Ed.D. in Educational Administration & Leadership, 2008
School of Education
October 1, 2009
Doctoral Research Led to Interest in Privilege Pedgogy in Academia
Dr. Cindy Vyskocil is a native Southern Californian, born and raised in Whittier, California. After high school, Cindy accepted a basketball scholarship to Arizona State University where she earned a B.A. in Telecommunications and a B.S. in Justice Studies.
After college, Dr. Vyskocil worked as a court manager for Orange County Superior Court where she developed a growing reputation for supporting issues of social justice and a commitment to equality. Dr. Vyskocil spent six years with Orange County Superior Court during which time she earned a Master’s in Public Administration from California State University, Fullerton.
In December of 1999, Dr. Vyskocil began her career in the field of education when she accepted a position as the Director of Equity and Diversity for Fullerton College. In 2006, Dr. Vyskocil took over as the North Orange County Community College District’s (NOCCCD) Director of Equity and Diversity when her position was expanded to include service to Fullerton College, Cypress College, and the NOCCCD District Office in Anaheim, California.
Currently, Dr. Vyskocil serves as the Associate Vice President of Human Resources for Long Beach City College where her responsibilities include overseeing labor relations, administering the District’s collective bargaining agreements, handling faculty grievances, co-chairing the District Staff Equity Committee, serving as the District’s compliance officer, and overseeing staff development.
Dr. Vyskocil earned her doctorate in September 2008. Her dissertation, entitled What’s “White” Got To Do With It? Teaching Whiteness as a Mechanism to Promote Social Justice in Education, was a qualitative study that explored the lived experiences of five of the most prominent whiteness educator/scholars in the U.S. As part of her research, Dr. Vyskocil examined the development of five prominent whiteness educator/scholars, their journeys as whiteness educator/scholars, as well as their experiences teaching whiteness as a mechanism to promote social justice. Her research included interviews with Tim Wise, Dr. Robert Jensen, Dr. Frances Kendall, Paula Rothenberg, and Dr. Peggy McIntosh.
While her research was intended to shed new light on whiteness pedagogy, Dr. Vyskocil’s research in the end became a platform to promote the burgeoning field of privilege pedagogy. All five whiteness educator/scholars highlighted the significance of privilege pedagogy as the new way forward in the field of social justice training/education. Unlike whiteness pedagogy that examines only one form of oppression, privilege pedagogy shines a light on all of the systems that sustain privilege in American society such as male privilege, heterosexual privilege, able-bodied privilege, and white privilege.
According to these five whiteness educator/scholars, a privilege approach demands an historical and factual accounting of how U.S. society and its culture have been socially constructed and governed over time to perpetuate and sustain injustice and inequality for specific groups of people. In order to better understand why inequality and injustice continues to persist in the U.S., teachers/trainers must first guide their students through an examination and interrogation of the issue of privilege and the institutional and social systems that work to sustain it.
As a student in the UCI/CSU Joint Ed.D. program, Cindy worked closely with Dr. Rebecca Black (UC Irvine) and Dr. Anna Ortiz (California State University, Long Beach) to use portraiture as an effective research methodology to capture the “complexity” and “dimensionality” of the lives of each of the five whiteness educator/scholars.
Dr. Vyskocil’s professional goals include publishing her dissertation into a book, teaching on issues related to whiteness and privilege pedagogy, and working to expand diversity education within the California Community College system.