CFP: Graduate Students of Color Reflect on Lessons Lived and Learned in the Academy

Kathryn Vaggalis's picture


Graduate Students of Color Reflect

on Lessons Lived and Learned in the Academy



for a special issue of Women, Gender, and Families of Color

Submission Deadline: November 30, 2019


Your voice, your experiences, and your insights are critical for a special issue of Women, Gender, and Families of Color focused on the experiences of graduate students of color learning, working, navigating, and matriculating in higher education. We seek a diversity of perspectives from marginalized and minoritized populations in the academy, including students currently in MA and PhD programs as well as recent graduates across disciplines. 


Women, Gender, and Families of Color is a multidisciplinary peer-reviewed publication that centers the study of Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian American women, genders, and families. For this special issue, we are interested in reflective essays that explore graduate students of colors’ lives—their struggles and triumphs. Additionally, we invite essays that center the observations and best practices of students of color and articulate authors’ visions for the future of departments, graduate schools, and campus communities.  


U.S. institutions have worked to create diverse and equitable learning and professional environments, and research has shown that graduate programs have seen a recent enrollment rise among racial and ethnic minority women. Nonetheless, colleges and universities continue to struggle to recruit diverse students of color, achieve comparable rates of retention and degree completion, and sustain inclusive and supportive learning and workplace environments. What concerns should departments, schools, and campuses prioritize? How might academic units, offices, institutions, peers and colleagues, or various campus organizations and communities address such concerns? Intersectional identities—race in conjunction with ethnicity, disability, citizenship status, nationality, religion, sexuality, gender expression, and class, for example—vary the experiences of graduate students of color in the academy. Moreover, graduate students’ complex positionalities within institutions of higher education—as students, researchers, and instructors—engender a unique understanding of the policies and practices of academe as it pertains to people of color.


In soliciting these essays, the journal aims to provide a space for emerging scholars to contemplate the formal structure and informal customs of graduate school as well as the aforementioned factors’ import and impact for graduate students of color as they make their way in the academy. The special issue is an effort to create a dialogue among graduate students of color for sharing ideas, affirmation, and guidance. It is also an endeavor to build a forum for graduate students of color to provide feedback to the journal’s other readers, which include college and university faculty, administrators, and staff persons.


We are interested in submissions that reflect on your experiences and offer points of advice regarding one or more of the following topics:

  • Undergraduate vs. graduate life
  • Moving and transitioning to a new location
  • Homelessness
  • Food insecurity
  • Cost of living
  • Mental health
  • Health insurance (or lack thereof)
  • Caring for children or family
  • Being a first-generation student
  • Being the only one
  • Intersectionality
  • Research agenda, priorities, and scholarly productivity
  • Difficult classroom conversations
  • Speaking up and speaking out
  • The classroom and other teaching and learning spaces
  • Engaging with peers and colleagues
  • Mentoring and advising
  • Utilizing campus resources
  • University policies
  • Leaves of absence, withdraw, and return
  • Social life
  • Work/Life balance
  • Campus and community participation
  • Activism
  • Social media and other public engagement activities
  • What you wish you knew then and what you know now

Due to the sensitive nature of these issues, authors may request that their work be published anonymously. Submissions are due November 30, 2017 to and should include the following:

  • 5-10 double-spaced pages (1250-2500 words)
  • A 20-word biography that indicates your identities and campus role (graduate student, graduate student instructor, post-doc, lecturer, faculty member, staff person, etc.)
  • Submissions should not include identifying information of others.

Available in libraries through Project MUSE and JSTOR, WGFC is published electronically and in hard copy in the spring and fall. It is sponsored by the University of Kansas and published by the University of Illinois Press.