UDARI Faculty Fellows Named for Spring 2021

Posted on February 20, 2021 at: 7:22 pm

Congratulations to Kisha Porcher, Assistant Professor of English Education; Dr. Jessica Edwards, Associate Professor of English and Technical Communication; Lindsay Naylor, Assistant Professor of Geography; Jocelyn Alcantara-Garcia, Conservation Scientist and Associate Professor; and Dael Norwood, Assistant Professor, History.

Dr. Kisha Porcher is Assistant Professor of English Education and Dr. Jessica Edwards is Associate Professor of English and Technical Communication. Professors Porcher and Edwards propose a Black Racial Literacy Roundtable. Using Dr. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz’s affinity group practices as a model, Drs. Kisha Porcher and Jessica Edwards will organize a Black Racial Literacy Roundtable at UD which will serve as a safe space for Black faculty to build on their own racial literacies while processing their experiences with racism. A primary goal of using a racial literacy framework is to help Black Faculty engage in discussions about the psychological, interpersonal and structural dimensions of race and racism (Guinier, 2004). Through lectures and discussions with other Black Faculty, and by applying race as a diagnostic tool to analyze and develop strategies for taking care of themselves while awaiting systemic change, this roundtable will aid faculty as the university works towards policies to dismantle racism.  The Black Racial Literacy Roundtable seeks to: Develop a safe space among other Black faculty to process racism they have experienced; glean mental, physical and social health strategies; report anonymous information (based on permission) to the Anti-Racism subcommittees to develop useful policies to dismantle the racism that Black Faculty experience;  present findings from our affinity space at conferences to inform other universities focused on anti-racism initiatives; and write at least one manuscript to document the findings of the Black Racial Literacy Roundtable. (Reference Guinier, L. (2004). From racial liberalism to racial literacy: Brown v. Board of Education and the interest-divergence dilemma. The Journal of American History, 91(1), 92-118.)

Lindsay Naylor (she/her), Assistant Professor of Geography. Dr. Naylor is a feminist political geographer and an anti-racist decolonial scholar. As a 2021 fellow she hopes to facilitate change more broadly in recruiting, mentoring, and retention of graduate students at UD. As she serves in this position she will develop a mentoring program for underrepresented and historically excluded graduate students, which can be critiqued, tested, shared, adapted, and amended by faculty and students across campus via the UDARI program. In many disciplines and STEM disciplines more broadly, there are few students from U.S.-based BIPOC communities who are successfully recruited to conduct graduate research. Moreover, even fewer accept offers of admission, and those who do, to date, must largely rely on student-run organizations and faculty outside their programs to build community—or put differently to have support from people who they can see themselves in.

The deliverable of this fellowship will be a multi-step, multi-year, anti-racist and inclusive mentoring guide that can be tested in the Geography & Spatial Sciences Department and used by CEOE more broadly as a tool for Fall 2021 recruitment. Naylor will work with already existing materials to develop, with these resources as a guide, a mentor-mentee guide for faculty and graduate students. This work, will not only be potentially beneficial for creating systems for effective retention where none previously existed, it additionally complements existing efforts to move toward holistic admissions and recruitment and will be a wide-ranging tool for anti-racist faculty training across campus.

Jocelyn Alcantara-Garcia is a Conservation Scientist and an Associate Professor who self-identifies as Latina. With her work at the intersection of science and art, she aims to attract and retain people to scientific fields; and using her identity, passions, and profession as platforms, to bolster students and colleagues to be confident, and to succeed no matter what their career goals are.

Her projects/deliverables mainly target Latinx Peoples and First Nations. They include chemical education strategies that show how knowledgeable Indigenous Peoples have always been, the great scientists they are; and to instill curiosity and respect for nature, much like they continue to show for “Mother Nature.”Simultaneously, she wants to work with Latinx people to enhance awareness about (micro) aggressions and (subtle) discriminatory behaviors; and what should be done about them both individually, and collectively; independently of whether they speak English or Spanish as a first language.

Dael Norwood is an Assistant Professor, History Department. He will be supervising student researchers investigating the history of racial injustice and inequality in Delaware and at UD, and developing new ways to expand, systematize, and share this work. Chair of the UDARI Student Research subcommittee and a member of the upcoming “Legacies of Enslavement and Dispossession” subcommittee, Norwood is interested in advancing research into the local history of how white supremacy was enacted, perpetuated, and resisted. In Spring 2021, he will be supervising a cohort of seven undergraduate researchers as they investigate UD’s history of institutional entanglement with racial inequality and the legal history of racial injustice in Delaware. In addition to training and advising these researchers, Norwood is creating a methodology for using government and financial records to investigate institutional ties to slavery, and crafting a curriculum model to orient new researchers to racial inequality in UD and DE history. These materials will see use in upcoming research internships he is helping to develop at the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs and at UD, as well as in the inaugural edition of HIST 460/660: Race & Inequality in Delaware, a UDARI-created course he will be co-teaching with Prof. Laura Helton in Fall 2021.