By Esther Kingston-Mann

This choice of essays written by way of non-traditional college on non-traditional scholars records a fancy and not easy technique of pedagogical transformation.

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Extra resources for Achieving Against the Odds. How Academics Become Teachers of Diverse Students

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We strongly encourage other faculty to join local colleagues—in supportive, nonhierarchical settings—in collaborative dialogues on teaching. 22 Our volume documents this important but rarely noted shift at the grass roots of today’s academic culture. It may be that so-called “nontraditional” institutions like UMass/Boston should be considered mainstream American universities, because they welcome a truer cross section of young adults studying in today’s United States and require a more thoughtful, multifaceted model of achievement and success in higher education.

Students have all kinds of experiences that blur the boundaries supposedly dividing the sexually normal from the abnormal—Derrick dates a woman who turns out to be lesbian, Julie falls in love with her best woman friend, and so on. When that happens, they need to redraw those boundaries and re-envision a sexual world that feels both good and true. Because the questions are personal rather than just theoretical, they need to do that in a way that admits sexual experience as material for moral and social reflection, and that is just what I admit in being out.

That is why it is so important that students like Alan keep the conversation going, even if their comments occasionally fall like the proverbial lead balloon. 28 Kathleen M. Sands The initial response of a class to my coming out is usually a momentary silence. Once or twice, there has been an audible gasp or some nervous giggling. Gay and lesbian students watch me with tense, eager faces and sometimes spring out the closet immediately afterward. Supportive straight students seem to square their shoulders, as if to be a buffer between me and whatever might get hurled back.

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Achieving Against the Odds. How Academics Become Teachers of Diverse Students by Esther Kingston-Mann

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