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Mary Alfred

Mary Alfred

Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Mary Alfred is widely cited and internationally known for her scholarship on diversity, equity, and social justice in higher education and the workplace but especially for seminal work on the sociocultural context of migration, identity, and adult learning.

Alfred’s scholarly record is exceptional. She has authored or co-authored four books and monographs, 30 refereed journal articles, three refereed book chapters, seven non-refereed articles, 25 non-refereed book chapters, and more than 35 refereed conference proceedings. Additionally, she has delivered 40 scholarly presentations at refereed conferences and nearly 40 invited presentations. Her awards include selection as a Cyril O. Houle Scholar (2000), the Early Career Award of the Commission of Professors of Adult Education (2003), and the Marlow Froke Award for Excellence in Scholarly Writing from the American Association for Continuing Higher Education (2010). 

Her greatest impact has been scholarship on the sociocultural context of learning and work relating immigration and internationalization to adult learning. Beginning with a 2002 book chapter on her experience as an Afro-Caribbean woman in America’s ivory tower and a 2003 Adult Education Quarterly article on learning among Anglophone Caribbean immigrant women in the United States, Alfred produced the groundbreaking work for which she is most known —focusing on migration, identity, and learning among adult students and immigrant faculty in the United States and Canada. Her book, Immigrant women of the academy: Negotiating boundaries, crossing borders in higher educationchronicled the narratives of immigrant faculty who originated from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America, giving voice to their experiences of learning and working in US higher education.

Alfred has provided leadership as a board member to the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE), as well as the Commission for Professors of Adult Education (CPAE). She received the AAACE Presidential Award for exceptional and innovative leadership. She served as the editor of Adult Learning since 2008 and has been credited with bringing the journal back to a regular publication schedule after it languished for several years. She has also served as a consulting editor and book review co-editor for Adult Education Quarterly. In addition to her leadership in AAACE, she has served on the steering committee of the Adult Education Research Conference and as a consulting editor or editorial board member for several major journals in the field. 

In addition to her contributions to the field of adult and continuing education, Alfred’s impact also can be seen through various collaborative projects. Through one partnership, Alfred provided professional development for school leaders in a “school improvement zone” in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Findings from this effort were disseminated through the National Superintendents’ Symposium, the American Educational Research Association conference and newsletters, a chapter in a book edited by her primary collaborator in this effort, and other vehicles. More recently, Alfred collaborated with colleagues examining STEM education in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including supportive elements for female engineers and factors impacting the success of academically-gifted African American STEM students. She has also recently served as chair of the STEM and Achievement Disparities Grand Challenge Initiative as her home institution—Texas A&M University, a Predominately White Institution.