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AACTE Holmes Scholars Thrive at Dissertation Retreat, Research Symposium

Many of your institutions have championed the AACTE Holmes Scholars® Program by establishing local programs, while others have yet to realize the potential of the program to meet not only individual universities’ needs but the greater goals of the profession—such as AACTE’s strategic goal to launch and sustain systemwide initiatives to promote the diversity of the professional community and to prepare educators who can serve diverse learners. On May 15-16, this trajectory gained steam in Tallahassee, Florida, where officials from Florida A&M University (FAMU), the University of Central Florida (UCF), the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni (NASHA), and AACTE gathered with scholars from member institutions for the Holmes Scholars Dissertation Retreat on the FAMU campus.

In a stimulating question-and-answer session, Holmes Scholars alumni and current scholars considered career trajectories and strategies to overcome fears and obstacles. Panelists discussed engaging in more quantitative research in order to add gravitas to portfolios, while others offered battle-tested strategies for navigating the politics of higher education. During writing sessions, I witnessed a tremendous amount of mentoring, as trailblazers such as Carolyn Hopp, Sheila Moore, and Phyllis Metcalf-Turner nurtured the 30-plus scholars as if they belonged to their institutions.

Throughout the retreat, I kept hearing an overarching theme—the notion that all scholars should view themselves as advocates, as James Moore III posited, compelled to enact the change they want to see take place. With AACTE’s Washington Week on the horizon, scholars will soon gain new tools to facilitate change through interaction with Washington politicos, U.S. Department of Education officials, AACTE staff, Holmes Scholars alumni, and other education policy representatives.

Although it currently targets doctoral students, the AACTE Holmes Scholars Program may expand its scope to other university programs and even into the PK-12 community, to further elevate efforts to diversify the profession. Rodrick Lucero, AACTE’s vice president for member engagement and support, explained this vision for expansion in an invited address to participants at the Tallahassee retreat, highlighting the opportunity for Holmes Scholars to extend the benefits of mentorship and support through more of the academic continuum. Lucero, who joined me at the symposium in support of the Holmes Scholars Program, also had an opportunity to meet with the alumni leadership to share our combined mission and commitment to bringing underrepresented populations into the profession.

For more information about the Holmes Scholars Program, visit aacte.org.

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Omar Davis

Manager of Member Engagement, AACTE

Comments (4)

  • Dianne Mark


    What a great opportunity for the scholars. As a Holmes Scholar Alum, I know the importance of presenting your work early, getting feedback, having intellectual conversations, and networking. As a new member to AACTE Board of Directors, I am excited to hear about expansion of the scope of the program.


  • Christine Carrino Gorowara


    Very informative article about this valuable program. Wonderful to hear about the support provided and the additional opportunities planned!


  • Desmond S. Hodge


    The AACTE Holmes Scholars Dissertation Retreat, Research Symposium provided a dynamic environment for research conceptualization and writing, peer-to-peer collaboration, mentoring, and fellowship with both current scholars and alums. I am grateful, as well as honored to be a member of The AACTE Holmes Scholars network!


  • Terrance McNeil


    This was a great experience for me as a doctoral student. Outstanding! There was a session that helped me to develop a concept map for my research. I was also able to unpack my RQ’s thanks to the guidance of Dr. Hopp and others. Dr. Moore and NAHSA are to be commended for providing this activity for doctoral students.


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