Content Analysis

On this website you will find links to numerous articles on faculty of color. But what are the main take aways from this research? In what follows, we list some of the main common themes that we have noted in our review of the literatures.

Faculty of Color Teach Different Things and Teach Things Differently

First the good:

  1. Research on the teaching experiences of faculty of color suggests that having a diverse faculty body diversifies the curriculum institutions are able to offer. For example, in a national sample of colleges and universities, faculty of color reported greater willingness to teach in classes with more diverse students and to actively address diversity in their teaching than their white counterparts (Maruyama & Moreno, 2000). So faculty color don’t only diversity an institution, but they diversify the curriculum and are more likely to teach issues related to diversify.
  2. Indeed, compared to White professors, African-American professors were found to put more effort into making subject matter relevant to current issues and their own personal experiences. These acts of self-disclosure, in turn, emboldened students to share and process material in a deeper way. 
  3. In addition to diversifying the curriculum, faculty of color employ a wider range of pedagogical techniques compared to White faculty (Antonio, 2002; Umbach, 2006) and are more likely to engage in experiential and discussion-based teaching. These types of instruction challenge students’ preconceived notions, facilitate development of their critical thinking skills, and encourage them to discuss topics from multiple perspectives. 

Faculty of Color Impact Students of Color

  1. Faculty of color play pivotal roles in promoting the success of minoritized students of color. In particular, they are critical for the retention and recruitment of students of color. In addition by offering innovative coursework and fostering interactive classroom environments, faculty of color create nurturing campus environment for students of color outside of the classroom.
  2. Because faculty of color are often seen as role models by students of color(Settles, Buchanan & Dotson 2018), students are more likely to approach them for information, advice, and letters of recommendation. Faculty of color thus tend to assume the role of mentor for students who may not even be in their classes (Matthew, 2016).
  3. Hence, when an institution supports faculty of color, it also expands its capacity to support and engage minoritized students and promote their ability to achieve educational goals.
  4. Their impact, however, is not only limited to students of color – indeed even White students reported that African-American professors tended to create a more open classroom experience by employing teaching styles that attended to students’ experiences of the course content, and by establishing reputations for integrating experiential components into their courses (Walker (2018).

Now, the bad:

The Double Blind

  1. However, such help may come at a cost. Although faculty of color may receive praise and a sense of personal fulfillment for service and mentoring efforts that provide institutional benefit, they face the pressure of maintaining the academic productivity required for professional advancement.
  2. For example, faculty of color are often caught in what Neal-Barnett, Mitchell, and Boeltar (2002) refer to as “the double-bind”: they shoulder the burden of advocating for the needs of students of color while also attempting to fulfill their professional expectations.
  3. At predominantly White institutions, faculty of color also face greater demands on their time than their White peers. These demands may come in various forms: higher numbers of students of color assigned as advisees, more requests for diversity-related committee work, and higher teachings load (for a more detailed review see Phelps, 2010).      

Social and Professional Marginalization

  1. In addition to facing professional pressures, faculty of color may also contend with the pernicious effects of social marginalization and discrimination. For example, faculty of color may experience frequent microinvalidations from White colleagues that leave faculty of color feeling encumbered and excluded from effectual participation within their own departments (Constantine, Smith, Redington, & Owens, 2008; Pittman, 2012).
  2. They may experience daily racial microaggressions, be questioned about their credentials and experience challenges to their authority by students and colleagues alike (Pittman, 2012; Tuitt, Hanna, Martinez, del Carmen Salazar & Griffin, 2009; Samuel & Wane, 2005).
  3. Moreover, as a numerical minority, faculty of color may report feeling invisible because of social, professional, and epistemic exclusion by their White colleagues and their institutions overall (Holcomb-McCoy & Addison-Bradley, 2005; Sámano, 2007; Settles et al., 2018). Their identities, accomplishments, priorities, and perspectives are thus more likely to be overlooked or completely absent in internal discussions and decision-making processes that affect the institution’s ability to support and build upon their success.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that despite the long hours that faculty of color may put into their teaching and research, and the service that they are compelled, or asked to do, their efforts may not always be valued or recognized. In the end, this is simply not sustainable and can lead to problems with retention and burnout.

But what can be done? Please see here: ACTION STEPS.


Antonio, A. A. (2002). Faculty of color reconsidered: Reassessing contributions to scholarship. The Journal of Higher Education, 73(5), 582–602.

Benitez, M., James, M., Kazi, J., Perfett, L., & Brooke, V. S. (2017).  “Someone Who Looks Like Me”: Promoting the success of students of color by promoting the success of faculty of color. Liberal Education, 103 (2). 

Carlos, S. (2016). Campus climate and coalition building for FOC. In B. Taylor (Ed.), Listening to the Voices: Multi-ethnic Women in Education (pp.69 – 78). San Francisco, CA: University of San Francisco.

Chesler, M., & Young, A. A. (2007). Faculty members’ social identities and classroom authority. New Directions For Teaching and Learning, 111, 11–19.

Constantine, M., Smith, L. Redington, R. M., & Owens, D. (2008). Racial microaggressions against Black counseling and counseling psychology faculty: A central challenge in the multicultural counseling movement. Journal of Counseling and Development, 86, 348-355.

Finkelstein, M. J., Conley, V. M., & Schuster, J. H. (2016). Taking the measure of faculty diversity. TIAA Institute, Advancing Higher Education.

Holcomb-McCoy, C., & Addison-Bradley, C. (2005). African American counselor educators’ job satisfaction and perceptions of departmental racial climate. Counselor Education & Supervision, 45(1), 2-15.

Jacobson, M.(2012) Breaking silence, building solutions: The role of social justice group work in the retention of FOC. Social Work with Groups 35(3), 267-286. DOI:0.1080/01609513.2011.642265

Maruyama, G., & Moreno, J. (2000). University faculty views about the value of diversity on campus and in the classroom. In American Council on Education, American Association of University Professors (Ed.), Does diversity matter? Three research studies on diversity in college classrooms (pp. 9–36). Washington, DC: American Council on Education and American Association of University Professors.

Matthew, P.A .(2016, November 3). What is faculty diversity worth to a university? Retrieved from

Neal-Barnett, A., Mitchell, M., & Boeltar, C. (2002). Faculty of color serving students,
serving self: The Psychology group. Teaching of Psychology, 29(1), 44-45.

Phelps, R. E. (2010). Transforming the culture of the academy through “Preparing Future Faculty” programs. American Psychologist, 65(8), 785–792.

Pittman, C. T. (2012). Racial microaggressions: The narratives of African American faculty at a predominantly White university. Journal of Negro Education, 81(1), 82-92.

Sámano M. L. (2007). Respecting one’s abilities, or (post) colonial tokenism?: Narrative testimonios of FOC working in predominantly White community colleges. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Oregon State University. Retrieved January 6, 2008, from _Dissertation.pdf

Samuel, E., & Wane, N. (2005). “Unsettling relations”: Racism and sexism experienced by FOC in a predominantly White Canadian university. Journal of Negro Education, 74, 76–87.

Settles, I. H., Buchanan, N. T., Dotson, K. (2018). Scrutinized but not recognized: (In)visibility and hypervisibility experiences of FOC. Journal of Vocational Behavior. doi:10.1016/j.jvb.2018.06.003

Stanley, C. A., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2005). Cross-race faculty mentoring. Change, 37(2), 44–50.

Tuitt, F., Hanna, M., Martinez, L.M., del Carmen Salazar, M., Griffin, R. (2009). Teaching in the line of fire: Faculty of color in the academy. Thought & Action: The NEA Higher Education Journal. 16, 65–74.

Turner, C. S. V., González, J. C., & Wood, J. L. (2008). Faculty of color  in academe: What 20 years of literature tell us. In S. R. Harper & J. F. L. Jackson (Eds.), Introduction to American Higher Education (pp. 41–73). New York: Routledge.

Umbach, P.D.(2006) The contribution of faculty of color to undergraduate education. Research in Higher Education. 47(3), 317–345. 

U.S. Department of Education (2016). Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from 

Walker, T.L. (2018) The experiences of Caucasian students with African American counselor educators in the classroom. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences, Vol 80(2-A)(E), 2019.

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