Session: Thriving & Black: How to Thrive As a Black Women in the Academy (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

82 Thriving & Black: How to Thrive As a Black Women in the Academy

Friday, January 17, 2020: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Independence BR C, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cluster: Gender (G)
Quenette Walton, PhD, University of Houston, Tyreasa Washington, PhD, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Tina Sacks, PhD, University of California, Berkeley, Gina Samuels, PhD, University of Chicago and Joan Blakey, Ph.D.,
Since the 1980's, the percentage of Black faculty has increased from 4% to 7% of the professoriate. At this rate, it is suggested that it will take more than 180 years for the proportion of black faculty to be commensurate with the U.S. population. Today, only 3% of the 1.5 million faculty positions are held by black women with white men and women holding 41% and 35%, respectively. As we move along the academic trajectory, the percentage of black women drops significantly.

Beyond representation, there often are invisible expectations placed on African American faculty that are time consuming, emotionally taxing, and tend not to count towards tenure and promotion. These expectations include: 1) serving as mentors to African American students or new hires; 2) diversifying committees within and outside the school; 3) being the racial conscience of schools and institutions; and 4) consistently fighting against increased scrutiny and marginalization. These unique challenges can be even more acute for Black women who often experience discrimination based on race and gender. Given these unique circumstances, it can be difficult for Black women to thrive in the academy. This session proposes strategies to help African American women successfully navigate and thrive in the academy. This session will:

Identify the essential components and strategies needed to thrive. Workshop leaders will briefly share how they operationalize thriving by sharing two key aspects of their “plan for thriving” so that participants can begin to identify essential components needed to create their plan.

Build capacity of scholars and researchers by creating a plan for success identifying potential pitfalls, necessary resources/supports and other components that are critical to their success. Every participant will create a plan that they can implement to continue thriving or move towards thriving.

Facilitate disciplinary and cross-disciplinary connections with one another and create an accountability plan to hold one another accountable. Participants will have the opportunity to delineate existing connections as well as develop new ones with women in the workshop.

Key questions the workshop will explore: What does thriving look like for you at your current institution? What are some potential pitfalls that could limit your success in the academy? What existing connections do you have and what connections do you need more of? What are your areas of study and what skills, abilities, resources could you bring to a collaborative research relationship? What supports and resources can be garnered from your institution and other sources to increase your ability to succeed?

This workshop will help African American women create a plan and scholarly connections, which are essential to thriving in the academy. Reducing racial and gender inequality among African American women in institutions of higher learning, is critical to institutions' success. African American women faculty bring critical perspectives that are needed to more effectively train social work students to work with communities of color; research racial and ethnic minority populations, and to challenge institutions to make diversity and inclusion more than just words.

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