The presence and success of faculty of color in higher ed continues to come up short, as these faculty members continue to face countless obstacles as they attempt to progress in their careers, according to a new report from the American Psychological Association.
APA Task Force Report on Promotion, Tenure and Retention of Faculty of Color in Psychology details the many obstacles that psychological science faculty from underrepresented groups face, including being tasked with additional responsibilities, hostile work environments, and biased evaluations. The report provides recommendations to address them.
Despite people of color comprising more than 40% of the general U.S. population – according to 2020 U.S. Census data – only 24.6% of tenure-track faculty as of fall 2021 were self-identified faculty of color, the majority being assistant professors.
Researchers found observable disparities between white faculty and faculty of color that worsened with rank. White faculty made up over 60% of assistant professors, 70% of tenure-track associate professors, and almost 76% of full professors with tenure.
Meanwhile, despite totaling over 30% of the U.S. population, Black and Hispanic faculty made up only around 11% of assistant and associate professor positions, and approximately 8% of tenured full professors.
“Despite the increasing diversity of the U.S. population and workforce, the same cannot be said for academic institutions,” said Dr. Margarita Azmitia, a psychology professor at UC Santa Cruz and co-chair of the APA Task Force. “The professoriate continues to be largely white, largely male. And that gap in underrepresented people and majoritized people increases from assistant, to associate, to full professor, with some assistant, associate, and full professors of color deciding to withdraw from the university because of the lack of attention to diversity issues and the high tax on their own careers and personal lives.”
Key issues include the small number of people of color becoming faculty despite the increased number of people of color completing doctoral degrees, retention of faculty of color, and barriers in career progression, the report noted.