Harvard Educational Review
  1. Standing on the Outside Looking In

    Underrepresented Students’ Experiences in Advanced Degree Programs

    edited by Mary F. Howard-Hamilton, Carla L. Morelon-Quainoo, Susan D. Johnson, Rachelle Winkle-Wagner, and Lilia Santiague.

    Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, 2009. 256 pp. $29.95 (paperback).

    Despite a growing body of literature examining the experiences of students of color in undergraduate programs, few texts address the experiences of historically underrepresented students in advanced degree programs. Standing on the Outside Looking In fills this gap by exploring issues of access, persistence, and completion for students of color pursuing graduate and professional degrees at predominantly white institutions. The seeds for this book were planted in 2001, when twelve Indiana University doctoral students approached Mary Howard-Hamilton, then an associate professor, for mentoring. They wanted to conduct research investigating issues of higher education and race. Their subsequent work, and the connections they made with other researchers, resulted in this superb resource for graduate students and higher education professionals.

    In this collection of ten studies, the first four examine the transition from undergraduate education to advanced degree programs. In the first study, nine scholars describe the factors—including reputation, diversity, and financial aid—that influence the decisions African American and Latino students make when selecting graduate schools. In a study focused on financial aid, Susan Johnson, John Kuykendall, and Rachelle Winkle-Wagner find that aid can serve as either a gatekeeper or a recruitment tool. In a third study, Linda DeAngelo explores how less selective colleges shape students’ aspirations regarding doctoral study; she identifies positive institutional factors, such as encouragement and access to research experiences, as well as negative factors, such as an institutional culture that directs students toward employment rather than postbaccalaureate education. In another chapter, Marybeth Gasman, Laura Perna, Susan Yoon, and four colleagues provide institutional recommendations for improving the educational attainment of students of color interested in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

    At the heart of the book are four chapters that focus on the experiences of specific racial or ethnic groups. In these chapters in particular, doctoral and professional students of color will likely recognize their own situations and will want to use the coping strategies described in the narratives. Two chapters use interview data to describe how black and Latina women navigate their doctoral and professional programs. Venice Thandi Sulé finds that black female graduate students draw on images of black women leaders and strive to make a contribution to the black community. Similarly, Juan Carlos González shows that Latina students challenge dominant ideologies and are committed to social justice. Although readers may debate whether Asian American students are underrepresented in advanced degree programs, Oiyan Poon and Shirley Hune convincingly argue that racial marginalization inflicts hidden injuries on Asian American doctoral students, revealing how all students of color face racial barriers. In a fourth piece, Terrell Lamont Strayhorn describes the educational attainment of black men ten years after receiving bachelor’s degrees.

    The final two chapters of the book are directed specifically toward higher education faculty and administrators. Faculty who want to mentor students of color will especially appreciate the chapter in which Kandace Hinton, Valerie Grim, and Mary Howard-Hamilton provide a step-by-step description of the mentoring plan that supported Hinton through her doctoral program and into a faculty position. Hinton is now a tenured professor and a researcher on a study about supporting students’ spiritual development, which is included in this book. Standing on the Outside Looking In concludes with a summary by Frank Tuitt that contextualizes and synthesizes the collection into recommendations for how institutions can promote inclusive excellence in graduate education.

    The gap in the literature on graduate students of color is quite large—too large for a single book. Although it addresses a range of topics, the book does not include chapters focused on the experiences of Latino male graduate students or Native American students. Ironically, these omissions are a symptom of the same problem that motivated  the book: students of color are underrepresented in advanced degree programs, and this has led to a troubling dearth of faculty who research higher education and race.

    Standing on the Outside Looking
    In is an ambitious undertaking that will likely exceed readers’ expectations. The well-chosen studies are a rich treatment of an important, yet underexplored, topic. Moreover, most of the studies use research methods that feature the voices of students. As a result, graduate and professional students of color will identify with, and gain inspiration from, the experiences of the participants. For faculty and administrators, this collection provides recommendations that are critical for the success of postgraduate students of color who represent our nation’s next generation of practitioners, policy makers, and scholars.
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    Sylvia Hurtado
    Editors’ Introduction
    Ángeles, Sacrificios, y Dios
    A Puerto Rican Woman’s Journey Through Higher Education
    Marisa Rivera
    Latina/o Undergraduate Students Mentoring Latina/o Elementary Students
    A Borderlands Analysis of Shifting Identities and First-Year Experiences
    Dolores Delgado Bernal, Enrique Alemán Jr., and Andrea Garavito
    Existentialism at Home, Determinism Abroad
    A Small-Town Mexican American Kid Goes Global
    Joe Robert González
    From the Bricks to the Hall
    Mellie Torres
    The Re-Education of a Pocha-Rican
    How Latina/o Studies Latinized Me
    Arelis Hernandez
    Sin Papeles y Rompiendo Barreras
    Latino Students and the Challenges of Persisting in College
    Frances Contreras
    Dimensions of the Transfer Choice Gap
    Experiences of Latina and Latino Students Who Navigated Transfer Pathways
    Estela Mara Bensimon and Alicia C. Dowd
    Critical Race Theory, Racial Microaggressions, and Campus Racial Climate for Latina/o Undergraduates
    Tara Yosso, William Smith, Miguel Ceja, and Daniel Solórzano
    Mexican American and Educated
    Marlen Vasquez
    Increasing Latino/a Representation in Math and Science
    An Insider’s Look
    Jarrad Aguirre
    Challenging Racist Nativist Framing
    Acknowledging the Community Cultural Wealth of Undocumented Chicana College Students to Reframe the Immigration Debate
    Lindsay Pérez Huber
    Results Not Typical
    One Latino Family’s Experiences in Higher Education
    Margarita Jimenez-Silva, Norma V. Jimenez Hernandez, Ruth Luevanos, Dulcemonica Jimenez, and Abel Jimenez Jr.
    Barriers to Success
    A Narrative of One Latina Student’s Struggles
    Jannell Robles
    The Xicana Sacred Space
    A Communal Circle of Compromiso for Educational Researchers
    Lourdes Diaz Soto, Claudia G. Cervantes-Soon, Elizabeth Villarreal, and Emmet E. Campos

    Book Notes

    Standing on the Outside Looking In
    edited by Mary F. Howard-Hamilton, Carla L. Morelon-Quainoo, Susan D. Johnson, Rachelle Winkle-Wagner, and Lilia Santiague.

    Undocumented Immigrants and Higher Education
    Alejandra Rincón.