Faculty of Color: Teaching in Predominantly White Colleges and Universities

Article excerpt

Book review: Faculty of color: Teaching in predominantly White colleges and Universities

Stanley, C. (Ed.). (2006). Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company, Inc. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Faculty of Color: Teaching in Predominantly White Colleges and Universities (Stanley, 2006) provides readers with an opportunity to peer into the lives of a variety of faculty of color who are employed in predominantly white institutions (PWI). Twenty three multi- cultural faculty members candidly discuss their academic appointments and related activities in this environment including research, teaching, institutional climate, relationships with colleagues and students, serving on committees, recruiting, and social experience. Each faculty member tells his/her story by utilizing specific examples of the struggles they have faced as faculty of color in PWIs, sharing their emotions about those happenings, and, finally, providing recommendations to improve the experiences for multi-cultural faculty in such academic settings.

Christine A Stanley, Ph.D., editor of Faculty of Color: Teaching in Predominantly White Colleges and Universities (2006), serves as the Vice-President and Associate Provost for Diversity and Professor of Higher Education Administration at Texas A&M University. Additionally, Dr. Stanley was recently named to serve on the advisory committee on inclusion for the American Council on Education. As a Jamaican female scholar, her research concentration focuses on teaching at the college and university level, faculty development, multiracial faculty development, and diversity and social justice in higher education.

The faculty who contributed to this publication by telling their personal stories are a diverse group of female and male academicians from a variety of different cultural backgrounds and identities. Coming from different stages of professional experience and an assortment of fields including the Health Sciences, Information Technology, Sociology, and Psychology, they make up a well-represented group of faculty of color who speak to the issues they have encountered working in PWIs.

Faculty of Color: Teaching in Predominantly White Colleges and Universities (Stanley, 2006) is composed of 25 chapters, including an overview of literature, and a summary chapter. The majority of chapters illustrate the faculty members' unique stories enabling the reader to better envision and understand the challenges that faculty of color confront in PWIs. Even though each of the individuals tells their story differently; the central themes present throughout the book deal with struggles: in the classroom, with colleagues, and with administration. While telling their stories, these authors also share their personal strengths and resiliency factors that allowed them to succeed despite sometimes harsh conditions. Finally, Stanley asks that each of the authors conclude their chapter by providing readers with recommendations for improving institutions in order to offer a more supportive environment for multi-cultural faculty.

Classroom Struggles

"Unlike their African-American counterparts, White faculty members do not have experiences (i.e., to the degree of faculty of color) in which their competence is questioned" (Bonner, p.85, as cited in Stanley, 2006). Many of the faculty contributors spoke about the challenges and racist attitudes they found in their classrooms from students. The expertise, knowledge, teaching and grading competence, and credentials of faculty of color were questioned by students and, sometimes, even the parents of students. One author states "students simply do not respect faculty of color as much as they do White faculty" (Orey, p. 237, as cited in Stanley, 2006). Additionally, the authors spoke about how these challenging occurrences in the classroom affected their experience as an educator. Many times these teachers were shocked and saddened at students' comments and surprised by the lack of exposure and stereotypic attitudes held by college- level students. …