Visiting scholar Dr. Margaret Sallee earned her PhD in Urban Education with a focus in Higher Education along with a Graduate Certificate in Gender Studies from the University of Southern California. Today she is a faculty member at the University at Buffalo in New York state and was a visiting scholar at SFU’s Faculty of Education from September until October 2017 working in collaboration with Dr. Rebecca Cox.
Drs. Cox and Sallee are no strangers to each other. Five years ago they worked together editing a journal on using qualitative research to inform policy. The fruits from this project led them to develop a friendship. “Three years ago, Becky and I were talking about how can we collaborate based on our own research interests” said Dr. Sallee. “I chose to work with Becky because my line of work has not been in community colleges, so I wanted to push myself to learn something new. It has been very productive”.
Dr. Cox’s scholarship is in Higher Education with an emphasis on access and engagement at the college level while Dr. Sallee’s dissertation work looked at graduate students and the socialization experience of men in English and Mechanical Engineering. She explored how these students were socialized to be men in each discipline. “It was really interesting work.” Next, Dr. Sallee, studied work/family issues and how they influence faculty work, the way that people structure their lives, and the kind of work they are able to do. Their collaboration emerged from the combination of both of their scholarships and she explains: “We are trying to understand the ways that students, who are also parents, navigate their studies and parenthood and how the college structure and social norms in each country either facilitates or hinders their success”.
As a result of this partnership, both scholars have published an article in the Journal of Higher Education on neo-liberalism and how it affects the ways that colleges operate and what that means to student-parents. “The manuscript that we are working right now, we are thinking a little bit about the construct of the ideal worker which suggests that a worker, in this case a student, is available to work fulltime and has no family responsibilities in a home,” Dr. Sallee reflects. Currently in the analysis and writing phase, they are looking at the implications that has for students specially if the institutions and the colleges don’t recognize the student’s roles outside of the campus.
Reflecting on her experience, as they move beyond the project, Dr. Sallee comments, “Everybody has been very welcoming while I have been here. Just like I have used the project as an opportunity to learn about community college life, I’ve really enjoyed my sabbatical here to learn about life at a Canadian university”.