skip to main content


Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "McNair, Lisa D."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Nicewonger, Todd E. ; McNair, Lisa D. ; Fritz, Stacey (Ed.)
    https://pressbooks.lib.vt.edu/alaskanative/ At the start of the pandemic, the editors of this annotated bibliography initiated a remote (i.e., largely virtual) ethnographic research project that investigated how COVID-19 was impacting off-site modular construction practices in Alaska Native communities. Many of these communities are located off the road system and thus face not only dramatically higher costs but multiple logistical challenges in securing licensed tradesmen and construction crews and in shipping building supplies and equipment to their communities. These barriers, as well as the region’s long winters and short building seasons, complicate the construction of homes and related infrastructure projects. Historically, these communities have also grappled with inadequate housing, including severe overcrowding and poor-quality building stock that is rarely designed for northern Alaska’s climate (Marino 2015). Moreover, state and federal bureaucracies and their associated funding opportunities often further complicate home building by failing to accommodate the digital divide in rural Alaska and the cultural values and practices of Native communities.[1] It is not surprising, then, that as we were conducting fieldwork for this project, we began hearing stories about these issues and about how the restrictions caused by the pandemic were further exacerbating them. Amidst these stories, we learned about how modular home construction was being imagined as a possible means for addressing both the complications caused by the pandemic and the need for housing in the region (McKinstry 2021). As a result, we began to investigate how modular construction practices were figuring into emergent responses to housing needs in Alaska communities. We soon realized that we needed to broaden our focus to capture a variety of prefabricated building methods that are often colloquially or idiomatically referred to as “modular.” This included a range of prefabricated building systems (e.g., manufactured, volumetric modular, system-built, and Quonset huts and other reused military buildings[2]). Our further questions about prefabricated housing in the region became the basis for this annotated bibliography. Thus, while this bibliography is one of multiple methods used to investigate these issues, it played a significant role in guiding our research and helped us bring together the diverse perspectives we were hearing from our interviews with building experts in the region and the wider debates that were circulating in the media and, to a lesser degree, in academia. The actual research for each of three sections was carried out by graduate students Lauren Criss-Carboy and Laura Supple.[3] They worked with us to identify source materials and their hard work led to the team identifying three themes that cover intersecting topics related to housing security in Alaska during the pandemic. The source materials collected in these sections can be used in a variety of ways depending on what readers are interested in exploring, including insights into debates on housing security in the region as the pandemic was unfolding (2021-2022). The bibliography can also be used as a tool for thinking about the relational aspects of these themes or the diversity of ways in which information on housing was circulating during the pandemic (and the implications that may have had on community well-being and preparedness). That said, this bibliography is not a comprehensive analysis. Instead, by bringing these three sections together with one another to provide a snapshot of what was happening at that time, it provides a critical jumping off point for scholars working on these issues. The first section focuses on how modular housing figured into pandemic responses to housing needs. In exploring this issue, author Laura Supple attends to both state and national perspectives as part of a broader effort to situate Alaska issues with modular housing in relation to wider national trends. This led to the identification of multiple kinds of literature, ranging from published articles to publicly circulated memos, blog posts, and presentations. These materials are important source materials that will likely fade in the vastness of the Internet and thus may help provide researchers with specific insights into how off-site modular construction was used – and perhaps hyped – to address pandemic concerns over housing, which in turn may raise wider questions about how networks, institutions, and historical experiences with modular construction are organized and positioned to respond to major societal disruptions like the pandemic. As Supple pointed out, most of the material identified in this review speaks to national issues and only a scattering of examples was identified that reflect on the Alaskan context. The second section gathers a diverse set of communications exploring housing security and homelessness in the region. The lack of adequate, healthy housing in remote Alaska communities, often referred to as Alaska’s housing crisis, is well-documented and preceded the pandemic (Guy 2020). As the pandemic unfolded, journalists and other writers reported on the immense stress that was placed on already taxed housing resources in these communities (Smith 2020; Lerner 2021). The resulting picture led the editors to describe in their work how housing security in the region exists along a spectrum that includes poor quality housing as well as various forms of houselessness including, particularly relevant for the context, “hidden homelessness” (Hope 2020; Rogers 2020). The term houseless is a revised notion of homelessness because it captures a richer array of both permanent and temporary forms of housing precarity that people may experience in a region (Christensen et al. 2107). By identifying sources that reflect on the multiple forms of housing insecurity that people were facing, this section highlights the forms of disparity that complicated pandemic responses. Moreover, this section underscores ingenuity (Graham 2019; Smith 2020; Jason and Fashant 2021) that people on the ground used to address the needs of their communities. The third section provides a snapshot from the first year of the pandemic into how CARES Act funds were allocated to Native Alaska communities and used to address housing security. This subject was extremely complicated in Alaska due to the existence of for-profit Alaska Native Corporations and disputes over eligibility for the funds impacted disbursements nationwide. The resources in this section cover that dispute, impacts of the pandemic on housing security, and efforts to use the funds for housing as well as barriers Alaska communities faced trying to secure and use the funds. In summary, this annotated bibliography provides an overview of what was happening, in real time, during the pandemic around a specific topic: housing security in largely remote Alaska Native communities. The media used by housing specialists to communicate the issues discussed here are diverse, ranging from news reports to podcasts and from blogs to journal articles. This diversity speaks to the multiple ways in which information was circulating on housing at a time when the nightly news and radio broadcasts focused heavily on national and state health updates and policy developments. Finding these materials took time, and we share them here because they illustrate why attention to housing security issues is critical for addressing crises like the pandemic. For instance, one theme that emerged out of a recent National Science Foundation workshop on COVID research in the North NSF Conference[4] was that Indigenous communities are not only recovering from the pandemic but also evaluating lessons learned to better prepare for the next one, and resilience will depend significantly on more—and more adaptable—infrastructure and greater housing security. 
    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2024
  2. To communicate and utilize research of different options for Alaskan housing, a framework for comparison is necessary. The desigwork in this document attempts to unify our language and model for approaching modularity in housing by using a set of visualguides to compare variables and characteristics of different housing styles. 
    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 11, 2024
  3. Hermann, Victoria (Ed.)
    This brief draws on an ongoing remote ethnographic study examining how varying modes of housing insecurity are experienced by Alaskans. This includes: • an introduction to the term “houselessness,” which describes shifting modes of housing insecurity caused by socio-economic changes and unanticipated life events, but also housing shortages, difficulties acquiring land and permission for building new housing, and (especially for some Indigenous groups) the foreign nature of home financing. • reflections on the precarious living situations that Alaskans from rural communities’ experience across their lifetimes. • the need for further qualitative research that interrogates how assumptions about houselessness are experienced by Alaskans in different contexts, not least because the term houselessness is a proactive attempt to delimit narrowly defined and demeaning terms such as homelessness. 
    more » « less
  4. Disabled people continue to be significantly underrepresented and marginalized in engineering. Current reports indicate that approximately 26 percent of US adults have some form of disability. Yet only 6 percent of undergraduate students enrolled in engineering programs belong to this group. Several barriers have been identified that discourage and even prohibit people with disabilities from participating in engineering including arduous accommodations processes, lack of institutional support, and negative peer, staff, and faculty attitudes. These barriers are perpetuated and reinforced by a variety of ableist sociocultural norms and definitions that rely on popularized tropes and medicalized models that influence the ways this group experiences school to become engineers. In this paper, we seek to contribute to conversations that shape understanding of disability identity and the ways it is conceptualized in engineering programs. We revisit interview data from an ongoing grounded theory exploration of professional identity formation of undergraduate civil engineering students who identify as having one or more disabilities. Through our qualitative analysis, we identified overarching themes that contribute to understanding of how participants define and integrate disability identity to form professional identities and the ways they reshape and contribute to the civil engineering field through this lens. Emergent themes include experiencing/considering disability identity as a fluid experience, as a characteristic that ‘sets you apart’, and as a medicalized symptom or condition. Findings from this work can be used by engineering educators and administrators to inform more effective academic and personal support structures to destigmatize disability and promote the participation and inclusion of students and colleagues with disabilities in engineering and in our academic and professional communities. 
    more » « less
  5. National agencies throughout Australia and the United States (U.S.) have called for broadened participation in engineering, including participation by individuals with disabilities. However, studies demonstrate that students with disabilities are not effectively supported by university systems and cultures. This lack of support can shape how students form professional identities as they move through school and into careers. To better understand these experiences and create a more inclusive environment in engineering, we conducted a constructivist grounded theory exploration of professional identity formation in students who identify as having a disability as they study civil engineering and experience their first year of work. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 24 undergraduate civil engineering students across the U.S. and analysed them using grounded theory techniques. Navigating sociocultural expectations of disability emerged as one key theme, consisting of three strategy types: (1) neutrally satisfying expectations, (2) challenging expectations, and (3) aligning with expectations. Regardless of strategy, all participants navigated sociocultural expectations related to their studies and their disabilities. This theme highlights the ways sociocultural influences impact students’ navigation through their undergraduate civil engineering careers. These findings can be used to examine cultural barriers faced by students with disabilities to enhance their inclusion in engineering. 
    more » « less
  6. Context: Within higher education, reports show that approximately 6% of Australian college students and 13% of U.S. college students have identified as having a disability to their institution of higher education. Findings from research in K-12 education report that students with disabilities often leave secondary school with lower college aspirations and are discouraged from taking engineering-related courses. Those who do enrol are often not supported effectively and must navigate physical, cultural, and bureaucratic university systems in order to access resources necessary for success in school and work. This lack of support is problematic as cognitive, developmental, mental health, and physical disabilities can markedly shape the ways in which students perceive and experience school, form professional identities, and move into the engineering workforce. However, little work has explored professional identity development within this population, specifically within a single engineering discipline such as civil engineering. Purpose: To move beyond tolerance and actively embrace students with diverse perspectives in engineering higher education, the purpose of this study is to understand the ways in which undergraduate students who experience disability form professional identities as civil engineers. Approach: Drawing on the sensitizing concepts of identity saliency, intersectionality, and social identity theory, we utilize Constructivist Grounded Theory (GT) to explore the influences of and interactions among students' disability and professional identities within civil engineering. Semi-structured interviews, each lasting approximately 90 minutes, were conducted with undergraduate civil engineering students who identified as having a disability. Here, we present our findings from the initial and focused coding phases of our GT analysis. Results: Our analyses revealed two themes warranting further exploration: 1) varying levels of disability identity saliency in relation to the development of a professional identity; and 2) conflicting colloquial and individual conceptualizations of disability. Overall, it has been observed that students' experiences with and perceptions of these themes tend to vary based on characteristics of an experienced disability. Conclusions: Students with disabilities experience college - and form professional identities - in a variety of ways. While further research is required to delineate how disability shapes college students' professional identities and vice versa, gaining an understanding of student experiences can yield insights to help us create educational spaces that better allow students with disabilities to flourish in engineering and make engineering education more inclusive. 
    more » « less