The new fellowship, sponsored by the New England Board of Higher Education’s (NEBHE) North Star Collective, was created by Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) faculty for BIPOC faculty to support their professional development. The fellowship will augment fellows’ writing, publishing endeavors, and overall wellbeing, which are all essential to advancement, tenure, and promotion.
“I am thrilled that [Estera and James] are our Endicott representatives in the inaugural year of this fellowship,” said Brandi Johnson, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer. “Their involvement is not only beneficial to them, but to all of our future BIPOC faculty. I am looking forward to learning from Dr. James and Dr. Estera and continuing to make Endicott a community of belonging.”
The North Star Collective (NSC) is both a group of New England colleges and universities committed to transforming their institutions and uplifting BIPOC faculty members and a series of NEBHE initiatives to lead the region in restorative justice efforts. Endicott College is one of NSC’s 13 founding members.
Fellows each receive a $1,500 grant for research, publication, and ongoing professional development and workshops, including an intensive three-day mentored writing retreat in January 2022.
“As a new faculty member, I’m thrilled for this opportunity,” said Estera, a graduate instructor and advisor in the School of Education. “As a Filipina, Asian American, and woman of color, BIPOC communities have played a large role in grounding, sustaining, and guiding me throughout my time in higher education. The North Star Collective would similarly be an invaluable community of mutual support as I endeavor toward establishing myself as a scholar in the field of higher education.”
During the fellowship, Estera plans to begin a research project that examines the experiences of women of color in online graduate programs and how they understand and navigate time within their studies.
“The literature on temporality in academia and online learning rarely consider the experiences of women of color specifically, yet their perspectives could bear many implications for improving pedagogy in online spaces,” she said. “This fellowship will provide an even stronger foundation to my work at Endicott. I hope to develop and sustain a writing practice that helps me prioritize writing amid competing responsibilities. From this experience, I want to commit to paying it forward and cultivating more BIPOC spaces for faculty on Endicott's campus.”
James, an assistant professor of sociology, is writing a book on her study of the veterinary profession, which has historically been white-dominated and increasingly women-dominated. James conducted in-depth, qualitative interviews with 44 veterinary school students and employed veterinarians to uncover the problems at the heart of the struggle to recruit and retain a more diverse veterinary medical workforce.
“The North Star Collective Faculty Fellowship will connect me with a diverse network of scholars who can provide constructive feedback on my book manuscript,” she said. “In addition, the fellowship stipend will allow me to seek the services of a developmental editor who can help guide me through the process of writing a successful book proposal.”
According to the NEBHE, the NSC’s name has several historical and contemporary influences. “North Star” pays homage to enslaved Africans and African Americans who used the North Star in the night sky to guide them to freedom. The name is also a nod to the antislavery newspaper The North Star, published by abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
“I am excited for both of our professors and truly appreciate their dedication to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging on our campus and beyond,” added Johnson.
Learn more about the fellowship and the New England Board of Higher Education.