Teaching and Learning Centers as Catalysts for Faculty Diversity Development
Consider the experience of Jordan, a fourth-year political science major, who was told by his professor that many African-American students do not pass her class (Brooms, 2017). This stereotyping can create a self-fulfilling prophecy, or what Claude Steele describes as a “stereotype threat,” which impacts students’ performance by challenging their academic ability or competence.
Approaches to Building and Sustaining a Diverse Adjunct Workforce
With nontenure-track faculty now comprising 70 percent of the faculty workforce, academic leaders face daunting challenges in creating proactive workplace strategies that address this new reality. Even though more than a quarter of nontenure-track faculty are now in full-time nontenure-track appointments, the majority still teach part time. Despite the urgency of addressing this dramatic shift in the faculty workforce, as we point out in Creating a Tipping Point: Strategic Human Resources in Higher Education (Jossey-Bass, 2013), higher education has been comparatively slow to realize the potential of human resources (HR) in developing strategic talent practices. By contrast, in the private sector, a twenty-year research study (Ulrich et. al., 2008) with 40,000 respondents in 441 companies found that when HR professionals develop high-performance work systems, these practices affect 20 percent of business results. Such practices, however, need to be integrated and systematic to produce these outcomes.
Building a Pathway to Cultural Competence Through Academic Service Learning
As colleges and universities seek to prepare students for professional careers in a diverse, global society, the attainment of cultural competence is an essential capacity that can no longer be overlooked. Cultural competence involves the awareness, knowledge, and skills needed to engage and collaborate meaningfully across differences through interactions that are characterized by mutuality, reciprocity, and respect. The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), for example, has recognized the importance of global competence as part of a coherent approach to general education requirements. The AAC&U’s General Education Maps and Markers initiative emphasizes global engagement and the enhancement of cultural awareness that promotes the potential for students’ active citizenship and greater career fulfillment.
Service learning provides an important bridge to cultural competence in the undergraduate experience. Yet it is often viewed as a co-curricular activity, to be pursued outside the classroom and at the student’s own initiative. By contrast, course-based, academic service learning is a form of experiential education that takes place in credit-bearing courses guided by faculty. It is part of the academic curriculum in which structured activities in the community give rise to reflective activities, such as in journals, discussions, and papers. Such curricula can have significant diversity-related outcomes, such as increased understanding of social stratification, privilege, and the impact of differential access to opportunity.
Overcoming the Pipeline Myth: Department Chairs as Transformative Diversity Leaders
For at least three decades, the myth of a lack of diversity in the faculty pipeline has lingered in academic circles. And surprisingly, the role of the department chair in building a diverse faculty has received little attention in most chair handbooks and resources. Yet arguably, the department chair occupies the most pivotal position in colleges and universities in building inclusive and diverse learning environments. Strategically positioned between the faculty and the administration, chairs are responsible for the coordination of major academic decisions that include appointments, tenure and promotion, curricular changes, pedagogical approaches, and student learning outcomes. Our new book, The Department Chair as Transformative Diversity Leader (Stylus, 2015), is the first research-based resource on the chair’s role in diversity transformation. Drawing on a substantial survey and interview sample of department chairs from across the nation, we found that strategies for hiring a diverse faculty to address the underrepresentation of women and minorities are at the forefront of department chairs’ minds.