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Honors in Academic Discourse

jeanne's version of Marlene coping with Project Ask
All these letters of recommendation went out because Marlene took the time to go and get the applications and to hound jeanne, and to get the applications in on time. They told us we could only do six, but we did seven. The agony of writing so much so fast made us realize that Reports of Learning really are working. Marlene and I refuse to stop at seven. So this is our Honor Roll of Who's Who in Academic Discourse. Although it's lots of work, we thought you'd like to have it.

Avoiding the Structural Violence of Competition

Because we are committed to the idea that students are not fungible, and after long years of devotion to Leo Buscaglia's program of recognizing the uniqueness and value of every living being, we certainly don't want these to be competitive. We hold to our theory that intelligence has many facets, and that those facets may not be ordinally ranked. We honor our differences.

How do I make the Honor Roll in Academic Discourse?

By sharing with jeanne and Marlene your learning narrative, so that we can write your letter of recommendation to let others see your talents, too. You must nominate yourselves, for you all deserve to be recognized for your learning. You may nominate someone else, too. And then you have to hound jeanne and Marlene to be sure that we don't miss anyone as we get the honor roll up. That means you have to help us understand what was so unique and exciting about what you learned. Only you can tell us that.

Honor Roll in Academic Discourse

Jaime Shepherd.


Jaime is destined to lead. His commitment to social justice and peacemaking produced a Town Hall Forum on Peace within a Racist Context in the Spring of 2000. He followed that remarkably successful endeavor with workshops on dominant discourse and racism in Fall 2000, and will formalize those workshops in Town Hall Forums in Spring 2001. We missed him at our presentation of Excluded Identities and Structural Violence at the American Society of Criminology Annual Meetings in San Francisco, because he had been called to Georgia to speak at a youth conference. One of his classmates wrote: "When Jaime spoke he made me proud. . . . His words were so articulate and inspiring. He was so intelligent, and an elementary school teacher! That took the cake. I swear I wanted to give him a huge bear hug, right there in the middle of class. As he spoke, a lump formed in my throat. You know, the kind you get when you feel yourself about to burst into tears. His words really touched me. And I dont think it was actually what he was saying, as much as it was how he said it." Dominguez Hills is proud to have Jaime as a student.

Jai Tee Directing Discourse Jai Tee Speed.

We have to keep a careful watch on Jai Tee. Someone is always taking him aside in search of advice. And then he wanders off to talk to people. In San Francisco, where we went to present Excluded Identities and Structural Violence, he wandered about Union Square, talking to homeless people "because the culture there was so diverse, you could, you know, just stop and talk to them, and they would talk to you." On this, his first trip to San Francisco, Jai Tee's enthusisam was catching. He enlivened a session at the American Society of Criminology by jumping up to sketch a graph when no blackboard was available, and disarmed professors of criminology by his spontaneity and sincerity. Jai Tee has taken over the task of seeing that all are heard at many of our town forums at Dominguez Hills, for it seems to be his calling to insist upon social justice.

Berthena Rescuing Young Black Men Berthena Kemp.

Berthena came to us some years ago, a Senior Citizen, firmly set in her knowledge of the world and its beliefs. I have been privileged to share the joy in her experience of the postmodern world, so different from the certainties she and I knew when we were young. She has mastered the strange jargon of academic theory and opened herself up in good faith to hear the claims of the young. Despite here disapproval of the language, she participated with enthusiasm in our discussions on a postmodern coming of age novel. She never backs down on her own firm convictions, but she listens deeply enough to see other perspectives. Together she and I have managed to give students such a sense of history, one of them thought we were actually around for the Civil War. Berthena has added an incredible richness to learning at Dominguez Hills.

Tina as a fly on the wall. Tina Juen.

Tina Juen comes reluctantly to an academic career. Having had a college stint as many of us did when very young, she went off to enjoy a career in Florida. Years later, she came to Dominguez Hills to finish the degree she had left undone so long ago. She was modest, and didn't think of herself as a scholar. She just rushed out to buy every book we reviewed, and read voraciously every link on our Internet site. Still she deferred to other students, assuring me that they were more suited than she to the professional presentations of our research. But we coaxed and insisted, and she came with us to San Diego to the Western Social Science Association Annual Meetings, and spoke with ease, grace, and enthusiasm. Still she claimed to be no scholar. Until the day last week when she agreed to join the panel in Reno for the 2001 Western Social Science Association Meetings and mentioned in passing that she would be going on to a Ph.D. program. No scholar, indeed!

Donna at work on our Day of the Dead project. Donna Maria Woods.

Donna is an artist. In addition to her studies here at Dominguez Hills, she is curator of a local gallery, and exhibits and shares her work. Ours was a happy encounter when we realized the extent to which we both include art in the discourse of our lives. Donna share in our field trips and arranges interactive art projects that we share in our classes. In Spring 2000, Donna helped organize the incorporation of Jacob Lawrence's work into our study of juvenile justice, and in Fall 2000 she graciously planned and executed a project on Day of the Dead, including displays of the work of Jose Guadalupe Posada, in our theory class. Donna will present the role of art as expression in our panel on Intertextuality and Social Science Theory, at the Western Social Science Association annual meetings in Reno, Spring 2001.

Queen Marleen. Marlene Boykin.

Marlene is an outstanding student. She is quick, impatient, with an agenda of her own: to make the world a kinder, gentler place. She has boundless energy, laughs readily, and doesn't hesitate to meddle in local problems. She has been my research assistant throughout this year. We have an odd relationship: she senses what is needed as we try to build an environment of peacemaking in which we teach social justice. And she acts without my needing to make any tasks explicit. We find each other by pager and cell phone, and have developed an unusual partnership in meeting relentless deadlines. We both take on too much, but somehow we manage to get most of it done. It is Marlene's genius to understand social justice theory so deeply that she can anticipate the directions in which I will move. She has coordinated three trips in the last year to professional meetings, and managed to keep from losing any of our students, as well as to give impressive presentations herself. She has an intuitive sense of what it is we are trying to accomplish, and incorporates her own agenda seamlessly into mine. Dominguez Hills is fortunate to benefit from her energies and will miss her when she goes on for her doctorate.

Michael Thinking. Michael Planck. Hmmm. . .

Michael's frank enjoyment of learning is refreshing. He frowns through class, then scratches his head and announces: "But aren't we making an unstated assumption there?" And, of course, we are. He has an uncanny ability to go right to the heart of the problem. His modesty and candor win him many friends and correspondents. E-mail streams among them continuously, and I catch it every so often as someone refers to comments they have exchanged. I find Michael after class, or in my office, in intense exchanges with other students over agency, structural context, and dominant discourse. Those exchanges brighten my day. Michael has returned to school as part of a career change to gain the freedom he needs to realize his goals of social justice. It is inspiring to watch him seek out alternatives, thoughtfully, deliberately. We have been lucky at Dominguez Hills to have him as a student.