BOONE, N.C. — In May, Stylus Publishing released “Straddling Class in the Academy” — the third book by Dr. Sonja Ardoin, assistant professor of student affairs administration in the Department of Human Development and Psychological Counseling in Appalachian State University’s Reich College of Education (RCOE). Ardoin co-authored the book with Dr. becky martinez, an organizational development consultant and trainer with Infinity Martinez Consulting.
The text features content on the complexity of social class, stories from 26 individuals (students, administrators and faculty members) within higher education, Ardoin and martinez’s narrative analysis of the stories, and implications for policy and practice.
“This book began as a conversation that Dr. martinez and I had after facilitating a conference session; the time felt too short for the topic, and we knew not everyone interested had the ability to attend conferences,” Ardoin explained. “We wanted to open the conversation around social class identity and higher education to more people.”
Ardoin continued, “We believe storytelling is a form of social justice, and we hope the combination of the 26 stories in the book and our recommendations for policy and practice allow higher education institutions to advance social class equity.”
In her review of the book, Dr. Rosemary J. Perez, an assistant professor in Iowa State University’s School of Education, said, “‘Straddling Class in the Academy’ is a must read for students and educators. Ardoin, martinez and their contributors masterfully challenge the myth that class is invisible by sharing their lived experiences navigating class and classism in and outside of the academy. The intersectional nature of contributors’ narratives and Ardoin and martinez’s analysis highlights the powerful effects of classism and calls for action if we are to create more inclusive and socially just institutions.”
Dr. Melba Spooner, dean of the RCOE, said Ardoin is “a dedicated, early-career professional who is advancing the field of student affairs administration through her research and scholarly endeavors. She is engaging in critical work that will produce transformational change related to college access and success.”
In April, Ardoin and martinez were featured guests on Higher Ed Live’s “Student Affairs Live” podcast. They discussed their new book and how social class shows up in higher education during an episode of the podcast titled “Social Class in Student Affairs.”
Additionally, the authors engaged in a prerelease book signing at the annual conferences of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) and National Association of Student Personnel Association (NASPA) in March. Ardoin also participated in a book signing at the 2019 NASPA First-generation Student Success Conference in Orlando, Florida, on June 17.
About Dr. Sonja Ardoin
Ardoin earned a Ph.D. in educational research and policy analysis from North Carolina State University, an M.S. in higher education and student affairs from Florida State University and a B.S. in secondary education from Louisiana State University. She joined the RCOE faculty in 2018.
Ardoin’s research focuses on four areas:
- social class identity in higher education;
- college access and success for first-generation college students and students from rural areas;
- career preparation and pathways for higher education and student affairs; and
- student and women’s leadership.
Earlier this year, she received the 2019–21 American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Emerging Scholar Award and the 2019 Socioeconomic and Class Issues in Higher Education Knowledge Community (SCIHE KC) Outstanding Service to National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Award.
Her research on social class identity is featured in the following publications:
- “College Aspirations and Access in Working-Class Rural Communities: The Mixed Signals, Challenges, and New Language First-Generation Students Encounter” (Lexington Books, 2017);
- “The Strategic Guide to Shaping Your Student Affairs Career” (Stylus Publishing, 2014);
- The “Social Class in Student Affairs” issue of the monograph “New Directions for Student Services” (John Wiley & Sons, Volume 2018, Issue 162);
- “Changing the Narrative: Socially Just Leadership Education” (Information Age Publishing, 2018);
- “Debunking the Myth of Job Fit in Higher Education and Student Affairs” (Stylus Publishing, 2019);
- “Contested Issues in Troubled Times: Student Affairs Dialogues on Equity, Civility, and Safety” (Stylus Publishing, 2019); and
- “Case Studies for Student Development Theory: Advancing Social Justice and Inclusion in Higher Education” (Routledge, 2019).
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About the Department of Human Development and Psychological Counseling
The Department of Human Development and Psychological Counseling in Appalachian State University’s Reich College of Education is responsible for organizing and providing instructional programs in counseling and other human development functions for public schools, colleges and universities and various agencies. The department offers Master of Arts degrees in clinical mental health counseling, professional school counseling, student affairs administration and marriage and family therapy. Learn more at https://hpc.appstate.edu.
About the Reich College of Education
Appalachian offers one of the largest undergraduate teacher preparation programs in North Carolina, graduating about 500 teachers a year. The Reich College of Education enrolls approximately 2,400 students in its bachelor's, master's, education specialist and doctoral degree programs. With so many teacher education graduates working in the state, there is at least one RCOE graduate teaching in every county in North Carolina. Learn more at https://rcoe.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.