Coloring The Academic Landscape

Coloring The Academic Landscape - American Educational...

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American Educational Research Journal Winter 2006, Vol. 43, No. 4, pp. 701- 736 Coloring the Academic Landscape: Faculty of Color Breaking the Silence in Predominantly White Colleges and Universities Christine A: Stanley This article, based on a larger, autoethnographic qualitative research project, focuses on the first-band experiences of 27faculty of color teaching in pre- dominantly White colleges and universities. 7The 27faculty represented a variety of institutions, disciplines, academic titles, and ranks. They identified themselves as African American, American Indian, Asian, Asian American, Latina/o, Native Pacific Islander, and South African. This article reports on the predominant themes of the narratives shared by these faculty'of color: teaching, mentoring, collegiality, identity, service, and racism. These themes, consonant with findings from the research literature, can be used to offer sug- gestioný and recommendations for the recruitment and retention offaculty of color in higher education. KEYwoRDs: faculty development, faculty of color, recruitment, retention, teaching It is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken. (Audre Lorde, 1984, p. 44) T here seems to be a growing conspiracy of silence surrounding the expe- riences of faculty of color teaching in predominantly White colleges and universities. For many faculty of color, who reside throughout the academic landscape, their silenced state is a burdensome cycle that is rarely broken. Only rarely are they asked to speak candidly about their experiences so that we can learn how to develop effective recruitment and retention strategies for diversifying higher education faculties. Many of their White colleagues, CHRSTINE A. STANLEY is Executive Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and a Pro- fessor of Higher Education Administration, College of Education and Human Devel- opment, Texas A&M University, 4222 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4222; e-mail: [email protected] She specializes in faculty and administrator development and college teaching.
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Stanley too, seem silent even though few are afraid to speak truth to power or stand up for faculty of color when they observe behaviors that are racist, sexist, xenophobic, or homophobic. Why is this, I have often wondered? I posed this nagging question to Joe Feagin, a sociologist and a White antiracist scholar, during a distinguished lecture he gave titled "Black Students Still Face Racism: White Colleges and Universities." His response, without a pause, was "because it costs White folks" (Feagin, 2004). When members of the dominant group speak up, it has tremendous impact because the dynam- ics of power, positionality, and authority are attributes that can only serve to deepen dialogues and influence policy and decision making on diversity and social justice in our colleges and universities. Conversely, when members of the targeted group speak up, the cost for us is enormous because these same
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Coloring The Academic Landscape - American Educational...

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