Bobby Wright Dissertation Of The Year

Nicole Alia Salis Reyes, College of Education Department of Educational Administration (EDEA) Assistant Professor, has been selected for the 2016 Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Bobby Wright Dissertation of the Year award. She was recognized and presented her work, “What Am I Doing to Be a Good Ancestor?” An Indigenized Phenomenology of Giving Back among Native College Graduates, at the ASHE Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio.

EDEA Chair Stacey Roberts said, “The department is very proud of our newest faculty member's accomplishment. We believe both the substance and quality of her research is outstanding, and we are confident that her work will be of great value to our students, the college, and the university now and in the future.”

Nominated by her University of Texas at San Antonio dissertation chair, Dr. Laura Rendon, Salis Reyes is the first indigenous scholar and the first scholar from a minority serving institute to have won the award, named in memory of Irvin Lee “Bobby” Wright. An indigenous scholar himself, Wright was an assistant professor at the Pennsylvania State University College of Education and a research associate in the Centre for the Study of Higher Education.

In her dissertation, Salis Reyes explores how Native – Native Hawaiian, Native American, and Alaska Native – college graduates came to value and make meaning of giving back to their communities. Participants in the study utilized the knowledge and social networks that they had built through their postsecondary journeys to benefit their home communities and Native peoples more broadly. Salis Reyes explained that, while they gave back in a myriad of ways, they seemed to be driven by their senses of relationality and responsibility to others and by their interests in seeing Native nations thrive on their own terms.

“This research does not just belong to me, but it belongs to my family and to the communities to which I belong,” said Salis Reyes. “My goal has always been to contribute to the making of better, more empowering experiences for Native peoples in higher education. To accomplish this goal, I must ensure that Native voices and stories of strength are heard in the academy. I believe that the recognition from this ASHE award is helping me to do this work.”

Higher education association to honor three USC Rossier members

October 16, 2017

ASHE is giving top awards to two USC Rossier professors and a postdoc

By Ross Brenneman

Three members of the USC Rossier community have been named recipients of several of the most prestigious awards in higher education research.

The Association for the Study of Higher Education announced the names on Tuesday: Professor of Higher Education Adrianna Kezar, Assistant Professor of Education Julie R. Posselt, and Cheryl D. Ching, a postdoctoral scholar and recent graduate of USC Rossier’s PhD program.

ASHE will present its Research Achievement Award to Kezar. The award is for scholars whose “published work (theoretical, empirical or applied) advances understanding of higher education in a significant way.” Kezar, a co-director of the Pullias Center for Higher Education, is one of the country’s foremost scholars studying adjunct faculty and university governance. Her most recent study looks at collaborations that improve retention of first-generation college students in STEM classes.

Posselt won the Early Career Award, given “for a significant body of scholarship or a single extraordinary research achievement by a higher education scholar, and in recognition of potential for future research.” Recipients are no more than six years away from receipt of their doctoral degree. Posselt is an expert in the field of graduate education, and last year authored Inside Graduate Admissions: Merit, Diversity, and Faculty Gatekeeping (2016).

And Cheryl D. Ching will receive the Bobby Wright Dissertation of the Year Award for her dissertation, “Constructing and Enacting Equity at a Community College.” The award goes to one or more dissertations “that serve as exemplary models of the methodology employed.” Ching is now a postdoctoral scholar at the Center for Urban Education.

The awards will be given out at the organization’s annual conference, this year held in November in Houston.

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