There are many ways that institutions can support faculty of color. Below are a sampling of initiatives that have been put forth. Often times, these types of changes are framed as “best practices” or “suggested recommendations”. However, we believe the time has come for us to move away from suggestions to ACTIONS. The following is list of action plans that colleges can immediately begin to employ.
Raise Awareness and Speak Up. At the most fundamental level, institutions can include programs to raise awareness amongst White faculty and administrators of the structural challenges faculty of color often face. Several institutions have demonstrated that targeted mentorship programs for new faculty of color produce significant positive outcomes for retention rates and job satisfaction (Stanley & Lincoln, 2005; Sámano, 2007). While many institutions have supported workshops to help faculty become more aware of how to work in culturally competent ways, we believe more specific work should be done with faculty of color to help them succeed in academia.
Create Formalized Mentorship Programs. Several institutions have demonstrated that targeted mentorship programs for new faculty of color produce significant positive outcomes for retention rates and job satisfaction (Stanley & Lincoln, 2005; Sámano, 2007). In addition to recruitment and support, care should be taken to address issues that may occur in cross-race mentoring as well, to help ensure that FOC are thriving and feel like they belong and are valued at our institutions.
Reward Faculty of Color for their Service. As our website showcases, faculty of color work provide unique contributions to academia, and they often do so with little reward or recognition. There needs to be specific recognition of these efforts when faculty undergo review. In particular, there should be more formal rewards given that promote collaboration between faculty of different cultures and disciplines (Benitez et al., 2017; Turner et al, 2008).
Support Change that is Systemic. Researchers stress the importance of institutions having both administrative and departmental plans to increase inclusivity that are informed by the specific challenges faced by faculty of color. Not only should institutions be clear about their guidelines, but committees and departmens should undergo bias training before they review their underrepresented peers – and this training should not be optional.
And finally for our underepresented faculty of color peers – know that see you, we hear you. Document everything you do – because what you do is valuable and should be celebrated.