Leaps of Faith

Stories from Working-Class Scholars

Edited by:
Anne C. Benoit, Curry College
Joann S. Olson, University of Houston-Victoria
Carrie Johnson, Eastern Illinois University (Retired)

A volume in the series: Adult Learning in Professional, Organizational, and Community Settings. Editor(s): Carrie J. Boden, Texas State University.

Published 2018

As discourses and programming to support diversity and inclusion across higher education are intensifying, Leaps of Faith: Stories from Working-Class Academics presents a collection of narratives that highlights the “on-the-ground” experiences of working-class students and scholars. These are stories of negotiation, transition, and challenge. These are stories of struggle. These are stories of beating the odds.

The early works of Ryan and Sackrey (1984), Sennett and Cobb (1993), and Dews and Law (1996) raised the voices of working-class academics, and the subject of class in higher education has gained traction—especially with the increasing focus on the enrollment and persistence of first-generation college students. This project situates contributor stories in adult learning and development, with the goal of enhancing dialogue and increasing understanding of a still-hidden population in the academy. Leaps of Faith: Stories from Working-Class Academics is a compelling collection of reflections from working-class students and scholars from diverse demographic and geographic backgrounds who are currently navigating various transition points and career stages.

Leaps of Faith: Stories from Working-Class Academics presents the strengths and gifts of the scholar-contributors and the opportunity to “turn the stories” through accessible and meaningful reflective “telling.” The collection concludes with a discussion of salient implications for working-class students and scholars, those who support their learning and development, and higher education institutions and programs.

Invocation: The Space, The Conversation, The Bridge. Preface. Acknowledgments. The Deep Roots of a Farm-Girl Professor: An Introduction to the Themes of This Book, Joann S. Olson. The Borrowed Identity, Vickie J. Claflin. A Few Good Allies: Developing Educational Leadership in a Community That Needs You, Laura Lee Douglass. From Humble Beginnings to Respected Educator: Navigating the Labyrinth of Lifelong Learning, Bonnie Flynn. Good Girls Know Better: Blue Collar Chicagoland to Academia, Jennifer K. Holtz. A Tale of Two Adult Educators, Carrie Johnson and Vicky Duckworth. Assimilate or Shut Up! Lessons I Learned about Isolation as a Non-Traditional Graduate Student, Jeffrey A. Masko. I Never Thought I’d Find Myself in College, Lisa Modenos. Learning Against the Odds: Perspectives on Navigating U.S. Higher Education Environments as a Working-Class Immigrant, Kayon Murray-Johnson and Yvonne Hunter-Johnson. From Impostor to Infiltrator: Leveraging Working-Class Funds of Knowledge to Navigate and Change Academic Culture, Cecilia M. Orphan and Candyce Reynolds. Experiencing Connection: Applied Learning, Anastasia L. Pratt. Getting Outside of My “Six Blocks” with Bloom, Darryl R. Privott. A Square Peg in a Round Hole: Trying to Find a Fit in the Academy, Amy L. Sedivy-Benton. Why We Need Bridges, Karin Sprow Forté. The Influence of “Have Not-ness” on One Academic Trajectory, Karen A. Stevens. Journey from Working-Class Student to Scholar: Overcoming Feelings of Otherness, Tina Stinson-DaCruz. Just Keep Swimming, Cynthia Suopis. Challenges and Perspectives: Retracing the Steps and Leaps of Faith of a Female African American, Working-Class Scholar’s Journey Toward the Professoriate, Amanda Wilkerson. Relevance, Motivation, and Encouragement: An Educator’s Transformation Origin and Beginnings, Michael T. Worthington. On Fire from Undergraduate Studies, Disillusioned in a Master’s Program: Discovering the Real Meaning of Social Capital Behind the Scene, Yarrow (a pseudonym). Conclusion, Anne C. Benoit. About the Contributors.