Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Dear BI Career Consultants

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Dear BI Career Consultants

Article excerpt

What should African American faculty members do to prepare themselves for a career change from faculty to administration?

Dr. Muriel Wright Brailey

Director of the Institute for African American Studies, Wilberforce University

I have had the experience of making a career change from faculty to administrator and back to faculty status. And now I am an administrator again. I hope to end my career in higher education as an administrator. I don't know that there is any special or significant preparation for a career change from faculty to administration as an African American or as a female African American because in my own experience and observation (I'm going out on a limb here and bordering on the polemic), historically Black colleges and universities remain largely a bastion for males in administration, especially at the upper ranks. So ethnicity and gender are significant determinants according to the "kind" of institution. In fact, it seems gender is more a factor in HBCUs than in predominantly White institutions. This is not to ignore or discount the core issue of ethnicity regardless of what type of institutions one is a part of. To do so would be to ignore the primary factor which drives higher education and most other things in U.S. racial dynamics.

I draw an analogy between changing stares from faculty to administration with changing from being a stay-at-home parent and returning to work/career outside of the home. Transferring all skills used in course and curriculum preparation teaching methodologies, budgeting and managing students is fundamental. Attend workshops, institutes and taking courses in fiscal management is also helpful. It is good as evidence of your abilities on your resume and might let you know of skills you possess, but may not be aware of. If possible, it can be applicable whether one remains in an institution and makes the career change internally or changes institutions. Since the academic side of the house is the core of any college or university, academic rank is a great bargaining chip that one brings to the table as administrator. Finally, demographics of African American faculty and our "endangered" status may indicate a trend toward career change to administration. Perhaps more administrators can solve this problem of the diminishing African American scholar. But while this is an intrinsic issue relevant to the original question, this last comment is more suited to another forum.

Dr. Barbara A. Sizemore

Professor Emerita and Former Dean School of Education, DePaul University

Preparation for higher administration opportunities in the university has a three-way pathway through: (1) scholarship in academic disciplines demonstrated by published research; (2) teaching and (3) community/university service. …

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