Cultivating New Voices among Scholars of Color
Two years of support, mentoring, and networking opportunities for early career scholars of color.
Juan C. Guerra
University of Washington at Seattle
It is an honor for me to be following in the footsteps of Drs. Peter Smagorinsky, María Fránquiz and Valerie Kinloch—who easily rank among the most distinguished scholars I have ever met—and to be serving as the newest Director of the Cultivating New Voices among Scholars of Color (CNV) program. CNV is a two-year mentoring program for advanced doctoral students and junior scholars (i.e., fellows) who are within the first two to two-and-a-half years beyond the awarding of a doctorate degree. Funded through the Research Foundation of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), CNV prides itself in supporting the professional, intellectual, and activist work of scholars of color by pairing each fellow with a senior scholar in the field (i.e., education/teacher education; language, literacy, and cultural studies; English). In this way, fellows are afforded the opportunity to work one-on-one with a senior scholar as well as to participate in a supportive cohort that brings together fellows, mentors, and invited workshop presenters.
During the ten years (2004-2014) I served as a senior mentor in CNV, I met and worked with an incredible array of young scholars who have contributed immensely to the many conversations taking place across the country related to questions about language, literacy, teacher education, and professional, personal, and community identities. Over the course of those ten years, I have been fortunate to work with the 60 fellows and the other senior mentors who participated in the CNV program and enriched my own professional experience in immeasurable ways. I am particularly honored to have served as a senior mentor for such noted scholars as Dr. Patricia Sánchez, Associate Professor in the Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio; Dr. Django Paris, Associate Professor of Language and Literacy in the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University; Dr. Ramón Antonio Martínez, Assistant Professor in Language and Literacy Studies and a faculty affiliate with Bilingual/Bicultural Education and the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin; Dr. Limarys Caraballo, Assistant Professor of English Education in the Department of Secondary Education and Youth Services at Queens College – CUNY; and Dr. Rosa M. Jiménez, Assistant Professor in the International and Multicultural Education Department at the University of San Francisco. Over the course of the two years I worked with each of these fellows, they contributed to my personal and professional life as much as I contributed to each of theirs. And all this was made possible because CNV, more than any other mentoring program I have ever been affiliated with, is supported by a cadre of faculty, staff and administrators in NCTE, the Research Foundation, and universities across the country who are dedicated to the cultivation of a new kind of scholar—a scholar who is as committed to the rich array of communities of color each of them represents as he or she is to our shared profession.
As Director of CNV, I plan to continue the tradition established by members of the Research Foundation, who first conceived of this program, as well as the aforementioned past directors who have contributed so much to its well-being. That is, I plan to continue collaborating with scholars, practitioners, and activists in order to support the work of our fellows of color. Each fall at the annual NCTE convention, CNV sponsors a full-day working institute for fellows and mentors. We invite scholars from the convention’s host city to talk with us about their research and to answer questions we may have about being active members in the academy and community. Additionally, each spring, CNV sponsors a working institute for fellows and mentors at a host university, which serves as a follow-up to the fall meeting. These events—our fall and spring institutes—paired with ongoing conversations that occur outside of our scheduled meetings and the lasting relationships that extend beyond CNV are significant. They are the basis of the program’s success and longevity.