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ERIC Number: EJ850017
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0190-2946
Telling Our Stories to One Another
Osajima, Keith
Academe, v95 n3 p28-29 May-Jun 2009
For the past fourteen years, the author has been a campus leader in efforts to diversify the faculty. He has raised diversity issues in search committees, met with candidates of color when they visited campus, served as a mentor to incoming faculty, helped to develop a faculty diversity initiative, and led discussions on retaining faculty of color. The work has produced some gratifying successes. On his campus, good intentions and institutional support aside, faculty of color still struggle to feel at home. At the heart of their struggles is a tendency for them to be isolated and disconnected from one another and from white colleagues. Several interrelated forces contribute to this isolation. Faculty of color are spread across campus; often an academic unit will have only one faculty member of color, or a small group of faculty of color will exist among a predominantly white population of students, staff, and colleagues. This situation leaves many of them isolated and vulnerable to subtle and not-so-subtle forms of racism. Compounding matters, heavy job demands create a general sense of busyness that leaves virtually all faculty members feeling pressed for time. The additional responsibilities commonly placed on faculty of color--serving as diversity representatives on various committees, advising students of color--further cut into their time. As a result, faculty of color, like faculty in general, usually have difficulty finding time to make connections. When they do get a chance to meet, their conversations are often limited to a circumscribed set of topics related to the university and faculty work. While such topics are important, focusing on them makes it hard to get to know people on a personal level. The author wanted to counter these centrifugal tendencies and find a way to build stronger relations among faculty of color. In this article, the author describes "Supporting Faculty of Color," a program he pioneered which was designed to work against factors that constrain the development of relationships among faculty of color. Through the elegant power of stories, the "Supporting Faculty of Color" group accomplished what many other retention programs have difficulty doing--it built closer connections between and among faculty of color, which laid the groundwork for meaningful relationships and support. For that reason, the author recommends its inclusion among efforts to achieve faculty diversity.
American Association of University Professors. 1012 Fourteenth Street NW Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 800-424-2973; Tel: 202-737-5900; Fax: 202-737-5526; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A