Dr. Celeste Atkins became the Assistant Director of Faculty Mentoring Initiatives for the University of Arizona in November 2021. Her mission is to strategically connect and synthesize all the current mentoring work across the UA into a centralized Mentorship through Effective Networking Transformational Opportunities and Research (MENTOR) Institute. Her vision is to create - through research, assessment, and innovation - a flexible, adaptable, humanistic model for mentoring across the university that leads to a more socially just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive campus for all students and faculty. Her interest in this position grew from a project she has collaborated with a colleague to create an innovative model for mutual mentoring called Inclusive Intersectional Collaborative Leadership.
Dr. Atkins earned her BA in sociology from California State University San Bernardino and an MA in sociology from the University of Southern California both with an emphasis on race and gender. She received her doctorate in Higher Education in 2021 from the University of Arizona’s Center for the Study of Higher Education where her dissertation focused on the experiences of faculty from traditionally marginalized backgrounds teaching about privilege and oppression. Her research interests derived from her experiences as a full-time sociology instructor and department chair at Cochise College in Sierra Vista from 2011-2020.
Dr. Atkins has been honored with numerous awards during her educational career including being nominated by her students for Instructor of the Year 2017-18, and being awarded the 2019 Pacific Sociological Association Early Career Award for Innovation in Teaching, the 2020-21 Dr. Maria Teresa Velez Diversity Leadership Scholarship, the 2020 American Sociological Association’s Hans O. Mauksch Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Sociology, a 2020 Erasmus Circle Scholarship, and the 2021 Arizona Women in Higher Education Emerging Leader Award. She brings a passion for mentoring to this position as she owes her personal successes to the support she received from her family and multiple mentors. Her greatest joy as a full-time instructor was the relationships she built with her mentees.
As a researcher/scholar, Dr. Atkins has contributed to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning with her original approach to teaching Introduction to Sociology – the 20 Concepts method – which was the 9th most downloaded resource in 2019 from the American Sociological Association’s (ASA) Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology (TRAILS) as well as book reviews and pieces in the ASA’s Teaching/Learning Matters Newsletter. She has published her dissertation research as chapters in both Accessibility and Diversity in the 21st Century University and Gender, Race, and Class in the Lives of Today’s Teachers: Educators at Intersections. A third chapter is forthcoming in Picture a Professor: Intersectional Teaching Strategies for Interrupting Bias about Faculty and Increasing Student Learning. Additionally, she has co-authored a forthcoming journal article in Symbolic Interaction entitled Teaching Up: The Intersection of Impression Management and Controlling Images for Marginalized Faculty.