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The author has the distinct pleasure of teaching her undergraduate alma mater, Kentucky State University (KYSU), a small Historically Black College and University (HBCU…
The author has the distinct pleasure of teaching her undergraduate alma mater, Kentucky State University (KYSU), a small Historically Black College and University (HBCU) located in central Kentucky. This university was integral to her development as a young black woman and scholar coming into her own in the early twenty-first century. The author believes HBCU undergraduate experience allowed her to consistently witness successful African Americans as professors, mentors, and leaders. She further believes those individual's high expectations and intense academic rigor prepared her for graduate school at a high research Carnegie doctoral granting institution, the University of Kentucky.
It was not a surprise when she experienced both racial micro- and macroaggressions during her matriculation at the University of Kentucky. She remembers being the only African American in her classes and the only one in the entire doctoral program at certain points. The author's experiences in her doctoral program helped her immensely appreciate the HBCU experience.
After her graduate school experience, the author dreamed of returning to her alma mater and serving students in ways in which my mentors and professors influenced her. However, the return to her HBCU as a tenure-track assistant professor was a culture shock because she was the only full-time African-American tenure-track teaching faculty in the division of social sciences.
This chapter is a reflection of this author's experiences as an unapologetically black woman, scholar, professor, mentor, HBCU advocate, wife, and mother while navigating the tenure and promotion process. The author also discusses how she often grapples with how to creatively and directly speak out against intentional and unintentional racism that is a commonplace in society and reflected on campus. The author recognizes that there are a certain political and social games played in academia, and she also recognizes sometimes the rules differ for black women, even at an HBCU.
Women of color in academia face unique challenges that include combating societal stereotypes and the pressure of balancing interpersonal and professional roles. Theorists…
Women of color in academia face unique challenges that include combating societal stereotypes and the pressure of balancing interpersonal and professional roles. Theorists specializing in the examination of identity development in African American women argue the injustice of being viewed from a singular perspective can greatly impact their mental health and achievement in academics. The convergence of sexism, racism, and classism merges to contribute to systemic oppression, which is an embedded practice in higher education. Historically, African American women have balanced intersectional identities in the presence of overwhelming oppressive structures with grace and success. In academia, these intersectional paradigms can add to the research concluding the lack of representation in women of color at the Associate professorship level and in administration (Croom, 2017; Liu, 2011; Perna, 2001). Black women are more likely to hold nonpermanent positions such as lecturer, specialist professor, and adjuncts; they are equally less likely to represent tenure track positions at four-year research institutions (Gregory, 2001). Even despite the evidence of Black women outperforming their counterparts by earning more doctoral degrees than Black men, they are still less likely to hold academic positions in higher education. Therefore, the marginalization marches on.
My phenomenological experience could contribute to a shift in consciousness and encourage necessary advocacy to insist that space be made for more diversity in higher education. A lived experience is especially beneficial in providing a view of the challenges Black women have with deconstructing academia and the consideration of the advancement of their career goals.
This narrative would intend to focus on the narrative of my experiences as I navigate my way through the academy. The work would focus on my experiences with equity, access, and mentorship and its impact on my teaching scholarship creativity.
“My introduction into Higher Education was not my plan, but clearly it was ‘The plan’” (Russell, 2016). This simple statement is loaded, bearing in mind the things that I…
“My introduction into Higher Education was not my plan, but clearly it was ‘The plan’” (Russell, 2016). This simple statement is loaded, bearing in mind the things that I have experienced, what I now know, and what I continue to learn on a journey still in progress. When I reflect on my journey thus far, I am often amazed considering what I thought that I was preparing for, as compared to where I have landed professionally. It is not that my vision was small; perhaps, it was limited based on my exposure at the time. However, it remains that I am a licensed psychologist who is a first-generation graduate and a black woman on the tenure track, and while I have enjoyed successes along the way, the road has not been without obstacles. I have encountered potholes, blind spots, and rerouting. Although I cannot say that my lessons to date have me coasting on “cruise control,” I can confidently say that mentors and their mentoring have made the difference in the quality of my ride. There are key moments, relationships, and experiences that I am privileged to share so that they may light the pathway for others traveling similar roads.
In this chapter, I will share about my personal journey, highlighting key moments, personal experiences, and relationships encountered at different points along the way. Hindsight provides so many lessons. When recounting my story, I tend to contextualize my experience as a “First.” A First is an individual who was once a first-generation college student, who successfully matriculated through their undergraduate degree programs, and now find themselves navigating life in their respective personal and professional spaces (Russell, 2018). For some, this may be inconsequential; however, for me, it is salient to my faculty identity because it is relevant to many things that I did not know coming into the role. To that end, I will start by referencing what I have considered to be missed opportunities or misuse of resources at the graduate level while being focused on the “here and now” and nonacademic professional pursuits. I will share how outreach to mentors at a significant point in my career contributed to my uncharted entry into higher education, and how I came to realize the currency embedded within mentoring relationships. This narrative will include discussion of “mentoring moments” or what I call the “mentors in my mind,” “the council” (key players and relationships), “jumping in the deep end” (being open to something new, being “in search of” looking to fill the gaps in knowledge through formal mentorship opportunities), and “practicing what I preach” – building the network and using my resources to further my career and to develop students.
This chapter outlines the efforts of two tenure-earning faculty members in distinctly different disciplines. Those navigating through a Historically Black College and…
This chapter outlines the efforts of two tenure-earning faculty members in distinctly different disciplines. Those navigating through a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) context face a unique set of challenges relative to institutional infrastructure that lends support for teaching, student development, research implementation, and scholastic activities. To address these shortfalls, the authors took action by implementing a novel and collaborative course redesign. While these efforts aimed to enrich existing course instruction, develop undergraduate students' research and teaching pedagogy, and provide culturally relevant teaching services to a partnering primary education institution, early incidents that emerged from the redesign revealed the utility of affording students such as innovative research experience (RE). The authors developed the novel assignment in accordance with Florida A&M University's Quality Enhancement Program, #WriteOnFAMU, which seeks to create a culture in which students become actively engaged in their learning through writing proficiency. Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) supports high-impact practices, undergirded by multiple opportunities for students to participate in cocurricular writing opportunities.
Moreover, the cross-curricular integrative writing approach implemented by the instructors of these courses (the authors) provided students enrolled in the Colleges of Education and the College of Social Sciences, Arts, & Humanities a unique opportunity to become actively engaged in a multidisciplinary approach to learning. The assignment not only enhanced students' writing proficiency but also broadened their exposure to content area knowledge, afforded students an opportunity to synthesis materials across disciplines, and allowed for critical analysis relative to an action-based, translational RE. The collaborative research assignment entailed two major objectives: the developed project was to (1) improve elementary education preservice students' lesson plan writing and implementation proficiency and (2) develop emerging psychology students' ability to produce and implement an action-based research project within the realm of Social Psychology. Students enrolled in RED3013 (Teaching Reading and Diagnosing its Growth) and SOP3003 (Social Psychology) worked collaboratively to complete the course requirements. Throughout the chapter, the authors describe how this teaching approach aided in faculty and student development. The narrative elaborates on tenure-earning elements of teaching and service via peer collaboration. Additionally, the authors highlight the scanty resources that create pitfalls for affording students opportunities to develop as researchers.
This chapter will focus on Warde's (2009) use of phenomenological and qualitative analyses employed in “The Road to Tenure: Narratives of African American Male Tenured…
This chapter will focus on Warde's (2009) use of phenomenological and qualitative analyses employed in “The Road to Tenure: Narratives of African American Male Tenured Professors” and focus on five African Americans at various stages of the professoriate with significant tracts of those tenures at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) which encountered significant executive turnover (i.e. more than two executive resignations/terminations in a 6.5 year period, equaling twice the national average according to the American Council on Education's 2017 study “The American College President”). The interviews brought light to ways that presidential turnover and constant flux in leadership at fragile institutions lead to predictable outcomes with regard to retention and tenure-track advancement, as well as provide a snapshot on the myriad ways African Americans must often adjust their career paths in order to pursue professorial employment at institutions often thought of as the most likely to support their efforts to earn tenure.