The idea for Advising to Transgress came to me in the car, as I drove to work. It was my second year teaching an undergraduate Sociology of Higher Education course where bell hook's Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom was the primary text. I thought about all the times I had read it: at the beginning of my master's program in higher education and student affairs, five years later as I pursued my Ph.D., and a decade after that within my classroom, and every year since. I realized how influential it had been to my professional development and practices as an advising administrator, a student affairs professional, and as an teacher. bell hooks words resonated with me over time. Even as my professional roles changed, her words still spoke to those experiences as well as the experiences of my students.
I taught my class with a renewed exuberance that day. As soon as I got back to my office I reached out to Danielle Johnson an advising colleague from my Ph.D. program to share my thoughts . We had read Teaching to Transgress together during our Ph.D. program and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to present together. Shortly afterward I also spoke with Sara Ackerson an advising colleague from NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising, and found that she and other colleagues had similarly been influenced by bell hooks words over the years. From those conversations we developed the hashtag #advtransgress, and our presentations, Advising to Transgress: Reflecting on the Language of bell hooks, which we offered to packed rooms at our regional advising conference and the national NACADA conference in Atlanta. Many advisors we spoke to had been professionally influenced by the concepts behind Advising to Transgress or bell hooks' scholarship. We weren't the only presentation focused on bell hooks at NACADA either, and we certainly aren't the first to consider her words in relation to higher education, but we found that the concept of Advising to Transgress was an effective way to bring the discussion to the advising profession. On January 24th, 2017 we partnered with @AcAdvChat to offer an Advising to Transgress themed twitter chat using their #acadv hashtag, which then led to the idea of creating this site to connect other scholars and practitioners. We have several other potential collaborations in the works and will update you as they progress. If you have written or presented on bell hooks in relation to higher education or if you are interested in submitting reflections, please let us know by joining our community, submitting PDFs of your presentations, or by contributing reflections or links to relevant resources.
John P. Sauter Jr., Ph.D.
Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Arts & Sciences
Submit your Reflections on the Community Page
Share your reflections on bell hooks, her scholarship, the applications of her words to your professional practices, or how her words have influenced your professional development. We welcome insights as well as cross-posted blog posts.