Positions

Overview

  • My research interests focus on exploring the lives of students who define themselves as living between worlds across issues of ability, race, religion, gender expression and the like. I also have interests in current global movements in educational reform, international higher education, student development, and issues of social justice, institutionalized oppression and advocacy within higher education. As a researcher, my work explores the ways in which individuals speak about how they make meaning of their lives and define themselves as living between worlds across a multiplicity of identities and within varying environments within higher education. The concept of a borderlands approach to research as defined by Gloria Anzaldúa in her book, Borderlands/La Frontera: The new Mestiza has continually guided my work in selecting and layering theoretical frameworks that create a more holistic view of identity. In particular, critical discourse analysis (CDA) has served as my methodological approach in that the discourse shared by and among individuals living within the borderlands of multiple identities, spaces, and systems of power allows the opportunity to uncover social problems, power relations and provides understanding of discourse as a form of social action. This allows my research to explore the lives of a wide variety of individuals from diverse and oftentimes marginalized populations within American higher education, international hubs, and targeted people groups. It also provides a platform for which to give voice to issues of social justice, institutionalized oppression and the need for advocacy within higher education.
  • Selected Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title Altmetric
    2016 Staffing for Success 2016
    2011 The need for change: Educational reform 2011
    2003 One woman's struggle 2003

    Chapter

    Year Title Altmetric
    2020 A tale of two Sisters: A duoethnographical study of religious conversion 2020

    Research Overview

  • My own experiences as a student who has studied and lived abroad are what brought me to my research focus. I have always been a traveler, sojourner, and to a very broad extent a global nomad in higher education. I have learned to look at the world through a uniquely diverse lens. I recognize that my positionality, my relationship to my research, is driven by the social constructs that define my identity – race, gender, ethnicity, religion and the like, as well as the environment that I am in. That being said, the focus of my research is inclusive of the following areas within higher education:

    1) Exploring the lives of students who define themselves as living between worlds across issues of ability, race, religion, gender expression, and the like.

    2) Global movements in higher education.

    3) Student identity development – collectivism vs. individualism; with particular interests in how to better serve marginalized populations.

    4) Issues of social justice, institutionalized oppression and advocacy within higher education.
  • Teaching Overview

  • I believe that the power to teach is the power to change a life and many generations thereafter. Therefore, students must be able to move from theory to practice, and this can only be accomplished through collaborative interaction in the classroom, round-table discussions with focused activities, guided research opportunities, and supportive interactions with faculty. Because of this, I am a firm supporter of learner-oriented teaching which promotes learning that is both purposeful and lasting for students. Students need instruction that proves that the professor is both engaged and woke to current trends in research and practice. I believe that it is my responsibility to know who my students are, what kind of knowledge and experience they bring to the classroom, and what dreams and desires they want to accomplish in their learning environment. I believe that we have just as much to learn from our students as our students have to learn from us.
  • Full Name

  • Mary Bodine Al-Sharif