`Game Plan' at Odds with Black Faculty Concerns

By Ien, Seymour | Black Issues in Higher Education, May 19, 1994 | Go to article overview

`Game Plan' at Odds with Black Faculty Concerns


Ien, Seymour, Black Issues in Higher Education


'Game Plan' At odds with Black Faculty Concerns.

In academia today, there is a serious dearth of Black faculty and a shrinking pool of qualified candidates to fill future teaching positions. According to the National Research Council (NRC), in 1991, only 8 percent of the teachers in the U.S. were African American. The NRC also reported during the same year that of the 24,721 doctorates awarded, only 993 went to African Americans.

Because urban institutions consist of large numbers of African American students, they are sometimes, unfortunately, natural attractions for Black faculty who often reside in these communities and have first-hand knowledge of the students and their problems. These faculty sincerely believe that by acting as role models, they can jumpstart students to success and show them how to circumvent the pitfalls of discrimination.

If young Black instructors manage to get past the gatekeepers of these institutions, and are hired on tenure track lines, they often spend their first few years becoming too engrossed with the problems of students, while sometimes fatally ignoring academic bureaucratic requirements.

One senior professor candidly spelled out the requirements. "This is a game. Like any game, there are rules. You must learn the rules and play the game to win." Obviously, to the young Black instructors charged with making a difference in the educational attainments of African Americans, words like "play" and "game" appear hypocritical. …

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