Academic journal article The Western Journal of Black Studies

Pathways to the Professoriate: Exploring Black Doctoral Student Socialization and the Pipeline to the Academic Profession

Academic journal article The Western Journal of Black Studies

Pathways to the Professoriate: Exploring Black Doctoral Student Socialization and the Pipeline to the Academic Profession

Article excerpt

National demographic data demonstrates that America is becoming a more racially diverse nation. As such, every institution and industry will experience these demographic shifts, including higher education. Some reports estimate that up to half of all postsecondary applications will be come from applicants of color over the next decade (Hoover, 2013). While beginning college enrollees are expected to alter the landscape of undergraduate education, the data does not seem to identify the trajectory for racially diverse applicants into graduate education, and furthermore into the professoriate. Some have argued that the increased enrollments at the undergraduate level may in fact conceal lagging enrollments of graduate students of color. In her chapter titled The Diversity Imperative, Daryl Smith (2011) argues that:

   The shifting demographics of undergraduates,
   in particular, are not synonymous with the deep
   overall changes that many scholars suggest will be
   needed in terms of diversity: in leadership, faculty,
   centrality to the institution's core mission, research
   contributions, the graduate population, and the
   reduction of continuing gaps in student achievement
   (p. 466-467).

See Figure 1 representing projected racial demographics between 2012 and 2060.(https://www.census. gov/newsroom/releases/archi ves/population/cb 12-243. html)

Graduate school administrators, faculty, policymakers, and doctoral students interested in diversifying the professoriate will need to consider the ways historically marginalized groups are experiencing the doctoral process and transitioning into the academy. We specifically address these constituents as stakeholders and partners in the minting of new faculty and scholars within the higher education workforce. As the front liners in guiding doctoral students through their respective processes, graduate school administrators and faculty are essential and should be made aware of the experiences that Black doctoral students face as it relates to the academy, their race, and the convergence of the two identities. Policy makers are addressed due to the systemic impact of policy reform, best practices, and the advancement of graduate education. Lastly, this manuscript addresses doctoral students to reveal shared experiences, help mitigate "imposter syndrome" and serve as an advocate within doctoral socialization process.

It is clear that natural influx in undergraduate enrollments may divert attention away from the other imperatives, which are critical problems facing the current state and immediate future of higher education. In order to address these issues, academic administrators should consider the role of doctoral student socialization in widening the pipeline to professoriate (Sethna, 2011). By augmenting the socialization of doctoral students of color, the issues related to preparing and diversifying the next generation of academics can be achieved (Austin & McDaniels, 2006). In turn, this would simultaneously reduce the achievement gap that currently plagues higher education, expand the institutional research agenda, and improve overall graduate student persistence.

Academic administrators, from the Provost down, must adjust the overall campus climate to support the individual needs of these collegians. As such, it is essential for students of color to see faculty and administration that mirror their own demographics (Harper 2013), in addition to institutional missions (Iverson, 2007) and research agendas (Davidson & Foster-Johnson, 2001) that reflect these students' educational goals and varied scholarly interest. The socialization of doctoral students is one method that can confront these debilitating issues that hinder the growth and expansion of scholars of color entering and persisting through the pipeline towards the professoriate. This work illustrates the current issues facing socialization for doctoral students color, related to fit (Garner, 2008); mentorship and engagement (Davidson & Foster-Johnson, 2001; Davis, 2008; Felder, 2010; Gonzalez, 2006); faculty involvement (Gardner & Barnes, 2007); and marginalization and isolation (Gay, 2004; Gildersleeve, Croom, & Vasquez, 2011). …

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