Suliman taught high school English for three years before becoming a faculty member at the university level in his home country of Saudi Arabia. After finishing his PhD, he will return to Saudi Arabia to teach foundational courses to pre-service and in-service teachers . Hence, he is interested in teacher identity, teacher morale, and teacher agency among Saudi teachers. He would like to understand what are the components of Saudi teacher identity; what demoralizes them; what increases their morale; what can we do to cultivate their agency and morale. His PhD in cultural foundations will equip him with lenses to understand, analyze and criticize what's taken for granted in his society and culture. It will enable him to help his student teachers to cultivate their agency and voice.
Paul is interested in pervasive issues of fear in US society and their manifestations in the educational context. He is particularly interested in discourse around concepts of protection, safety, and security in the university setting, specifically in education abroad. Paul comes to the PhD program in Cultural Foundations after more than fifteen years of professional work in international education at three universities. He plans to return to the same field as a senior administrator and active researcher.
Jaietta's line of inquiry includes the exploration of collegiate success of black males from single parent female households. Many studies have been conducted to show why these males have failed educationally. Studies also indicate that the lack of a father in the household is influential in educational failure. Because there is overwhelming research regarding the educational failure of black male, Jaietta seeks to examine the opposite perspective. She is exploring the educational success of black males while at the same time analyzing how single mother parenting influences the collegiate success of black males.
Kate is exploring the development of student voice and agency through student media production.
Student voices are potentially a powerful force in bridging gaps in inequity through intercultural exchange which challenges political and educational mindsets. Kate seeks to find the most effective methods of encouraging intercultural deliberation and social understanding through independent, collaborative student media. Her pilot project in which students from two schools worked under this model resulted in a joint publication shared throughout the city to extend the conversation.
Leah is researching writing centers in relation to student success. Writing centers are a support service for students. As a support service, writing centers are expected to aid in bridging the gap between what students know and what they need to know in order to persist in post-secondary education. While this seems like a service all institutions would provide, since, in theory, it would contribute to student retention and graduation rates, not all post-secondary institutions have writing centers. In her dissertation, Leah plans to further the conversation on what the significance might be for understanding the contribution that writing centers can make to student success, connecting possible underlying reasons for writing centers to exist or not on these particular campuses. Not only is this topic relevant to facilitate a better understanding of the relationship between writing centers and student success, but it could also open the door to further study on student success within post-secondary institutions and how those institutions define and facilitate success to meet the needs of their varying stakeholders.
Chris is interested in how Cultural Foundations can bring to bear important questions regarding the aims and outcomes of higher education and student affairs. Some of their primary interests include Critical Race Theory and Critical Whiteness Studies in education, the development of academic advising as a profession, and social justice in higher education. Chris is currently engaged in several writing projects on diverse subjects including a critical analysis of workplace “fit” for trans student affairs professionals and a theoretical examination of how prioritizing happiness can undermine efforts for social justice in student affairs. After completing the PhD in Cultural Foundations, they intend to pursue a faculty role focused on higher education, student affairs, and social justice.
Danielle is interested in how live arts events work to educate attendees for political action. She is particularly interested in how theatre works to increase audience awareness of others and how this awareness prepares publics for participation in the American democratic process. Danielle is also interested in exploring informal educational opportunities for adults, such as those offered by arts organizations and museums, and how institutions of higher education can be stronger partners in these institutions’ endeavors.