"During my video interview, I knew that the faculty on the search committee were people with whom I wanted to work and learn,” says Dr. Eliana Castro, who joins UVM's College of Education and Social Services (CESS) as an assistant professor of secondary education. Visiting campus was the clincher, she says. "It became evident that CESS is a genuinely collegial environment where everyone—administrators, faculty, staff, and students—engage actively in the community.”
Castro has over 10 years of experience teaching high school history and social studies in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, as well as curriculum and instruction and teacher preparation courses at Michigan State University. Her nationally recognized research, teaching and service engagements will advance the CESS mission to promote a more humane and just society through education. In the coming years, Castro envisions herself advancing the College's commitment to maximizing human potential and quality of life in collaboration with schools and community service organizations.
“I’m interested in understanding and contributing to the teaching and learning of race, ethnicity, racism, and other issues of power, identity, and institutions,” says Castro, a 2019 Graduate Student Fellow of the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education. “Whether through an educational foundations course or one focused on secondary social studies methods, I look forward to engaging students in coursework and field experiences that enhance their practice.”
Her research studies the role of race and ethnicity in educational settings, focusing on how scholars, teacher educators, practitioners, and other community members can expose global racism within schools. She examines how U.S. and world history curricula can promote nuanced representations of intersectional racial/ethnic identities, such as Afro-Latinidad. Her most recent research combines teacher and student experiences to probe theories of teaching and learning, racial identity formation, and racial literacy.
Castro’s work has been published in the American Educational Research Journal, Journal of Teacher Education, and The Social Studies. Her recent publication in the Journal of Research on Leadership Education, entitled ‘Twelve Years Unslaved: Lessons from Reconstruction and Brown for Contemporary School Leaders’, received prestigious accolades as the journal’s Article of the Year.
Looking ahead, Castro is particularly excited to explore interdisciplinary opportunities to collaborate with colleagues across CESS, the UVM community, and partner institutions. “I strongly believe that there are fundamental touchpoints across the various subdisciplines within education. I’m confident that the partnerships I’ve already begun to explore will benefit the individuals, families, and communities we serve.”
The process of joining UVM, she says, was beyond her expectations. "The reception I experienced here was not only warm and personable, but also highly professional and consistent with the mission I had read so much about. Having seen firsthand the kind of institution where I wanted to be, I was ecstatic to accept this position. I'm also eternally grateful for the people who helped me make a smooth transition to Vermont this past summer, despite the challenging circumstances.”