For today’s Woman Wednesday, AY About You sits down with Dr. Rebecca Glazier.
Glazier joined the political science faculty at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2009 and is now an associate professor in the School of Public Affairs. Glazier was born in Missouri and grew up in Utah. She earned her undergraduate degree in international relations from California State University Channel Islands in 2004 and her Ph.D. in political science from the University of California Santa Barbara in 2009 before moving to Little Rock.
“I have always loved learning and I have been blessed to come from a family that fostered that love in me,” Glazier says. “Neither of my parents graduated from college, so going to college was a whole new world for me. When I learned that I could keep going to school, it was like a dream come true.”
At the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Glazier has received praise and recognition not just from faculty, but from students. In the 2019-2020 school year, she received the We <3 Our Faculty Award, in which students elected her the most outstanding professor in her college. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Glazier has been conducting in-depth research on the disproportionate struggles faced by students, and has been working hard to advocate for them.
“I have been studying how to better connect with students in online classes to support their success. I just finished a book manuscript that is going to be published by Johns Hopkins University Press next year, entitled ‘Connecting in the Online Classroom: Teachers, Students, and Building Rapport in Online Learning.’ The Covid-19 pandemic and the increase in online teaching has shown just how important this research is,” Glazier says.
“The work I have done demonstrates—through surveys, experiments and statistical models—that when teachers make real human connections with their students in online classes, those students are much more likely to succeed,” Glazier explains. “As women, making these connections may seem to come more easily to us, but I think it is actually a human characteristic. Prioritizing relationships is seen as more feminine by society, but relationships are important for all people. My work in this field shows how building relationships helps students succeed and graduate. That is something that all online teachers can and should do.”
Glazier talks further about her work in an “Ed Talk” video.
In addition to working closely with her students at UA Little Rock, Glazier is the director of the Little Rock Congregations Study, which is a community-based research project at UA Little Rock, studying the impact of people and places of faith in our city.
“This fall, my students and I are working with 36 different congregations from diverse religious traditions all across the city. In one way, this project is very data-driven. We collect survey data from thousands of congregants and conduct complex statistical analyses,” Glazier says. “Being a woman and a political scientist, I have often had the experience of being the only woman in the room, or one of only a few women in the room, in professional settings, especially when the topic is statistics. But another aspect of this research project is very much about personal relationships and human connections.”
Glazier explains what it means to her to be a woman. “I think being a woman means being multifaceted and complex. That is why I agree with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg who said, ‘women belong in all places where decisions are being made.’ When women’s voices are present and respected, the final outcome is better for everyone.”
“Being able to do work that I love and find fulfilling has been one of the great surprises of my life. I love mentoring students and helping them find the path that is right for them. I love working with students; I love doing research that I find meaningful and I believe has an impact. It fills my heart and I am so grateful for it,” Glazier says. “My advice to young women and girls would be to find the people and activities that fill your heart and choose to give your time to those. Every moment won’t be fun—I have to admit that I don’t love grading, and sometimes writing code for data analysis can get tedious—but find things that fill your heart at the end of the day. It’s not worth spending your life on anything less.”