This article explores how novice researchers develop a scholarly identity as they cross geographic, cultural, institutional, identity, and methodological borders throughout their studies, experiencing insider, outsider, and in-betweener positions. It hypothesizes that researchers become more culturally proficient through their fieldwork and self-study. The autoethnographic narratives address the social justice issues encountered by two early career researchers who increased their cultural proficiency and self-awareness as they moved across multiple cultural contexts. By shifting back and forth between insider, outsider, and in-betweener, the researchers became more culturally proficient, developed their voices as researchers, and practiced inclusivity by amplifying marginalized voices. Their self-reflective analysis of autoethnographic writing speaks to early career and graduate qualitative researchers who must recognize their positionality and their placement on the cultural proficiency continuum to be effective scholars in cross-cultural research.


border crossing, insider/outsider/in-betweener positionality, identity, cultural proficiency, autoethnography, cross-cultural research

Author Bio(s)

After growing up in Vernon, a town in Normandy, France, Corinne left home for a business school in Paris. As soon as she graduated, she immigrated to the USA. There she attended Southern Oregon University in Ashland, earning a master’s degree in education while also opening a Waldorf-inspired school. After a few years of being principal of the charter school, Corinne decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Leadership at the University of San Diego. In May of 2017, Corinne proudly accepted the William Foster Outstanding Dissertation Award for her thesis. Currently, Corinne is an Assistant professor in the Educational Administration department at the University of Dayton in Ohio. The overall framework for her research is cultural proficiency to foster equity, diversity, and inclusion and create socially just educational systems. Corinne has two main lines of inquiry: first, she seeks to understand how educational leaders support adult and student learning and development. Specifically, she examines how school leaders support refugee and immigrant students, offer culturally proficient professional learning events for teachers, provide social-emotional learning opportunities for adults and students, and lead in times of trauma and crisis. Second, she focuses on how culture affects women in leadership positions. Specifically, Corinne explores how cultural norms affect women leaders in PK-12 schools and higher education institutions. https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6151-525

Carol Rogers-Shaw, Ph.D., is an adjunct professor at the University of Dayton. She earned a doctorate in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education from Pennsylvania State University. She is the co-editor of Adult Learning, an international, peer-reviewed, adult education practice-oriented journal. Dr. Rogers-Shaw’s research focuses on expanding educational inclusion for disabled adults, stigma and disability disclosure, transition to postsecondary education, graduate study, profound learning, and Universal Design for Learning. https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0550-290X

Corresponding Author: Corinne Brion, 300 College Park, Dayton, OH 4569, 541-531-3770, cbrion1@udayton.edu

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