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2015 Thought & Action Call for Papers

Equity, Diversity, and Social Justice

The Thought & Action Review Panel invites submissions for Equity, Diversity, and Social Justice, a special-focus section of the Spring 2015 issue.

For the first time, more non-White students than White students will attend U.S. public schools this year. We are a nation that grows ever more diverse, from our kindergarten classrooms to our university labs, and yet we still have much work to do to create and enable higher education that honors human rights and equality.

Within the context of this special focus, consider race: Just one in three Black men graduate from college. Hispanic graduation rates also lag. With that in mind, it may not be surprising that just 4 percent of U.S. faculty are Hispanic and 6 percent Black. What are the answers to bridging the graduation gap, and how do we diversify our own ranks as faculty and staff? Do HBCUs and HSIs specifically serve a role? Is affirmative action dead?

Consider class: Who gets shut out of a college education when the nations student debt tops $1.2 trillion? And what are the consequences? Consider gender: While American women graduate at greater rates than men, they also are more likely to be sexually assaulted during college than any other time in their lives. How do we stop the predation? Also, of note: In 2014, women faculty members are still paid less than men, and women are more likely to be contingent academic laborers. What role must our staff and faculty unions take in remedying these issues?

Consider our LGBT students: Out of the closet, yes, but into campus-based programs that meet their specific needs? Maybe no. Consider our veteran students: How well do we serve those who served our nation? Additionally, please also consider our students with mental health issues: More than 25 percent of college students have been diagnosed or treated by a professional for a mental health condition, and these conditions too often are barriers to academic success.

As always, other submissions about issues in higher education, including the art of teaching, are welcome and will be considered apart from the special-focus section. New scholars and voices are encouraged to submit, as are poets and visual artists. Please understand the panel prefers short to long, and hopes to cultivate a reader-friendly tone. Please also appreciate that specific guidelines around style must be followed or submissions will be returned. All submissions will be entered into the annual competition for three $2,500 NEA Excellence in the Academy awards. For more guidelines, visit or inquire of Editor Mary Ellen Flannery at

Submissions are due January 15, 2015.