Racial tensions at core of new book about path to tenure
- Montclair State University English associate professor Patricia Matthew has compiled an anthology of essays from minority faculty around the country to give voice to the sometimes painful path to tenure for non-white professors at predominantly white institutions.
- Many of the contributing faculty members discuss the lack of expertise from senior tenure review officials in assessing the value of subjects and work commonly produced by minority faculty on minority issues.
- Matthew said diversity must count beyond the presence of minority faculty. "Not every person of color is going to come in and start a black studies program, or work with students of color, or organize panels, or speak on Ferguson. But if you ask for that work, you really have to value it. And it has to count in the tenure process," she told The Chronicle of Higher Education.
These are the unspoken views of black faculty, the micro-aggressions and the stressors which were brought to light by black students at predominantly white institutions, but virtually unheard from black professors.
As campuses look ahead to changing demographics and the responsibility to make minority stakeholders feel more welcomed and productive in historically hostiles spaces, executives will likely have to demand that departments and schools be more aggressive in hiring and communicating with minority faculty to find ways of encouraging and promoting work to earn the support of fellow professors and the academic community. Sooner or later, a lack of institutional investment in minority faculty will catch up with schools confronted by racial issues, but it begins with provosts, deans and department chairs being conscious of the challenges up front.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education Tenure denials set off alarm bells, and a book, about obstacles for minority faculty
- Education Dive Students, staff of color critical to institutional success