CDMS 2008-2009 Fellows




Ruth Nicole Brown
Assistant Professor
Gender and Women's Studies & Educational Policy Studies

“Not What They Said But How They Said It: The Political Courage of Black Girls and Women in Their Everday Experiences"

As a unique application of critical pedagogy and civic engaged scholarship Dr. Brown created and co-facilitates Saving Our Lives Hear Our Truths (SOLHOT), an arts-infused space that is dedicated to documenting the lived experiences of Black female students (from middle school to graduate students) for the purpose of producing knowledge that is relevant, action-oriented, and collaborative. In SOLHOT, Black women and girls creatively engage with and work against the obstacles in their daily lives. Working against and through a dominant culture that claims their race, gender, class, age, and sexuality cause their "problem behavior," these Black women and girls work together to disrupt contemporary discourses of Black girlhood as inherently problematic. Her research analyzes the kinds of individual and collective actions Black girls and women courageously take to intervene on their own behalf. Beyond contributing to academic theories of civic engagement and democratic participation research findings articulate the significance of SOLHOT as a collaborative project between the university and community that exemplify principles and practices of a self-affirming and critically engaged educational experience.



Julie A. Dowling
Assistant Professor
Latina/Latino Studies Program

"Racial Segregation in Student Housing at the University of Illinois"

Chicago area high schools are some of the most racially segregated in the nation. And, as students transition to the University of Illinois, their placement in the campus housing system transposes these racial divisions onto the university landscape. This project will explore race and space on campus, specifically focusing on the student dormitories. Currently, African American and Latino students are disproportionately housed in two residential halls. Using student demographic data, this project will investigate how race, socio-economic status and neighborhood of origin influence placement in the UIUC dorms. Furthermore, it will explore the racial composition of student networks and perceptions of race relations through a campus survey.






Sharon S. Lee

Educational Policy Studies

"(Un)seen and (Un)heard: Defining Asian American "Minority" Status at the University of Illinois, 1968-2005"

This project examines the evolution of academic and support services for Asian American students at the University of Illinois from 1968-2005. During this time, the university did not define Asian American students as minorities because of they were not underrepresented. Asian American students challenged this rationale, pushing the boundaries of minority status measured by parity alone, expressing their needs for culturally and racially relevant curriculum programs. This study challenges higher education administrators' perception of Asian American students as problem-free "model minorities" and highlights the continued salience of race in Asian American students' experiences.



Aimee Rickman
Community Development

"Cyberbullying and racial inclusion: Drawing virtual lines on campus? "

Little research examines how race is involved in cyberbullying.  This project seeks to draw upon a recently built framework to question how cyberbullying contributes to the racial climate at the University of Illinois.  Using case study methodology, the online forums of the student newspaper will be examined to probe how cyberbullying is involved in the university’s effort to support campus diversity and racial inclusion.  How is race expressed, regarded, and negotiated in this virtual campus space that does not permit real bodies, but that is able to publicly and anonymously address real people?  How do online exchanges shape the appearance and tenor of conversations around campus diversity and racial inclusion?  The influence of these exchanges on campus climate will be of central importance. 





Center on Democracy in a Multiracial Society
1108 W Stoughton, Urbana, IL 61801
Phone: 217.244.0188 Fax: 217.333.8122 E-mail: