I take a break in publishing the SAGE Musings blog over the summer. I also like to make more time for reading over the summer. I've asked the project leaders and participants for summer reading recommendations, and here they are.... Race and racism in America are clearly on our minds. Feel free to add your own recommendations using the comment thread at the bottom of this page!
Me (Carol Ormand): I finally ordered, and have just started reading, Caitlin Chazen's recommendation from last summer: Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond. From the publisher's website: "In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge.... Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today."
Kristie Bradford: Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors, by Carolyn Finney. Listening to several black field scientists I began to realize that part of the reason why we have difficulty attracting people of color to the geosciences may be the idea that they do not feel safe in wild spaces. They fear how white people will react to them being out of the city and out in nature. It presents a whole new wrinkle in our "broadening participation" strand.
Editor's note: Kristin O'Connell points out that Carolyn Finney presented her work at an NSF-sponsored INCLUDES conference in 2019. You can watch and listen to her talk, At the Crossroads: Black Faces, White Spaces, and Re-thinking Green.
Andrea Goering: I recently read Understanding How We Learn, A Visual Guide, by Dr. Yana Weinstein and Dr. Megan Sumeracki (the Learning Scientists). They review six core strategies backed by cognitive psychology (spacing, interleaving, retrieval practice, concrete examples, elaboration, and dual coding). They include methods for teachers, students, and parents to implement these strategies in the classroom or during study. It was interesting to think about how specific active learning methods we discussed as part of SAGE 2YC mapped onto the six strategies.
I am currently reading Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning, by James Lang. This book also uses principles from cognitive psychology, and delves deeper into specific (and bite-sized!) methods that educators can use to put them into practice. I found that "Understanding How We Learn" is a great "why-to" and that "Small Teaching" is an excellent "how-to."
Finally, my summer reading list includes Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, by Zaretta Hammond. This book will be used by a faculty inquiry group in the fall (not my own, but the way I discovered this book). I hope to strengthen my understanding of context diversity and come away with equity-focused classroom practices I can apply immediately.
Debra Bragg: I recommend White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. I also like How to Be An Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi. Both these books are top selling books on race in America right now.
Editor's note: Heather Macdonald points out that there is also a podcast by Brené [Brown] with Ibram X. Kendi on How to Be an Antiracist: https://brenebrown.com/podcast/brene-with-ibram-x-kendi-on-how-to-be-an-antiracist/
Heather Macdonald: Race Matters, by David J. Asai (2020). As the author writes at the beginning of this 3-page commentary in the journal Cell, "Despite their initial high interest in science, students who belong to excluded racial and ethnic groups leave science at unacceptably high rates. ''Fixing the student'' approaches are not sufficient at stemming the loss. It is time to change the culture of science by putting inclusive diversity at the center."
For something different, I recommend the movie Traces of the Soul, by Martin Cooper, which is about calligraphy (and more, as suggested by the title). Here is a ~5 minute trailer: https://vimeo.com/200155867). Judy Bloch writes, "Calligraphy is an art, a philosophy, and, for its practitioners, a way of life rooted in ancient tradition. So it is surprising to learn how very contemporary calligraphy can be in the hands of 12 international artists profiled in Traces of the Soul.... Calligraphy becomes a physical meditation when performed on a floor canvas; becomes calligraffiti, changing lives, when it goes urban; and becomes a protest or a prayer when drawn for children caught up in wars."
Tania Anders: A book I enjoyed reading this year was The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World, by Andrea Wulf (2015). I loved how the book weaved science and history. Von Humboldt was a contemporary of Goethe, Schiller, Jefferson, Napoleon... and influenced generations of scientists (like Darwin). Also great for anyone interested in sustainability and climate change. Von Humboldt was one of the first to describe the impact humans have on our planet.
Pam Eddy has three recommendations:
- Overcoming Educational Racism in the Community College: Creating Pathways to Success for Minority and Impoverished Student Populations, edited by Angela Long. From the publisher's website: "Overall, nearly half of all incoming community college students "drop-out" within twelve months of enrolling, with students of color and the economically disadvantaged faring far worse. Given the high proportion of underserved students these colleges enroll, the detrimental impact on their communities, and for the national economy as a whole at a time of diversifying demographics, is enormous.
"This book addresses this urgent issue by bringing together nationally recognized researchers whose work throws light on the structural and systemic causes of student attrition, as well as college presidents and leaders who have successfully implemented strategies to improve student outcomes."
- Team Leadership in Community Colleges, edited by George Boggs and Christine Johnson McPhail. From the publisher's website: "This edited collection is the first book to address the topic of how leaders work with teams to manage and transform community colleges. There is a need to develop better leadership teams in order to administer community colleges effectively and to improve these organizations, whether it be an individual campus, multi-college system or state-wide organization. Edited by two long-time leaders in the field, the book includes contributions from many other experienced leaders and scholars of community colleges."
- Estella Bensimon's equity mindset work
Eric Baer: So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo. From the publisher's website: "In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to "model minorities" in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life."