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Kent State Professor's Book Recognized with National Award

Kent State’s Dr. Joanne Kilgour Dowdy was recently recognized for her book, “Ph.D. Stories: Conversations with My Sisters,” receiving the 2009 American Educational Research Association Narrative and Research Special Interest Group’s Outstanding Book Award. 

The book is a collection of interviews with tenured, African American female professors in Northeast Ohio and their experiences in obtaining a doctorate degree and working in academia. 

Dowdy’s book stems from the feelings of isolation she experienced as the only black woman on the faculty in her department.  Since 2001, she has worked as a professor in the College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services’ Department of Teaching Leadership and Curriculum Studies.

Dowdy said wanted to form a community with other black female professors and research their experiences.  From that network of women, the advice from those who spoke regularly with her between 2004 and 2005, were included in the book. She says the book is meant to give others advice and explain how to become a success.

“My research interest is how to become successful,” Dowdy says.  “People need models and they need to find a community where they can learn and develop the abilities to be a success.”

After her book was completed and published in 2008, Dr. Walter Gershon, an assistant professor in the teaching leadership and curriculum department, who also serves on the committee for the Narrative and Research Special Interest Group, invited her to submit it for consideration of the award. Dowdy says she couldn’t believe she had actually won when she received the letter. 

“I sat, staring, trying to understand that it was my book,” she says.  “Then I sent thanks to the committee, the committee chair, the dean, the people who participated, and those who paid for my Ph.D. program.”

Dowdy says she would have been fine without winning.

“When the participants for the book read it, they said, ‘You got it,’ so I felt like I had already won,” she says.  “Now, I’ve won twice!”

Dowdy will spend two weeks in April traveling to three cities in Morocco to discuss her research and an up-coming book.  She is currently co-editing a book that focuses on literacy other than print.  It is a collection of stories by 12 authors from around the world. 


This page was last modified on September 8, 2009