Diversity and Triumphs of Navigating the Terrain of Academe: Volume 23

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International Perspectives


Table of contents

(10 chapters)

In attempts to defuse racial tensions on campus, higher education administrators have often commissioned special units and campus-wide initiatives. Historically, these commissions often address racial challenges in higher education that impact both faculty and students. If designed and deployed carefully, these commissions can be very useful mechanisms to address sensitive racial, religious, and linguistic concerns on campus. Despite the prevalence of studies that discuss racial experiences on campus, far less scholarship has focused on the effectiveness of these commissions and the dialogic strategies that faculty of color have employed in their service.

This study draws on three major findings. First, the chapter explores why the presidential commission structure is a powerful mechanism for improving dialogue about racial and ethnic issues on campus. Former commissioners discuss its potential for addressing the complex and interlocking concerns of faculty, staff, and students of color. Second, although the commission’s structure is promising, we present numerous problems that require further attention. We discuss how the emphasis on dialogue and less dedication to targeted actions and policies may actually undermine the goals of commissions like these and further frustrate aggrieved faculty, staff, and students. Third, the chapter highlights successful and unsuccessful strategies for sustaining fruitful dialogue that lead to an increased understanding and acceptance of diverse viewpoints and perspectives. These findings have specific relevance for international faculty and faculty of color interested in ways to be more proactive in shaping existing programs, policies, and approaches to meet the diverse needs of university life.


This chapter examines the experiences of Ghanaian PhD graduates from various universities across the globe. A qualitative research model was therefore designed and used to explore factors that motivated the PhD graduates to pursue their programs, challenges they faced in the course of their study, effects of these challenges on them, and how they dealt with the challenges. Purposive and convenience sampling techniques were employed to select 20 participants for the study. The theoretical focus of the study was on human capital theory. The data were analyzed using a thematic approach. It emerged from the study that job placement and security, the academic environment, family aspiration and expectation, personal desire to stand out to be visible, and availability of scholarships were factors that motivated Ghanaian PhD graduates to pursue their programs. The findings also revealed that Ghanaian PhD graduates lost most of their acquaintances deliberately, missed their families and social life, and had difficulty managing supervisor/student relationship, battling with theories, data management, and analysis. It became obvious that as part of PhD students’ orientation, they should be made to understand that uncertainty, doubt, and disappointments are parts of the PhD experience and they should not be derailed by those conditions. Universities running PhD programs should provide counseling centers and programs that are tailored toward reduction in stress factors accompanying PhD programs.


Demographic shifts and increasing diversity have increased calls for more Black women in higher education teaching and leadership in Canada. This chapter examines how I navigate my practical and theoretical journey in academe through my ontological experiences as a Black female immigrant in large university in Southern Ontario Canada. Drawing on critical race theory (CRT) as a theoretical frame, I explore and theorize my resistance to racial microaggressions through what I describe as “navigational moves.” These “navigational moves” include decolonizing education, spirituality, self-care, and developing a supportive network. These “navigational moves” are grounded in my history and experiences. The chapter explores notions of resistance, empowerment, and sustenance as important factors in challenging racial microaggressions in academe.


The chapter establishes the rationale for the development of an online professional development course in designing culturally responsive assessment for faculty of the Institute of Education in Dublin City University. As the literature on which the course is based is from several countries, the course may be considered relevant for faculty in various countries and can be accessed as the course is online. The course of about 3.5 hours in duration begins with a definition of culturally responsive assessment before emphasizing the desirability of culturally responsive assessment based mainly on the obligation to design tests that are fair to all test takers. Key elements of the program are the concepts of multicultural validity, construct validity, language issues, dimensions of cultural difference impacting on learning and assessment, and the lecturer/supervisor as researcher of their own students as well as of their own enculturation. The focus is on the implications of these concepts for professional practice. The course synthesizes several sources to posit eight criteria for the preparation, process, and outcomes of culturally responsive assessment before presenting several assessment modes that have potential to be culturally fair. Finally, the course provides the opportunity for participants to design culturally responsive assessment in their own disciplines and then requests the participants to evaluate their designs in light of the criteria. Twelve respondents to a pilot study were essentially very positive about the value of the online course.


The chapter addresses the questions surrounding the politics of the academe as a reflective process. The three authors’ experiences are very different – spanning from tenured professor to sessional instructor to professor in an African university. The narratives from the authors inform the readers of their goals to join the academy as faculty; their job search; being members of the staff and then; their experiences as members of the teaching force at various universities. The chapter is based on their experiences of navigating the politics of the academe. This chapter provides their narratives of what it means to be a professor, mentor, colleague, and researcher. Each story is told from their particular standpoint: two females and one male teaching in North American universities and Africa, respectively, two Black and one racialized female who can pass, but cannot because of her name. The analysis will address numerous complications involved in addressing expectations, establishing common grounds as educators from an international perspective, and providing narratives of how we have managed to maintain our goals and aspirations as members of the academe. The tensions involved will be problematized and explored from within the context of the academy and the associated constraints therein (Tatum, 1999). The objective of this chapter is to theorize the significance of navigating the politics of the academe to deflate arising tensions that may delay your passion for teaching. The chapter is informed by an anticolonial theoretical framework in light of converges and divergences of varying colonial contexts embedded in colonial Canadian society. The anticolonial framework draws on the specific settler-colonial Canadian context (Tuck & Yang, 2012). The chapter is divided into six parts: (1) introduction that provides a general overview of what it means to be faculty at a university, (2) situating ourselves, (3) theoretical framework, (4) Universities in general and more specifically, Canadian system and Kenyan, (5) discussion that provides an analysis or synthesis of our experiences, and (6) conclusion.


In this chapter, I present examples of my narratives on how I continue to attempt to navigate the obstacles I face as a racialized tenured faculty member in a faculty of education and my lessons learned in navigating my journey into the academy with my students. I present Ladson-Billings and Tate’s (1995) concept of race as a powerful tool for explaining social inequity, and I will use Critical Race Theory to analyze those moments of tensions and conflict where my students will question or even challenge my role as either their seminar course instructor or practicum faculty advisor. I have found that students often wonder about my competency when they first meet me either in the university classroom or in their practicum placement. As a result, I feel that I have to prove myself initially to my students to establish my competence and to continually work to challenge those perceptions. In addition, as a faculty member who is racialized as being Black, my students often are uncomfortable in talking about race and claim that I “speak too much about race in class” and as such also claim that I push my agenda on race in my courses. Over the years, I anticipate students’ initial perceptions and comfort level with race and use those as a way of first engaging in open dialogue about race with my students. I will explore these issues and also offer some strategic ways racialized academics, like myself, can anticipate and use those challenges to our advantage in teaching in higher education and particularly in a teacher education program.


Microaggressions have gained heightened attention in academic milieus (Solórzano, Ceja, & Yosso, 2000). Originally Pierce (1995) defined microaggressions as “subtle, stunning, and unconscious put-downs of those in inferior status” by a collection of individuals in power (p. 313). Sue (2010) suggests that specific interactions involving race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, class, etc. can be susceptible to a potential racial microaggression.

This chapter will begin with a summary of the rewards and challenges of my doctoral journey. I will share highlighted perspectives from a faculty socio-cultural phenomena perspective. Next, the chapter will explore the phenomenon of monochromatic microaggressions (MM) through the lens of my initial experiences as a new and unknown tenure track Assistant Professor and African American (AA) female.

An additional motif presented in this narrative is a discourse on silent forms of microaggressions and monochromatic microaggressions, both in and out of the classroom (Hendrix, 2007). Monochromatic microaggressions represents hostilities from two distinct, yet combined, groups of individuals at the same time. The term connotes concerted and combined microaggressions and MM associated with the dominant group and horizontal violence perpetuated with oppressed groups. Both groups, identifying from different plateaus, elicit a duality of enmities (e.g., one from underprivilege and the other from privilege).

The intention of this narrative is to write a new future, provide mentoring to those that may be vulnerable to similar experiences and to encourage resilience and broad networking. This chapter presents a personal, transparent, inspirational, but heartfelt narrative.

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Publication date
Book series
Diversity in Higher Education
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
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