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Identity Intersectionalities, Mentoring, and Work-Life (Im)Balance: Educators (Re)Negotiate the Personal, Professional, and Political

reviewed by Leslie Schmidt - January 24, 2019

coverTitle: Identity Intersectionalities, Mentoring, and Work-Life (Im)Balance: Educators (Re)Negotiate the Personal, Professional, and Political
Author(s): Katherine Cumings Mansfield, Anjalé D. Welton, & Pei-Ling Lee (Eds.)
Publisher: Information Age Publishing, Charlotte
ISBN: 1681235552, Pages: 332, Year: 2016
Search for book at Amazon.com

The editors of Identity Intersectionalities, Mentoring, and Work-Life (Im)Balance have selectively chosen authors “who have been ‘othered’ by the dominant culture in a variety of intersectional ways” (p. xvi) and who have felt overlooked or shunned by the very organizations they represent. The book expands the editors’ previous research on the mentoring of graduate students and centers on three major themes: the struggle to balance professional and personal commitments, the importance of mentoring in preparing for advanced educational leadership positions, and the importance of social identities to the quality and quantity of mentoring offered and received.

To truly understand the purpose of this book, the reader needs to learn a little more about its editors, all of whom are women with successful careers. Pei-Ling Lee is a researcher for the University Council for Educational Administration and an instructor at the Austin Chinese School. Her research focuses on language acquisition and policy, high stakes testing, academic achievement, accessibility of high-quality education for language minority students, and gender studies. Katherine Cumings Mansfield is an assistant professor of educational leadership and policy at Virginia Commonwealth University, and her scholarship examines educational policy and practice as it relates to identity intersectionalities. Anjale D. Welton is an assistant professor of education policy, organization, and leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research examines the politics of equity in school reform and improvement. Overall, the editors are focused in their work on mentoring female graduate students and examining the lived experiences of minoritized faculty.

The book’s title, while apt, is lengthy and initially confusing; and while abstracts included at the beginning of each section are beneficial, the font is very small and difficult to read. However, readers will be happy to discover that they can jump in at any point as each research paper, essay, and poem included in the book can stand on its own.

Identity Intersectionalities, Mentoring, and Work-Life (Im)Balance would serve well as a reading for any doctoral students or doctoral educator and is particularly relevant to minorities. The stories let minorities know they are not alone, and some conclude with advice and words of wisdom. Anyone who is both a mother and a full-time doctoral student would greatly connect to the chapter by Amanda U. Potterton, entitled “‘If Not at University, Then Where?’: Toward Intentionally Welcoming a Woman-Mother-Scholar.” This chapter discusses the struggles of being a wife, mother, and full-time student, and also brings awareness to the ways in which universities can create more welcoming spaces. Higher education readers in their first years as a professor would also enjoy “The Cool Kids” by Katherine Cumings Mansfield and Quentin Alexander. This chapter describes how two junior professors on the tenure track supported one another through Facebook, developing a strong peer mentoring relationship that helped them battle the negative experiences they were having.

This edited book offers a form of support to women and minorities in higher education who lack mentoring or who feel invisible, isolated, and disrespected. It adds to the works on this topic and reminds educators at all levels that identity matters. As the editors state, “studies that examine the intersectionality of these identity complexities are still relatively new and emerging” (p. xiv). This book creates a foundation for researchers interested in studying the identity intersectionalities and struggles of doctoral students and educators. In summary, although the cover and title of this book may appear busy and confusing, the content within could be beneficial to readers looking for support and affirmation while navigating their lives and careers.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: January 24, 2019
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22646, Date Accessed: 1/25/2022 2:29:07 PM

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About the Author
  • Leslie Schmidt
    University of North Carolina at Charlotte
    E-mail Author
    LESLIE SCHMIDT is a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She serves as a graduate assistant in the Department of Reading and Elementary Education, assisting with research and teaching methods courses. Her research interests include literacy and teacher education.
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