Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Recruiting and Retaining Women and Minority Faculty: An Interview with JoAnn Moody

Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Recruiting and Retaining Women and Minority Faculty: An Interview with JoAnn Moody

Article excerpt

Dr. JoAnn Moody's booh Faculty Diversity: Problems and Solutions will be published in early 2004 and can be ordered at www.routledge.com. A higher education diversity consultant, Dr. Moody coaches senior faculty and administrators about how to recruit, retain, and mentor U.S. gender and racial minority faculty and students. As director of the Northeast Consortium for Faculty Diversity, she also prepares underrepresented minority students for a strong start in the professoriate. Her web site is DiversityOnCampus.com.

Nancy Carriuolo (N.C.): National studies indicate that the number of women and minority students (at undergraduate and graduate levels) has increased dramatically over the past 2 decades; whereas, the number of women and minority faculty is nudging forward very slowly (see Sidebars 1 and 2). Shouldn't higher education be working harder to address this mismatch between students in the classroom and the faculty who teach them?

JoAnn Moody (J.M.): Yes, we should all be concerned for three reasons. First, we have a political problem. American democracy prides itself on guaranteeing its citizens equal opportunity to succeed and make their unique contributions to society; however, the numbers argue that European-American men still hold a tight monopoly over the best jobs in higher education. To be blunt, this un-American situation undermines our political ideals. Second, we have an educational problem. Numerous studies, such as those by the University of Michigan and the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAUP, 2003), have shown that cultural diversity of student bodies and faculties enhances learning outcomes for all students, both majority and minority. A mono-cultural faculty diminishes learning and denies students (in particular, minorities and women) a variety of role models and mentors who could inspire them and fuel their ambitions. Third, we have an intellectual problem. Women and minorities bring new perspectives and new approaches to research, scholarship, and teaching. Higher education and the larger society need that intellectual richness.

N.C.: Those three reasons are powerful. The contributions of women and minorities to research, scholarship, and teaching are probably more valued by developmental educators than by others in higher education. Developmental educators are familiar with the distinct ways that women communicate and problem solve because Women's Ways of Knowing (Belenky, Clinchy, & Goldberger, 1997) is a standard on our bookshelves. More recently, while researching ways to coax more minority youngsters into the college pipeline, I was introduced to Freeman Hrabowski, an important African-American author, researcher, and university president. The books that he and his colleagues have written provide advice to parents and interested others about rearing minority sons and daughters to be successful in math and science. The books (one on raising daughters and the other sons; Hrabowski, Maton, Greene, & Greif, 2002; Hrabowski, Maton, & Greif, 1998) are based on the success of the Meyerhoff Scholars Program at President Hrabowski's institution, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). This program has been successful in increasing the number of minority students, particularly African-Americans, who become scientists and engineers. Such books by women and minorities help us to reframe old problems and pair them with solutions.

Let's turn, though, to looking at affirmative action and equal opportunity. On June 24, 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the University of Michigan Law School's controversial affirmative action policy, and only struck down the university's undergraduate plan because it gave certain races predetermined points toward admission rather than engaging in a holistic evaluation of individual applicants. The court case was clearly a victory for affirmative action. What about the public controversy surrounding the court case, though? …

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