Monday, November 22, 2021

Moving forward with Academic Journeys

On August 30, 2018, Keith, a then first-year African American man at the university did an interview, where he talked about his intended major, his interests, and other thoughts about life as a college studen. He followed up his second year on October 1, 2019 with another interview focusing on the same topics, and he did a third inteview on October 9, 2020. Earlier this semester, Keith saw me on campus and reminded me that he hadn't done his annual interview yet. He did this interview, his fourth year participating, on October 13, 2021. 

Keith is among a group of nearly 180 black students who have participated in our oral history project, Academic Journeys. Some students did just one interview. Others did two and three. Keith and another student, Jaala, have now done four interviews -- one each year since 2018, when the project began.

I created the project as a way to document students discussing their experiences or journeys at the university over the course of time. The interviews served as audio snapshots of what the students think about their academic careers at a given time. 

Responding to questions about majors and minors and about overall thoughts about navigating a university gives the students a moment to reflect. Rarely do people place the voices and perspectives of black students at the center of a knowledge building project about academic experience.   

We'll eventually find ways to make aspects of the interviews available for new students on campus. We'll also produce reports based on some of the lessons we can learn from what students have experienced and thought about here. 

For now, we'll continue moving forward tracking the academic journeys of students. 


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