Mack, D., Watson, E., & Madsen Camacho, M. (Eds.). (2013). Mentoring Faculty of Color: Essays on Professional Development and Advancement in Colleges and Universities

By Acosta, Liza Ann | International Journal of Multicultural Education, July 2013 | Go to article overview

Mack, D., Watson, E., & Madsen Camacho, M. (Eds.). (2013). Mentoring Faculty of Color: Essays on Professional Development and Advancement in Colleges and Universities


Acosta, Liza Ann, International Journal of Multicultural Education


Mack, D., Watson, E., & Madsen Camacho, M. (Eds.). (2013). Mentoring Faculty of Color: Essays on Professional Development and Advancement in Colleges and Universities. Jefferson: McFarland & Company. 211 pp., ISBN-13: 978-0-7864-7048-8 (pbk). $45.00

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This collection of essays is a welcome addition to the limited choices available to junior faculty of color in the humanities and sciences seeking guidance in their tenure and promotion process at small liberal art colleges, comprehensive universities, and research universities. The themes explored in the essays touch on issues and common experiences facing minority faculty on U.S. American campuses today: balancing academia and parenthood, dealing with sexism and racism, defending the legitimacy of one's research and scholarly interests in environments that devalue our fields of inquiry. However, Mentoring Faculty of Color: Essays on Professional Development and Advancement in Colleges and Universities is not only about sharing stories of struggle, survival, and success, but about offering its readers practical advice and proven strategies that served its authors well. In today's rigid and racialized academic world, the authors of these essays reassure the reader that there is hope of finding professional fulfillment and self-realization in a slow-changing academic climate.

The book offers valuable insights to multiple audiences. Administrators will find information about the struggles that faculty of color may be facing at their individual institutions and advice on how to promote a more supportive environment. Tenure-track minority faculty in any discipline will find clearly outlined, pragmatic suggestions on how to build a sane academic life. Even the non-academic reader, unfamiliar with the complexities of university tenure and promotion, will find the process demystified.

The essays address the significant challenges that arise as faculty of color advance through the tenure track. Some of the essays focus primarily on how to achieve tenure in different types of universities: liberal arts colleges, faith-based institutions, regional comprehensive universities, and research universities. The personal stories shared in these essays illustrate and reinforce the sage advice given in them. Tom Otieno's piece, for instance, covers all bases. It gives an overview of successful strategies in the areas of evaluation traditionally required for tenure: teaching, service, creative/scholarly work, and the ever elusive collegiality. In addition, Otieno identifies the roadblocks to faculty success and attempts to "sensitize the majority population about the unique challenges faced by faculty of color" (p. 27). A similar essay by Judith Liu provides advice on learning about departmental and campus dynamics for a smoother transition into tenure procedures. Mark Pottinger and Dwayne Mack explore their own experiences as Black males earning tenure at liberal arts colleges. Pottinger emphasizes an alignment of institutional mission and service, while Mack describes his struggle to remain true to his identity while teaching at a predominantly White institution. Identity and collaborative research figure prominently in Juliet McMullin's piece, an excellent exploration of interdisciplinary work, liminal identity politics, and handling the publication expectations in fields that traditionally discourage collaborative engagement.

Several essays focus on the particular challenges of female faculty of color. Robin Means Coleman explores the biases of student feedback and how to cope with the assumptions students make about women of color. …

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