Monthly archives: June, 2016

Redefining Narratives About Young Black Men


Sakeena Everett, PhD, director of research and outreach for the UIC College of Education’s Black Male Early Literacy Impact Project

One phrase at the UIC College of Education  is the axiom “Black children are brilliant.”  Research from the College’s Sakeena Everett, PhD, director of research and outreach for the College’s Black Male Early Literacy Impact Project, is detailing what this brilliance looks like in schooling contexts.

Everett defined traits of Black male success in secondary education settings as part of her doctoral dissertation, which was recently awarded the 2016 Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Critical Educators for Social Justice Special Interest Group within the American Educational Research Association.

“When we typically think of Black male students, we just don’t assume they are bright,” Everett said.

Everett says research indicates Black males face barriers to achievement through negative profiling and stereotyping, to the extent that their presence is sometimes feared in the classroom.  Her study began in an academic enrichment summer program for rising juniors that focused on understanding Black male success through narrative.  Participants possessed GPAs of 3.0 or better, high ACT scores and eventual full-ride scholarships to college.  Students engaged with critical theories of education to compose narratives describing their experiences in education, essays that in some cases served as college application material.

After the summer program, she built on these writing experiences, working to equip her students with language to defend and define themselves.  Her students read Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” and scholarly journal articles, examining how research reflected—and did not reflect—their experiences as students.

“I wanted them to tap into who they were as raced and gendered beings,” Everett said. “They were able to redefine narratives about young Black men, and they felt really proud of being able to do that.”

Everett tracked these students as they completed their high school education, interviewing students, teachers, administrators, friends and family to gain a nuanced understanding of how the students conceptualized their academic success and what informed and sustained these successes.  She witnessed students’ confidence as writers growing as they progressed through these experiences.

Students in the study represented a broad swath of socioeconomic backgrounds, one from a single-parent home with his mother on public assistance, students from middle class homes and a student from a home in which both parents were educators.  Regardless of socioeconomic status, these students all recognized low expectations society held for them.

These students understood how fragile their position as successful students was because of these expectations.  Everett says they sensed that at any given moment in time, their high grades and scholarships could be taken away at a moment’s notice.  This equipped them with a sense of responsibility to serve as agents of change within their own communities; for example, one student started a writing club in his school, mentoring young Black males who sought careers as journalists and writers.

“I’m particularly proud that this project is very student-centered,” Everett said. “I tried very hard to make sure this project was mutually beneficial, so that students were enriched personally as well as academically.”

By Rob Schroeder

UIC Students, New Alumni Awarded Fulbright Grants

Fulbright ProgramEight students and recent graduates of the University of Illinois at Chicago have received Fulbright grants to teach or conduct research abroad beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and those of other countries.

Recipients are selected for their academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

John Albright, a senior in teaching of chemistry, was awarded an English teaching assistantship from the Fulbright Fellowship U.S. Student Program to teach in Spain for nine months beginning in September. While based in the autonomous community of Galicia, north of Portugal, he will serve as a teaching assistant at plurilingual high schools.

Albright, a native of Evanston, Illinois, will return to UIC to complete his student teaching before pursuing a career either teaching English abroad or science and math in the U.S.

Prior to attending UIC, he earned a bachelor’s degree in music from DePaul University, where he was in the Honors College.

Daniel Bunn, of Calumet City, Illinois, was awarded an English teaching assistantship to teach in Laos for approximately one year beginning in July. His exact destination is yet to be determined.

At UIC, he is pursuing a graduate degree in computer science in the College of Engineering. His thesis work focuses on helping English as a Second Language individuals improve their listening skills through the aid of computer software.

Bunn earned a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems, with a minor in business management, from Calumet College of St. Joseph.

Jinit Desai, a UIC School of Public Health graduate student in Community Health Sciences, will travel to Cali, Colombia, in August for a 10-month English teaching fellowship at La Universidad del Valle.

Desai, a resident of Lisle, Illinois, has previously traveled to Chile and Costa Rica for study abroad and volunteer opportunities. In 2015, he conducted intensive foreign language study in Jaipur, India, supported by the U.S. State Department’s Critical Languages Scholarship.

Before embarking upon the Fulbright assignment, he will complete his master’s degree and apply to medical school, which he hopes to enter upon his return. His career plans include global health affairs in Latin America and India.

He is a 2015 UIC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences graduate in neuroscience and philosophy and was in the Honors College.

Daniel Dunson, a 2016 UIC graduate in art history, was awarded a Fulbright research grant to survey the visual culture of cemeteries in Ghana.

Focusing on grave markings with figurative and iconic symbols of the dead, he will study the hybrid traditions that allow for the placement of royal grave markings alongside symbols of Christianity and Islam. He will be based in Accra, Ghana’s capital city, and spend time in the central and Ashanti regions of the country.

Dunson, a resident of Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, will work under the guidance of researchers at the University of Ghana in Accra and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

Earlier this year, Dunson was awarded the U.S. State Department’s Gilman scholarship to study abroad in Rabat, Morocco. He plans to pursue a doctoral degree in art history with a focus on the arts of the Black Atlantic.

Aldo Foe, a doctoral candidate in anthropology, received a Fulbright grant for his dissertation research exploring the possible social, political and economic reasons for Islamic conversion on the Indonesian islands from the late 7th century to the late 13th century. He will be based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, for 10 months through an affiliation with Gadjah Mada University.

Foe hopes that ceramic analysis and archival research tracing the movement of Islam across the archipelago will lead to future excavation sites where he can gain macro-regional and micro-local perspective on the Islamization process.

Foe, who studies through the UIC-Field Museum Collaborative Program, is from Queens, New York. He earned his bachelor’s degree in archaeology from Queens College and a master’s in anthropology from UIC.

Bridget Hansen, a 2016 UIC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences dual-degree graduate in anthropology and classical studies and a former Honors College member, was awarded a Fulbright to teach English in Bahrain for 10 months beginning this fall.

She will instruct students in their first, or “foundation year,” of medical school at Arabian Gulf University in Manama.

Hansen, a resident of McHenry, Illinois, previously studied abroad in Oman and Jordan after receiving two U.S. State Department scholarships – Critical Languages in 2014, and a Gilman in 2015. In fall 2017, she will begin doctoral studies in cultural anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta.

Alexis Reisch, a 2016 UIC graduate in neuroscience and former Honors College member, received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant for neuroscience research in Sweden.

Reisch will spend 10 months working on a project to examine how childhood abuse affects emotional regulation in adulthood. Her research at Linköping University’s Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience begins in September.

The native of La Grange Highlands, Illinois, participated in UIC’s Undergraduate Research Experience and worked in a cognitive neuroscience lab in the UIC College of Medicine. She also served as president and co-founder of UIC’s chapter of the National Honors Society in Neuroscience.

Tiffany Wilson, a doctoral candidate concentrating in central European history, will use her Fulbright research grant in support of her dissertation research on the history of Polish miners between 1926 and 1939. Beginning in October, she will spend nine months conducting research via state archive materials in Katowice, Poland.

She will examine the miners’ growing participation in government, foreign management through the Anaconda Mining Company, and how personal interactions between the employer and employees influenced global politics. Her research will be sponsored by the University of Silesia.

A native of Laramie, Wyoming, Wilson earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from the University of Wyoming.

President Killeen: Crisis Growing After Second Year Without An Illinois State Budget


The General Assembly  adjourned for the second straight year without reaching agreement with the governor on funding to support the University of Illinois system and public higher education across our state. These consecutive failures in Springfield are unprecedented in Illinois history.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders have pledged to continue negotiations, but I am gravely concerned about the implications for our students, our faculty and staff and our campuses if we are forced to weather another protracted period without adequate funding from the state.

This great university system is not in danger of shutting its doors, but a crisis is worsening nonetheless.

We are now 11 months into fiscal 2016 with only stopgap funding that will provide about a quarter of the nearly $650 million in state funding that we received the year before. Now, we face the prospect of a new fiscal year with no state support.

To date, we have weathered the shortfall responsibly through significant cost-saving initiatives, structural reforms and prudent financial management. But we cannot withstand a continued loss of state funding without considerable damage to our core missions – teaching, research, public service and economic development.

All options are on the table as we go forward – layoffs, reductions of academic programs, closure of units and cuts in a health-care enterprise that provides critical care to underserved populations in Chicago. All would damage the very core of our mission to serve students and the public good, and erode a rich, 150-year legacy of academic excellence and economic impact that would be far more costly to rebuild than sustain.

We will continue to do everything in our power to preserve the world-class quality that is synonymous with the University of Illinois, ramping up efforts that have been underway for well over a year to advocate at every turn for the interests of our students, our employees and the people and families of Illinois.

Tim Killeen
University of Illinois

Free Movie Night at UIC

Movie FlyerThe University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) invites the public to enjoy a free outdoor movie at 8 p.m. on June 23rd at University Hall, 601 S. Morgan Street, near the intersection of Harrison and Morgan, in Chicago.

“Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” will be featured on the University Hall lawn on a massive outdoor screen. Seating begins at 8 p.m. and the movie starts at dusk.

Free blankets to the first 200 people that arrive. Parking available in nearby lots.

The event is presented by the UIC Center for Student Involvement and the UIC Summer Session 2016.

For more information, click here