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Campus Counterspaces Syllabus


Campus Counterspaces: Marginalization, Identity, and Educational Success at Historically White Institutions


This syllabus is about turning away from hysteria and hyperbole and engaging in critical discussions about historically marginalized students’ needs for identity supports, which yes, sometimes includes their need to gather together in counterspaces that offer a respite from the negative effects of marginalization.


This course is intended to equip students with knowledge of critical theory and empirical research regarding the associations between social identity and educational inequality, and the role of counterspaces as one social-identity-based intervention for reducing educational inequality. Students will critically evaluate literature to better understand: (1) racial/ethnic, socioeconomic and other aspects of stratification of educational outcomes; (2) the interconnections between social identity, academic identity, and academic success; (3) and critical understanding of diversity and integration; and (4) social identity strategies to fostering postsecondary success.


Assignments for this course are begin with individual reflection, then individual writing, and culminates with collective presentations. The writing and presentation assignments ask students to present a well-researched and theorized position regarding how the issue of diversity and/or inclusion of historically marginalized groups has touched their campus.


Required readings include: academic journal articles, book chapters, policy reports, news articles, and opinion essays.

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Discussion Facilitation Guide


A Critical Examination of How Social Identities are Associated with Educational Success

in Historically White Educational Spaces


This discussion guide is designed to deepen your understanding of the issues discussed in the book in ways that can help the college planning process as well as facilitate adjustment during the transition to college. It can be used by high school and college counselors, parents, teachers, administrators, students, mentors, and many others who are invested in increasing historically marginalized students’ college persistence.

It is my hope that with each discussion it will become easier for historically marginalized youth to challenge taken for granted assumptions about how to be a successful college student.

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