MENTORING TO CHANGE
". . . there are some folks you can talk to until you're blue in the face--they're never going to get it and they're never going to change. But every once in a while, you'll run into someone who is eager to listen, eager to learn, and willing to try new things. Those are the people we need to reach. We have a responsibility as parents, older people, teachers, people in the neighborhood to recognize that.”
― Tyler Perry, Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings: Madea's Uninhibited Commentaries on Love and Life
Dr. Layne is the true definition of a mentor. Throughout my academic career, I watched Dr. Layne continuously redefine what it means to be a role model. She pushed me to think beyond traditional boundaries, emphasizing the importance of research and other academic endeavors. Under her mentorship, I successfully completed a research project entitled “Resisting Erasure: Representations of the Fat, Black Woman in US Media.” Inspired by Dr. Layne’s passion for sharing her knowledge, I went on to present my findings at the National Council for Black Studies Conference in Miami, Florida, and at the Mico University Research Day in Kingston, Jamaica. Her passion and sense of enthusiasm for all of her academic undertakings is contagious! Her mentorship style is direct, honest, and organic. I had the pleasure of taking seven classes with Dr. Layne as an undergraduate and regard them as some of my most academically enlightening endeavors. Her unique mentoring style expands beyond the classroom and is sought after by her students and peers alike. She continuously motivates me to set the highest standards of success in my academic and professional undertakings and has demonstrated that if you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. -- Raven B.
Before entering Dr. Layne's class, my critical thinking skills lacked the depth needed to fully understand a book’s message, its author and real world context. She instilled in me that reading should change how you see yourself as well as the world around you. I am able now to challenge a book and its message while applying it to a larger world context. Through Dr. Layne's mentorship however, I have been able to truly find myself on a personal level. Dr. Layne makes you question yourself and your beliefs by forcing you to confront your own privilege and position in the world. Her prison nation class opened my eyes to how detrimental the prison industrial complex has been to populations of color. As a result, I am no longer able to watch injustices within my community and remain silent. Instead I constantly question the status quo and charge myself to think uniquely and act in a way that brings about solutions. The biggest and unarguably most important lesson I have learned from working with Dr. Layne is that once you have been enlightened with a wealth of knowledge, it is your obligation it educate others. By passing education on to others, we begin to change the status quo and create a world that is inclusive and engaging. -- Brittany A.
Dr. Layne instilled a curiosity in me that permitted me to break free of some already cemented beliefs. During our time together, I was challenged to question my sense of "normalcy” and I was inspired to increase not only my cultural competency, but my knowledge of hegemonies as well as conflict around the world. Foruntately for me, our work illuminated my path. I then went on to receive her support during my Peace Corps service and now as a graduate student. The lessons I received from Dr. Layne, as well as the advice will continue to resonate with me for a while. -- Brett B.
Prudence and I built an excellent working relationship, consulting on teaching and learning technologies for over two and a half years when I worked in the former Instructional Design & Development department at Elon University. We had great fun as she envisioned projects and ways of using technology, and I worked to bring those dreams to fruition. We were designing and blogging in her South Africa Study Abroad program before it was popular to do so, exactly ten years ago. We innovated around forms of feedback, using audio and video grading long before easier technology was available to support such work, and consulted often on web design, and student engagement in all of her courses. I moved into the corporate world in 2007, but have maintained an ongoing friendship with Prudence. She has served as my mentor and friend, always offering sound advice and guidance. She encouraged me to stay connected to academia and to pursue my Masters, which I completed last year. I consulted with her about my program of study and about possible projects for my Masters project/thesis. Although she had a lot of competing priorities, she always took time to talk to an old friend and colleague. Prudence is a visionary leader with endless ideas to engage students and improve teaching and learning. I am so blessed to have worked with her, and her students are truly lucky to have such a wonderful Professor! -- Wayne Conley, M. Ed., Former Instructional Technologist/Multimedia Developer at Elon University