A Long Way to Go: Conversations about Race by African American Faculty and Graduate Students

By Darrell Cleveland | Go to book overview

11

THE POWER OF ONE VOICE: WHY
FACULTY OF COLOR SHOULD STAY IN
SMALL, PRIVATE, PREDOMINANTLY
WHITE INSTITUTIONS

Gloria Kersey-Matusiak

Colleges and universities, like other institutions, are microcosms of our society, sociopolitical arenas in which a variety of people from various backgrounds and disciplines must interact. Despite that fact, the racial and ethnic background of faculty within these institutions does not always reflect the diversity of our nation. In small, private, predominantly White institutions (PWIs), this difference is even more pronounced; and while increasing numbers of minority students are emerging on these campuses, faculty of color remain few. In these settings, minority faculty members often serve as the single representative—or one of few—of the Asian, Black, Hispanic, Native American, or in some cases, minority perspective on campus.

Faculty members of color, while few in our nation's institutions of higher learning, are not a monolithic group. Rather, they are a small collective of a variety of educators and scholars striving to find and maintain their places at their respective colleges and universities. Like other professors, the nature of their work depends largely on the type of institution they serve. And, while each faculty member shares such common concerns as tenure and scholarship with academicians everywhere, their road to success is often paved with challenges and cluttered with barriers not experienced by their White counterparts. These barriers set them apart from their White peers by forcing them to confront and resolve a myriad of conflicts to survive on their journey to the professorate. Like their White peers in the academy, faculty of color must meet the demands of their professional roles as teacher, researcher, scientist, or scholar, etc., as defined by their institution. At the same time,

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