Professor, Adult and Higher Education Director
This is what community organizing looks like and this is what adult and higher education looks like! Never before has adult education been so critical to our society than now with the Trump regime. As an adult and higher education leader I focus on supporting students and the public to critically think through and question socio-cultural and political assumptions, that is by "reading the word" we are better able to "read the world" and expand the public good (Freire & Macedo, 1987).
I am an educational sociologist and my areas of interest are in immigration and education, international and comparative education, adult and higher education, e-learning and community technologies. I direct the Adult & Higher Education program in the Department of Health & Community Studies in Woodring College of Education. I have worked in a range of educational settings including jails, libraries, community colleges, and non-profits, and with disenfranchised groups and non-traditional students. Pivotal in my work is academic activism, with community-university partnerships---researching and teaching these through intersectional and critical approaches. My 2013 publication, Deskilling Migrant Women in the Global Care Industry
focuses on highly skilled immigrant women who were caregivers to older persons in England and their downward mobility in the labor market. I studied the risks that these pioneer immigrants took in gambling on low-level jobs as stepping stones towards a better livelihood for themselves and their families. I profiled these participants' trajectories, situations and adaptations as they came to terms with dead end jobs and adjusted their aspirations. They communicated with their transnational families and found supports but were unable to secure professional jobs, or pathways to careers, in England.
My scholarship in in the U.S. has focused on the nexus of economic justice and migrancy with Washington State as a case study. Beginning 2014, I interviewed high-skilled and low-skilled immigrants in Washington State and their ICT-based cross-border communication with their transnational families, and the impact of family separation and reunification on language, labor, support, and their economic and social mobility. The findings are featured in my 2017 book, Transnational Family Communication: Immigrants and ICTs (Palgrave MacMillan). I produced a documentary as well on a immigrant child care worker which premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival.
In another Seattle-based project, I have focused on the ways under-represented community college students mentor immigrants and refugees transitioning out of homelessness, in a project sponsored by the Low-Income Housing Institute and the President of Western Washington University. See project website. Using a model of community-based education, these students mentor the residents and create a participatory action research project with social justice outcomes.