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PhD to Professor: An Open Letter to a Young Scholar

The Beauty and the Burden of Being a Black Professor

ISBN: 978-1-83867-268-3, eISBN: 978-1-83867-267-6

ISSN: 1479-3644

Publication date: 18 January 2021


The purpose of this chapter is to share the varied experiences the two authors encountered as first-generation college students and scholars in higher education. The goal is to provide insight into how minoritized students, particularly those who identify as Black, Black American or African American, can successfully navigate the doctoral process, be competitive on the faculty job market as newly minted PhD‘s, and navigate the tenure and promotion process. One perspective follows the traditional (tenure track) faculty career progression. Another perspective suggests creating your own path, considering administrative roles, research appointments, and non—tenure track teaching roles. This chapter will be largely autobiographical, with augmented supplementation from empirical research. The implications and lessons that will be shared in this chapter are beneficial to all students and young scholars as they embark upon similar trajectories in their professional and academic careers.


Palmer, R.T. and Williams, J.L. (2021), "PhD to Professor: An Open Letter to a Young Scholar", Davis, C.H., Hilton, A., Hamrick, R. and Brooks, F.E. (Ed.) The Beauty and the Burden of Being a Black Professor (Diversity in Higher Education, Vol. 24), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 37-52.



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