Examining the academic experiences of minorities preparing for the professoriate

Heggins, Willie
Major Professor
John H. Schuh
Committee Member
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Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

The critical need to understand the socialization experiences of prospective minority faculty is apparent today. If higher education can understand more about the experiences of new minority faculty members, perhaps the academy will be able to develop continued supportive strategies that enhance their development into the academic profession. The purpose of this study was to examine the academic experiences of the minority participants in the Preparing Future Faculty program (PFF). As a consequence of participating in the PFF program, the minority participants regarded that they felt ready for a faculty position, regarded that mentoring was effective, indicated that awareness of faculty roles and responsibilities were crucial, identified that cultural dissonance, inclusiveness, and an appreciation of a diverse faculty as issues of concern, and described the concept of "duality" in the socialization process as it pertains to the professoriate. Based on the data gleaned from this study, networking, mentoring, and research support stand out as major strategies for addressing the problems faced by prospective minority faculty. The respondents in the study suggested themes common to those of the literature, emphasizing an improvement in professional development opportunities for prospective minority faculty. Establishing awareness to the professional culture, understanding roles and responsibilities, and defining a relationship with senior faculty are efforts to improve recruitment, retention, and advancement for prospective faculty of color. From this study, the researcher has derived that faculty development initiatives should provide more emphasis on teaching, render service to departments and develop continued respect for the academic profession (e.g., teaching, research, and service).