Category Archives: Speaker Series

Cuádraz, Flores to discuss transformative power of higher education on the working class Dec. 1

Book cover

Visiting scholars Gloria H. Cuádraz and Yolanda Flores come to Sacramento State’s Hinde Auditorium at 4:00pm on Friday, December 1, to discuss the transformative power of higher education on the working class. Their talk is based on their new book, “Claiming Home, Shaping Community: Testimonios de los Valles: Underscoring the importance of access to higher education,” published by University of Arizona Press. They will be joined by chapter contributors Manuel Barajas and Caroline Turner.

To offer testimonio, the authors say, is inherently political, a vehicle that counters the hegemony of the state and illuminates the repression and denial of human rights. The book tells the stories of Mexican-descent people who left rural agricultural valleys to pursue higher education at a University of California campus, seeking to empower others on their journeys to and through higher education.

350x505_CuadrazGloria Holguín Cuádraz is an Associate Professor of Sociology in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies at Arizona State University. She publishes in the areas of Chicana/os and higher education, theory and methods of oral history, Chicano labor history, feminist methods and testimonio. With Dr. Luis Plascencia, she is co-editor of a forthcoming anthology,Mexican Workers in Arizona: The Making of an ‘Elastic Supply of Labor’” (Tucson: University of Arizona Press). She is a member of the Latina Feminist Group, co-authors of “Telling to Live: Latina Feminist Testimonios,” (Duke University Press, 2001). In 2013, she was awarded the Dan Shilling Public Humanities Scholar of the Year Award by the Arizona Humanities Council. From 2014-2017, she was Co-Lead Editor of Chicana/Latina Studies: The Journal of Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social.

Yolanda FloresYolanda Flores is an Associate Professor at the University of Vermont where she teaches U.S. Latino and Latin American Literatures and Cultures with an emphasis on the intersections of race, gender, class, language, sexuality, and citizenship.  “The Drama of Gender:  Feminist Theater by Women of the Americas” is her first book.  In addition to articles published in the fields cited above, Professor Flores has also published on performance studies, cultural politics, and Latino farmworker activism in Vermont.  She is a native of Bakersfield, California.

Caroline Sotello Viernes Turner, Ph.D.Caroline Sotello Viernes Turner is Professor of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership Program at the Sacramento State College of Education, is Past President of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), and is Lincoln Professor Emerita of Higher Education and Ethics at Arizona State University (ASU). Her research interests focus on access and equity in higher education. An award-winning scholar, Turner is the recipient of numerous recognitions including the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Scholars of Color in Education Career Contribution Award, the 2016 University of California, Davis School of Education Distinguished Alumna Award, and the 2016 Yolo County Mexican American Concilio Pilar Andrade Award for community service. Turner received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of California, Davis and her Ph.D. from Stanford University.

280x351_barajasManuel Barajas was born in Michoacán, Mexico, and he was raised in Stockton, California from the age of four.  He attended UC Davis for his Bachelor’s degree and obtained his MA and Ph.D. at UC Riverside.  He is a professor of Sociology at Sacramento State, and since 2002 he has been successful teaching, serving on- and off-campus communities, and publishing research in peer-reviewed and popular publication outlets.  He teaches both undergraduate and graduate students the subjects of Chicana/o Sociology, Immigration Studies, and Ethnic & Race Relations.  His research has focused on Indigenous Mexican migration and farm workers.  He is the author of “The Xaripu Community across Borders: Labor Migration, Community, and Family” (with Notre Dame University Press) that received a Distinguished Book Award Honorable Mention from the Latino Section, American Sociological Association.  Manuel greatly enjoys working with students and the community, and believes in producing knowledge/advocacy that makes a difference in improving the lives of all marginalized communities.


E-Week at Sac State spotlights school-community engagement

In a TED-talk style presentation and panel discussion Nov. 14 during Entrepreneurship Week at Sacramento State, Dr. Terrance Green, Associate Professor from University of Texas-Austin, and a panel of community innovators had a lively discussion about the ways school-community partnerships are invigorating students and families.

Dr. Green urged reformers to shift their thinking away from the “achievement gap,” to exploring broader perspectives about ways in which opportunity gaps shape people’s lives. “Thinking about the achievement gap emphasizes symptoms, but thinking about opportunities highlights the causes,” he said, making a passionate appeal to those who would reform education to transform their own thinking about the needs of the children and families in the community, beginning with a profound love for people.

Dr. Green’s talk, “Leading for Equity in School-Community Engagement,” can be seen on the Sacramento State EDD YouTube channel.

A panel of educational entrepreneurs discussed “Closing Opportunity & Equity Gaps via Community-Based Innovation.” The panelists included Katie McCleary, Founding Executive Director of 916 Ink; Nicholas Haystings, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Square Root Academy; and Sisters of Nia Executive Director Synthia Smith & co-founder Malika Hollinside, the winners of the 2017 ReinventEd competition.


Terrance Green pairs equity with innovation in E-week events

Professional Pic (tgreen)BDr. Terrance Green, an assistant professor at the University of Texas, Austin, comes to Sacramento State Nov. 14 for an evening of discussion about innovative partnerships between schools and communities. The event, which runs from 5:30-8:00 p.m. in Hinde Auditorium within the University Union, is the College of Education’s contribution to Entrepreneurship Week, which features lively discussions focused on entrepreneurship, creativity and fresh ideas.

Dr. Green’s talk, “Leading for Equity in School-Community Engagement,” will be followed by a panel discussion, “Closing Opportunity & Equity Gaps via Community-Based Innovation,” which he will moderate. Joining him on the panel will be Katie McCleary, Founding Executive Director of 916 Ink and a recent Better Together Community Award Winner; Nicholas Haystings, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Square Root Academy; and Sisters of Nia Executive Director Synthia Smith & co-founder Malika Hollinside, the winners of this year’s ReinventEd competition.

The evening concludes with a sneak peek at next year’s ReinventEd competition, which spotlights teams with innovative educational approaches vying for a $5,000 grand prize. Entries open in January.

Dr. Green’s approach to school-community partnerships will, as he says in the following Q&A, seeks to challenge the traditional engagement model.

You’ve said that the research you’ll be sharing in your talk deals with actions of school principals that support more equitable forms of school-community engagement and partnerships. What do you mean by “more equitable”?

I will be challenging and attempting to turn the traditional models of engaging with families and communities via schools on their head. However, I want people to think about ways to engage families and communities more authentically and more equitably. That means highlighting and illuminating the role of the school principal and those who occupy educational leadership positions, not only in the school, but also in the community. Community leaders, community partners, principals, teachers, students, and families all have a part in doing the creative work that contextualizes the framework (i.e., Community-Based Equity Audit) for their unique setting. Part of the beauty is the creative part, when the people within that local context wrestle and grapple with and problematize and strategize around principles of equity, justice, anti-racism, and anti-oppression. People have to ask, “How do we make this organically work within our unique context?”

This work sounds like a big job for already-busy principals. Would they need to have any special qualities or personality traits to do this work?

That’s a great question. Historically, in the educational leadership literature, particularly around school principals, there was this idea of the charismatic, heroic leader. But I would say over the last 10 or 15 years there has really been a shift in the literature to begin talking about a “post-heroic leader.” In other words, this work may begin or be championed by one individual, but the ultimate goal is to build an infrastructure around supporting families and supporting schools and communities. Karen Mapp and Paul Kuttner at Harvard write about this idea of a Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family–School Partnerships. One of the things they argue, and to an extent my work also, is that infrastructure has to be built, and that infrastructure has to be predicated on a number of things:

  1. It has to be systematic. It has to be infused throughout the entire school or the entire organization. Traditionally, we look at school and family engagement as an add-on: schools are about teaching and learning and that’s it. Well, we’re starting to realize that it’s more than teaching and learning – that teaching and learning encompasses engaging with families, with communities, and with parents.
  2. It has to be coordinated. We have to figure out who is doing what, where is the overlap, and where are the gaps? The idea is that school, community and family partnerships are something that are not only systemic, but they’re also coordinated.
  3. It’s integrated and interwoven throughout everything that happens in the organization – from the person who serves lunch, to an administrative assistant, to a teacher, to a principal. It becomes systemic, integrated and coordinated across the entire organization.
  4. It’s linked to learning. Traditionally, on back-to-school night you go to the auditorium or the cafeteria and they talk at you. They give you rules. Then you go to your child’s class and the teacher talks to you about rules and expectations. Not that any of those things are bad per se, but they’re not linked to mutually beneficial learning. Rather, it could be an avenue whereby parents learn about the school, but the school also learns about the parents.

So, a principal understanding of the infrastructure and framework for doing this work as being systemic, integrated, coordinated and linked to learning takes the sole responsibility off one individual. Because you’re right – there are so many things to do it’s impossible for a principal to do and be in the community. So we make this a school-wide initiative. It’s not an add-on, but what we do at our school.

Are there times when community-based organizations are resistant to the idea of partnering with the school?

Yes, there are organizations that don’t want to partner, or organizations who want to partner for the wrong reasons. One of the things I’ve learned in working with principals is the idea of a rule of three. Look for organizations who really want to partner with the school, and if they can make three tangible connections to the students in the school, that becomes important. They’re not just there serving one population, or one group of students.

There’s also the idea of being place-conscious instead of place-based. In other words, not just being focused on community organizations within your local geography or proximity. The idea of being place-conscious is to look for those partners, either in the city or regionally, that can connect and bring opportunities and support families and children. There will be those folks who don’t want to partner and they’re resistant to it, and that’s fine. We just start looking for those folks who are not only in our proximity where the school is located, but we’re looking for those partners across the city and across the region we can also connect to. I’ve found that to be a way to find other partners who are not resistant and who really want to engage in the work of supporting families in particular communities.

We need to make sure that the work we do is beneficial, for the community, for the children who live in the community, and the families. It’s thinking through some of those ideas and working through the dynamics of a school, particularly communities that have traditionally been underserved and marginalized. We really want to approach it from a place of being genuine, really wanting to do work that is equitable for schools and communities.

Debate Series: Charters and Vouchers

Sac State Debate: Charters and Vouchers are the answer

The Doctorate in Educational Leadership program at Sacramento State will host a Cambridge-style debate at 6-7:30 p.m. on March 20 in the University Union Hinde Auditorium. The debate will be live-streamed on Facebook at

The motion: “Charters and Vouchers are the Answer”

FOR the motion: Chris Stewart, Director of Outreach and External Affairs, Education Post

AGAINST the motion: Julian Vasquez Heilig, Professor of Education Leadership and Policy Studies, Sacramento State

Moderated by Kitty Kelly Epstein, host of the Education Today radio program on KPFA.

Dr. Vasquez Heilig is a Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and the Director of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership program at Sacramento State. He serves as the California NAACP Education Chair and blogs at Cloaking Inequity, consistently rated one of the top 50 education websites in the world by Teach100.

Chris Stewart is Director of Outreach and External Affairs for Education Post, a nonprofit publication covering public schools. He blogs at Citizen Ed, a weekly education reader. He is a former executive director of the African American Leadership Forum and has served on the Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education.

Moderator Kitty Kelly Epstein has a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley and is the author of A Different View of Urban Schools: Civil Rights, Critical Race Theory, and Unexplored Realities. She previously served as Education Director for Oakland Mayor Ronald Dellums and now hosts Education Today, a bi-weekly radio program on KPFA.

Free events for Equity Week March 1-3

Students, faculty and guests are invited to three events March 1-3 during an Equity Week hosted by the Doctorate in Educational Leadership.

Wednesday, March 1
Brown Bag Lunch Series: Rose Borunda
Noon-1 pm, Eureka Hall 223
Based on the doctoral dissertations of Fermin Irigoyen and Viridiana Diaz, this free bilingual story download tells of several families’ experience with the educational system in the United States. Dr. Borunda will provide an overview of the story and the elements that are critical for families to know so they can, in turn, promote their children’s success.


Thursday, March 2
Free movie screening: “Stolen Education”
5:30-7:30 pm, Solano Hall 1010
“Stolen Education” documents the untold story of Mexican-American school children who challenged discrimination in Texas schools in the 1950’s and changed the face of education in the Southwest. This event is co-sponsored by Dr. Enrique Alemán Jr., the President’s Office, the Serna Center and the Doctorate in Educational Leadership.

Screen Shot 2017-02-16 at 12.49.39 PM.png

Friday, March 3

One World Initiative Speaker Christine Sleeter
2-3:30 pm, Mariposa Hall 1000
“Global Perspectives on Inheritance”
Christine Sleeter, Professor Emerita in the College of Professional Studies at California State University, Monterey Bay, will discuss her novel, “White Bread,” a multifaceted work in Critical Multiculturalism and Ethnic Studies through the lens of one teacher’s journey. Presented by One World Initiative at Sacramento State.


Friday, March 3

Leaders in Education Speaker Series: Darrick Hamilton

5-6 pm, Mariposa Hall 1001
In “The Political Economy of Race and Education: Why Economic Disparity Persists Even for High Achieving Black Americans,” equity expert Darrick Hamilton, Director of the Doctoral Program in Public and Urban Policy at The Milano School of International Affairs, The New School in New York, will discuss how paternalism and public policy negatively impacts poor and black Americans.


Legislative acts: How will they impact ELLs?

The Sacramento State Doctorate in Educational Leadership Speaker Series kicks off for the 2016-2017 academic year with a discussion of public school funding at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 2 in the University Union Delta Room.

The speaker is Oscar Jiménez-Castellanos, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Education Policy and Evaluation in Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. He has published extensively on K-12 education finance, policy, parent engagement and their impact on opportunity, equity and outcomes in ethnically and linguistically diverse low-income communities.

His talk, “Examining K-12 school funding Legislation for English Language Learners in California: From Bilingual Education Act to Local Control Funding Formula,” will provide a historical analysis of school funding legislation for English Language Learners in California.

This historical legislative analysis reveals that initially a strong link existed between funding for English Language Learners through bilingual education and a pervasive underfunding of ELLs. However, bilingual education was severely weakened by the sunsetting of the Chacon-Moscone Bilingual Bicultural Education Act in 1986, followed by Proposition 227 in 1998. At the federal level, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) further weakened support for ELLs.

California, however, has once again begun to promote biliteracy and a new wave of school funding through the federal Every Student Succeeds Act and the Local Control Funding Formula in California.

Dr. Jiménez-Castellanos will discuss these developments and ask: “How might these legislative acts impact ELLs and funding in the future? What are some lessons learned?”

Admission is free and open to the public. Directions to the University Union and a campus map are available at

Tonight at 5:30 p.m., “Cracks in the Schoolyard”- Hear Gilberto Conchas confront Latino educational inequality


In his book, “Cracks in the Schoolyard—Confronting Latino Educational Inequality,” Gilberto Q. Conchas challenges deficit models of schooling and turns school failure on its head. He will share his research with the Sacramento State community at 5:30 p.m. tonight, Friday, April 29, in the Lobby Suite of the University Union. To RSVP, click here.

“Cracks in the Schoolyard” goes beyond presenting critical case studies of social inequality and education. It features achievement cases that depict Latinos as active actors – not hopeless victims – in the quest for social and economic mobility. Dr. Conchas examined the ways in which college students, high school youth, English language learners, immigrant Latino parents, queer homeless youth, the children of Mexican undocumented immigrants, and undocumented immigrant youth all work in local settings to improve their quality of life and advocate for their families and communities. Taken together, these counternarratives will help educators and policymakers fill the cracks in the schoolyard that often create disparity and failure for youth and young adults.

Join us tonight at 5:30 p.m.! For directions to the University Union on the Sacramento State campus, click here.