UNT's La Colectiva mentor network is blazing trails. Founded in 2012 through the Mutual Mentoring Grant Program, the mentoring team offers professional development opportunities to women faculty of color. The group, now over 10 members strong and continually expanding, holds bi-monthly meetings with an emphasis on scholarship, tenure, promotion, retention, and teaching. The group recently expanded their reach by collaborating with the Black Women's Initative (BWI), another network supported by the Office for Faculty Success grant program. The group's success is based on interdisciplinary scholarship and affinity as women and racial minorities in academia. Past successes and the daunting statistics that face the La Colectiva demographic speak to the urgency and impact of the group.
The grant program enables the group to:
- Address the multiple challenges that women of color faculty experience in academia as women and ethnic minorities.
- Create a collective space for exchanging ideas and writing strategies about common scholarly interests and pedagogical strategies grounded in Latina and Ethnic studies.
- Send members to visit WIRED (Women Investigating Race, Ethnicity, and Difference) to learn from the successes and challenges of their mentoring program.
- Organize a symposium at UNT in collaboration with the BWI to share lessons learned and knowledge generated from the visit to WIRED.
- Write a collective manuscript to explain La Colectiva as a Women of Color Faculty Mentoring Success Model.
This spring, two members of La Colectiva will visit the University of Washington's WIRED (Women Investigating Race, Ethinicty, and Difference) program to learn about mentoring frameworks and the scholarly strategies that WIRED women of color have created to engage with the institution.
On the local front, La Colectiva plans to co-host a symposium in April 2015 to present the information synthesized from La Colectiva/WIRED conversations to the general UNT audience. Members hope to generate strategies that address the multiple needs of female faculty while acknowledging the intersectionality of these experiences. By creating spaces that support scholarship grounded in a variety of intellectual traditions such as feminist studies, ethnic studies, and action research, UNT's La Colectiva is leading the way for collaborative partnerships and interdisciplinary work.