The dynamic Black women in this picture with moi is Professor Cynthia Dillard, the Mary Frances Early Professor of Teacher Education at The University of Georgia. Small world, Dr. Lisa Weems, Associate Professor at Miami University set me up to talk to Professor Dillard.
Dr. Dillard and I chatted about topics that ranged from the construction of black identity abroad, the construction of white identity abroad, and transformative/critical study abroad. Furthering the concept that African American students need more access to graduate school, study abroad, and other spaces within academe, Professor Dillard helped me get into her time capsule to further think about how we really produce African American students who can reach for the stars.
Professor Dillard is a Black woman who uses her grace and power to shape the pipeline of new faculty members who can think long about how education needs alternative epistemologies. Her research focuses on Africana feminisms, spirituality in education, and critical teacher education pedagogies and contexts. The latter is where we situated study abroad as the next field that is prepped and ready for more critical work to emerge.
Our “chop it up” session ended by coining and crowning Dr. Cynthia Dillard hip hop because of and due to her belief in African centered approaches to education. She truly embodies the cipha method of education by thinking intellectually while doing the Bboy Stance. Big ups to Professor Dillard for a brilliant informational chop session or some call it an informational mentor session.