The Peer Review Process. Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a conversation on the Clubhouse app where the topic was on the peer review process. The organizers of the session were from diverse academic backgrounds including education and artificial intelligence (AI). Also, participants in the Clubhouse room were from different disciplines such as the biological sciences, engineering, cultural studies, etc. And, of course, consistent with the Clubhouse community, the room was packed with people from all over the world which was really cool! The gatherers spent nearly two hours questioning the peer review process. (My video is shorter!)
Judging from avatars (or profile pics) and people's voices, participants were also representative of diverse racial, ethnic, linguistic, and cultural groups. Nevertheless, I listened to students and tenure-track professors raise questions and comment on the state of the peer review process. For the most part, the session might've been described as an informational session on the peer review process, but some of us who are more familiar with the peer review and publication process might've described it as a venting session. I am going to place the tone of the conversation into two categories:
What is the problem with the peer review process? Honestly, I am grateful that the organizers of the Clubhouse room decided to host the discussion. I learned a lot as a research scholar and a person invested in the peer review process. What did I learn as an insider/outsider? What were some sentiments expressed? I would say that much of the sentiments from the conveners and participants (or those making comments and asking questions) were that certain disciplines are harsher in criticism, bias toward so-called newcomers, and/or scientists who present novice ideas are automatically rejected for those ideas. Also, some people seemed to believe that the peer review process itself lacked organization and consistency across organizations. I personally learned that many people are not really aware of the purpose of the peer review process and that there is a lack of trust in the process.
Is the peer review process intimidating for scholars? In some cases, I could also sense a feeling of intimidation or worry about the expectation to participate in the peer review process. Eventually, I did raise my hand to "go on stage" to attempt to provide some insight into the peer review process from two perspectives: as a Black woman scholar and someone who has extensive experience serving behind the scenes in a variety of capacities in the peer review process (e.g. Associate Editor, Series Editor, Review Board, author, conference chair, etc.). I am not sure that I am ready to state unequivocally that there is a lack of transparency in the peer review process, but I do believe that there is a lack of knowledge of the peer review process, which could be related to issues of equity and access. With that said, I created a video to demystify the peer review process. We all can benefit from knowing what the peer review process entails!
Tips for navigating the peer review process. Take notes! After viewing the video on YouTube (and please subscribe so I can continue to make such content free and accessible), be sure to take a look at the list of tips under the video that I provide for graduate students, new authors, and tenure track faculty for navigating the peer review process.
Finally, check out my book, "Black Feminism in Qualitative Inquiry: A Mosaic for Writing Our Daughter's Body" for a straight-forward discussion on bias in the academic/scientific research process itself! ?
Please leave comments here (below) or on Youtube, if you have more questions about the peer review process.
In the struggle for our humanity,
Dozens of parents have asked me about homeschooling. I am honestly back on the fence. Not about homeschooling itself, but about how to homeschool. There are different models of homeschooling and each model can be beneficial depending on the child's and parents' needs. No school system or homeschool curriculum is perfect!
Here are my biggest observations and takeaways (I speak as a mother of 2, Professor, a clinician, and someone who has taught outside of the U.S. in African schools):
1. Many homeschool models are reflective of traditional schooling such as 8am starts and 3pm end times, and math, science, and reading. Other programs are simply "supports" for parents. For me, I loved the shutdown of schools or social distancing from whiteness. I didn't like how school made my child a zombie. I love that she is sleeping in and waking up vibrant, energetic, and is a social being again (she works out with her dad at 4:30am/5am); and she is no longer expected to be a miniature adult attempting to avoid fights with adults or other students.
I'm not in support of homeschool programs that go from 8-3pm. I do not believe a child's brain needs to be guided by adults via technology for 6 hours out of the day. Go read! Sit in the sun! Talk to other people! Color! Draw! Or, just be! (But, no t.v. or too much social media lol). I did find one program whose motto was no more than 4 hours a day of online learning.
2. Some homeschool sites' online presence is "clunky" and/or doesn't provide enough information for parents to make an informed decision. Second, most parents are not experts on homeschooling. An organization's or businesses' online resources should be streamlined and transparent. What are you asking of us? Our children? What are your prices? What is the curriculum?
3. Some homeschool programs center culture (e.g. everything from cooking to travel to Africa courses!), but may lack what I might think is an essential skill such as a foreign language (e.g. Spanish or Swahili). Finally, culture should be at the center of all education. Period. But, we have to be careful of throwing everything in the "pot", because it looks and feels good to adults. For example, the number one language spoken by Africans is Swahili (outside of Africa is Spanish!). Shouldn't Black children be learning one or both of these languages? With that said, how do parents choose a curriculum that infuses culture and practicality?
Okay, this post is now too long!
In the struggle for our humanity,
"Not your mother's therapist, or your brother's life coach."
A Boss Chick's Guide to Mindfulness Meditation:
Every Boss Chick needs this workbook. I've compiled a sweet and simple guide to mindfulness meditation with Black women at the center of this practice!
Readers will learn:
In the workbook, I combined everything I've learned over the years as a therapist, who embraces psycho-spiritual psychology, with my research knowledge of Black women to bring you a methodology to begin your personal journey with mindfulness meditation. Trust and believe, if you read my book, "Black Feminism in Qualitative Inquiry: A Mosaic for Writing Our Daughter's Body" (Routledge Press), you already know how mindfulness meditation influenced my research and creative writing process as well.
Grab your favorite pen, light a candle, and start your mindfulness meditation journal today with me, Dr. V!
"I simply want to help Black people reclaim healing practices that are natural to who we are and not depended on Western pharmaceuticals and the oppressors interpretations of indigenous knowledge."
~Empress Dr. V
Activist Scholar. Cultural Worker. Healer. Mother.
Black Feminist Research
Black Women Scholars
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