Center for the Study of Higher Education 

Project SOAR

Project Student Outreach Access & Resiliency is the UA’s premier mentoring program. Project SOAR targets students attending under-resourced middle schools in the Tucson area. The program enrolls approximately 100 UA students per semester who serve as mentors for hundreds of middle-school students.

Native SOAR

The Native SOAR program focuses on University of Arizona (UA) Native American college students mentoring Native American high school students towards the goals of college access and academic success.  Alongside its mentoring aspect, Native SOAR also encourages families to take part in this experience by participating in our Campus Visits. The campus visits and one-on-one mentoring are designed to encourage and motivate college-going by providing strategies on how to navigate the college experience and processes. In all of its operations, Native SOAR maintains much respect and inclusion for the diversity of cultures and traditions of all Native American communities we serve. The Family Education Model (FEM) and the eight pillars of the American Indian Well-Being Model are pivotal to the program and services Native SOAR offers.  The Native SOAR program is currently being supported by the Helios Foundation.

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Educational Leadership & Policy

Networks and Education

Jill Koyama, Professor
My ongoing research examines how refugees and other newcomers navigate, create, and sometimes dismantle networks of knowledges, discourses, and particular resources. A recent subset of this scholarship focuses on how refugee parents of children in public schools develop their identities as experts in the children’s education and make spaces for their voices, even when schools offer very few avenues for their inclusion (Koyama & Kasper, 2020).  Another and continuing strand centers on the power of maps to effectively order space and knowledge, but also authorize the affairs, including people’s legal status, of nation-states Chang, Koyama & Kasper, 2020). I have documented refugees creating and using maps, even “inaccurate” ones, to reconfigure their identities and the geographies of their relations (Koyama, 2019). With refugee volunteers and staff at a local refugee center, I created an interactive Google Map that refugees can use to locate and contact services in Arizona.  Moving forward, I intend to work with “refugee scientists” to examine how they (re)create maps to make sense of the US spaces they inhabit, including schools.  This work will conceptually and methodologically tread new ground in policy studies and education by introducing the scholarship and methods of human mapping, critical cartography, and “citizenship science”.
Chang, E., Koyama, J., & Kasper, J. 2020. Separating families, recuperating the “nation-as-family”: Migrant youth and the cultural politics of shame. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 28(84).
Koyama, J. & Kasper, J. 2020. Pushing the Boundaries: Education Leaders, Mentors, and Refugee Students. Educational Administration Quarterly. DOI 10.1177/0013161X20914703
Koyama, J. 2019. The Benefits of Misinformation: The Sharing of Erroneous Information through Refugee Networks.  In Alternative Spaces and Practices in Adult Education, edited by Janise Hurtig and Carolyn Chernoff. Lexington Press.