Message from Division VP
 
Division VP
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Greetings!

   What a poignant time it is for Division A to actively pursue an agenda that promotes research that asks very tough questions regarding the many substantive issues and concerns that contextualize what happens in schools. We would be remiss, as a Division, to leave untouched in our scholarship the prevalence of racism, sexism, classism, homophobia and other markers of identity that have become so routinized that individual deaths, demonstrations of civil disobedience and demands for sweeping societal reform have become significant realities of the national and international landscape.

            To this end, I wish to reiterate the five areas of focus for Division A that I proposed during our meeting in Chicago in April 2015. First, it is my hope that the position of Division A, as an AERA division that possesses a thriving research agenda and one that operates as a pace-setting division, becomes our signature throughout the organization. It is imperative that the work of Division A is grounded in an innovative vision that takes fully into account the issues and challenges schools are facing everyday in urban, suburban and rural spaces globally. Our call is to be a leader among AERA divisions not only to call attention to these challenges but also to compel our research to propose solutions to these challenges.

            Second, Division A will provide opportunities to celebrate the work and the achievements of our membership. It is praiseworthy that so many of our colleagues are producing cutting edge research that reaches globally through books, monographs and journal articles, presentations and lectures. We should become cognizant of these accomplishments in order to honor and celebrate the research and the researchers who are moving our field in substantive ways.

            Third, as we challenge our graduate students to join with us in adding to the knowledge in our field, such a demand on our students requires that we offer support in multiple ways to our graduate students. We should discuss, as a Division, creative ways that we can provide that support. Clearly, financial support is always one way to demonstrate our commitment to our graduate students. However, we must never underestimate the power of mentoring and providing guidance in research and career planning for our students that the senior scholars in our field can provide.

            Fourth, I proposed that Division A will become a leader among the other divisions of AERA in creating divisional opportunities that are grounded in a commitment to diversity, social justice and affirmative action. I would charge us as a division to become the pioneers in ensuring that social justice and diversity become the very bedrock of the organization, writ large. We must become exceptionally intentional in this work. Morally and ethically, our division can serve as the leading AERA division promoting research that focuses on affirmative action and diversity and continues to emphasize these significant areas of our work in the decisions that Division A makes.

            Fifth, our division will take seriously the mentoring of our early career faculty. Undoubtedly, faculty have mentors who are able to provide the kinds of support they need locally. However, researchers in the area of mentoring have, for some time, advocated for different types and locations of mentors that serve diverse needs for junior faculty. I am suggesting that a portion of our annual program be devoted to the mentoring of junior faculty and that other efforts beyond the annual conference focus on this very important effort.

            Division A has much to accomplish. I solicit your support and your ideas that will assist us in meeting these formidable challenges.

Michael E. Dantley, Vice President
 


 
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