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Black Women Speaking From Within

Essays and Experiences in Higher Education

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Edited By Kelly K. Hope

In Black Women Speaking From Within: Essays and Experiences in Higher Education, contributors use intersectional and interdisciplinary lenses to share the ways in which they understand, navigate, resist, and transform student services, learning, teaching, and existing in the academy. This book explores and discusses the following question: How do Black women experience and perceive place and agency in higher education? Black Women Speaking From Within draws upon the influence organizational culture, sense-making, and sisterhood has on praxis and pedagogy and places the Black woman’s stories and experiences at the center of the conversation.

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Chapter 6: Calling All the Sisters: Sister Circles as a Form of Institutional Responsibility to Black Womyn Collegians (Courtney Allen)

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Chapter 6: Calling All the Sisters: Sister Circles as a Form of Institutional Responsibility to Black Womyn Collegians

BY COURTNEY ALLEN1

This book chapter will focus on the importance of sister circles at predominantly White institutions (PWIs), to support the holistic student experience of Black womyn2 collegians (BWCs) in higher education. In addition, this chapter will provide ways in which institutions can take institutional responsibility for BWCs experiences while attending PWIs. I will explore the experience of BWCs at PWIs, the responsibility of institutions, and the future for BWCs. The topic of BWCs experiences is important because there is a need for more literature focused on how PWIs should support BWCs. My hope is that this chapter will provide the tools necessary for faculty, staff and administrators to more holistically serve BWCs.

Black womyn in college, whether they are undergraduate or graduate students, require support during their student experience because of the various challenges they face juggling two salient identities - being Black and being a womyn. Many BWCs feel alone and attacked emotionally by the patriarchal, sexist climate that exist on many PWI campuses. Researchers Rosales and Person (2003) explained:

…given this challenge, African American womyn need extensive support to succeed in college—support that is inclusive of their academic, social, cultural, economic, career, interpersonal, and intrapersonal needs. This broad-based support should provide a basis for these womyn to engage in a holistic educational experience...

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