Assistant Professor M. Garrett teaches Multilingual & Multicultural Education at CSUSM


M. Garrett Delavan, Ph.D
Assistant Professor
School of Education

What attracted you to CSUSM?
I was attracted to CSUSM because of the collegiality of those I met on campus and the social justice orientation of the School of Education. I also love living in the Borderlands, specifically Vista, where there is a fascinating juxtaposition and often intermingling of people identified with diverse races, ethnicities, and levels of socioeconomic opportunity.

How did you become interested in education?
I became interested in earning a Ph.D. in education after I found myself writing a book on class sizes in K-12 education. I had originally simply wanted to read a book about the difference it makes to classroom relationships. I discovered that book didn’t exist and that I would have to write it myself. I was accepted into a Ph.D. program in 2007, and two years later The Teacher’s Attention: Why Our Kids Must and Can Have Smaller Schools and Classes was published by Temple University Press. My interest in refocusing the debates over public education away from test scores and toward society-enhancing relationships led me to specialize in critiques of educational policy that puts a business mentality above a community-building mentality.

What type are your interests in education?
I have three main areas of interest. First, I want to track how equitably schools, districts, and state government respond to the popular referendum that lifted the ban on bilingual education in 2016. Second, I want to explore ways that multilingualism and environmental justice can be combined as goals for public schooling in the face of our common global predicament of a climate system in human-caused crisis. Third, I want to study how the privatization and charterization trends in Southern California public schools affect multilingual communities.

What inspired you to choose that area of research or program you teach?
I chose to focus my doctoral studies on multilingual and multicultural education when I found out how interesting it was to study the policies and promotional materials of the state of Utah’s inequitable approach to dual language (immersion) education.

What do you hope students take away from your classes at the end of each semester?
I want students to develop a social justice disposition that will guide their professional decision-making as educators.

What is the biggest challenge in your job?
It’s been hard getting used to all of the competing demands on my time. I want to spend time on research but I don’t want to shortchange my students or colleagues.

What is the greatest reward of your job?
Seeing lightbulbs go on above student heads. I love hearing students say that they’d never known X until they took a class from me.

What would your colleagues be surprised to learn about you?
People might be surprised to know that I originally planned to be a novelist/poet/songwriter rather than a social scientist/theorist.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I love landscaping my yard and gardening. I play guitar and sing. I like staying up on the latest developments in national and international politics. I like to travel, camp, hike, cycle, kayak, and ski. I like to hang out with friends at local cultural events, farmers’ markets, restaurants, and breweries.

What’s the best part about working at CSUSM?
I have been incredibly satisfied with the collegiality and positivity of this professional community.

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