The Academy in Color

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Faculty of color face numerous challenges teaching at predominantly white institutions (PWI). Research suggests that White students often apply more stringent standards when assessing their credibility than they do assessing the credibility of White professors (Hendrix, 1997). Moreover, faculty of color often experience isolation and marginalization in their respective departments (McKay, 1983). In addition, they are usually asked to “diversify” many college committees, which adds stress to the already stressful tenure process (Smith, 1992). This paper examines these and other challenges that faculty of color face on PWI campuses. Additionally, this paper examines a recent incident at a small liberal arts college that sparked a tense online debate about diversity. A small group of senior faculty sent out a college-wide letter asking that the administration address the lack of African American new hires in recent years. Their contention was that many of the African American faculty currently teaching are nearing retirement age, and they have not seen an effort to hire more African American faculty to replace them. In response, some faculty members stated that they are doing the best that they can and it is not their fault that African Americans don’t apply; while some others wrote that African American faculty are not the only people of color not being adequately hired. As a result of the ongoing debate, a Diversity Task Force was formed to further examine hiring practices. Some perceived this an empty gesture to quiet the debate; while others believe it to be a genuine effort to address a national problem. Hence, the primary questions this paper will address are: (1) What are some of the challenges that faculty of color face teaching at PWIs? (2) What have campus administrators done to address these challenges?


Keywords: Faculty of Color, African American Faculty, Predominantly White Insitutions, Campus Diversity
Stream: Identity and Belonging; the Politics of Diversity; Globalisation
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , Academy in Color, The


Dr. Donnetrice Allison

Assistant Professor, Communication Studies, The Richard Stockton College
Pomona, NJ, USA

Donnetrice C. Allison received her Ph.D. from Howard University, Washington, DC, in Rhetoric and Intercultural Communication. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Communications Studies at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Pomona, NJ. Her research focuses primarily on the communicative experiences of Black professors who teach for predominantly white colleges and universities. Dr. Allison also researches the social impact of Hip-Hop culture, both domestically and internationally. Dr. Allison’s most recent publications include: "Free to Be Me? Black Professors, White Institutions" in The Journal of Black Studies, and "The Academy in Black and White: Strategies in Communication" in the Howard Journal of Communications.

Ref: D08P0117