. He has worked in residential life at the University of Florida and Louisiana State University. In addition, he worked in Human Resource Management at Louisiana State University. He is actively involved in the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), ACPA, and NASPA.


132 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 99% and 1%. We have those in favor of increased gun legislation and those who believe the federal government is infringing upon the “unalienable rights” established in the U. S. Declaration of Independence. Access to higher education is increasingly becoming a “right” or privilege reserved only for those who can afford it. We have the “haves” and the “have nots.” The theme for this volume is “There is Hope: Breaking Cycles to Transform Higher Education.” How appropriate given we live in a society that is deeply divided not only on the aforementioned issues but also on issues that are adversely affecting higher education. The continued attacks on affirmative action, access to higher education for historically underrepresented populations, funding, and overly ambitious initiatives are just a few of the challenges confronting higher education. However, I believe that we can address these challenges, “break cycles,” and “transform higher education” by promoting social justice and practicing servant-leadership – The 2 S’s. Social Justice Bell (2010) believes social justice is both a process and a goal. “The goal of social justice is full and equal protection of all [italics added] groups in a society that is mutually shaped to meet their needs” (p. 21). Social justice envisions a society where there is equitable distribution of resources and all members are physically and psychologically safe (Bell, 2010). We often discuss social justice in terms of a journey. In his second inaugural speech, President Obama (2013) stated: For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law -- for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. (para. 22) There are those who will argue that the journey is complete and that equality has been achieved. However, given the issues we face and the climate on many of our campuses, we recognize and know that much work remains to achieve inclusive and safe campus environments. We know that higher education needs transformation. As student affairs educators and leaders, in what ways will you seek to break the cycles of oppression that prevent us from preparing our students to function in a multicultural and diverse global community? A key aspect of practicing and promoting social justice is recognizing the privileges we possess individually and collectively. Privilege does not manifest solely on the basis of one particular identity, but manifests from the intersection of our multiple dominant identities. As an able-bodied, educated, Christian, male, might I use the privilege associated with those identities to break cycles of oppression in


McCoy • 133 higher education that prevent others from achieving their full potential? I ask that you critically reflect on how your identities privilege you and then reflect more on how you can use that privilege to break oppressive cycles and transform higher education. In essence, I am asking you to be an advocate for social justice in an effort to transform higher education. Servant Leadership There are numerous definitions of leadership. Despite this, there are common concepts that reflect what it is to be a leader (Northouse, 2012). These concepts include leadership as a trait, ability, skill, behavior, relationship, and influence process. Northouse defines leadership as “a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal” (p. 6). In his discussion on servant leadership, Northouse emphasizes a “caring principle” (p. 2). Servant leaders not only possess a caring trait; but are concerned with ensuring others’ needs are met. According to Greenleaf (1973), “The servant-leader makes sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served” (p. 7). Does this not cut at the core of what social justice is about? As students in the University of Vermont’s Higher Education and Student Affairs program, you sought to develop certain professional skills and competencies. Many of these skills and competencies centered on social justice and leadership. You were asked to commit to serving all students, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation/expression, class, political persuasion, etc. The faculty, and assistantship and practicum supervisors sought to equip you with the skills necessary for effective leadership in higher education – organizational development, planning, integrating theory to practice, building vision, and ethical decision making. However, leadership is not only about traits and skills, but is also about behavior, relationships, and influencing others. As servant-leaders working to transform higher education, you have the privilege of establishing relationships and influencing students, colleagues, and the university community. Relationships are reciprocal. Leaders affect and they are affected by followers (Northouse, 2012). As a servant-leader what positive affect will you have on those you are leading, particularly your students? Social Justice and Servant-Leadership In many ways, social justice is about being a servant leader. Those engaged in social justice work are committed to ensuring that inequalities and injustices are eliminated. Dr. King recognized this when he stated, “An injustice to one is an injustice to all.” As leaders, what will you do to eliminate the injustices and inequalities that confront higher education and its community members? In what ways will you affect change to ensure that higher education institutions are inclusive of ALL students, particularly those with historically underrepresented


134 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 and marginalized identities? How will you work to transform higher education? I believe that social justice and servant leadership can intersect to interrupt cycles that oppress and marginalize. To transform higher education all must commit to promoting and developing socially just, safe, and inclusive communities. “Social justice involves social actors who have a sense of their own agency as well as a sense of social responsibility toward and with others, their society, and the broader world in which we live” (Bell, 2012, p. 21). In short these actors are leaders – leaders working to create an inclusive society. I challenge you to be that leader – a servant leader committed to social justice. “The Final Word” “There is Hope: Breaking Cycles to Transform Higher Education.” The aforementioned servant-leaders, Presidents Lincoln and Obama and Dr. King sought to break cycles and transform society. They provided hope to marginalized people. President Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation provided the slaves with the hope of a new beginning. President Obama’s slogan for his first presidential campaign was “Hope” – the hope for change and progress in the United States. Dr. King provided hope not only for African Americans but for many disenfranchised people. He was in Memphis seeking better benefits for sanitation workers when he was assassinated. The hope you provide may not be for a nation. The hope you provide may not be for an entire race or ethnic group. Perhaps the hope you provide is for one student; a student from an impoverished neighborhood who has been told that he or she cannot succeed in higher education. Perhaps the hope you provide is for the “out” queer students on your campus, who do not feel safe. Perhaps the hope you provide is for the Latino students who were stereotyped at a fraternity party. I ask, “What hope will you provide and how will you work to break cycles to transform higher education?”

References Bell, L. A. (2010). Theoretical foundations. In M. Adams, W. J. Blumenfield, C. Castaneda, H. W. Hackman, M. L. Peters, & X. Zuniga (Ed.), Reading for Diversity and Social Justice (2nd ed.), (pp. 21-26). New York, NY: Routledge. Greenleaf, R. K. (1973). The Servant as Leader. Newton Center, MA: Robert K. Greenleaf Center. Northouse, P. G. (2012). Introduction to leadership: Concepts and practice (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. Obama, B. H. (2013, January 21). Inaugural Address. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/


New Connections • 135

NEW CONNECTIONS

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Each year, members of the graduating HESA class write original papers in the form of a comprehensive examination in order to meet graduation requirements. These papers take the form of original research, scholarly personal narratives, literature reviews, or action-research projects. The Full Board of The Vermont Connection is pleased to share topics from the Class of 2012, along with the “New Connections” they have made following their graduation. What follows is the current placement of members of the Class of 2012, followed by the title of their comprehensive examination, their advisor, and an abstract. Please feel free to contact the authors if you would like more information about their topic. Please note that submission of an abstract is not required for Scholarly Personal Narratives (SPN) and therefore may not be included for some author’s comprehensive examinations.


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Betsy Crouch

Recruitment Specialist Bain and Company The Unexpected Glass Ceiling: Understanding Female Business Undergraduates’ Perceptions of Gender Dynamics in Corporate America (Advisor: Kathleen Manning, Ph.D.) Despite recent advances in women’s presence and status in Corporate America, men continue to occupy the majority of senior leadership positions. Research indicates that undergraduate business students do not recognize that gender discrimination still exists in many corportate work environments and do not understand its potentially harmful consequences (Sipe, Johnson, & Fisher, 2009). The purpose of this qualitative case study was to understand the perceptions that undergraduate female business student respondents at a mid-sized public institution have regarding gender’s effect on career advancement. This study also sought to gain insight into female faculty respondents’ opinions on the potential need for educational opportunities to prepare these students for the gender dynamics in their future work environments.

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Kristine A. Din

Residence Hall Director University of Connecticut The Chronicle of a Bicultural and Second Generation Filipina American: Reclaiming History and Redefining Leadership (Advisor: Robert J. Nash, Ph.D.)


New Connections • 137

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Jude Paul Matias Dizon

Coordinator for Asian American and Pacific Islander Student Involvement and Advocacy University of Maryland, College Park A Critical Race Analysis of Partnership School Students’ of Color Transitions to the University of Vermont (Advisor: Dorian L. McCoy, Ph.D.) The purpose of this exploratory, single case study is to critically examine the transitional experiences of Students of Color to the University of Vermont. Population increases for Students of Color have been partly due to partnerships established with three public New York City high schools. While the educational benefits of diversity provide the rationale for the partnerships, how Students of Color fare once in college leads to the focus of this study. Objectives include understanding how partnership school students develop a sense of belonging; and learning what motivates persistence beyond the first year. Suggestions are offered to improve campus climate and support for Students of Color.

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Jesenia Gervacio

Career and Summer Opportunities Program Coordinator KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program): NYC Money Matters: Exploring First-Generation College Students’ Experiences with the Financial Aid Application Process (Advisor: Dorian L. McCoy, Ph.D.) First-generation college students face several challenges in navigating the college application process, not least of which is the financial aid application. Without the help of parents, family members, support of counselors or other professionals, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) becomes a barrier to higher education instead of a means to promote access to colleges and universities for first-generation students. Though this is not a new topic in the higher education literature, given the changing landscape in availability of federal and state funds to finance higher education, the role of financial aid will be even more important to support access for first-generation students. How can their experiences inform the way educators across sectors support first-generation students in developing the cultural competencies to navigate this process? This qualitative study sought to give voice to first-generation students as they recount their experiences’ completing the FAFSA.


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Michael Griffith

Financial Aid Advisor/Student Resource Advisor Community College of Vermont Identifying Barriers and Solutions to Increasing Student Participation in Undergraduate Study Abroad Programs (Advisor: Deborah Hunter, Ph.D.) Participation rates for undergraduate study abroad are increasing, but remain very low. The benefits to overseas study are numerous, including improved cultural sensitivity and self confidence. One of the most important goals of higher education institutions is holistically developing students through global learning experiences. Students in today’s pluralistic society need to have a global perspective and successfully collaborate with others from diverse cultural backgrounds. Students cite rigid academic requirements, program cost, aversion to learning a new language, fear of discrimination abroad, physical safety and family responsibilities to be the most common reasons why they do not participate in study abroad. Colleges are improving the promotion and expanding the variety of opportunities of study abroad. To increase participation institutions are offering shorter, faculty led trips and helping alleviate the financial burden with scholarships. Development of resources and workshops to help students better understand the challenges and opportunities of foreign study will increase participation rates, enhance preparedness, and enable students to gain the most from their immersion experience abroad. This paper will also address controversial issues of sending students abroad and barriers faced by students that may prevent participation. A personal narrative of an undergraduate student studying for a semester in Australia is included as an example of how the study abroad experience can change a student’s perspective. To conclude, there are recommendations and examples of successful strategies used by universities to promote and increase participation in study abroad programs


New Connections • 139

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Jilliene M. Johnson

Education Fellow Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. College Students and HIV/AIDS: Why Land Grant Intuitions Should Care (Advisor: Jill Mattuck Tarule, Ed.D.) Human immunodeficiency virus / acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) was first recognized in 1981. HIV/AIDS is now viewed as a chronic disease, which affects youth at an increased rate. In 2009, young persons from the age of 13-29 years old accounted for 39% of all new HIV infections in the United States (Center for Disease Control Prevention [CDC], 2011). Based on this information it will be essential for college officials to examine their institutional policies and procedures regarding support for students with HIV/AIDS. As higher education works to become more inclusive of diverse students, it will be vital for universities to create environments that provide multi-faceted support systems to college students with HIV/AIDS. To investigate this topic, a content analysis was performed on 12 land grant institutions to assess their response (s) to this new population. Eight indicators were utilized to address the schools overall success in addressing HIV using the following indicators: 1) Campus and Environmental Policy, 2) Health Messages, 3) Professional and Preprofessional Development, 4) Student Leadership, 5) Prevention Programs, 6)Attending to Priority Populations, 7) Health Services, and 8) Collaborations (Hoban, Ottenritter, Gascoigne & Kerr, 2003). The implications of these results and future research are discussed.


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Danielle R. L ‘Esperance Assistant Office Manager Community College of Vermont

Win at all Cost: How Being Raised to Compete Challenges my own Meaning Making (Advisor: Robert J. Nash, Ph.D.)

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Kristin Lang

Assistant Director of Student Activities Maryland Institute College of Art But I’m a Sorority Woman: Making Meaning of Queer Identity in Fraternity/ Sorority Life (Advisor: Dorian L. McCoy, Ph.D.) As higher education institutions begin to put diversity in the forefront of their strategic plans, higher education administrators and student affairs practitioners need to consider the importance of diversifying their multicultural initiatives on college campuses. First–year students are entering their collegiate experience with a better understanding of their identity. This qualitative study examined the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and intersex identified students, in conjunction with higher education institutions needs to evaluate the process in which they recruit, admit, and retain this student demographic to best provide the most comprehensive practices to achieve an inclusive campus climate.


New Connections • 141

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Heather C. Lou Area Coordinator Smith College

Ain’t I a Womyn (of Color Leader)?: Decolonizing Political Workspaces with Oppositional Consciousness (Advisor: Dorian L. McCoy, Ph.D.) Womyn* of color leaders working in student affairs face challenges navigating institutional roles while remaining authentic to non-dominant forms of leadership. Non-dominant leadership in communities of color embraces “democratic values such as justice and promoting the common welfare, and uses practical approaches that engage and empower people” (Bordas, 2007, p. 5). In this work, I explore oppositional consciousness as a tactic for womyn of color leaders to navigate workspace politics. Oppositional consciousness is a U.S. third world feminist concept that provides space for womyn with historically underrepresented, underserved, and “minoritized” identities to address dominance (Sandoval, 1991). I propose Sandoval’s theory of oppositional consciousness as a way for womyn of color to challenge hegemonic concepts of power and success in order to embrace authentic, non-dominant leadership styles. Additionally, I provide recommendations to apply Sandoval’ framework to student affairs practice as it relates to social justice and inclusion in postsecondary education. *Womyn removes the sequences of m-a-n and/or m-e-n from the term “woman/en” that some feminists and womynists adopted in favor of non-sexist gender-based language reform (Steinmetz, 1995). Womyn is intended to disrupt the gender binary and include those who identify with any intersection of historically “minoritized” identities, including, but not limited to: race, class, gender, and ability.

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Ray Matilla

Residence Director University of Vermont De-Stereotyping the Atheist Student (Advisor: Robert J. Nash, Ph.D.)


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Nicole Palmer

Residence Hall Director Stony Brook University Color Matters: An Exploration of how Black Students Experience Skin Tone (Advisor: Kathleen Manning, Ph.D.) Colorism, the privileging of light skin over dark skin, affects the lives of many within the Black community and can occur within as well as across races. This study overviews the history and origins of skin tone discrimination and its place in modern day society including social relations, media, and politics. The aim of this study is to discover the influence that colorism has on Black students’ personal experiences and racial identity development within a predominately White institution. This study used narrative research to explore Black students’ stories and highlight their personal, social, and academic experiences in relation to their skin tone.

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Kim Stabile

University Programs Coordinator Google Inc. Identifying the Effects of Conduct Hearings on College Student Development (Advisor: Kathleen Manning, Ph.D.) This research examines the connection between the type of reflection students undertake after their experience in the student conduct/judicial system, the change in their feelings toward the incident in question, and the behaviors that led to their hearing. Through an online survey sent to campus email lists, data was collected from undergraduate students who had been through the conduct process at this institution. It was hypothesized that those students who undertook written or spoken reflection on their experience would see a positive difference in the emotions they felt at the time of the incident, and would also see a reduction of the behaviors that led to their conduct hearing.


New Connections • 143

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mae stephenson

Supplemental Instruction Coordinator Tacoma Community College Somebody Who Gets It: The Power of Shared Identities in Mentoring Relationships (Advisor: Robert J. Nash, Ph.D.)

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Beth R. Walsh

Administrative/Research Assistant University of Vermont Atheistic Worldview Development: Being an Atheist on a College Campus (Advisor: Jill Mattuck Tarule, Ed.D.) The pluralism of cultures, races, genders and sexual expressions is celebrated and supported on college campuses across the United States, but one population continues to be marginalized, ignored, and hated (Nash, 2003). Atheists, agnostics, and secular humanists are often not even recognized as a population that needs support. Our campus traditions and practices assume that theism, especially Christianity, is the norm. It is important that student affairs professionals recognize the ways that atheists are marginalized and how their worldview development can be supported. This study looks at the perceptions that atheists have toward the support of their worldview on a campus that welcomes diversity, but may fail to see their needs. The collection of atheist stories is an important step in hearing their voices and welcoming them to the worldview exploration and development that college students experience.


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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

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Dear TVC Friends and Colleagues,

We would like to express our appreciation and gratitude to both cohorts and to all who have assisted with the production of the 34th volume of the TVC journal. Of course, The Vermont Connection is never complete without the strength and support of our beloved alumni and friends, for whom we are truly grateful. This year’s Executive Board worked hard to introduce innovative ideas on how to better connect with fellow alums, trouble shoot difficult tasks to make Phone-A-Thon happen this year, and finally, to produce a professional journal, from start to finish, continue a long standing legacy that has influenced so many other graduate programs across the country. As you know, TVC is more than just a journal; it is a community of scholars who share a common goal, engage in meaningful connections, and pass down decades of experience and a tradition of excellence. As the TVC advisors, we have had the privilege to witness and share in the excitement as the journal has come together. We are grateful for the learning experiences shared with not only the Editorial Board, but also with the faculty and cohorts. The process of creating the journal not only allows a unique learning opportunity but also creates memories along the way that are treasured and that alumni can quickly reminisce about, even years after their graduate experience. This year, HESA has welcomed Henderson Post-Doctoral Fellow Dr. Shametrice Davis to the program and we have already embraced her as our TVC family. While working on her research, Dr. Davis has taught courses to both cohorts and serves as a mentor to many of our students, providing them with the guidance Kimberlee Monteaux is the Assistant Director of Student Life for Fraternity and Sorority Life at the University of Vermont. She is currently working on her dissertation and planning a wedding. Nicholas Negrete (HESA ‘06) is Assistant Dean of Students for the Division of University Relations and Campus Life at the University of Vermont. While working full-time, he is also completing his first year in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies doctoral program.


Acknowledgements • 145 and professional standards that will serve our students well beyond their years after graduation. In addition, the university has welcomed Tom Sullivan as our 26th President. His leadership is focused on re-aligning our values in a way that will set us apart as a “public-ivy” moving us in a direction where we are able to capitalize on our unique character as an “environmental institution.” As the semester end is drawing near we are excited to welcome HESA candidates to visit and eagerly assist our second-year HESA graduate students with career advice and well wishes. We cannot help but to reflect over the year from goal setting to last semester’s brunch celebration with the editorial board and be proud of their dedication to further advance the TVC experience. We thank you for your continued support. Your pride and ongoing commitment to the TVC community and to higher education does not go unnoticed. Through continued mentorship, scholarship and collaboration the legacy of the Vermont Connection remains. In solidarity, Nick (HESA ’06) and Kim


146 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 This year’s Executive and Full Boards would like to thank the following individuals who contributed to our successful fundraising over the past calendar year. Our alumni/ae and friends are responsible for the continued vitality and success of our efforts.

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Leadership Circle

Jerry A. May Erin K. Miller Stacey Aileen Miller Matthew Neil Milner Daren Rikio Mooko Stephanie Moreira Martin Hershel Nadelman Tonantzin Socorro Oseguera John Eric Osthaus Jean Pak John Frederick Schwenger Alan Lee Sickbert Annie Stevens Alvin Arbre Sturdivant Nathaniel A. Victoria Jennifer Grace Wegner Daphne R. Wells Thomas Edward Whitcher Harriet Iris Williams Jason A. Zelesky

Donations of $250 or more Patrick Joseph Buckley Jacob Lee Diaz Bridget Turner Kelly Robert Dwayne Kelly Jason Carroll Locke Madelyn Krest Nash Robert James Nash Janet Edgar Walbert

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Vector 8 Donations of $100 or more Adam Jon Aparicio Darlene J. Brown Patrick MacGregor Brown Elizabeth Bowman Burtis Meagan C. Burton-Krieger Leah Charpentier BouRamia P. Xavier De Freitas Jeffrey C. Desjarlais Jimmy Doan Jerry E. Flanagan Jillian Gronski Gray Jackie M. Gribbons Elizabeth Marie Guevara Jennifer Lynn Hart Kimberly Anne Howard Deborah Ellen Hunter Amy Huntington Jason Michael Johnson Khristian L. Kemp-DeLisser David Lee Laxamana Kathleen Manning Lester John Manzano

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Editorial Board Club Donations of $75 or more Susan Norris Berry DeMethra LaSha Bradley Kristine Angelica Din Laurel E. Dreher Pamela Kay Gardner Deanna M. Garrett-Ostermiller Jennifer A. Garrett-Ostermiller Amy Joan Gillard Merin Eglington Maxwell Tomás Sanchez mae stephenson Andrew Mcmahan Wells


Donors • 147

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Green & Gold Club

Janine Elizabeth Pratt Christopher Purcell Tricia Rascon Salomon A. Rodezno Rafael Rodrigues LuAnn Rolley Steven M. Rose Katelyn Marie Sadler Ian Thomas Stroud Vu Anh Tran Vu Tran Greg Palmer Voorheis Susan Aleen Wilson

Donations of $50 or more Lorriz Anne Alvarado Caitlin Ann Bjellquist Sophie Blanco Allan Patrick Blattner Carolyn Maxwell Blattner Akirah Jerelle Bradley Tom R. Burke Kathleen L. Campbell Elizabeth B. Crouch Dennis P. DePaul Jude Paul Matias Dizon Margo Wallace-Druschel Stephen John Druschel Michael Addison Dunn Peggy Ann Mahaffy Dunn Anne T. Forcier Lawrence K. Forcier Lacretia Johnson Flash Serrill Flash Rachelle Ann Flisser Cassandra Nicole Garcia Betty M. Hibler Sarah Elizabeth Hoffert William Allen Hyman Edward John Keagle Martha Burroughs Keagle Kristin Lyn Lang Hannah Roberts Lozon Sarah Conant Martin Dorian L. McCoy Laura Elizabeth Megivern Matthew Neil Milner Kimberlee R. Monteaux Frank Michael Muñoz Garrett J. Naiman Joseph Thomas Nairn Nicholas E. Negrete Erik Nelson Jean Marie Papalia Rosemary Jane Perez

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Donor’s Club Donations of up to $50 Carl R. Andreas Rosalind E. Andreas Lynne Ballard William P. Ballard Stacey Banfield-Hardaway Michelle L. Bartley-Taylor Raja Gopal Bhattar Kailee A. Brickner-McDonald Kristin Wallace Carpenter Gretchen Junk Casey Sarah Maria Childs Brendon Evans Aaron Michael Ferguson Alicia Lynn Ferrell Amanda Flores Kirsten Freeman Fox Valerie Marie Garcia Corynn Marcum Gilbert Michael Giles Griffith Juan Guardia Carrie Frances Williams Howe Eric A. Howe Brett Phillip Hulst Jacqueline Elizabeth Hyman Gina Marie Ippolito Jilliene Michele Johnson


148 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 Tamia Rashima Jordan Lorraine Betz Kelm Robert John Kelm Jace Kirschner Stephanie Nelle Kurtzman Heather Christine Lou Patricia Marin Ray Mattilla John Hubbard Miller Keith M. Miser Erika Lee Nestor Adam Joseph Ortiz Jessica Lein Ortiz Tami Hiroyasu Otsuka Gisele Laffaye Pansze Trent Woodson Pansze Viraj Shashin Patel AJ Place Heather Parkin Poppy Louis George Provost Marlene Collins Provost Erin Pullin Dominic Antonio Rollins Finn Schneider M. Marie-Claire Smith Sherwood E. Smith Kim Stabile Karen Netter Stonely Kate Strotmeyer Stephen Michael Sweet Jill Mattuck Tarule John deCani Taylor Colleen Rose Toomey Patricia Turner-Gill Amber Ulmer Iesha Valencia Beth Raine Walsh Sarah Surgala Wasilko Monique S. Wright


Guidelines for Authors • 149

GUIDELINES FOR AUTHORS

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The Vermont Connection publishes articles dealing with student development, professional development, administrative concerns, and creative programs to improve student services. Manuscripts should focus on: original research; replication of research; reviews of research/literature; essays on theoretical, organizational, or professional issues; reviews of current literature relevant to the field; or practical reports of experiences from the field. Style Guidelines Manuscripts must be clear, concise, and interesting with a well-organized development of ideas. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition (2009) should be followed for reference style and general guidelines. • •

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Double space all material, including references, quotations, tables, and figures. Leave extra space above and below subheadings and allow generous margins (at least one-inch margins). Because manuscripts are processed through an anonymous review system, they should contain no clues to the author’s identity or institutional affiliation (with the exception of a separate title page as outlined in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition). Where appropriate, institutional identification will be inserted after acceptance of the manuscript. Research manuscripts should total no more than fifteen (15) double-spaced, typewritten pages (approximately 3,000 words) including references, figures, and tables. Shorter articles are accepted and encouraged. Original research (literary, qualitative, quantitative, or scholarly personal narrative) is encouraged. All such work should be applicable to the higher education and student affairs professions.


150 • The Vermont Connection • 2013 • Volume 34 • Field reports should not exceed three (3) pages (approximately 600 words in length). They should briefly report on or describe new practices, programs, or techniques. Authors should supply additional background information for interested parties who may request it. • Dialogues/Interviews should follow the manuscript guidelines outlined in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition. They should take the form of verbatim exchange, oral or written, between two or more people. • Book reviews should not exceed five (5) pages in length (approximately 1,000 words). Proposed titles to be reviewed should be approved by the Full Board. Authors are fully responsible for obtaining such texts. Additionally, it is the author’s responsibility to secure permission to quote or adapt text content. A copy of the publisher’s written permission must be provided to the Full Board before any manuscript can be published. • Authors are responsible for the accuracy of all references, quotations, tables, and figures. Authors should make every effort to ensure that such items are complete and correct. Submission Instructions •

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Form and content of manuscripts should comply with the above style guidelines and the general guidelines of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition. Manuscripts that do not conform to these guidelines cannot be considered. Never submit manuscripts that have been previously published or are currently under consideration for publication. Material should be submitted electronically only; visit The Vermont Connection website for more information. It is imperative for authors to adhere to all dates outlined in the Call for Articles.

The Vermont Connection Executive Board will be responsible for all publication and editorial decisions. Visit http://uvm.edu/tvc for additional information.

Volume 34 Full Journal  
Volume 34 Full Journal  

Volume 33 of The Vermont Connection

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