Sue Barcinas, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator, works to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in all lifelong learning experiences
Sue Barcinas wants to help create environments that allow all learners to thrive, regardless of age, and she can’t imagine doing that without diversity, equity and inclusion.
Barcinas grew up living in different countries as a military daughter. She watched her mother study for her citizenship test in the United States, navigate starting a mid-life career, and track down school credentials for their new home.
Barcinas is currently an Associate Professor of Adult and Continuing Education and Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Adult Education, Workforce, and Continuing Professional Education at NC State College of Education. She has always had the desire to work as a caregiver.
“I’ve always been interested in understanding how many ways adults can learn and grow over their lifetime and how diversity is a crucial part of our professional and personal lives,” Barcinas said.
Barcinas has worked at NC State since 2004, and his work and research has since evolved to include his many passions. Her areas of interest include women’s health and well-being, international issues and adult education.
Currently, she is working on a research project that takes a closer look at how race and gender dynamics influence the work experience of paramedics and EMS.
“This profession touches every community in our country through the provision of pre-hospital emergency medical care,” Barcinas said.
In another collaborative project, Barcinas studies how Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) adults navigate their professional and personal lives, with a focus on how they understand and respond to racial and gender dynamics.
Barcinas is also teaching two new courses this year. One course focuses on diversity in health professions education and the other on diversity, mobility and the pluralistic society.
She frames her classes using reflective practices.
“My hope is to invite future or current adult and lifelong learning professionals to embed a DEI engagement as part of their reflective practice and life work,” Barcinas said.
Barcinas believes that it is important for the field of adult and lifelong learning to link theory with improved professional practice.
“I plan to continue contributing to applied research in health professions education and in the study of adult and lifelong learners, especially adults who are trying to improve their lives through learning. education,” she said.
She has previously written and edited books focusing on a longitudinal study of women’s health and epidemiology, as well as female students and their experiences, particularly adult learners.
For more on social justice and anti-racism education, Barcinas recommends the book by Stephen Brookfield and Mary Hess Become a White Antiracist, which is a practical book specifically intended for teachers or instructors/facilitators in adult and post-secondary settings.
She also recommends a two-volume academic series in her field, “I am what I become” — volumes are Identity and lifelong learning in higher education and Identity and lifelong learning: becoming through lived experienceedited by Gammel, Motulsky & Rutstein-Riley.
This story was written by PhD student Jayla Moody.