Mentoring Faculty: An Essential Element

Mentoring Faculty: An Essential Element

Cassandra Sligh Conway (South Carolina State University, USA), Khadidra Washington (University of Iowa, USA), Mable Scott (South Carolina State University, USA) and Bridget Hollis Staten (South Carolina State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4071-7.ch001
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This chapter provides the importance of mentoring faculty at HBCUs. Past research on mentoring and the positive professional interactions that can spring forth from mentoring faculty are noted. Faculty at HBCUs are working at a gem institution as these institutions provide much value to the socialization of students and were often the only institution of higher education where some cultures could work, obtain promotions, and successfully obtain tenure. With the continued survival of these institutions, it is equally important to provide mentorship to a diverse faculty body. The mission of the book is introduced and the rich, unique value that the HBCU provides is noted.
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Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) deserve attention to faculty mentoring and its implications for recruitment, retention, and promotion. Although HBCUs are as varied as predominately White institutions, they tend to share similar issues and challenges. HBCUs are in a critical time. Rapidly increasing administrative costs and salaries have led to diminishing numbers of new hires and stagnation of faculty salaries. In a 2009 analysis of faculty salaries at HBCUs, Sitharaman found that faculty members at an HBCU were paid much less than faculty who taught at non-HBCUs. “The average salary of faculty at HBCUs was $62,982 and the average salary of faculty at non-HBCUs was $73,705, a difference of about 17%” (Sitharaman, 2009, p. 21). According to Renzulli, Grant, and Kathuria (2006), “as a group, HBCU faculty earn less than faculty at PWIs. As an institutional sector, HBCUs appear to be a less advantaged labor market for faculty pay in comparison to PWIs” (p. 494). In examining national data in the AAUP report, Visualizing Change: The Annual Report on Economic Status of the Profession (2016-2017), the data revealed that"...the average salary for full professor was $102, 402; the average salary for the associate professor was $79, 654, and the average salary for assistant professor was $69, 206" (p. 5, http://www/

In 2010, Palmer and Griffin examined desegregation policy and disparities in faculty salary and workload. The authors found significant disparities in salary and workload of faculty who taught at HBCUs when compared to PWIs (Palmer & Griffin, 2010). Palmer and Griffin (2010) stated that “salary disparities add to the challenges of recruiting and retaining these individuals, who can add to collective institutional knowledge and experience” (p. 18).

In a 2015/2016 AAUP report entitled, Higher Education at a Crossroads: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, there are several important points made about the state of full-time tenured faculty at universities. This report stated that:

Over the past four decades, the proportion of the academic labor force holding full-time tenured positions has declined by 26 percent and the share-holding full-time tenure-track positions has dropped by 50 percent. The increasing reliance on faculty members in part-time positions has destabilized the faculty by creating an exploitative, two-tiered system; it has also eroded student retention and graduation rates at many institutions.

In many respects, higher education is at a crossroads. We can continue down the current path of increasing reliance on contingent faculty positions and accept the negative consequences, or we can take bold steps to rebuild the tenure system that made American colleges and universities the best in the world. There are clear economic benefits to expanding academic tenure. Greater job security allows faculty members to mentor students and junior colleagues more effectively. It also enables them to take greater risks in instruction and research, which often yield improved educational experiences and outcomes. (AAUP, Crossroads, p. 1)

At the same time, at HBCUs, resources have not kept pace with workloads such as increased teaching responsibilities and additional job duties. For HBCUs with a land grant mission, these universities have the added responsibility of providing service and educational access to improve the quality of lives of people in their service area. Many of the institutions are located in rural areas where poverty and the accompanying social ills are a part of the landscape. Acquiring the necessary resources and infrastructure to develop the surrounding communities places more expectations on the HBCU land grant institution. Likewise, recruiting and retaining faculty to institutions in rural areas can be another challenge also.

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