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Envisioning the Future of TCR

by Michelle G. Knight-Manuel - 2021

Leveraging the strengths of the journal, welcoming more inclusivity, and enhancing their digital presence animates new directions for engaging the broader national and international educational community in service of the public good.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1963)

The needs of the [hip hop generation] and a connection to one of the central tenets written so long ago by the Combahee River Collective, If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression (1982), forged a commitment to a lifetime in the struggle for social and political justice for people of African descent and against forms of oppression and discrimination throughout the world from a firmly accepted Black Feminist identity. (Battle-Baptiste, 2011, p. 65)

. . .As we move toward creating a society within which we can each flourish. (Lorde, 1984, p. 91)

Where and how are (y)our commitments to justice forged, encouraged, shifting and changing, especially in this current historical, social, political climate? How do these commitments serve to ground (or not) your research interests and your choices for theoretical, ideological, and methodological diversity? How can we enter into new conversations and globally dialogue about our futures together and what it might mean for all of us to flourish in this world? These questions rattle around in my mind, soul, and body as injustices abound. During the past year, we as a nation and around the world have been grappling with a global health pandemic that intersects with educational injustices, worldwide racial social unrest, and an economic downturn disproportionately affecting the poor, working class, and communities of color. Furthermore, we have seen the impact of environmental injustice expressing itself, for example, through orange skies and falling ash as fires rage out of control in Northern California and reaching up into Canada.

In taking on the mantle of Executive Editor, I question what role Teachers College Record can play in service of a better world. How can we build on the strengths of TC Record to address pressing educational and social injustices across the globe? Toward that end, I am excited about how we can leverage the journal to become more inclusive, have broader impacts, and serve the public good across global contexts, ever more urgent at a time of intersectional educational injustices. In recent months, the editorial team has collectively mapped the work included in the past five years of the TC Record along multiple axes. For example, we examined the topics, institutional affiliations, and varied career rankings represented in TC Record. Through the inclusions and silences of our review, we have envisioned through an equity lens three core concerns that animate our editorial vision to address complex, pressing educational and social issues in the United States and globally.

First, we will leverage TC Records four content platformsfeatured articles, commentaries, book reviews, and research notesto facilitate critical readership and civic engagement of broad educational issues with and across multiple constituencies in the United States and internationally.


We welcome empirical, critical, methodological, and theoretical disciplinary and interdisciplinary scholarship that emphasizes the intersections between education research and other fields, raises new questions, and develops innovative approaches to our understandings of pressing issues.


We embrace cutting-edge, critical scholarship addressing equity and justice through institutional, discursive, and systemic analyses that engage with theoretical frameworks, such as anti-Black racism, critical race theory, Indigenous knowledges, immigration and refugee studies, queer of color critiques, critical race feminisms, and critical disability studies.


We invite research from international scholars who illuminate productive counterpoints to the mainstream U.S. experience and provide new ways of thinking, seeing, and being in conversation with each other about the past, present, and future.


We acknowledge the need for community-engaged scholarship that involves collaborations between and among researchers and community members in mutually beneficial partnerships (e.g., researchpractice partnerships).

Overall, we are creating dynamic, new opportunities through each of our content platforms to engage a wide range of community constituents and stakeholders interested in addressing the complex, broad educational issues facing our societies across the globe.

Second, we will focus on intentionally amplifying voices and mentoring emerging and early-career scholars, and those less often heard from in major education journals. A look at who is receiving doctoral degrees and who becomes faculty in the field of education reveals that 4,834 education doctorates were granted in 2018, representing 8.8% of all doctoral recipients in the United states (NCSES, 2019) Similarly, in fall 2017, among full-time assistant professors in all of academia, 7% were Asian Pacific Islander1 males, 6% were Asian Pacific Islander females, 4% were Black females and Black males, and Hispanic2 males and Hispanic females accounted for 3% (NCSES, 2019). In many instances, graduate students and early-career scholars bring funds of knowledge through a wealth of personal and professional expertise that can enhance perspectives in the academy. Their inclusion as researchers will be critical to advancing new understandings of the field and increase TC Records impact with diverse communities in the United States and across the globe.  

Aurora Santiago Ortiz (2019) argued that academia was not built for Afro, Latina, Black, and Indigenous women to succeed. In her presidential address for Sociologists for Women in Society, Adia Harvey Wingfield (2019) argued that low numbers of Black women in the field of sociology can in part be attributed to difficulties in finding mentors and sponsors who can facilitate their career advancement (p. 359). Vast differences exist in mentoring of doctoral students in general (Li et al., 2018), women doctoral students (Mansfield et al., 2010), and doctoral students of color (Patterson-Stephens & Hernández, 2018). Similarly, researchers have argued that lack of mentoring is one of the structures that lead to inequitable career advancement opportunities for scholars of color (Gildersleeve et al., 2011). I see the journal as a space for creating more equitable opportunities and structures for mentoring, especially around the publishing process.

In looking at these trends and demystifying the publishing process as a critical route of establishing more equity in the field of education, it is imperative that we deepen our commitment; we can do so by creating deliberately welcoming spaces for more systemic mentoring and guidance to graduate students and early-career scholars who bring important insights and knowledge to address educational and social inequities. In one initiative to bolster mentorship at the editorial level, we have brought on board two graduate students as editorial associates, Amanda Earl and Catherine Cheng Stahl, with experience in international education and social media, respectively. Their areas of expertise serve our goals in diversifying the editorial and production team and in supporting graduate students to broaden educational issues that we seek to highlight. We will continue to provide guidance to emerging and early-career scholars through our editorial team, virtually through web-based platforms at professional meetings, and through supportive feedback on journal submissions. We are also launching two new initiatives this spring. We will host two #TCRecord talks with the Editor and the editorial team and a graduate student corner on the TC Record website. We will draw attention to publishing in TC Record, and our guidance may be useful in supporting access to publishing in other journals as well.

Third, we will increase our digital presence to broaden our educational reach. We are welcoming and engaging more interactive conversations among stakeholders interested in advancing equity from multiple diverse perspectives. The potential of varied virtual learning environments for journals emerging from a digital era cannot be underestimated in sharing relevant and timely scholarship to bear on persistent historical and contemporary educational inequities. We are committed to enhancing our digital presence in order to have a broader impact on expanding educational access and transformation through the exchange of knowledges, ideas, and actions among interested scholars, researchers, graduate students, policy makers, practitioners, and community members in the general public. New additions, such as our Twitter presence #Relevant Research For The Times highlights the 100-year legacy of research in TC Record that bears on a contemporary issue. For example, in addressing varied concerns of the Black Lives Matter movement, we highlighted prior research published in the journal on race, racism, and education that can support educational stakeholders at multiple levels. In keeping with our desire to engage academic and community practitioner expertise in conversation, TC Record Book Talks will invite the author of a book, the book reviewer, and various educational communities together to discuss educational issues that matter in the world. For example, our first Book Talk highlights Bianca Baldridge and her book, Reclaiming Community, bringing together in conversation the author and the book reviewer to address the current social political movement for youth and those who work with them in varied educational spaces. These additions allow TC Record to enhance public engagement by creating spaces for ongoing conversations on topics that matter and could potentially support lives that flourish between and among the academy, community leaders, and the general public.

This vision for the next phase of TC Record welcomes, invites, embraces, and acknowledges the myriad of perspectives regarding research, policy, and practice that can support more inclusivity between and among multiple educational stakeholders and have broader impact in making significant progress toward more socially just and thriving communities.


I want to thank the TC Record editorial team for thinking through many of these ideas with me over the past several months. I appreciate the thoughtful, critical feedback on different versions of this editorial from Sylvia Celedon-Pattichis, Joanne Marciano and critical friends. The views expressed are those of the author.



The term Asian Pacific Islander is considered controversial. The disparitiesfor example, in socioeconomic statusbetween Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are rendered invisible whenever the term Asian Pacific Islander is used (Hall, 2009; Kauanui, 2008).


The term Hispanic, rather than Latinx, is used because it reflects how the term is employed by the National Council of Educational Statistics.


Battle-Baptiste, W. (2011). Black feminist archaeology. Taylor & Francis.


Gildersleeve, R., Croom, N., & Vasquez, P. (2011) Am I going crazy?!: A critical race analysis of doctoral education. Equity & Excellence in Education, 44(1), 93114. doi:10.1080/10665684.2011.539472


Hall, L. K. (2009). Navigating our own Sea of Islands: Remapping a theoretical space for Hawaiian women and indigenous feminism. Wicazo Sa Review, 24(2), 1538. doi:10.1353/wic.0.0038

Harvey Wingfield, A. (2019). Reclaiming Our Time: Black Women, Resistance, and Rising Inequality: SWS Presidential Lecture. Gender & Society, 33(3), 345-362. doi:10.1177/0891243219835456

Kauanui, J. K. (2008). Where are Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders in higher education?. Diverse Issues in Higher Education. Retrieved from http://diverseeducation.com/article/31060.


King, M. L., Jr. (1963). Letter from Birmingham jail. Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University.


Li, S., Malin, J. R., & Hackman, D. G. (2018). Mentoring supports and mentoring across difference: Insights from mentees. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 26(5), 563584. doi:10.1080/13611267.2018.1561020


Lorde, A (1984). Sister outsider: Essays and speeches. Crossing Press.


Mansfield, K., Welton, A., Lee, P.-L., & Young, M. D. (2010). The lived experiences of female

educational leadership doctoral students. Journal of Educational Administration, 48(6), 727740. doi:10.1108/09578231011079584


National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES). (2019). Doctorate recipients from U.S. universities: 2018 (Special Report NSF 20-301). National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, National Science Foundation. https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsf20301/


Ortiz, A. S. (2019, December 10). What Lorgia García Peñas tenure denial means for other Latina scholars. Zora. https://zora.medium.com/what-lorgia-garc%C3%ADa-pe%C3%B1as-tenure-denial-means-for-other-latina-scholars-4e0537abd5e7


Patterson-Stephens, S., & Hernández, E. (2018). Hermandad: Sista' scholar bonds for Black and Chicana women in doctoral study. Equity & Excellence in Education, 51(34), 396415. doi:10.1080/10665684.2018.1546150

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 123 Number 1, 2021, p. 1-7
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 23564, Date Accessed: 3/14/2022 5:29:15 AM

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About the Author
  • Michelle G. Knight-Manuel
    Teachers College, Columbia University
    E-mail Author
    MICHELLE G. KNIGHT-MANUEL, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her scholarly work includes three distinct yet complementary strands of inquiry: college readiness and access, immigrant youth’s civic strengths, and culturally relevant teacher preparation and professional development. She has published in such journals as the American Educational Research Journal, Teachers College Record, Race, Ethnicity and Education, Review of Research in Education, and the Journal of Educational Policy. Her two books, co-authored with Joanne Marciano, are Classroom Cultures: Equitable Schooling for Racially Diverse Youth and College Ready: Preparing Black and Latino Youth for Higher Education through a Culturally Relevant Lens.
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