Many individuals are drawn to higher education, including academic careers, because of academia’s potential for change. Countless prospective and current graduate students note that their desire to make a difference in their communities or society in general was their primary decision to attend graduate training. Unfortunately, many colleges and universities in the US have practiced outright discrimination and exclusion throughout history, particularly against women, people of color, and disabled people/people with disabilities.
Today, academia — like every social institution — is structured hierarchically, producing numerous professional and personal obstacles for academics from marginalized backgrounds. Scholars who are women, of color, lesbian, trans*, bisexual, gay, queer, disabled, working-class or poor, immigrants, fat, religious and non-religious minorities, and/or single parents are faced daily with the difficult tension between academia’s narrow definition of success and their own politics, identities, needs, happiness, and health.
Conditionally Accepted was created by Dr. Eric Anthony Grollman (editor until 2017) as a freestanding blog in July 2013 as an online space for scholars on the margins of academe. It has steadily grown since, becoming a career advice column for Inside Higher Ed in January 2016. In our column, we provide news, information, personal stories, and resources for scholars who are, at best, conditionally accepted in academe. Conditionally Accepted is an anti-racist, pro-feminist, pro-queer, anti-transphobic, anti-fatphobic, anti-ableist, anti-ageist, anti-classist, and anti-xenophobic online community.
Conditionally Accepted is run by an editor in order to maintain regular, relevant material on the site, and to ensure that it remains a safe, inclusive space. Regular contributors and guest bloggers add to the site’s blog, helping to offer a diversity of perspectives and experiences.
Dr. Victor Ray, Editor
I am an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. My research interests included race and organizations, critical race theory, and how formal organizational processes reproduce social inequalities. I am mixed race (Black and white) but not tragic. And I am just as — if not more — objective than your average white scholar. In addition to my scholarly work and blogging, I have written about race for publications including Newsweek, Gawker, and Boston Review, and Seven Scribes. I occasionally tweet at @victorerikray.
Dr. Eric Anthony Grollman, Founder, Former Editor, and Regular Contributor
I speak as a Black queer non-binary intellectual activist. I am currently a tenure-track professor in sociology at University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia. An “activist gone academic,” I pursued a PhD in sociology at Indiana University to become a better activist. To my surprise, graduate training is designed to “beat the activist” out of grad students. Thus, I was traumatized in the process of earning my PhD. These experiences led me to create Conditionally Accepted after I graduated in 2013 to make visible the scholars, perspectives, experiences, advice, and resources that were not available to me. I regularly blog, interweaving my personal experiences with my research (i.e., prejudice and discrimination) and current events, to reflect on the practices and policies that keep many scholars on the margins of academia. You can follow me on Twitter at @grollman.
Dr. Jeana Jorgensen, Regular Contributor
I write and teach from the life experiences of a culturally Jewish, agnostic, able-bodied, sex-positive, intersectional feminist and as a bisexual cis woman. My Ph.D. is in folklore with a focus on gender studies. While I initially set out to study traditional folklore topics such as fairy tales, personal narratives, and body art, recently I find myself more drawn to the topics of sex education and sexual minority activism. You can find my writing at MySexProfessor and on my personal blog. I am an adjunct instructor at a Midwestern small liberal arts college, and I also teach and perform dance professionally.
I blog about my experiences adjuncting, in an effort to demonstrate the difficulty of extricating the personal from the political. I write about the stories we tell about bodies and sexualities in university settings and beyond. I tweet at @foxyfolklorist.
Jackson Wright Shultz, MALS, Regular Contributor
I am a transgender, first-generation academic from a working class background who is re-learning to be unapologetically queer. My writing often uses intersectional feminist and womanist lenses, and usually focuses on issues of gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status, race, (dis)ability, and the academy. I am an oral historian by trade and the author of Trans/Portraits: Voices from Transgender Communities. I have served in both faculty and administrative roles in higher education and have held positions in student accessibility services, campus sexual assault response and prevention, and composition and rhetoric instruction. My research interests include student development theory, pedagogy, teaching and learning antiracism, sex education, sexual and intimate partner violence, masculinities, transgender studies, and queer theory.
You can find my academic work on www.jacksonshultz.com, and you can follow my activist work on Twitter @WriteRadically and at the Trans Education, Activism, Community & Health (TEACH) Alliance.
Dr. J. E. Sumerau, Regular Contributor
I write from the life experiences of a most of the time male-appearing bisexual, genderqueer, skeptic Queer Intersectional Feminist. My teaching, research and activism focus on the intersections of sexualities, gender, religion, and health in the interpersonal and her-his-our-storical experiences of sexual, gender, and religious minorities. I am an assistant professor of sociology at mid-sized southern university. (See my work at jsumerau.com.) I write about the personal and emotional aspects of teaching and scholarship at Write Where It Hurts, and relationships between music and social life at Symbolic Interaction Music Blog.
I blog about my experiences navigating binary religious, sexual, and gender assumptions and systems of thought and organization, in an effort to demonstrate the ways such patterns erase and marginalize sexual, gender, and religious fluidity and variation in our world. I hope to foster dialogue and debate that allows us to move beyond “yes or no,” “right or wrong,” and “good or bad” frameworks to embrace the complexity of our shared and disparate experiences in the pursuit of a more equitable world for all. Follow me on Twitter at @jsumerau.
Dr. Manya Whitaker, Regular Contributor
I blog as a southern, Black, middle class, US-born woman. I am an assistant professor of education at an elite private liberal arts college. Upon entering academe, I deviated from my psychological roots and delved into the realm of education because it was then I saw the outcomes of an inequitable K-12 schooling system. Most of my students are from white upper-income families, enjoying the resultant privileges. In my classes, I offer a counter-narrative to present the perspectives of diverse peoples and experiences by juxtaposing issues of equality with issues of equity. I research what it takes to be an effective teacher to culturally and linguistically diverse students.
On my personal blog, theotherclass, I write about my own experiences as a woman of color in a space that wasn’t built for me. While my blog is indeed for me, I also write to give voice to the silenced who may not be in a position to speak for themselves. I share knowledge in my educational consultant business and through my participation in an online educational advice platform. Check out my academic work at manyawhitakerphd.com and follow me on Twitter @IvyLeagueLady.