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.