Harvard Educational Review
  1. Winter 2013 Issue »

    Pathways to College for Young Black Scholars

    A Community Cultural Wealth Perspective

    Uma M. Jayakumar, Rican Vue, Walter R. Allen
    In this article, Uma Jayakumar, Rican Vue, and Walter Allen present their study of Young Black Scholars (YBS), a community-initiated college preparatory program in Los Angeles. Through in-depth interviews and surveys with twenty-five middle- and higher-income Black college students, they document the positive role of community in facilitating college access. The authors show that students’ perceptions of YBS’s support of their college aspirations are qualitatively different than perceptions of their schools’ support. The authors theorize that YBS participants embrace college-going as an act of resistance to deficit-based narratives regarding the racial achievement gap and social reproduction. By drawing on students’ experiences, they put forth a new model of a liberatory college-going process for students of color that leverages community cultural wealth and promotes transformative resistance.

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    Uma M. Jayakumar is an assistant professor of organization and leadership at the University of San Francisco’s School of Education and a faculty associate at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. Jayakumar earned her PhD in higher education and organizational change at the University of California, Los Angeles, and thereafter completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan. Her work examines race, equity, and diversity issues in higher education, with a focus on how institutional environments such as campus climates and cultures shape college access and outcomes and how students experience and resist barriers to inclusive engagement. Jayakumar’s research is featured in the Journal of Higher Education, Harvard Educational Review, Diverse Magazine, and numerous amicus briefs submitted to the Supreme Court in favor of the University of Texas in Fisher v. University of Texas (2013). She was awarded the 2007 Bobby Wright Dissertation of the Year Award by the Association for the Study of Higher Education, the 2013 National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, and the 2013 National Research Council of the National Academies/Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship.

    Rican Vue is a research associate for the CHOICES Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, and an adjunct lecturer at the University of San Francisco. Her recent work, which focuses on higher education diversity and racial equity through the experiences of Hmong American students and Asian American and Pacific Islander students more generally, appears in the edited volume The Misrepresented Minority: New Insights on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Higher Education (Stylus Publishing, 2013), and in a forthcoming article in the Review of Higher Education.

    Walter R. Allen is the Allan Murray Cartter Professor of Higher Education and Distinguished Professor of Education and Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, where he studies social inequality, college access, and educational equity. His publications examine disparities in life chances by race, ethnicity, gender, social class, and nationality and have appeared in the Rutgers Race and the Law Review, Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Journal of Negro Education, Teacher’s College Record, Journal of Comparative Family Studies, and Annual Review of Sociology, Social Science and Medicine, among other publications. Allen is co-investigator for “Educational Diversity in U.S. Law Schools,” a study of race, ethnicity, teaching, and learning in legal education, and is also co-investigator for the “Climate Change and Bio-Diversity in Central Africa” project, an interdisciplinary study of effects and consequences of global warming in Gabon and Cameroon rainforests. He was an expert witness in the U.S. Supreme Court affirmative action cases Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger.
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    Winter 2013 Issue

    Abstracts

    Educational Gerrymandering?
    Race and Attendance Boundaries in a Demographically Changing Suburb
    Genevieve Siegel-Hawley
    Pathways to College for Young Black Scholars
    A Community Cultural Wealth Perspective
    Uma M. Jayakumar, Rican Vue, Walter R. Allen
    “Who would they talk about if we weren’t here?”
    Muslim Youth, Liberal Schooling, and the Politics of Concern
    Reva Jaffe-Walter
    Thinking Otherwise About the Arts in Education—A Rejoinder
    Rubén A. Gaztambide-Fernández

    Book Notes