ERIC Identifier: ED446723
Publication Date: 2000-00-00
Author: Aguirre, Adalberto, Jr.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse
on Higher Education Washington DC.| BBB32577 _ George Washington Univ.
Washington DC. Graduate School of Education and Human Development.
Women and Minority Faculty in the Academic Workplace:
Recruitment, Retention, and Academic Culture. ERIC Digest.
Institutions of higher education have attempted to diversify their faculty by
recruiting women and minorities. Those efforts, however, have been implemented
without under-standing how women and minority faculty fit in an institution
dominated by men, especially White men. In particular, recruitment has taken
place without an understanding of the social forces that shape the professional
socialization and workplace satisfaction of women and minority faculty. The use
of affirmative action in academia to increase the representation of women and
minority faculty, for example, has often resulted in workers' perception that
they are tokens or outcomes of reverse discrimination practiced on White men
(Delgado, 1991; Niemann, 1999).
By no means is the term minority faculty in this monograph used to identify a
homogeneous population. Rather, the term is used as a descriptive category to
discuss the workplace experiences of non-White faculty. As such, the term
minority faculty includes Latinos, Blacks, Asians, and American Indians. It is
not possible to examine the workplace experiences of each minority group, given
the limits of the research literature. In particular, the research literature on
minority faculty focuses primarily on the experiences of Latinos and Blacks. The
research literature does not so much omit Asian and American Indian faculty from
study as it recognizes its limitations in making substantive comparisons between
minority groups (Pavel et al., 1998; Yen, 1996). That is, more information is
simply available on Black and Latino faculty than on Asian or American Indian
faculty. As a result, comparisons between the groups run the risk of being
conceptually weak, given a lack of data and information for some of the groups.
In an attempt to address the need for substantive comparisons in the minority
faculty population, this monograph examines the relative differences between
minority groups in the faculty population when the data permit comparisons.
The term women faculty, on the one hand, is a descriptive category that
includes women's experiences in the workplace. The term is used to discuss and
contrast the academic experiences of women and men faculty in the workplace. On
the other hand, the term is not homogeneous in its use; in particular, the term
is not designed to bury the workplace experiences of minority women faculty. To
this end, the workplace experiences of minority and White women faculty are
compared and contrasted to identify commonalities and differences between them.
In this manner, the understanding of how minority status and gender are
associated with the workplace experiences of minority women faculty is enhanced
(Aguirre et al., 1994; Calasanti & Smith, 1998).
WHAT IS THE STATUS OF WOMEN AND MINORITY FACULTY IN
The number of women and minority faculty in higher education has
been increasing, with the implementation of affirmative action initiatives in
higher education serving as a vehicle for increasing their representation.
Despite the increased numbers, however, women and minority faculty remain
underrepresented in higher education relative to their numbers in the U.S.
population. Moreover, despite appreciable gains in the number of Ph.D. degrees
earned by women and minorities, their proportionate representation in the U.S.
faculty population has remained unchanged Aguirre, 1995; Granger, 1993).
WHAT ARE THE ORGANIZATIONAL FEATURES OF THE ACADEMIC
The academic workplace is characterized in popular thinking as a
place of enlightened thought and discourse that is immune to influences from the
outside world. Its perceived immunity to the outside world has resulted in a
perception that the academic workplace is free of conflict and stress. The
reality, however, is that the academic workplace is characterized by group
struggles over the definition of knowledge and about what it means to be a
knowledgeable person. To survive in the academic workplace, faculty members must
align themselves with and participate in institutional networks that define
one's position in a knowledge hierarchy (Scheff, 1995; Smith, 1990).
HOW ARE WOMEN AND MINORITY FACULTY TREATED IN THE ACADEMIC
The academic workplace has been described as chilly and
alienating for women and minority faculty. On the one hand, women and minority
faculty find themselves burdened with heavy teaching and service
responsibilities that constrain their opportunity to engage in research and
publication. On the other hand, women and minority faculty are expected to
assume and perform institutional roles that allow higher education institutions
to pursue diversity on campus. But those roles are ignored in the faculty reward
system, especially the awarding of tenure. The academic workplace is thus chilly
and alienating for women and minority faculty because they are ascribed a
peripheral role in the academic workplace and are expected to perform roles that
are in conflict with expectations (Johnsrud & Des Jarlais, 1994; Wyche & Graves, 1992).
WHAT BARRIERS TO PROFESSIONAL SOCIALIZATION DO WOMEN AND
MINORITY FACULTY EXPERIENCE IN THE ACADEMIC WORKPLACE?
Women and minority faculty
are less satisfied than White male faculty with the workplace because women and
minority faculty perceive themselves to be the victims of salary inequities and
a biased reward system. Women and minority faculty are also perceived in the
academic workplace as less competent than White male faculty. As a result, White
male faculty often discredit feminist and minority research. Women and minority
faculty face barriers in the academic workplace that question their legitimacy
as academics and their access to institutional resources and rewards that
promote professional socialization (Aguirre, 1987; Johnsrud, 1993).
WHY DO WE NEED TO STUDY THE ACADEMIC WORKPLACE FOR WOMEN AND MINORITY FACULTY?
An examination of the academic workplace for women
and minority faculty becomes imperative if one considers that demographic
predictions suggest that the U.S. workforce will become increasingly diverse in
the 21st century. The two populations most likely to determine diversity in the
workplace in the 21st century are women and minorities. An increased
representation of women and minorities in the workplace has implications for
institutions of higher e education, especially at a time when it appears that
faculty pools are shrinking as the demand for new faculty is increasing. As a
result, one may speculate that women and minorities will increase their
representation in the faculty population, thus providing institutions of higher
education with an enhanced opportunity to diversify their faculty ranks. If
women and minority faculty are going to increase their representativeness in
higher education, it is necessary to examine the academic workplace to
understand how women and minority faculty fit in the academic culture (Aguirre,
Aguirre, A., Jr. (2000). Academic storytelling:
A critical race theory story of affirmative action. Sociological Perspectives,
43, 319-339. -----. (1995). The status of minority faculty in academe. Equity
and Excellence in Education, 28, 63-68. -----. (1987). An interpretative
analysis of Chicano faculty in academe. Social Science Journal, 24, 71-81.
Aguirre, A., Jr., Hernandez, A., and Martinez, R. (1994). Perceptions of the
workplace: Focus on minority women faculty. Initiatives, 56, 41-50.
Calasanti, T., and Smith, J. (1998). A critical evaluation of the experiences
of women and minority faculty: Some implications for occupational research.
Current Research on Occupations and Professions, 10, 239-258.
Delgado, R (1991). Affirmative action as a majoritarian device, or, Do you
really want to be a role model? Michigan Law Review, 89, 1222-1231.
Granger, M. (1993). A review of the literature on the status of women and
minorities in the professoriate in higher education. Journal of School
Johnsrud, L. (1993). Women and minority faculty experiences: Defining and
responding to diverse realities. New Directions for Teaching and Learning,53,
Johnsrud, L., and Des Jarlais, C. (1994). Barriers to tenure for women and
minorities. Review of Higher Education, 17, 335-353.
Niemann, Y. (1999). The making of a token: A case study of stereotype threat,
stigma, racism, and tokenism in academia. Frontiers, 20, 111-126.
Pavel, D. M., Skinner, R., Cahalan, M., Tippiconnic, J., and Stein, W.
(1998). American Indians and Alaska Natives in postsecondary education.
Washington, D.C.: Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and
Scheff, T. (1995). Academic gangs. Crime, Law and Social Change, 23, 157-162.
Smith, P. (1990). Killing the spirit: Higher education in America. New York:
Wyche, K., and Graves, S. (1992). Minority women in academia: Access and
barriers to professional participation. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 16,
Yen, A. (1996). A statistical analysis of Asian Americans and the affirmative
action hiring of law school faculty. Asian Law Journal, 3, 39-54.