Patricia Maguire
Patricia Maguire

Feminist Participatory Research

Educational and Teacher Action Research
Feminist, Scholar-Practitioner, Activist, Mom

The Official Story:

I am a Professor Emeritus of Education and Counseling. I retired after twenty‑five years at Western New Mexico University ‑ Gallup Graduate Studies Center. For most of those years, I was the Chairperson. Gallup is a rural community on the edge of the Navajo Nation and Pueblo of Zuni in northwest New Mexico.

Our WNMU ‑ Gallup Graduate Studies Center team worked collaboratively to develop and offer transformative, accessible, cutting edge graduate education programs. We served one of the most culturally rich, linguistically diverse, yet economically poorest communities in the United States. We understood that meaningful education happened best in the context of respectful, caring, and mutual relationships.

Since 1977, I've been active in the US Peace Corps community. I've been a Peace Corps Volunteer (Jamaica 77‑79), a Peace Corps trainer (79‑87), and co‑founded and directed the WNMU ‑ Peace Corps Fellows Program (2000‑10). I'm a board member for First Coast Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Inc. in northern Florida.

I've volunteered with asylum seekers on the US southwest border, marched and witnessed for social justice, worked with battered women, counseled high schoolers, led Girl Scout troops, and worked locally with a coalition to feed the hungry. Through activism, teaching, and research, my work passion has been the interface of feminisms with participatory action research, teacher action research, and education. My family is my rock. Cal and I have been married for forty plus years. We have two remarkable daughters whom we deeply love and admire.

The Unofficial Story:

"For all your degrees in psychology, you don't know shit about dealing with your mother."  (My father)

Neither of my parents, children of immigrants, were college educated. Yet my father knew that all the theory in the world was useless if you couldn't apply it to action. As someone known for action research, it's ironic that action often terrifies me. Sometimes I'm more comfortable in the world of books, reflection, and dialogue. Frankly the language of theory ‑ epistemology, hermeneutics, hegemony, and deconstruction ‑ is equally intimidating. I began my career as a self‑conscious doer trying to understand theory; and later found myself mired in academic theorizing, hungry for more action.

In this website, through backstories and memoirs that accompany publications and presentations, I share how I've become at home in the world of praxis ‑ i.e. reflection and action. It's a world in which theories and ideas must be tested and tweaked through collaborative action; followed by critical reflection on that action, which drives critique and new theory building, and then of course, new action. Cyclical Freirean praxis is a way to make sense of the world, and work with others to try to build the world we want for all children.

Backstory⇒ An Educational Backstory