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ERIC Number: ED514854
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 126
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1096-7541-2
The Contact Zone of Temporary Minorities: White Faculty at a Historically Black University
Bias, Sheri K.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Fielding Graduate University
Typically, within this society, Whites are the dominant group and experience certain privileges and inherent power that come with being White. This study investigates how White faculty at Hampton University, one of a handful of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), perceive their experiences teaching at an HBCU. Twenty-one self-identifying White instructors who occupy the role of a temporary minority at Hampton were interviewed about their experiences. The purpose was to better understand how White faculty perceive their experiences as temporary minorities at HBCUs. In my study, I interviewed White faculty at Hampton University to gather data on the perceptions of their experiences in this particular environment. Qualitative interviews provided an opportunity for their voices to be heard, and an understanding emerged about how individuals in this temporary minority situation describe their experiences. The results are described in the framework of a journey with three key dimensions: (a) stated experiences at the beginning of the relationship with Hampton University, (b) perceived interactions with students in the contact zone, and (c) moments of insight for the instructor. The first dimension, beginning the relationship at Hampton University, included participant acclimation prior to entering the job, participant descriptions of fit and qualifications for the job, and assessment of acceptance by others in the job. The second dimension on the interactions with students in the contact zone, included instructor expectations of students, descriptions from instructors of racial tensions, and examples of carefulness in discussions with students as well as in providing feedback to students. Finally, faculty provided examples where they experienced a turning point in their perceptions which constituted a third dimension described as moments of insight where faculty seem to understand the students at a deeper level. The results of my research on White faculty teaching at this HBCU led me to question whether the faculty are prepared to handle the racial situations they encounter. This is not placing blame on the instructors or the University. White instructors may be naively entering an employment relationship with HBCUs, not knowing the implications of being a temporary minority and the implications of teaching in classrooms where the majority of students are Black. It would seem wise and advantageous for HBCUs to ensure that instructors are skilled and prepared to engage with students. Participating instructors in this study seem to be struggling. By calling out the undercurrent of potential racial tension, the administration can contribute to teacher preparation for these racially challenged environments in order to best serve the students. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A