October 10, 2006
For immediate release
Jessica Singer, Ph.D. candidate in the Teaching and Learning program at the Gevirtz School, was awarded an ACCORD Dissertation Fellowship in the amount of $20,000 to support the project: Literacy Sponsorship and First Generation Latino College Writers.
UC ACCORD (All Campus Consortium on Research for Diversity) is an interdisciplinary, multi-campus research center devoted to a more equitable distribution of educational resources and opportunities in California’s diverse public schools and universities. This distinctive UC voice serves as an information and research clearinghouse and catalyst for promoting the delivery of high-quality, equitable schooling to all students. ACCORD harnesses the research expertise of the University of California to identify strategies to increase college preparation, access, and retention. Policymakers, researchers, teachers, outreach staff, and students benefit from this source of reliable information for equitable education policy and practice.
Singer’s dissertation is a retrospective interview study of ten Latino college students and the factors that led them to be judged by their college professors as outstanding writers. The participants have made it past various social and academic barriers to attend and succeed in a prestigious four-year university. All of the students come from low-income families in high poverty communities, and spoke no English at the time of entrance in school. Their parents had little or no formal education. There is great educational and societal need to understand the kinds of experiences that these traditionally under-served students encounter in K-College that reinforce their literacy growth. This research will contribute to the diversity of literacy studies by providing concrete examples of what sponsors and mentors do to assist Latino students in learning to write. Findings yielded from this dissertation may have significant implications for writing instruction and interventions for Latino students in K-College classrooms.Singer’s research and teaching revolve around themes of activism and social justice. She previously taught high school English in Portland, Oregon, where she was also an active member of Portland Rethinking Schools, an activist organization committed to making progressive change in public education. In March 2006 Heinemann published her book Stirring Up Justice: Writing and Reading to Change the World. Education Book Reviews writes, “Jessica Singer tears down some of the walls between our school classrooms and the ‘real world’ through a critical reading and writing unit on social activism. Careful not to impose her own view of activism or a personal agenda on her students, Singer employs five reading and writing activities over an eleven-week period to help students discover their own passions and social issues about which to respond.”
[Jessica Singer is available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789.]