Tag Archives: professor

Racism: An Old Pandemic in a New Year

Hey Mamis!

#Scholarmami here… I usually try to work on my blog post the week before it is due. It gives me time to read, review, and edit before going “live” on Tuesday. This week was different. To be honest, it’s been kind of hard to focus.

As if a COVID-19 global pandemic with a disproportionate effect on African Americans and Latinxs, massive un/under-employment, and trying to social distance and work from home weren’t enough…the centuries-old pandemic of racism reared its ugly head. As a social-justice educator, wife of an African American man, and mother of a biracial child, the senseless death of George Floyd, coupled with Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, made my heart heavy. Indeed, grief, anger, fear have come to the forefront for many individuals across our country.

But what can we do?

We can offer our condolences and sympathies to the families who have lost loved ones as a result of racism. We can stand in solidarity with Black communities and lift Black voices in shaping policies and practices in our schools and communities. As faculty, we must call out anti-Blackness in our curriculum, programs, policies, and professional communities. We must work towards diversifying our student, faculty, and staff and honor the unpaid labor many people of color undertake when taking a role in higher education.

Let’s also be vigilant in checking our own biases and assumptions. In my diversity class, students take an inventory to understand their different social identities and areas in which they have privilege (i.e, unearned benefits just because of the color of their skin, sex, abilities, religious beliefs, etc.). We talk about how it’s not enough to be “not racist,” but to be intentionally anti-racist and call out inequitable practices in our jobs, communities, and even homes.

Finally, let’s start early by educating the next generation – our children. We can engage in age-appropriate conversations about difference, read books from diverse authors, watch shows and movies focused on diverse communities, and encourage kindness and inclusion. If we can stop worrying about saying the wrong thing, then we can authentically engage our kids, family, and friends in difficult conversations that challenge the status quo. Together, we can change things for the better.

Hola Mamis,

#vpmami here and I’ve been restless, anxious… I even did the unthinkable… cried in a meeting (gasp!).

In times like this my anxiety is through the roof and immediately I worry… about my Black friends and colleagues, about our students. About all the things I want to say and how to package my message because I am in administration and well, everything matters… my silence matters as much as my words.

So to echo my beloved #scholarmami— what can I do?

Well, administrators, we have to show up. We have to acknowledge the world is a mess and the lethal impact it has on our Black brothers and sisters. We must acknowledge it to our colleagues and those who look to us for leadership and we have to acknowledge it to our students who also look to us for leadership but also protection. We are role modeling how they will respond/react in the future… we have to be brave and speak our minds and hearts especially for the folks who are not Black and need to see this role-modeled too.

What else do we have to do in administration? Speak out and up when someone slides in a racist remark during a meeting or any time deficit and racist thinking seeps into our work spaces. Our silence makes us complicit. It has taken some time for me to grow comfortable in my mind and body when it comes to speaking up when racism or deficit thinking is spoken in my work context. I regret every time I did not speak up because I suspect I may have unintentionally hurt or let down a colleague who may have been directly impacted by the spoken aggression…sometimes they were aggressions against some of my own identities. That silence is what also gives others the false sense that it’s ok to defame and disregard particular groups… this is what renders brutal killings of Black people as “normal”… we have normalized aggression against minortized communities with our silence. Ya basta!

Lastly, administrators, let’s consider how racism and bigotry shows up in our policies, processes, in our student handbooks… it doesn’t take a lot to see it sometimes. In our classrooms, who tends to be silent? Do you seek to make them comfortable in our educational spaces? Spaces which have consistently and repeatedly told brown and black bodies they don’t belong?

We have a lot to think about and much more to do. I am committed and look forward to creating space for all those who want to walk this hard road to call out and uproot racism by elevating our minortized voices in all spaces in academia… administration and professoriate.

No, really, I’m ok and other COVID-19 lies I tell myself…

#scholarmami #wfhlife

Hi Mamis!

Just one cup of coffee. That’s all I want. I just want to finish one cup of coffee. Then, I would love to sit down and write, write, write.

But here we are… working from home, schooling from home. Reheating and drinking the same cup of coffee a hundred times. It’s nearly impossible to do anything “as usual.” Teaching, research, and service look different now.

On top of that, we are helping our son, Anthony, learn while at home. He isn’t old enough to go to school, but he does miss his former activities. Instead of swimming class or trips to the library, we take walks and look for birds, squirrels, ants, and rollie pollies. We listen to the birds chirp, dogs bark, and planes fly overhead. The texture of a tree’s bark and the shape of a rock are now topics of conversation.

We also use cooking and cleaning time to focus on numbers and counting. We have made banana bread, deviled eggs, guacamole, fruit salad, all the things. I’ve found it’s easier to include Anthony in the cooking process, than to ask him to leave the kitchen…repeatedly. Instead, I have him pull up his step stool, and we talk through the steps as we make something delicious to eat. 

In between all of this (and helping Anthony with more than a few lessons on ABC Mouse), I prep for and hold class, attend meetings, read dissertation proposals, serve on committees, and write. My husband and I tag team between Zoom meetings and conference calls. I also try to set reasonable goals and put less pressure on myself. When I feel like I can’t focus, I take a break. I have to remind myself – and I’m here to remind you – that we are all going through this difficult time together.

With a global pandemic, the reality is school and work look very different these days. Almost everything about our daily lives is different. Hang in there, mamis! We’re all just trying to do our best.

Hola Mamis!

The clothes are winning. The dust is omnipresent. Tears happen daily. I cook dinner while writing or answering emails, and having a tasty adult beverage… my girls asking why I’m still working when they see the computer in front of me at night. Some days are hard. Some harder.

Isabel (6, kindergartener) is homeschooling while I work my VP job and Alejandro his Director job. Both of us managing many people and projects. The work day starts and I am on a marathon of meetings for about 80% of my day and 80% of my work week. Isabel has questions and also prefers I read the instructions rather than hearing the audio recorded instructions. I can’t always stop to help her. This week she told me I don’t care about her after I asked her to wait because I was in the middle of a meeting. Broke.my.heart.

Olivia, God bless my 4 y/o princess. She celebrated her birthday during this quarantine and trying to make her day special was so stressful. She thanked us for her gifts, cupcakes and drive-thru nuggets. As if knowing this was taking it out of me while working my 8 hour day and helping her sister with homework. She tells me she loves me multiple times an hour sometimes. Helping to validate my effort and to also affirm my work… “you’re doing ok, Mami” is all I hear in her I love yous. I hope I don’t ruin her brain with tablets and unstructured days.

And then I was watching 60 Minutes on Sunday and heard women are being most impacted by the COVID economy, specifically those making $40K or less. Shut up, Mayra. You’re fine! But then Brené Brown reminds me my pain is mine and real. The COVID working from home stress is real. Grant yourself grace. This is hard.

Introductions

Hi Mamis!

Welcome to our blog! We are thrilled you have decided to join us in this journey of being a Mami on the Move!

My name is Taryn Ozuna Allen, and I am originally from San Antonio, Texas. I currently live in Saginaw, Texas with my husband, Philip, and three-year-old son, Anthony. Between being a mami, wife, and scholar, life is hectic and constantly in motion!

I have worked in higher education for the past 15 years. I previously served in various positions in student affairs, diversity initiatives, and graduate education. In my current role, I serve as associate professor in educational leadership (emphasis on higher education leadership) at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. My responsibilities focus on teaching, research, and service: 

  1. Teaching – I teach graduate courses on history of higher education, college student development theory, diversity in education, among others. I also advise doctoral students working on dissertations and treatises.
  2. Research – I also love conducting qualitative research! My scholarly interests focus on the college-going pathways of Latinx students as they pursue baccalaureate degrees. In fact, my team and I were just awarded a $1 million Spencer grant to study teaching and learning in dual credit programs in Texas!
  3. Service – I serve my campus and local community through leadership and committee work. Service is a great way to give back and to link theory to practice.

When Dr. Mayra and I discussed the possibility of #mamisonthemove, I was excited about sharing expertise and knowledge related to pursuing graduate education and professional roles in academia. I was the first in my family to pursue a doctorate and to begin a tenure-track position, and I look forward to sharing tips with you! 

Thanks for stopping by. Please find us on Facebook and Instagram: @mamisonthemove. Share your stories and pics of being a #mami with us! We look forward to hearing from you.

Cuídate, Mami! You got this!


Dear Mamis,

Hola y bienvenidas! First and foremost, know we appreciate you spending your most valuable resource (time!) with us. We promise fun will be had and we will make this worth your time. 

I am Mayra Olivares-Urueta and I grew up in Monterrey, Mexico and San Antonio, TX. I live in Arlington, TX with my husband, Alejandro, and daughters Isabel (6 y/o) and Olivia (almost 4!). Needless to say, ya girl is busy! 

I will be celebrating 15 years in the field in of higher education on November 5, 2020. My time has been spent in Student Affairs and in institutions ranging from community colleges to graduate level medical schools. Community colleges are where my heart lies and where I have been for the last 7 years. Currently, I am in my third year as vice president for student development services at Tarrant County College and serve the Northeast campus in Hurst, TX. I am the chief student affairs officer for the campus and play a variety of campus and district roles. I am responsible for over 110 full and part time employees; for the strategic, operational, and fiscal function of the division as well as the management of all employees. The way I see it, my role is to create new and clear paths which enable our students’ success. I ensure students triumph educationally and ultimately empower them to be self-sufficient contributors to society in control of their personal and professional lives. It’s a huge job and I love every minute of it. 

From me you will hear about what it has taken to get to this professional milestone and how I’ve done it without sacrificing my desire and choice to have a home and family. I choose what I do wisely and don’t believe in balance. Rather, I believe in the power of choice and grace and on allowing myself freedom to mess up.

See you soon, Mamis! 


Manifesto

Mamis On the Move don’t do everything and what we choose to do, we don’t do perfectly. We’re about embracing the chaos, love, grace and mess that comes from moving through what we have chosen to do with intentionality.

At #mamisonthemove, our everything encompasses higher education academia and administration, our families and empowering our comunidad through education. 

Walk with us as we build a community of mothers leading in various higher education spaces. We are fostering a community of strength and power leading to all levels of educational leadership and knowledge creation. We are creating a new narrative enabling us to make space to more powerfully fit into academic spaces. The space will enable us to be fully seen, celebrated and engaged. This space will give way for our whole, messy, grace-filled, amazing selves for the benefit of our students, families, and most importantly, our children.