Adverse Racial Climates in Academia: Conceptualization, Interventions, and Call to Action. (2019)

ABSTRACT: Racial conflict at universities across the US has been the focus of academic concern and media attention, yet often administrators and faculty do not understand the problems or know how to approach solutions. Drawing from many branches of psychological science, this paper describes how an oppressive academic climate results in negative outcomes for students and faculty of color, such as psychological distress, grievances, discrimination lawsuits, faculty turnover, and student dropout. Described are some empirically-supported actions departments can employ to improve the racial climate and thereby promote racial healing and diversity, including forums to facilitate conversations about inequity, experiential diversity trainings, removal of environmental microaggressions, recruitment and retention of minority faculty and advisors, repairing biased curricula, and addressing bias in teaching evaluations. Also advanced is a call to action for administrators to improve receptivity to those suffering as a result of an adverse climate, responding to racism when needed, and taking action on a larger scale, with an emphasis on the role of psychologists.

Williams, M. T. (2019). Adverse racial climates in academia: Conceptualization, interventions, and call to action. New Ideas in Psychology, 55, 58–67.

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