Moving Beyond Structural Diversity Using Institutional Structures and Interpersonal Relationships: Shaping Careers of Diverse Faculty

Moving Beyond Structural Diversity Using Institutional Structures and Interpersonal Relationships: Shaping Careers of Diverse Faculty

Elsa Camargo (University of Arkansas, USA)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 34
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4745-8.ch005
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Abstract

This chapter describes the perspectives of 19 faculty members at a newly designated top-tier research institution with a high degree of student diversity on Schein's cultural levels: artifacts and espoused beliefs and values in relation to diversity and inclusion. In spite of the selected institution having a highly diverse student body, faculty experienced the organizational culture similarly to faculty at PWIs, highlighting that compositional diversity is not enough for transforming institutions into inclusive spaces. Rather, this chapter highlights how governance structures, decision-making practices, hiring practices, and leadership play an important role in shaping the experiences of faculty. Recommendations are provided for organizational leaders and human resources to create supportive work environments for faculty of color.
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Introduction

Although demographics in the U.S. continue to shift, higher education institutions are failing to reflect these changes at the faculty level (U.S. Census Bureau, n.d.; U.S. Department of Education, 2019). In many instances, institutions are able to recruit faculty of color (FOC), but retention of these populations becomes the long-term challenge (Campbell-Whatley et al., 2015; Jayakumar, et al., 2009; Montgomery et al., 2014; Xu, 2008), especially at predominantly White institutions (PWIs), making it especially hard to form critical masses of FOC on these campuses. The inability to develop critical masses campus-wide can result in FOC experiencing institutional racism (Dade et al., 2015; Stanley, 2006; Zambrana et al., 2017), racial battle fatigue (Hartlep & Ball, 2019), alienation (Modica, 2011) and othering (Turner et al.,1999; Urrieta Jr. et al., 2015). Lower retention of FOC is tied to lower levels of satisfaction with faculty careers (Johnson et al., 2018), as a result of this group experiencing negative racial climates (Campbell-Whatley et al., 2012; Jayakumar et al., 2009; Zambrana et al., 2017), and lower levels of satisfaction with promotion and tenure (Bellas & Toutkoushian, 1999; O’Meara, 2002; Urrieta Jr. et al., 2015).

Institutional initiatives and programs designed to increase the representation of underrepresented faculty are seldom implemented university-wide (Ahmed, 2012; Gasman, 2016). In the last decade, higher education institutions have advanced from models that focus only on addressing the need for “diversity” to “diversity and inclusion” models, which take into account the relationship between these two concepts (Ahmed, 2012; Gilbride et al., 2003; Tienda, 2013). The purpose of these models is to transform institutions by building institutional capacity (Smith, 2015) and increasing inclusiveness of all its members (Hutter, 2019; Miller & Katz, 2002; Syracuse University News, 2019). Unfortunately, because the implementation of institutions’ diversity models is cyclical, institutions often fail to permanently become transformed (Leon, 2014; Parker III, 2015; Williams & Clowney, 2007).

In the pursuit of institutions permanently adopting D&I practices, it becomes critical to first understand the organizational culture of an institution. Organizational culture theory is key for examining the underlying structural problems that inhibit the full adoption of institutional diversity frameworks. One way to understand an organization’s culture is by having conversations with members (insiders) of that organization (Schein, 2010). More specifically, faculty members’ perspectives about organizational culture, in relation to D&I, are necessary because of their contributions to research, teaching, and service.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Compositional Diversity: Numerical and proportional representation of various groups of people at a higher education institution.

High Degree of Student Diversity: An institution with an undergraduate student body with at least 10% of representation in each ethnoracial category: Asian, Black, Latina/o, and the percentage of White students being under 50%.

Level: The degree to which a cultural phenomenon is observable and tangible.

Diversity: Race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, and ability, among other identities Espoused Beliefs and Values: the institutions aspirations (including ideologies, philosophy, beliefs, values, norms, rules, slogans, and parables).

Artifacts: Tangible structures and processes. This term includes published values, observable rituals and ceremonies, organizational charts, the institution’s online descriptions of how the organization works, and language used on these university documents and sites in relation to diversity and inclusion.

Inclusion: Creating and sustaining practices that encourage all its members to be themselves and fully participate in the organization. These practices and conditions should elicit everyone’s full contributions to the collective, in a manner that benefits the organization and its members as individuals.

Basic Assumptions: The unconscious and unquestioned beliefs and values that guide the behavior, perceptions and thoughts of all members of an organization. This term includes perceptions of how situations (e.g., behavior from leadership) are interpreted by members within an institution.

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