Education the Underrepresentation of Minorities in College Essay

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Education

The underrepresentation of minorities in college and university faculties has been well documented (Kosoko-Lasaki, Sonnino & Voytko, 2006). Non-whites and women are both underrepresented at the university level. As few as 3.9% of medical school faculty are non-whites or female (Palepu, Carr, Friedman, Ash & Moskowitz, 2000). When women are members of faculty, they often occupy lower ranks of their profession, including assistant professorial roles rather than full tenured posts (Daley, Wingard & Reznik, 2006).

This indicates an experience of the glass ceiling, whereby women and minorities secure an entry-level post but fail to be represented or supported and thus fail to move up to more secure ranks of their profession. As a result there is a high rate of "revolving door" patterns for minority and female faculty in higher education (Parker, Clayton-Pedersen, Moreno, Teraguchi & Smith, 2006). This is especially true for first year faculty members, who are not receiving the support they need from senior staff and administration. A review of literature reveals the extent of the problem, focusing on the experiences and expectations of minority first year faculty at institutes of higher learning.

The phenomenon also leads to a vicious cycle in which females and minorities continue to be underserved and underrepresented, and therefore expect to be chased away from teaching posts early in their career. This does significant damage in institutions that are in need of a greater number of faculty members to serve an increasingly diverse student population. Particularly, this phenomenon exists in spite of the high representation of minorities and female students in fields like medicine and psychiatry (Seritan, Bhangoo, Garma, DuBe, Park & Hales, 2007). An underrepresentation of minority faculty is therefore damaging the credibility of academia, hurting its ability to support students as well as faculty. It is important to study the experiences of first year faculty, in order to better understand the structural issues, managerial and leadership factors, and human resources strategies that are causing the problem.

Job satisfaction is a variable that has been significantly correlated with minority status. Palepu et al. (2000) found that underrepresented minority faculty were less satisfied with their jobs, at a rate that was statistically significant. First year minority faculty members were far more likely than…

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References

Daley, S., Wingard, D.L. & Reznik, V. (2006). Improving the retention of underrepresented minority in faculty in academic medicine. Journal of the National Medical Association 98(9): 1435-1440.

Kosoko-Lasaki, O., Sonnino, R.E. & Voytko, M.L. (2006). Mentoring for women and underrepresented minority faculty and students: experience at two institutions of higher education. Journal of the National Medical Association 98(9): 1449-1459.

Palepu, A., Carr, P., Friedman, R., Ash, A. & Moskowitz, M.A. (2000). Specialty choices, compensation, and career satisfaction of underrepresented minority faculty in academic medicine. Academic Medicine 75(2): 157-160.

Parker, S., Clayton-Pedersen, A., Moreno, J.,Teraguchi, D. & Smith, D. (2006). The revolving door for underrepresented minority faculty in higher educaton. Folio.

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