Doing Diversity in Higher Education: Faculty Leaders Share Challenges and Strategies

Doing Diversity in Higher Education: Faculty Leaders Share Challenges and Strategies

Doing Diversity in Higher Education: Faculty Leaders Share Challenges and Strategies

Doing Diversity in Higher Education: Faculty Leaders Share Challenges and Strategies

Synopsis

Using case studies from universities throughout the nation, Doing Diversity in Higher Education examines the role faculty play in improving diversity on their campuses. The power of professors to enhance diversity has long been underestimated, their initiatives often hidden from view. Winnifred Brown-Glaude and her contributors uncover major themes and offer faculty and administrators a blueprint for conquering issues facing campuses across the country. Topics include how to dismantle hostile microclimates, sustain and enhance accomplishments, deal with incomplete institutionalization, and collaborate with administrators. The contributors' essays portray working on behalf of diversity as a genuine intellectual project rather than a faculty "service."

The rich variety of colleges and universities included provides a wide array of models that faculty can draw upon to inspire institutional change.

Excerpt

Cheryl A. Wall

For most people in the 1970s, the image of a college professor was a bearded gray-haired white man in a corduroy blazer with patches at the elbow. I did not look the part. When I joined the English department of Douglass College, I was twenty-three years old, with a short Afro and two years of graduate study at Harvard under my belt. Alienated by the ostentatious elitism of Harvard—not to mention the sexism—I was on a mission to find out whether I wanted an academic career. I answered an ad in the New York Times, was interviewed on campus that summer, and started teaching in September. Although there was no official mentoring program, another black woman, Adrianne Baytop, took me under her wing. a specialist in the Renaissance, Adrianne was tenured. She gave me tips on teaching, monitored my progress toward my PhD, and introduced me to the culture of the institution. At the time, I took her presence for granted. But I soon learned how rare my experience was and is: I have never been the only woman or the only African American in my department.

At Douglass, a women’s college, I did not have to defend the legitimacy of scholarship that focused on gender and race. To the contrary, I worked with a community of scholars who were defining the new field of women’s studies. the faculty was small enough that people moved easily across departments. Whether in English, history, sociology, or classics, we were asking similar questions. We were eager to share and test our findings both in person and on the page. While the leading journals were not yet welcoming—one famous editor warned junior faculty in my department not to submit anything on women because the topic was just trendy—a bevy of new journals appeared, many with “women” and “feminist” or “black” or “Afro-American” in their titles. We had places to publish and peers to review our work. We were also figuring out what a feminist pedagogy would be. Arranging desks in a circle, encouraging . . .

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