Structural Gatekeepers: The Processes and Practices

As identified previously, unconscious bias and lack of transparency in structural processes and practices—such as recruitment and hiring of faculty and promotion and tenure of faculty'—can often lead to the greatest barriers that faculty' have to overcome, especially minoritized faculty' (Smith, 2000; Stewart et al., 2010; Turner, 2002; Turner et ah, 2008).

Stanley (2006) argued that challenges stemming from negative student evaluations from teaching on contentious issues relating to diversity often negatively impact a faculty' member of colors promotion and tenure process. Furthermore, Stanley (2006) stipulates that faculty' of color lack mentoring that is necessary in learning the unspoken rules of the game. Issues at the intersection of collegiality and identity are often misinterpreted, and faculty of color are typically not protected from overloaded service requests (formal and informal). Finally, faculty' of color often have to manage racism that persists as a result of working in a primarily White environment. Taken together, these challenges deeply impact the performance of faculty of color during the promotion and tenure process. Without structural components in place to equalize the playing field, most faculty' of color will continue to struggle to succeed through the tenure track and promotion process.

However, while retention and promotion of women faculty' and faculty of color are a critical foundation to sustaining a diverse faculty', studies have identified recruitment and hiring processes as the primary gatekeeper en route from the doctorate to the professoriate (Bilimoria & Bucli, 2010; Olivas, 1988). Insights from research and practice have indicated that various stages in the recruitment and hiring process require increased training to minimize bias. Several stages that have been the focal points of numerous articles and handbooks include intentionality of leadership prior to the start of the formal search process; the composition of the search committee; job postings (as a leveraging point to create a more diverse applicant pool); broadening the scope of merit in the application review process; and training to minimize unconscious bias throughout the search process (Alger, 2000; Turner, 2002). Therefore, if the search process is the main point of entry' into academia, the literature clearly indicates that a revamping of the multi-layered stages throughout the process is foundational for stronger success in recruiting and hiring more minoritized faculty'.

Environmental Gatekeepers: “Chilly Climates” and “Revolving Doors”

While significant portions of the higher-education literature on STEM faculty' highlight persisting compositional inequalities (Burelli, 2008; Turner et al., 2008), the marginalizing climate and experiences that women faculty and faculty of color manage also have been studied as influencing high attrition. In particular, Turner and colleagues (1999) pointed to the “chilly climate” that many faculty of color experience while aiming to be successful on the tenure clock, overcoming additional barriers including “being told they did not fit the ‘profile’ of someone being promoted,” and performing while “being in the spotlight” (pp. 41—42). Similarly, other scholars have argued that the microaggressive behavior that faculty of color experience on a daily basis (Griffin, Pifer, Humphrey, & Hazelwood, 2011; Keyes & Hal- con, 1988), on top of the racism and cultural taxation experienced primarily by' faculty of color through heavier service responsibilities and informal mentoring roles to Students of Color (Griffin, Bennett, & Harris, 2011), all contribute to the chilly climate that eventually leads to faculty of color leaving a given department. Greene and Stockard (2010) found parallel climate issues, specifically' in chemistry, for women faculty concerned with the climate being “problematic and less than welcoming” (p. 381) and receiving inequitable resources to their male counterparts such as salaries, workload, workspace, and research recognition.

Even departments that are intentionally working toward recruiting and hiring more faculty' of color may suffer from an additional issue that perpetuates the inequity in the professoriate—the revolving door syndrome (Moreno et al., 2006). With the revolving door syndrome, the attrition of faculty of color is so significant that in spite of focused efforts to hire more faculty of color, the numbers remain the same. Basically, as the department works to bring in a new faculty of color, they also lose one through the revolving door. While the “chilly climate” contributes significantly to the attrition of faculty of color (Turner et al., 1999), the revolving door syndrome deeply compounds the issue and deepens inequity, especially' for faculty of color.

Passing by the Gatekeeper: Entering the Casa

As the higher-education literature on minoritized faculty' highlights in the experiences in the search process, as isolated faculty of color in their departments, and though the promotion and tenure process are not overwhelmingly positive, there are glimmers of hope indicating where change might begin. Practitioners and campus administrators have been advised to consider faculty recruitment as a daily routine (Olivas, 1988) and have been urged to consider focusing on their departmental climate as a self- perpetuating engine for recruitment of minoritized faculty (Light, 1994). Lights (1994) work recognized the importance of developing a healthy' environment where faculty of color could succeed and thrive, and he argued that prospective faculty of color would look for these signals of success as indicators of the support they would receive once hired. In many ways, focusing internally would slow the revolving door syndrome (Moreno et al., 2006) significantly, and would begin to reverse the impact of the “chilly climate” (Turner et ah, 1999) that drives many faculty of color away from departments or academia altogether.

Although much of the literature on minoritized faculty has not considered Latinx faculty' or Latinas specifically, the concept offamilia and familial support has been studied to be at the core of Latinidad in education. More specifically, Gloria and colleagues (2005) underscore the power of familial support as an indicator of success for Latinx students; however, it is clear that familial support continues to be a core cultural value for Latinx faculty as well (Yosso, 2005). Understanding the ways in which familia and familial support could look for Latina faculty (especially in STEM, where they' are so deeply' underrepresented) could lead to the discovery of new recruitment and retention strategies.

Moreover, for many faculty of color, having a connectedness to “home” and to community strengthens their sense of belonging and investment in their careers (Reyes, Carales, & Sansone, 2020). In their autoethnography' of their faculty' search and recruitment process, Reyes and colleagues (2020) discovered that their desire to be “homebound” and to have the opportunity' to serve their community became a pivotal decision-maker in the job search process. As faculty of color, they discussed how important being close to “home” and to their community was to their perceived success as tenure-track faculty. Similar to the concept of familia, “home” can vary in physical characteristics, and one could beg to say even in location; however, for Latina faculty' who may thrive from the connectedness offamilia, feeling a sense of “home” in their department and a connectedness to the community could become a game-changer in their success as well. Therefore, as campus leaders are urged to focus on their organizational culture (Light, 1994), considering strategies for developing a sense offamilia and “home” could instill a sense of belonging that would help Latina faculty in STEM be more resilient and included.

< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >