The Future of Minorities in Academia

The Future of Minorities in Academia
  • Opening Intro -

    If you're a minority and are interested in working in academia, you already know that you'll need advanced degrees to succeed in this field.


What does the future hold for minorities in Academia?

But have you ever wondered what the future will be for minorities entering academia?

In this article you’ll learn about the challenges that you’ll face and how you can overcome them successfully.

The history of minorities in Academia

For decades it was nearly impossible for minorities to thrive in this field, although there were exceptions. In fact, it wasn’t until the mid 20th century that we saw the beginning of programs such as African-American studies, gay and lesbian studies and Latin American studies at the major universities.

Racial bias

According to some researchers, there seems to be some racial bias when it comes to the mentoring of faculty members at universities.

In one study, minorities requested assistance in the form of mentorship from the universities’ established faculty, but rarely got any responses back. The study can be found here: Discrimination in the Academy: A Field Experiment by Katherine Milkman, University of Pennsylvania

What was especially surprising is that many Asian Americans in this study did not receive responses from their requests for mentorship. This is surprising because generally Asian Americans have been viewed as the top achieving minorities in the nation. Furthermore, this bias exists more with private universities than with state universities.

How minorities are recruited today

In a document from Virginia Commons University, it offered some suggestions for recruiting and hiring minorities in academia. They mentioned that each job announcement should be written in such a way that promotes diversity among the faculty at the university.

The job ad should also mention the ethnic demographic of the faculty at the university.

It also helps if university officials visit places where minority students are likely to be found such as job fairs, professional club conventions, graduate school open houses and historically black colleges such as Howard University and Spelman College.

Tips for finding work as a minority in Academia

It is still possible for you to work as a professor, researcher, scholarly journal writer or as a dean of a university as a minority.

  1. Start by locating fellow minority professors at your school while still a student and ask if they can mentor you in your career.
  2. Another idea is to apply for research grants from organizations that specifically target minority scholars.
  3. Establish yourself by writing academic articles for scholarly journals and post your dissertation on your own blog to get exposure. Create a well organized cover letter and resume.
  4. Academic conferences are especially a good idea if you’re a minority because speaking on a subject that you have credibility in will help you become established, and you could also get noticed by potential college department deans who are seeking skilled professors for their universities. You can start by joining professional organizations since they hold conferences throughout the year. These organizations might ask you to be a keynote speaker or be part of a panel discussion.
  5. Book writing is essential to getting noticed in academia; so if you’re a minority who desires to work in this field, you should have at least one or two books published in your field of expertise, preferably with a well known publisher. When preparing the manuscript, you should adhere to the publisher’s guidelines and proofread thoroughly.

In conclusion, with creativity, hard work and a positive attitude, you can survive in academia as a minority.

Image credit:Teacher at Chalkboard by cybrarian77, on Flickr


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