The MRN welcomes Dr. Jessica Harris as this year’s Scholar in Residence. After being approached by the Outgoing Co-Chair, Victoria Malaney, to join the MRN team, Dr. Harris happily accepted. I had the pleasure of asking her some questions about her career, research interests, and involvement in the MRN.
Dr. Harris is currently an Assistant Professor in the Higher Education and Organizational Change division of the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She teaches master’s and doctoral courses including Student Development Theory, Research in Student Affairs, and Race and Racism in Higher Education. While she acknowledges some challenges in navigating the politics of the tenure track as a young woman of color, she finds satisfaction and encouragement in working alongside and cultivating relationships with colleagues and students. Other rewarding aspects of her career include supporting students with their graduate research and the data collection process, which she often finds to be “empowering and cathartic.”
Though we highlight her work on multiraciality, Dr. Harris has had multiple research interests. As she tells the students she works with, research interests can change considerably and evolve over time. For example, before exploring multiraciality, her original interest was to study what she describes as “white undergraduate men’s development of social justice consciousness.” Yet, her multiracial identity became increasingly salient throughout the first year of her PhD program at the University of Denver. This developing multiracial identity shifted her research interests toward an exploration of multiraciality in education. As she puts it, “My research became me-search.”
Currently, she focuses on two different strands of research: multiraciality in higher education and women of color survivors of campus sexual violence. Through her research, she aims to “destabilize interlocking systems of domination that are embedded throughout higher education and work to influence the experiences of people of color on campus,” including students, faculty and staff. For example, she explores how structures of domination influence the experiences of women of color survivors of campus sexual violence.
She was drawn to the MRN because of the much-needed space and opportunity it provides to higher education professionals to have meaningful conversations on multiraciality and racial equity in education.
Welcome to the team. We are excited to work with you!
–Annette Girion, MRN Scholarship & Resources Coordinator
Follow Dr. Harris on Twitter @DrJessicaHarris.
Check out some of her most recent work on multiraciality in education at the following links:
Multiracial Women Students and Racial Stereotypes on the College Campus: https://muse.jhu.edu/article/663303
Navigating the academic borderlands as multiracial and trans* faculty members: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17508487.2017.1356340
Toward a critical multiracial theory in education: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09518398.2016.1162870