Book by Matthew L. Ouellett
Review by Charles Mowen
Hesser College, Concord, NH
With a less than compelling title, An Integrative Analysis Approach to Diversity in the College Classroom, might not be at the top of your reading list; however, Mathew L. Ouellett has brought together a surprisingly insightful compilation of authors. At the heart of this journal lies an interdisciplinary approach to intersectionality within the college classroom. As diversity and multiculturalism continue to evolve among college populations, now including attributes such as sexual orientation and socioeconomic status, it is necessary for faculty and staff to develop an increased understanding of how students interact with the world around them. Intersectionality attempts to explain that, “Critical social issues cannot be fully understood by focusing on one aspect of identity, or by focusing on multiple identities, held independently of one another” (p. 12) - students need to be seen as the connection between their identities.
Many of the theories presented in this journal are not directly related to the field of advising, rather, how faculty can incorporate intersectional pedagogy into existing curriculum. Indeed, the editor cautions that, “Increased institutional support is needed for dialogues across rank, status and other organizational hierarchies” (p. 5). As an academic advisor, I would challenge that many of the ideas can presented by Ouellett can be seen though the eyes of the advisor, especially when working with minority, veteran or other non-traditional students. One of the concluding articles, From Difficult Dialogues to Critical Conversations, outlines several learning community exercises and activities for continued professional development meant to help participants gain a better perceptive of, “their personal positions on topics like privilege, racism, and equality” (p. 95). As advisors reflect on the personal impact of their own identities through the frameworks presented, they will be able to create supportive advising policies and practices aimed at working with the increased diversity on our campuses.
An Integrative analysis approach to diversity in the college classroom (New directions for teaching and learning #125). (2011) Book by Matthew L. Ouellett (Ed.). Review by Charles Mowen. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 120 pp., $29.00, ISBN # 978-1-1180-2762-2