Special Issue: Equity, Engagement, and ImpactVol. 2 No. 1 (2022)
21st-century educational spaces serve students from an array of cultural, social, class, and linguistic backgrounds, and this rich variety of difference has rightly complicated pedagogical frameworks and teaching practices that demonstrate limited engagement with the experiences and embodied identities of diverse student populations. In this issue of Text & Type, we assert the responsibilities of educators to support their students in challenging systems of power and to amplify the voices of diverse students, scholars, and artists. We explore strategies for turning the writing classroom into spaces of equal access and multivalent expression through conscientious approaches to writing instruction and assessment. We offer models for culturally relevant and meaningful assignments that promote equity by providing students opportunities to center themselves in their academic work. In a showcase of winning entries from a Cal State LA first-year student writing contest, we honor the ideas, expressive styles, and achievements of students commencing their higher education journeys. This collection of writing invites critical reflection on the ways in which 21st-century educators can strengthen connections between the curriculum for their courses and diverse human experiences of living and learning.
We thank Sheri, artist and mother of a first-generation college graduate, for this issue’s cover photo.
InspireVol. 3 No. 1 (2023)
Building on two years of successful collaborations between first-gen students at Cal State LA and partner institutions in Canada and England, in the Spring of 2023, the Cal State LA English Department sponsored its third international first-gen writing workshop. Over the course of two weeks, workshop participants from Cal State LA, East L.A. College, and Durham University engaged in the study of first-gen experiences and identities and explored strategies for representing their higher education journeys. In addition to considering the challenges they may have encountered on the path to a college degree, students were prompted to reflect on the experiences, events, relationships, and practices that have sustained, nurtured, and empowered them over the years. With these stories, and their focus on the joy first-gen students create for themselves and within their communities, the writers in this volume push back against toxic phenomena that have come to be associated with the first-gen identity, including “grind” or “hustle” culture, survivor’s guilt, and imposterism, which so often lead to first-gen students feeling an extreme sense of time poverty, overwhelm, and eventual burnout. This cross-Atlantic collaboration aims to contribute a fuller narrative of first-gen experience and inspire readers to explore the positive, motivating forces driving their own dreams.
Text & Type extends a special thank you to Cal State LA graduate student and alumni workshop facilitators, Emily Aguilar, Tatiana Giron, and Taylor Marty, for their dedicated work with the student writers featured in this issue. We also thank Durham University for their continued support of this collaboration, especially First Generation Scholars Network mentors, Dr. Vikki Boliver, Dr. Michelle Addison, and Dr. Jonathan Drury.
TraverseVol. 1 No. 1 (2021)
In the Spring of 2021, the English Department at California State University, Los Angeles partnered with the University of Alberta to offer an international writing workshop for students on path to be the first in their families to graduate with a four-year university degree. Informed by translingual writing pedagogy, Cal State LA graduate students and tutors at the University of Alberta's Centre for Writers guided workshop participants through the process of drafting, revising, and editing personal narratives on their first-gen college experiences. The workshop, which took place against a backdrop of a global pandemic, produced powerful stories of endurance, resilience, and willful determination. In this inaugural issue of Text & Type, we celebrate students who traverse seemingly impassible borders to write their own stories.
Text & Type extends a special thank you to the University of Alberta's Centre for Writers staff: Dr. Lucie Moussu, Anna Antonova, Derya Cinar, Breanne Duguay, Ayla Hermanutz, and Silvia Sgaramella; to Cal State LA graduate student workshop facilitators: Erica Bennet, Theo Cordoneanu, and Rory Olivarez; to Associate Editor and recently graduated English M.A. student, Luis Alonso; to Humanities Librarian, Paizha Stoothoff; and to English Department Chair, Dr. Linda Greenberg. This inaugural issue of Text & Type would not have been possible without your support and creative and collaborative vision.
Transatlantic ConnectionsVol. 2 No. 2 (2022)
What does it mean to be “first-gen”? The narratives in this collection offer answers that connect students across oceans and national borders; across differences in skin color, languages, and cultural upbrings; across tensions between the power of ancestral histories and the drive to pioneer. In Spring 2022, a group of undergraduate and graduate first-gen students from California State University, Los Angeles and Durham University, England came together for a remote writing workshop. Over the course of two weeks, workshop participants were invited to study and contribute to stories about first-gen college identities. The creative pieces that were generated from this collaboration demonstrate international commonalities between first-gen students: experiences of culture shock; feelings of impostering; empowering relationships with mentor teachers; equally impactful connections with non-college going family and friends; perseverance, resilience, resistance, and other “first-gen” qualities that show up in the scholarship; deep resentments, dark thoughts, and unspoken fears; overwhelming gratitude; grit, exhaustion, and dis/belief in ability. From an access-oriented California state university to a historic public research institution in northeast England, these stories offer critical insight into the lived experiences of first-gen students around the world. In their own words.
Text & Type extends a special thank you to Cal State LA graduate student workshop facilitators, Rebecca MacLean, Raoul Rodriguez, and Jasper Yangchareon, for their dedicated work with the student writers featured in this issue. We also thank Durham faculty and First Generation Scholars Network mentors, Dr. Vikki Boliver, Dr. Michelle Addison, and Dr. Jonathan Drury, whose research and enthusiastic support of this collaboration have resulted in more inclusive representations of the college experience from the US to the UK.