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Diverse by Design

Literacy Education in Multicultural Institutions

Christopher Schroeder

Publication Year: 2011

Conflicts surrounding linguistic diversity are central to Diverse by Design, an institutional case study of an Hispanic-Serving Institution—in fact, the most ethnically diverse university in the midwest—situated within a metropolitan area shaped by immigration and migration. Christopher Schroeder examines the interactions of the institution and individuals, highlighting a cohort of Latino students enrolled in a special admissions program. He analyzes the ways that institutional language policies and literacy philosophies shape student experience within this institution, where ethnolinguistic diversity is framed as an educational obstacle to overcome rather than an intellectual opportunity to exploit.

Published by: Utah State University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. ix

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pp. xi-xxiii

Often discussions of “multiculturalism” or “diversity” recycle the same rhetorical platitudes that urge us (meaning the peoples of the U.S.) to “celebrate our differences,” that assert vacuously that “our differences are our strengths,” or that patriotically echo our currency in declaring wishfully...

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Different Standards: Prologue

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pp. xxv-xxvi

No one thinks they need Tagalog, so if they are going to learn it, I must teach them, which means that I must learn it first.
They hear Tagalog at their tita's house where their lolo and lola also live, but we are much more comfortable in English. ...

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Part One: The Problems

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pp. 1-27

I admit I was surprised.
At the time, I acknowledged, if not agreed with, the complaints of colleagues who, when they looked from behind podiums, perceived problems. More than eight in ten of us, according to a survey in the Chronicle of Higher Education...

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Different Standards: Part I

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pp. 29-32

I unlocked my office to find a copy of the campus newspaper that someone had slid beneath the door. I stepped over it and around it as I unpacked my bag and gathered folders for class. With a few minutes before I had to leave, I picked up the newspaper and dropped into a chair. I soon guessed why it was there. ...

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1. The Most (Ethnically) Diverse University in the Midwest

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pp. 33-66

Although NEIU, according to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, is considered a public four-year institution, no one—neither students nor faculty—can come to this institution without learning, often before arriving, that it is a diverse institution: ....

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Different Standards: Part II

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pp. 67-69

When the first plane struck, I had just arrived in my office and begun streaming the radio.
I called home several times before our campus was closed, and my commute, typically twenty minutes by bus, took more than an hour. Inbound lanes toward Manhattan, and the rest of the country...

Part Two: Everyday Experiences at Neiu

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2. Proyecto Pa'Lante Students

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pp. 73-110

When we started at NEIU, the Proyecto Pa’Lante (PP) students and I had no way of knowing that the university would soon be recognized as the most outstanding member institution within the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), an association of more than 450 institutions...

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Different Standards: Part III

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pp. 111-114

Throughout the fall, the Language Skills Assessment Task Force completed its review of literacy instruction on campus, and I started my survey of the Proyecto Pa'Lante students. Meanswhile, the union was negotiating a new contract, which had been extended, month by month since the summer...

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3. One of their Teachers

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pp. 115-141

When Neida told me she wanted to be a lawyer but her LSAT scores weren’t good enough, we were sitting around a table near the coffee stand in the noisy student union, discussing the session of her PP seminar class I had just observed. ...

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4. Marked for Life

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pp. 142-162

Time has not lessened the pain of my mother’s humiliations. She came to this country as a teenager, not knowing the language. She’d been a straight A student in Mexico but found herself working a factory job in Chicago. She escaped a life of blistered hands on the assembly line by studying...

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5. Language, Ethnicity, and Higher Education

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pp. 163-174

One of my main reasons to come to the United States was “to dominate the English.” For me to dominate the language meant to lose the accent, speak quickly, understand all English speakers, learn all the idioms, read books in English, sing in English, and dream in English. ...

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Different Standards: Part IV

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pp. 175-178

I later learned that after the Language Skills Assessment Task Force submitted its final report, the Faculty Council on Academic Affairs established another committee—the Writing Implementation Task Force—that reached similar conclusions: a need for better coordination...

Part Three: Connections and Conclusions

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6. Practices, Policies, Philosophies, and Politics

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pp. 181-212

Despite our difficulties with diversity, our belief in education endures, especially among ethnolinguistic minorities. For example, a recent editorial entitled “Educación para Toda la Familia” (Hoy 2008) in a local newspaper suggests that educational opportunities are available to everyone...

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Different Standards: Conclusions

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pp. 213-219

As a result of the HSI funds for the campuswide writing program, new full-time instructors were hired, and the first-year composition curriculum was revised. Although my uncertainties had seeped beyond my administrative aptitudes, I nonetheless hoped to acknowledge these uncertainties...

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7. An Afterword and a Reminder

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pp. 220-223

Let me begin with a confession. Everything that follows draws on an essay I cowrote with C. Jan Swearingen and Susan McDowall. And, really, Susan McDowall gets the real credit for what’s here. The original essay appears in Research on Composition: Multiple Perspectives on Two Decades of Change, edited by Peter Smagorinsky. ...


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pp. 224-236


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pp. 237-238

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About the Author

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pp. 239

Christopher Schroeder is associate professor of English at Northeastern Illinois University, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in composition, ethnolinguistics, and U.S. literatures. He is author of the book ReInventing the University: Literacies and Legitimacy in the Postmodern Academy (Utah State University Press 2001)...

E-ISBN-13: 9780874218077
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874218060

Page Count: 232
Illustrations: none
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: 1st Edition

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Literacy -- Social aspects -- United States -- Case studies.
  • Hispanic Americans -- Ethnic identity -- Case studies.
  • English language -- Study and teaching -- Spanish speakers -- Case studies.
  • Hispanic Americans -- Education (Higher) -- Case studies.
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