Working-Class Studies Association Steering Committee member Colby King, alongside colleague Dr. Laura Ramsey, an Associate Professor of Psychology at Bridgewater State University, presented a Faculty Plenary “Exploring Class and Gender in STEM” at the 2018 Winter Massachusetts PKAL Regional Network Meeting.
This session explored how gender and class shape students’ experiences in STEM fields and in particular, how the culture of STEM disciplines may be mismatched with the cultural expectations of women and working-class students, creating barriers to these students’ success and motivation in STEM. The session highlighted research, by each presenter and others, on gender and social class related to STEM education.
This past spring, sociologists and members of the WCSA’s Working-Class Academics Section Allison L. Hurst, Colby R. King, Jenny Stuber, and Deborah M. Warnock proposed that the American Sociological Association (ASA) form an ASA status committee for first-generation and working-class people in sociology. The ASA responded enthusiastically, and has formed a 14-member Task Force chair by Vincent Roscigno of the Ohio State University.
Among other efforts, the Task Force is charged to “Solicit feedback from first-generation/working-class persons in sociology (at every level, from graduate student through full professor status) regarding issues or concerns related to their status within the profession,” and to “Make recommendations to ASA Council as to how the Association can best address the challenge of integrating this population into our discipline in a way that maximizes equity.”
WCSA members Allison L. Hurst, Deborah M. Warnock, and Colby R. King are among the Task Force members.
WCSA Steering Committee member Colby King, along with colleagues Jakari Griffith and Meghan Murphy, recently published an article in Teacher-Scholar: The Journal of the State Comprehensive University describing outreach efforts in support of first-generation and working class college students at Bridgewater State University (BSU), a state comprehensive university where a majority of students come from first-generation or working class backgrounds. The article describes programming organized by Class Beyond the Classroom (CBtC), a faculty and staff group at BSU, in which CBtC members share their stories about going to college as a first-generation and/or working class college student. The article discusses how these events validate first-generation and working class students, encourage students’ sense of belonging, and supports the success of all students by fostering their development of social, cultural, and psychological forms of capital.
Class cultures were a hot topic at the American Sociological Association conference a couple of weeks ago, not just because Michele Lamont is the new ASA president and she made “Culture and Inequalities” the overall conference theme, but also because 3 Working-Class Studies Association members worked to increase awareness of WCSA and all of our opportunities among the sociologists.
Jessi Streib, Allison Hurst, and Betsy Leondar-Wright (and their publishers) gave out many copies of a Class Cultures Caucus flyer with information about WCSA and the newly formed Class Cultures Caucus.
These three also organized a get-together over dinner which was well-attended. Some WCSA members and attenders came (including Lisa McKenzie, Colby King, Debbie Warnock, Jenny Stuber), but also people new to our network, including Joan Williams, author of White Working Class.
In the spirit of WCSA Treasurer Ken Estey’s encouragement to “go forth and multiply,” participants went out and encouraged interested sociologists to get involved with WCSA! The organizers gathered a list of over 30 people newly interested in WCSA. Jessi shared an inspiring description at the dinner for how great the WCSA conferences are, and we hope we may see some new people come to Stony Brook next year as a result.
Besides info on the next WCSA conference, the journal, the blog, the Caucus, Working-Class Academics and Class Action, participants also shared a call for papers that other WCSA members might be interested in. This CfP is for a mini-conference on Class and Culture convened by Annette Lareau and Elliot Weininger at the Eastern Sociological Society in February in Baltimore.
The Class Cultures Caucus founders (Barb Jensen, Jack Metzgar and Jeff Torlina as well as sociologists Jessi, Allison, and Betsy ) will come be working on plans to encourage some of those new folks to get more involved with WCSA. In the meantime, please continue to encourage other folks to get more involved with WCSA.
WCSA President Dr. Michele Fazio visited Bridgewater State University for several events last month. The visit was organized by BSU’s Class Beyond the Classroom (CBtC), along with BSU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Honors Program, and the Service Learning and Civic Engagement Initiative, with the support of BSU’s Promoting Diversity Grant.
Dr. Fazio shared her story as a panelist for an Our Stories event with other CBtC members, including Cynthia Svoboda and Dr. Christine Brandon. The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Colby King, and involved each panelist sharing their story of going to college as a working-class and/or first-generation college student with an audience of more than 50 students.
Dr. Fazio also led a service-learning workshop titled “Class, Community, and Culture: Documenting Southeastern Working-Class Life in the Service-Learning Classroom,” hosted by Dr. Christy Lyons, in which she discussed her multi-semester oral history service-learning project on archiving the work histories of the Lumbee Tribe.
Later that day, Dr. Fazio led a Pizza and Professors discussion hosted by Dr. Teresa King and the Honors Center, during which she discussed her experience teaching an Honor’s course on social justice, inequality, and migrant farmworkers. She provided an overview of students’ service-learning projects currently in progress to promote National Farmworker’s Awareness Week, and discussed her current research project on labor radicalism and Italian American working-class culture.
The visit to BSU was particularly noteworthy because Dr. Fazio is an alum of BSU.
WCSA Steering Committee member Colby King is a co-PI on the SEISMIC grant program at Bridgewater State University, which was recently funded through the National Science Foundation’s S-STEM program (NSF-DUE 1643475).
SEISMIC will involve scholars in interdisciplinary undergraduate research, science based service learning, and mentoring and cohort activities designed to improve scholars’ social, psychological, and cultural capital. The program funds scholarships and academic support for academically talented, low-income students. Over five years, cohorts of nine SEISMIC scholars will be admitted to the program each year with an award of $6,000 each, renewable for three years. Dr. Thomas Kling is directing the program along with Dr. Colby King, Dr. Stephen Waratuke and Dr. Jennifer Aizenman at BSU.