Alum Dortch receives Vallejo Memorial Award for Emerging Scholarship from AERA

UW–Madison alumna Deniece Dortch is receiving the Carlos J. Vallejo Memorial Award for Emerging Scholarship from the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Multicultural/Multiethnic Education special interest group (SIG).

Dortch received her PhD from the School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis in 2016.


The purpose of this award is to recognize an advanced doctoral student or assistant professor whose scholarly contributions are poised to contribute to scholarship in the field of multicultural/multiethnic education.

Dortch’s research and teaching grapples with systemic oppression across multiple axes. She uses critical phenomenological approaches to understanding how African American undergraduate and graduate students experience and respond to race and racism at predominantly white institutions of higher education. She is especially interested in how psychological violence and fear is experienced, manifested and reproduced in the academy. Her most recent projects explore intra-racial relationships, racial agency, isolation, as well as maladaptive behaviors and their effects on persistence in higher education.

Dortch is currently a visiting assistant professor of higher education administration within George Washington University’s (GWU) Department of Education Leadership with the Graduate School of Education and Human Development. In the fall of 2021, she will be transitioning to a tenure-line position as an assistant professor at GWU.

Dortch has published in the Journal of Negro Education, Teachers College Record, NASPA Journal about Women & Gender in Higher Education, New Directions in Higher Education, the Journal for the Study of Sports and Athletes in Education, Case Studies for Student Development Theory, and the International Journal for Cross-Disciplinary Subjects in Education.

Dortch has 20 years of higher education and administration experience. Prior to joining the faculty at George Washington University, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Utah, where she created the African American Doctoral Scholar’s Initiative, a comprehensive mentoring program focused on graduate student socialization into the academy. A former program director at Texas A&M University, Dortch also co-founded Sista to Sista, a co-curricular leadership development program designed to foster a sense of connectedness amongst Black female college athletes. Dortch is a returned United States Peace Corps Volunteer who served in both Morocco and Jamaica.

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