Title: African-American Women Faculty Teaching at Institutions of Higher Learning in the Pacific Northwest: Challenges, Dilemas, and Sustainability
Institutions of higher learning in the Pacific Northwest have successfully recruited African-American faculty, yet these institutions have difficulty retaining African-American faculty for at least five years. African-American women faculty experience problems obtaining promotions and tenure at predominantly White institutions. High level
administrators are aware of this attrition, but little or no action is being taken to
reverse this trend.
There is a lack of research and data available on African-American women
faculty prior to the 1990s. However, current literature exists regarding the challenges and benefits of recruiting, hiring, and retaining African-American women faculty. The results of this study support the existing findings on African-American women teaching in institutions of higher learning.
The researcher used an African-American feminist perspective with many facets
of Grounded Theory to conduct this study. This critical philosophical view is believed to be the most appropriate way to share the lived experiences of the research participants.
The sample consisted of ten African-American women faculty participants, which
included the researcher’s experiences. The data was analyzed for thematic connections,
coded sentence by sentence, and categorized based on the common themes.
The researcher captured the lived experiences of the participants by sharing
statements that displayed their thoughts, emotions, areas of growth and struggle,
suggestions for sustainability, and other issues that they felt were important. The current work status of the participants was noted. The participants offered many strategies for sustainability for new African-American female faculty.
Based on this study’s findings, the researcher theorizes that there are three
essential elements needed for new African-American women faculty to achieve success
at the IHE. The new African-American woman faculty should: establish a strong support
network on and off campus, obtain a mentor at her institution to guide her through the
tenure process, and use her spirituality as a sustainer.
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