Dr. Carmen M. McCallum

architecture building campus clark hall

What prompted you to pursue your doctorate in Higher Education?

“There are several reasons why I chose to pursue a PhD in Higher Education. It’s really hard to narrow it down to one, however I will tell you that I wanted to make a difference in students’ lives. I saw a great need to change some policies and procedure that were disruptive to students’ persistence. However, because I did not have a PhD, my suggestions were often not considered valid. I did not have a seat at the table I needed to change that. I needed to be a voice, an advocate for the marginalized students at the table. And, I need to be loud!”

What are your primary research interests?

“My research agenda focuses on equity, access and diversity in graduate education. I am interested in understanding the experiences that support students with getting in, getting through, and successfully getting out of Masters, professional, and doctoral degree programs. In general, I am interested in how race, gender socioeconomic status and other background characteristics impact graduate student experiences. More specifically I explore how: (1) diverse students make the decision to enroll in graduate education, (2) STEM students utilize capital to navigate graduate school and career pathways, (3) supervisory relationships impacts graduate student experiences and (4) how graduate students with mental health challenges navigate their programs.”

In your own words, what makes “good research?”

“Good research is attempting to shine a light on a given problem in order to discover multiple solutions that can engage and assist communities with solving problems. Of course you have to have academic rigor, but more importantly, the research should be conducted in partnership with community stakeholders to ensure that they are involved and approve of whatever it is that the researchers are trying to do. The Gold standard for me is Community Participatory Action Research.”

What changes do you anticipate over the next ten years in the Higher Ed field?

“There is a big push for institutions to fully support diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives on campus. Although there has always been a need, we are finally at a place where those in power can no longer ignore the need. COVID opened our eyes to many inequities that higher education can no longer ignore. Hopefully, we will be smart enough to open our eyes and answer the call.”

Where can we find you outside of the classroom/office? (Personal interests)

“Outside of the classroom you can typically find me enjoying time with friends and family. I Love to celebrate life and travel. If I am not working you can almost guarantee that I am somewhere with friends and family sharing a laugh or two.”