SRD: 2018-2019 Awards

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The Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Community Affairs

The Vice President’s Student Research in Diversity Grant Awards for 2017-2018

Diversity in the Adult ESL Classroom: A Microanalysis

Nadja Tadic

Ed.D. Candidate in Applied Linguistics


For more than half a century, education researchers have struggled to understand, accommodate, and promote diversity in primary and secondary classrooms, generating a wealth of insightful research in the process (e.g., Au, 1980; Fecho, 2004; Heath, 1983; Hill, 2009; Morrell, 2007). However, issues of diversity in the adult second language classroom remain under-explored. Given the recent rise in immigration around the world and the accompanying increase in xenophobia and fear (Chomsky, 2016), it is crucial that we closely examine how language teachers attend to issues of linguistic and sociocultural diversity while working with highly diverse immigrant and international student populations. This study addresses the existing research gap through a microanalysis of interaction in adult second language classrooms. Five different English as a second language (ESL) classes taught by four different teachers participated in the study. The classes, offered by a community language program in the Northeastern U.S., were video-recorded for 50 hours total. The participants were two male and two female teachers, all native speakers of English, and 39 ESL students coming from 17 different countries. The data were transcribed and analyzed in minute detail within the conversation analytic (CA) and membership categorization analytic (MCA) frameworks. The analysis examines the teachers’ use of embodied, linguistic, and prosodic resources in facilitating discussions of sociocultural diversity during language instruction. Instances in which teachers and students negotiate their understandings of the local North American culture, the students’ home cultures, and marginalized communities’ cultures are explored. Findings contribute to our understanding of sociocultural diversity in education and to (language) teacher training.


Leveraging Tension for Social Change in the Workplace: An intersectional approach

Allegra Chen-Carrel

​Ph.D. student in Social-Organizational Psychology 


In this study, we explore how people leverage tension for social justice in the workplace, particularly examining how the identities and contexts of individuals involved impact the calculus of risk and reward associated with acknowledging and working with the energy of tension in order to facilitate change. Tension can be overwhelming and debilitating, causing people to shut down and shy away from conflict, but it can also plant seeds of doubt about the status quo, motivate people to address inequalities, and can be channeled as a constructive force for social justice. This study extends previous research on how “optimal tension” produces the conditions for constructive multicultural conflict processes, and explores how identities and formal positions or roles authorize individuals (or not) to acknowledge and leverage tension in different ways.