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Fellowships support career growth for BIPOC faculty

Two Salem State University professors are among those named North Star Collective Fellows by the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE). The program promotes the holistic healing and professional growth of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) faculty who are early in their academic careers.

Sovicheth Boun, professor of English as a second language and literacy, and coordinator of the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) graduate program; and Binneh Minteh, professor of criminal justice, will join other fellows from New England in activities supporting writing and publishing, work-life balance and planning for tenure and promotion. 

“My first reaction was thankfulness for the opportunity. I am grateful to be a member of the Salem State University community that provided me with the tools for such great academic initiatives in the state of Massachusetts,” Minteh said. “The historical significance of the fellowship and its goal of supporting and promoting inclusive faculty learning and growth makes it important for me.”

Boun agreed. “I’ve always been passionate about the work of diversity, equity, inclusion,” he said. “This fellowship is a way to acknowledge the work of BIPOC scholars and give us a space to advance our writing and publishing, which helps us grow as professors and scholars. Writing is a lonely kind of endeavor, and we now have this place where we can engage with like-minded individuals to move these projects forward.”

The semester-long fellowship includes opportunities for the fellows to elevate and promote research, biweekly virtual writing groups with peer fellows, and interactive virtual workshops.

“BIPOC faculty are underrepresented in higher education, particularly at the senior levels,” said Keja Valens, interim vice president of diversity and inclusion at Salem State. “This fellowship brings together faculty from across New England to support one another’s growth, while also advocating for changes that will promote inclusion on our campuses.”

“NEBHE aims to lead the region in reparative justice efforts, and, to that end, we have created the North Star Collective (NSC),” says NEBHE on its website. “The NSC is a part of NEBHE’s broader reparative justice initiative, which is committed to restoring, nourishing and uplifting BIPOC faculty in the region, and supporting leaders as they transform institutions around racial equity.”

About Sovicheth Boun

A native of Cambodia, Boun earned a PhD in culture, literacy, and language from the University of Texas at San Antonio and has been involved in EFL/ESL teaching and training for more than 10 years in both Cambodia and the U.S. His research interests include second/foreign language education, bi-/multilingual education, the global spread of English, language ideologies, language teacher identities, language/educational experiences of Southeast Asian American students, and critical discourse analysis.

About Binneh Minteh

A former Gambian army first lieutenant, Minteh attended the Turkish Land Forces Command School in Istanbul and the Turkish Gendarmerie Officers School in Ankara. He earned a BS in Management Information Systems and an MS in Global Affairs from New York University. He also holds an MS and a  PhD in global and international affairs from Rutgers University. His primary research interests are policing and violence, terrorism and counter-terrorism, drugs, arms and human trafficking, cybercrime and cybersecurity, and national and international security.

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