Spotlight on New Faculty: Dr. Carlos McCray

This fall, GSE welcomes several new faculty members to our ranks. This series of posts will help you get to know more about their backgrounds and interests, as they become part of the Fordham community.

Name:
Associate Professor
Educational Leadership

Hometown:
Jemison, Alabama

Education:
B.A. History, Alabama State University
M.Ed, History Education, Alabama State University
Ed.D., Educational Leadership, Bowling Green State University

Research Areas:
My interests include building level leadership, multicultural education, and urban education.

Could you talk about your academic and professional background? What are your academic areas of expertise and interests?
My area of expertise is multicultural education and building level leadership. I have spent a lot of time researching how leaders of K-12 schools are dealing with the increasing amount of diversity that is occurring within their schools and whether they feel equipped to deal with an increasingly heterogeneous student population. I have also written on the issue of cultural collision and collusion within urban schools. I am co-authoring a book that is scheduled to be released by the end of the calendar year dealing with this topic. The book is titled “Cultural Collision and Collusion: Reflections on Hip-Hop Culture, Values, and Schools.” In addition, I have also just secured another contract for a book on multiculturalism and culturally relevant leadership in schools.

Are you currently conducting any research? If so, please describe.
I am currently working on my second book titled “School Leadership in a Diverse Society: Helping Schools to Prepare All Students For Success.” It is my goal to have it finished by the end of 2011. Also, I am researching the role of school leaders in bridge building with communities of color and communities of low SES backgrounds.

What are you teaching this fall? How would you describe you teaching style?
I am teaching two course this fall, a course called Seminar in Ethics and Social Justice and another course entitled Strategic Thinking and Planning. My college teaching philosophy is grounded in the notion that research, scholarly activity, and teaching are inextricably connected.
As a college professor, I want my teaching to be enhanced by my research and writing. I believe that when students know you are writing and presenting at conferences, it increases their credibility with you. I also believe students learn best by becoming inquisitive learners. Thus, there is a lot of group work and reading assignments, as well as writing assignments in my classes. And all along we are trying to connect theory to practice. On my end, I am usually complimenting this inquisitiveness as class facilitator. And this usually manifests in my helping to motivate and providing additional resources, clarifying the content through Socratic means and most importantly, providing good feedback and assessment.

What do you enjoy and find the most challenging about teaching?
I enjoy the interaction with the students the most. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to work at a University such as Fordham and interact with students on such a high level. The most challenging part about teaching to me is maintaining student interest. I think it is critically important for students to be engaged in the material that is being covered.

What led you to pursue a faculty position at Fordham?
Part of my research interest is urban education. I can’t think of a better place to pursue my research than at a University such as Fordham, located in the largest city in the United States, and committed to diversity and social justice. To me, it seemed like an excellent match. I am so proud to be at Fordham University teaching and conducting research.

What were you doing prior to joining the faculty here?
Prior to taking the position at Fordham, I was teaching at Georgia State University in Atlanta. I was teaching courses in educational leadership to aspiring school administrators.

What are your early impressions of life at Fordham and int he New York area?
Thus far, I am really in love with the students and faculty/staff here at Fordham. Everyone has been extremely gracious and helpful in ensuring a smooth transition from Atlanta to New York. Fordham has an exceptional reputation in the city of New York and around the country. I quickly found out that this reputation is partly due to the fact that it has such wonderful people affiliated with it. With regard to the New York area, it is a really fascinating place to live. I have visited all of the boroughs except for Staten Island. And I do plan to take the ferry out there at some point. All of the boroughs are tremendous. I am really learning to appreciate the unique culture that each borough has to offer.

Tell us about some of your interests and what you like to do in your free time?
Being from the south, I must admit I am a huge football fan. I also love to read. And I like trying out different restaurants. But most importantly, I like hanging around friends and family and also meeting new people.

Do you have a sense of what you would like to accomplish in your first year at Fordham?
I would like to establish a reputation of being a dynamic teacher and a wonderful colleague. I would also like to finish my second book. If I can do these specific things, my first year at Fordham will have been a success.

Do you have a message for the students and or staff?
I would like to follow Dr. Ding’s response to this question in her interview and simply extend to the students and staff a very special thank you for having me here.
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