#ThrowbackThursday: “Pursuits of Academia: ‘New’ and ‘Fresh'”

20130609-131211.jpg20130618-142112.jpg20130618-141943.jpg20130618-142545.jpgWhen I asked my students what their first impressions were of me as a college professor, I was met with a couple interesting reactions.  At first, most students were surprised to see how young I was and assumed that my thinking may also “new” and “fresh.”  Secondly, the female students seemed to be impressed with my wardrobe, commenting that they were surprised to have a “fashionable” professor “in high heels” instead of being an older, “fifty-ish” professor “wearing a suit and tie” or dressed down.

I think in some way, my appearance is an extension of my pedagogy because I love the class material to be fresh and relevant to me and my students.  One way I accomplished that was including a supplementary text from Peggy McIntosh that fit nicely with the issues of difference and conformity found in Richard Rodriguez’s essay “The Achievement of Desire.”  I also included current news articles from the campus newspaper to that supplementary material to offer a pragmatic application of McIntosh, Rodriguez and even Freire readings.

I tend to think outside the box a little more readily than most professors is because of my age and experience in academia.  I see such academicians as Dr. Cornell West, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, President Barack H. Obama, and Tavis Smiley as my intellectual role models and I aspire to create work that straddles the line between academia and the real world because I exist in both worlds.

These figures seem to balance both arenas very easily without losing their integrity or poise and I challenge myself to follow their examples. Dr. Cornell West, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, and President Obama are academicians who are professors in their discipline at their perspective universities but are often asked to comment and participate in current events panels concerning issues of race, gender, vernacular, social and economic justice, music and the arts.  By being a part of such discussions as reader or viewer of such conversations, I feel that they create a window of their discipline to the general public to observe.  They can show how their work is relevant to society at large through their commentary.  I am also impressed by Dr. Dyson’s ability to “switch” between the vernacular of academia and that of the hip hop culture as eloquently as Shakespeare without misunderstandings in meaning.

Who are your role models? Why do you admire them? How does your life pattern this admiration?

13 thoughts on “#ThrowbackThursday: “Pursuits of Academia: ‘New’ and ‘Fresh'”

  1. As a child growing up my role models used to be my grandfather until he passed away last year in october. I looked up to him as a father. He stepped in as a father when I was new born. He took care of me, he taught me things some young women would have learned when they got older and out on your own. He open my eyes up to view the world in a different way. He used to always tell me before I could make anyone happy, I had to first make myself happy. If it was not for my grandfather, I think I would have been lost. I would not be as focused on my education as I am today. I would have given up on myself before even trying.

  2. twat0705 says:

    For as long as I could remember my role model had always been my grandmother, untill recently that is. Not to say that I can take anything away from my respect for her; never that. I just must admit that i have discovered a new found inspiration. The funny thing is you can find this in the person I least expected to find it in, my mother. For the longest I never really liked my mother much less agreed or found inspiration in much of what she does. Not untill recently. I began to eveluate my own life and saw that I took after more than just her nagging. Somewhere along the way I also took on her assertiveness, organization, determination, and much of her humble, intergrial character. These are the things that I love most about myself and my mother.

  3. In a certain lifetime or period of time in a child’s cycle of growing up he or she has role models that they look up to.My father is my role model because his strong will to work hard on any project or job he starts on. In addition, his determination to push himself to the next level like a basketball player who has something to prove. These characteristic that my father has will inspire me to do better on my life goals.

  4. bashara2009 says:

    growing up my role models were my mom and grandmother, simply because of their motivation,determination and perserverance. my life tends to pattern theirs by me striving to having those same qualities through any situation, and doing whatever it takes to get to the top.

  5. cutebabycee says:

    My role model is Jesus Christ and my mother. I admire Jesus Christ because he gave me life. He gives me the chance to wake up every morning and he loves me even though he doesn’t have to. My life does not pattern this admiration as much as I’d like it to, but I do plan to work on that by attending church and praying more often. I admire my mom for the strength that she portrays as an independent single mother. My life patterns this admiration because I always take on challenging task and will do whatever it takes to provide for her and my family as she did for me.

  6. mattpayne08 says:

    matthew payne
    greatness begats greatness.
    to do great things, have great habbits. to know great things, know great people. to have a great idea, find a great problem.

  7. msnene2009 says:

    My role model is my mom and my aunt. Growing up I always thought to myself why are they always so happy.I realized that no matter what obstacles that you may face in life you have to make the best out of it and dont let anything bring you down.I idealized my mom because first of all she gave me life.My mom have a great sense of determination and I love that.No matter what the situation may be if she have her mind made up she willl do it.On the other hand my aunt made me realize that my education comes first and at the end of the day my education and knowledge is something that no one can take from me. From day one my aunt made it known that I was going to attend college and make something out of myself and she was not taking no for a answer.These beautiful African-American women have stuck by me and showed me the real meaning of life and this is why they are my role models.
    -Zebanisha Monroe

  8. tscarr says:

    The biggest role models in my in my life are my parents. They are the best role models that I could ask for. They encourage me to the best that I can be. I admire them because they always strived to the the best for themselves so that they could provide for me and my siblings. They never judged or put me down. The great values that I carry with me today were instilled by them. In my everyday life I always try to follow the road that they paved for me. I always ask myself “what would my parents think?”. My parents have always been supportive and will always continue to guide and protect me. My strong black mother and father will always be my role models.

  9. My role model is my mom. She has work hard for everything got and took care of me and my two sisters our whole life. Also, I was always fascinated on how when she was eighteen she lived on her own and never looked back.That is why she is my role model and I know if I have her driven additude I will be success in life.

  10. jelisahugley1 says:

    My role model is my older sister, i was 19 years old with two children and i really didnt know what to do. My sister knew how it felt to have a baby young and not be able to finish school. I knew that i didnt want to be just another teen parent, so she gave me guidance on how i can make life better for my family and I. she taught me to be strong and never give up no matter what the circumstances are.

  11. My role model are my parents.They work so hard to take care of me my sister and two brothers.They thought me that u have to work hard to get every thing that u need in life.They are the reason that i am in school trying to get an education to better my future.

  12. 3165wayne says:

    my role models are Bob Marley and my grandmother. i admire these two because of the challenges that faced in life and how they took them head on. Bob never had it easy and worked his way up to be known as the reggae giant. He really came from nothing at all. i admire my grandmotherr for the same reason. i know she worked increadibly hard for everything she had after coming here to America with nothing at all during the 80’s and now has established a life for her self and is the reason that i am here in the U.S.

  13. I like to be hard working and busy sometimes. A famous person that I admire is Beyonce for being a busy, hardworking women wh is vey successful. She puts her personal life aside and follow her goals. So she is a very interesting role model in my life and I love her music.

Very Interesting.

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