Get Lit with Dr. Stafford Hood
Every other month, Luminare Group reaches out to one of our favorite clients or people in the field to learn more about what makes them glow - from the inside out. Professional, personal - all is at play in the work we do here.
Read more for a Q&A with this month’s Be Lumin-Us guest editor, Dr. Stafford Hood.
Dr. Hood is the Sheila M. Miller Professor of Education, Professor of Curriculum & Instruction and Educational Psychology, and Founding Director of the Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment, an initiative of the College of Education at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
What idea or practice are you most in love with currently? And why?
I would probably say the whole notion of culturally-responsive evaluation, which shouldn’t surprise you. It’s the body of work I’ve been doing for quite some time, a little bit more than twenty years now.
If you could do one thing a day and be good at it, what would it be?
Tai chi. I started a Tai chi class this January. I would love to be good at that, my god. I enjoy it a lot, but it’s a considerable amount of work.
What do you love about it?
The calm. The balance. The continuing learning that you have to do for the practice of it. I mean, just the motion.
What makes you smile...every time?
My thing is water and animals so the things that make me smile would be water, oceans, lakes, and animals. Especially animals, because I’ve got a dog, but yeah, the water, oceans, and lakes are things that make me happy.
Where did you learn about your practice that you’re most excited about? And how has it influenced your life, thinking, and work?
I’m still learning. I describe myself as an aspiring culturally-responsive evaluator. So even though I’ve been doing it for 30 years or so, it is a lifelong journey. In terms of its influence, I think that that’s also part of the learning part of it; it’s a great part of what I do and who I am, especially in terms of that firm footing, in terms of trying to be socially responsible, and incorporating that into the work that I do as an educational researcher and program evaluator. So yeah, I’m still learning.
Where do I learn about it? Everywhere.
What do you want to do more of this year and what would you like to do less of?
More fishing. More rest. More sleep. And less work.
What are you going to do this year that you’ve never done before?
Going to Norway. I’m going to be going to Oslo at the end of September for a conference. I’m going as part of a project that I’m involved with through our CREA sibling in Dublin Ireland, the Centre for Evaluation, Quality and Inspection (EQI), Dublin City University. We have a project that’s funded by the EU that’s looking at culturally responsive assessment and the University of Oslo is one of collaborating universities on this project. You can learn more about the conference here.
If you could make everyone read one thing, a book, an article, anything like that, what would it be? And why?
When someone asks what my favorite book is within context assessment and evaluation, the answer is easy: “The Mismeasure of Man” by Stephen Jay Gould.
It looks at a lot of scientific racism, if you will, or how psychological testing was used in the early days as a scientific tool to reinforce, prove, or justify politically-operationalizing racism. It's not only about this research that was being done, but also how statistics were used, how they were being used by certain people, and how they were being used as political tools for discrimination and oppression.
This book lifts the veil on some of those practices and testing instruments that people have held so dearly. I continue to use this book in my classes.
When it comes to personal grounding to do my work, my favorite book that I recommend is "Nobody Knows My Name" by James Baldwin.
What’s one thing that if people knew this about you, they would be surprised?
I used to be a bus driver, a city metropolitan bus driver in Chicago. That was one of my summer jobs, so I used to do that. Some people might be surprised that that was one of the things I have done.
Did you enjoy it?
Let me say this: I learned more as bus driver than I did in any classroom I was ever in.
Finally, what would you choose as your spirit animal, or an animal that represents your personality or who you are as a person?
It would probably have to be a dog or a horse. I’ve always kept a dog, or several dogs. I haven’t had a chance to do much of it in a number of years, but I used to love to ride. I loved to spend time riding horses, I used to ride a lot.