Research News

Inaugural R.A.C.E. Mentoring Conference for scholars of color held at Vanderbilt

Donna Y. Ford (left) led the The R.A.C.E. Mentoring conference was held at the Wyatt Center at Vanderbilt's Peabody College. (Photos by Susan Urmy/Vanderbilt)
Donna Y. Ford (left) led the The R.A.C.E. Mentoring conference July 14-16. To her left is Ramon Goings, assistant professor of education leadership at Loyola University Maryland. (Susan Urmy/Vanderbilt)

Vanderbilt hosted its inaugural R.A.C.E. (Research, Advocacy, Collaboration, Empowerment) Mentoring Conference, a partnership with Tennessee State University, July 14-16. The gathering was supported by Vanderbilt’s Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

More than 160 doctoral students, higher education faculty and P-12 educators from across the country gathered at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development to take part in workshops, panel discussions and networking. Institutions represented included University of Georgia, University of Memphis, University of West Georgia, Tennessee State University, Illinois State University, Howard University, Texas A&M University, University of Southern California and others.

The R.A.C.E. Mentoring conference was held at the Wyatt Center at Vanderbilt's Peabody College.
The R.A.C.E. Mentoring conference was held at the Wyatt Center at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College. About 160 scholars attended. ( Susan Urmy/Vanderbilt)

The weekend of collaboration included 25 sessions that addressed critical topics for scholars of color, including academic journal writing, branding and social media, principals transitioning into higher education, developing professional learning communities, impostor syndrome, stereotype threats and more.

The event was an extension of the R.A.C.E. Mentoring research of Donna Y. Ford, a professor of special education at Peabody. Her collaborators include Michelle Trotman Scott, associate professor of special education at the University of West Georgia, and Malik S. Henfield, associate professor of counseling psychology at the University of San Francisco.

Professors, graduate students and P-12 leaders discussed the unique challenges faced by scholars of color in academia. (Susan Urmy/Vanderbilt)

“Having Tennessee State University co-sponsor the conference speaks volumes about our mutual desire to ensure that educators of color thrive educationally and professionally,” Ford said. “The highlight for me was connecting with scholars from across the nation, many from HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) who were visiting Vanderbilt’s campus for the first time. I truly believe that strong bonds were created and attendees left empowered.”

Peabody professors who served on panels included Nicole M. Joseph, assistant professor of mathematics education in the Department of Teaching and Learning, and Anjali Forber-Pratt, assistant professor in the Department of Human and Organizational Development.

Social time was included and attendees were given the chance to experience the campus as well as area attractions. (Susan Urmy/Vanderbilt)

Participants live-tweeted all weekend using the hashtag #ThisIsRM.

See full RM Conference schedule here.

Learn more about R.A.C.E. Mentoring.