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Telling Students' Stories

With the publication of two volumes by Cornell University Press this spring, Professor of Education Andrew Garrod has introduced more voices into his collections of college students' stories. Mi Voz, Mi Vida: Latino College Students Tell Their Life Stories (co-edited with Christina Gomez and Robert Kilkenny) and Balancing Two Worlds: Asian American College Students Tell Their Life Stories (co-edited with Robert Kilkenny) join three previous compilations co-edited by Garrod, which publish personal narratives of Native American, international, and African American students at Dartmouth.

Andrew Garrod
Professor of Education Andrew Garrod recently published two more volumes in his book series on college students' stories. (Photo by Kawakahi Kaeo Amina '09)

For Garrod, creating these books has been a project where scholarship becomes nearly inseparable from teaching. Widely used in courses on human development, Garrod's volumes of case studies have extra resonance, he notes, for Dartmouth students: "These are the stories of their peers." But there is pedagogy at work in the writing process as well, through which he serves as editor and advisor. "Any story is a construction," Garrod suggests, "but in articulating the inchoate, the student authors gain purchase on their world."

Garrod's series of "stories of challenge" began with Native American students at Dartmouth; he has been collecting student narratives since 1988. Prospective essayists have come to the project in different ways. "Many of the young people who tell their stories for these books have studied with me," Garrod notes. "Others have been recommended to me by their mentors, or by fellow students." The essayists, Garrod points out, have always had the choice of using their own names or of publishing under a pseudonym, and with personally identifying details changed.

Garrod reports that Cornell has expressed interest in another title for the series. He is also engaged in a major revision of Souls Looking Back, which will update a number of the African American narratives published in 1999, and gather a new set to complete the volume.

By KELLY SEAMAN

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Last Updated: 12/17/08