Experiences of Counselor Educators of Color in Academe

By Salazar, Carmen F.; Herring, Roger D. et al. | Journal of Professional Counseling, Practice, Theory, & Research, Fall 2004 | Go to article overview
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Experiences of Counselor Educators of Color in Academe


Salazar, Carmen F., Herring, Roger D., Cameron, Susan C., Nihlen, Ann S., Journal of Professional Counseling, Practice, Theory, & Research


Abstract

The authors present results of a qualitative exploration and analysis of the impact of ethnicity, social class, and gender in the lives of 14 counselor educators of color teaching in colleges and universities across the United States. Data analysis yielded eight themes; a ninth theme, "Multicultural Selfhood" served as a unifier which wove throughout participants' stories, and consequently through each of the 8 themes. This article focuses on five themes related to participants' interactions and relationships with colleagues and students, including the individual and systemic dynamics at work in these interactions. The results have implications for retention of minority faculty.

Experiences of Counselor Educators of Color in Academe

Increasingly, counselor educators who are committed to multiculturalism are calling attention to the need to move multiculturalism into a more central place in counseling training and practice (Arredondo & Arciniega, 2001; Hill, 2003). If counseling programs are to provide ethical, competent, and relevant multicultural education, the active presence of faculty of color is required (Ponterotto, Alexander, & Greiger, 1995; Torres, Ottens, & Johnson, 1997). A more diverse faculty will serve more effectively the needs of counselor trainees of color as well as European American students (Brinson & Kottler, 1993; Young, Chamley & Withers, 1990). Given the profession's increasing commitment to multiculturalism, and the need for faculty of color, counseling programs must make a concerted effort to both recruit and retain faculty of color (Holcomb-McCoy & Bradley, 2003). In addition, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs requires such efforts for accreditation approval (CACREP, 2001).

Asserting that "Counselor education has been dominated by White privilege," Ivey, Ivey, D'Andrea and Daniels (1997) emphasized some European American counselor educators' "unintentional racism," and difficulty "fully listening to culturally diverse opinions." They stressed the need for the profession to "listen to and incorporate culturally diverse voices" (p. 3). Including people of color on counseling faculties without attending to how their varied perspectives, worldviews, experiences, and insights enrich and challenge the profession limits the profession on an individual and collective basis.

Brinson and Kottler's (1993) essay on cross-cultural mentoring as a strategy for retaining minority faculty in counselor education, and Bradley and Holcomb-McCoy's (2002) survey of research, teaching, and service activities of ethnic minority counselor educators, provided insight into challenges faced by faculty of color. In addition, several counselor educators of color who contributed essays to the Special Issue of The Journal of Counseling and Development, "Racism: Healing Its Effects" (1999) spoke briefly of their current experiences of racism in academe. In addition, there is a large body of literature describing the challenges experienced by faculty of color in a variety of academic fields (e.g., Benjamin, 1997; James & Farmer, 1993; Padilla & Chavez, 1995). However, there has been no systematic qualitative exploration and analysis of the experiences of counselor educators of color in the counseling literature. This study by the first author is intended to help fill this gap.

Genuine understanding of the experiences of counselor educators of color and of the meanings they derive from these experiences require attention to the interaction of ethnicity, social class, and gender. All three factors work simultaneously and have overlapping, interlocking, and cumulative effects (Andersen & Collins, 2004; Robinson, 1999).

Method

A number of experts in multicultural counseling research and practice have noted the promise qualitative research methodology offers "in studying complex psychological issues among culturally diverse people" (Daniels & D'Andrea, 1996, p.

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