Session: Latinxs Thriving in Academia: Increasing Latinx Representation and Retention in Social Work Higher Education Programs (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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208 Latinxs Thriving in Academia: Increasing Latinx Representation and Retention in Social Work Higher Education Programs

Friday, January 22, 2021: 1:15 PM-2:15 PM
Cluster: LatinX Focused-Research
Luciana Giorgio, MSW, Columbia University, Sarah Valentina Diaz, MSW, Columbia University, Carmela Alcantara, PhD, Columbia University, Rocio Calvo, PhD, Boston College and María Piñeros-Leaño, PhD, Boston College
Although representation of Latinx students has increased in undergraduate and master′s programs, Latinxs remain underrepresented in faculty positions at research intensive institutions, particularly Full Professor positions. Across all disciplines, Latinx women and men make up only 3% of assistant professors, 2-3% of associate professors, and 1-2% of full professors. In Social Work specifically, there is a clear decline in retention across the academic pipeline with 15.6% of BSW graduates, 13.5% of MSW graduates, and 11.3% of PhD students identifying as Latinx but only 6% of full-time faculty identifying as Latinx. Increasing the representation of Latinx social work researchers across the academic pipeline, especially in faculty-level positions, is imperative for two reasons: 1) to ensure that the interests of the Latinx community are being advanced in research, clinical practice, and policy discussions, and 2) to adequately train social work students to improve social equity in Latinx communities.

To improve representation across the academic pipeline, several structural obstacles need to be addressed. Studies have demonstrated that underrepresented minority faculty encounter significant barriers due to isolation, devaluing of research, discrimination, and racism leading up to and throughout the tenure process. These barriers increase when accounting for intersectional identities such as gender and immigration status. In this roundtable discussion representatives from across the academic trajectory will discuss the obstacles they face as Latinx social work scholars in academia and potential solutions to increase recruitment and retention of Latinxs in social work and academia. The panel will consist of doctoral students, pre-tenured faculty, and tenured faculty members. Salient Latinx values, such as respeto (respect), which emphasizes reverence towards authority figures, will also be discussed within the context of the barriers and facilitators to pursuing and engaging in an academic career. The discussion topics are detailed below. Time will be allotted for discussion.

Addressing obstacles: Underrepresented minority faculty encounter challenges due to experiences of isolation, devaluation of research interests, discrimination, and racism. The speakers of this roundtable will be invited to discuss their personal and anecdotal experiences navigating these structural challenges. This roundtable will also facilitate discussion about action-oriented solutions to these structural barriers at the individual and institutional level.

Addressing intersectionality: The speakers will be invited to describe how the intersection of multiple identities they possess, in addition to their identity as social work scholars, influence their interactions within and outside of academia.

Addressing the influence of cultural values: The speakers will be asked to describe how salient values in Latinx culture, such as respeto, simpatia, confianza, and personalismo, play a role in their interactions with senior faculty, colleagues, and students. They will also discuss lessons learned.

Increasing Latinx representation: Studies have demonstrated that increasing informal mentorship could improve the experiences of underrepresented minority faculty and, therefore, improve retention and success through the tenure process. Speakers will be invited to discuss how formal and informal mentorship networks, either received or provided, have influenced their career trajectories. Additionally, the speakers will be asked to share other ideas to improve representations of Latinxs in academia.

See more of: Roundtables