(Up)Lifting As We Climb
Inspired by the work and mentorship of Dr. Amanda E. Vickery, Dr. Foster designed this study to explore two factors that are critical to the success of Black women and women of color in the EdD LOC program. The first factor relates to how the cohort model contributes to the institution of othermothering, a cultural experience in the Black community in which women collaborate with blood-mothers in mothering responsibilities (Collins, 1990). As othermothers in the educational context, Black teachers and faculty assume the spiritual and moral obligation to uplift their students by attending to both their psychological and academic needs (Collins, 2009; Cooper, 1892/1988; Guiffrida, 2005; Thompson, 1998; Vickery, 2021). In this circumstance, the sense of othermothering is illuminated in the nurturing and bonding practices of Dr. Foster with nine students in her affinity group as well as how the students themselves organically assume the role of mother, sister, and daughter in supporting each other while striving to earn their doctorate (McCallum, 2020). As ongoing research, this study aims to situate the necessity of meaningful female friendships at kitchen tables in higher education (Baker-Bell, 2017; Davis, 2018; Goins, 2011; Hughes & Heuman, 2006; Scott, 2000). The second factor relates to the concept of “when and where” (Cooper, 1892/1988) Black women carve out space to define themselves as scholars. The ways in Black women communicate and the rich meaning in their linguistic choices are often predicated on crossing multiple cultural and physical borders (Scott, 2000). When afforded authentic space, Black women’s sister-to-sister talk and congenial conversations (Few et al., 2003) not only underscore their scholarly identity but also help them make sense of the dissertation research process without encountering judgment.
Alysia (Hunt) Williams