Successful DEI Cluster Hire Initiative Brings Faculty With Unique, Cross-Disciplinary Experience to TCU
Last year, the AddRan College of Liberal Arts outlined plans for its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Cluster Hire Initiative, an effort to increase faculty diversity and build a cohort of teacher-scholars across disciplines and specializations who are interested in teaching and conducting research on race, ethnicity and social justice.
This semester, seven faculty members joined the college as a result of the Cluster Hire Initiative. The group, comprising faculty from the departments of criminology & criminal justice, history, sociology & anthropology and religion, represents a diverse set of research areas and life experiences.
“The AddRan DEI Cluster Hire serves to increase the number of faculty of color and the diversity of offerings in AddRan College and the university at large,” said Sonja Watson, Ph.D., dean of AddRan College. “This diversity is important to prepare all of our students to become more informed citizens of the community, nation and world."
Read on to learn more about the new faculty in their own words, including their goals as scholars and teachers and how they plan to add to TCU’s community life.
Edgar Campos, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Sociology & Anthropology
I am proud and honored to have been part of the DEI Cluster Hire initiative.
“In my teaching, I hope to provide the necessary tools for students to engage in meaningful cultural interaction with social groups and actors outside of their race, ethnicity and nationality. My teaching centers on Latin America. I do not want to teach about similarities, but rather the differences — and to show that those differences are just as valid and worthy of existence as the dominant Western/American perspective.
My research heavily focuses on the politicization of culture as it pertains to the region of Latin America and its inhabitants. I want to further the understanding that cultural dispositions and competencies have real, material consequences at the highest levels of electoral politics and personal politics by influencing how we understand issues in different parts of the world and varying racial and ethnic communities.
I hope my teaching and scholarship continue to aid TCU in its mission to have 'all members of a community feel welcome, respected and valued, regardless of their social identities and when all experiences and cultures are validated and cherished equally .'”
Rashaan DeShay, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Criminology & Criminal Justice
“I am excited about being a member of this cohort and what it means for my colleagues, our respective disciplines and TCU.
"I will be teaching individuals who will likely end up working in the criminal justice system in some capacity, and I want my students to walk away from my courses with the knowledge and skill set to continue doing the work and having these conversations as they begin their careers and/or continue their education before entering the workforce." - Rashaan DeShay, Ph.D.
I will develop new courses for my department that will help expand our students’ understanding of the criminal justice system. I want students to delve into these topics and have difficult conversations about society and the systems that are necessary but often avoided. I will be teaching individuals who will likely end up working in the criminal justice system in some capacity, and I want my students to walk away from my courses with the knowledge and skill set to continue doing the work and having these conversations as they begin their careers and/or continue their education before entering the workforce.
As a scholar, I look forward to connecting with my fellow cohort members and collaborating to produce interdisciplinary research that will benefit our disciplines, students, the TCU community and beyond. As a qualitative scholar, I plan to seek opportunities to conduct mixed-methods research on DEI-related issues to provide additional context to the issues we study.
I hope that my teaching and scholarship will add to TCU’s community life in a few ways. For instance, this would include sharing work done by myself and cohort members with students while also encouraging them to explore research being done by diverse scholars. Further, I hope that the work being done in my classes will have an impact on the TCU community as students go on to take other classes, participate in university organizations, interact with friends on campus, etc. I look forward to being a part of this important step that TCU and AddRan have taken.”
Abel R. Gomez, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Religion
“As a scholar of Native American religious traditions, my goal is to build bridges. I want students to understand we all have a role in creating a world beyond colonialism, heteropatriarchy and white supremacy. I am especially interested in amplifying the voices of Indigenous women and Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQ+ activists and scholars.”
Bonnie Lucero, Ph.D. - Neville G. Penrose Chair of Latin American Studies and History and Associate Professor, History
“I look forward to working with my colleagues across disciplines to offer our students new and unique opportunities to engage with the production of knowledge on race and to become leaders in cultivating a more just campus and world.
My work interrogates the intersections of race and gender in Latin America, focusing especially on Cuba. Most recently, I finished a book on the history of women’s reproductive experiences that will come out this fall. Now I am embarking on a new direction in my scholarship with a project on the cattle industry. This project, which brings the fields of food studies and animal studies to bear on social history, explores how race and status informs access to livestock and the commodities extracted from them.
My goal is to work with my colleagues to build TCU’s Latin American history program into a nationally and internationally renowned program by strengthening ties to the local community and academic communities across the United States and in Latin America. These opportunities for academic exchange will empower us to harness the unique resources we have at TCU and to help launch our students as historically aware, culturally sensitive leaders in our globalized world.”
Shari Mackinson, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Religion
“I hope my students finish my courses with the skills necessary to reflect critically on their social locations and how their various identities influence how they live and move through the world. I also hope they are motivated to engage in difficult conversations about moving our society toward a more just and equitable place in whatever contexts they enter — the workforce, their religious/spiritual communities or with their friends and family.
As a researcher, I hope to contribute to the expanding conversations on race, ethnicity and social justice within academia and among the public. I want my scholarship to resonate with people's experiences and motivate folks to advocate for change within their spheres of influence.
I look forward to providing community-engaged courses to students and developing relationships with organizations and activists in Fort Worth and the Metroplex to continue my work on behalf of and in collaboration with formerly/incarcerated Black women.”
Shan Siddiqui, Ph.D. – Assistant
Professor, Sociology & Anthropology
“In the classroom, I hope to shed light on the mechanisms that make it possible for racism to get under the skin and impact the health of communities of color. I’m also looking forward to learning from and collaborating with students to come up with potential solutions that will promote health equity for all.
My goal as a researcher is to amplify the social experiences of Asian Americans, who have been increasingly stigmatized yet remain underrepresented in both the race and immigrant health literature. I hope that by partnering with other researchers and members of the community, I’ll be able to render many of the unseen issues faced by this population more visible.
TCU has a vibrant community life, and I’m excited to contribute to that by creating opportunities for students to learn more about other cultures and engage in social justice-oriented programs both in and outside of the classroom.”
Jasmine Jackson, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Political Science
I find teaching, scholarship and university service to be a virtuous cycle. As a teacher, I hope to provide students with access to perspectives and cutting-edge research regarding race and ethnic politics. This will allow students to integrate these viewpoints into the knowledge they already have and question the inclusivity of American politics in their courses and in their everyday lives. As a scholar, I hope to continue my research on political knowledge both in and outside of the classroom.
My teaching and scholarship will add to TCU’s community life by empowering students to be an active part of their learning community and empower them to exercise their autonomy as students and burgeoning scholars.
The faculty hired for the 2022-2023 academic year represent only the start of the DEI Cluster Hire Initiative. “This is an ongoing initiative and additional faculty will be hired as a part of the cluster hire,” said Dean Watson.