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Microaggressions directed at faculty of color are but a few of the negative experiences that Latinx, Black, Native American, and Asian American professors encounter in predominantly White academic departments. Logistical inequities (e.g., teaching all the diversity courses for a unit, serving on numerous diversity and search committees); procedural unfairness (e.g., meeting with a Dean regarding teaching complaints filed by majority students); departmental deficiencies (e.g., no mentors in the department), and tokenization (e.g., touted as the department’s sensitivity to diversity) are additional issues that faculty of color face in White academic workplaces.  At the heart of the issue is the failure of academic departments to recognize the difference between diversity (recruiting people of color) and inclusion (attentiveness to the climate of the unit). Most efforts at diversifying the faculty are directed at recruitment with little effort devoted to scrutinizing the climate of the academic workplace. It becomes a challenge to retain faculty of color when the climate for diversity inside the department is riddled with racial hostility, insensitivities, microaggressions, inequities, and unfairness. Most of these climate issues are not being perpetuated on purpose, but rather are promoted subconsciously and inadvertently.  Nevertheless, there is a need for academic departments to become aware of the experiences of faculty of color, address the issues of the climate for diversity, build capacity with current faculty regarding issues of diversity and inclusion, and create a plan specifically for the retention of diverse faculty hired into the department.


Faculty of color contribute tremendously to academia via the gifts and talents they bring to the higher education context. They mentor students of color as well as majority students, contribute to research and scholarship from a multiplicity of viewpoints and experiences, develop new courses that incorporate diversity, undertake community service internal and external to the university, and offer creative solutions to university issues grounded in diverse worldviews. However, a department, division, or university will not benefit from the efforts of faculty of color unless there is an effort made to retain them. It begins with addressing the climate for diversity in the unit.


If you are interested in introducing to your department, office, or institution, awareness of the climate for diversity in a department that negatively impacts diverse faculty and the solutions to countering those effects, contact us to see about scheduling a workshop designed to educate about those topics at or visit This workshop is appropriate for academic professional development retreats, recruitment efforts, workplace climate committees, and DEI Planning Councils. 

The Leadership in Diversity Group, LLC

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Race in the Academic Department

The workshop delves into the dynamics of race and racism and how it plays out in academic units. The focus is on faculty of color and the negative experiences they endure in predominantly white academic workplaces. Participants in the workshop receive lots of examples of the challenges described above. Additionally, workshop attendees are provided the opportunity to explore solutions to addressing faculty of color workplace stressors that lead to frustration, withdrawl, and anger. Inclusive Excellence, a structural systemic, cultural transformation framework for addressing institutional racism, as well as other “isms”, serves as the context for exploring the topic. The workshop is one to one and a half hours in duration, but can be shortened for different needs and venues. The workshop is available both virtually or in-person.


Learning outcomes include an: 1) enhanced understanding of race and its role in a predominantly white academic department; 2) increased awareness of how faculty of color are impacted by race in an academic department; 3) increased understanding of the solutions to the negative experiences of faculty of color; 4) greater awareness of Inclusive Excellence, a systemic-focused approach to combating institutional racism and other forms of discrimination including sexism, heterosexism, and ableism.

Workshop Details

Dolores Delgado Bernal & Octavio Villalpando (2002) An Apartheid of

Knowledge in Academia: The Struggle Over the "Legitimate" Knowledge of Faculty of Color, Equity & Excellence in Education, 35:2, 169-180, DOI: 10.1080/713845282

Guzman, F., Trevino, J. G., Lubiguin, F., & Aryan, B. (2010).  Microaggressions and the pipeline for scholars of color.  In Daryl Wing Sue’s (Ed.), Microaggressions and Marginality:  Manifestations, Dynamics, and Impact. (pp. 145-169). New York, NY:  John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Milem, J.F., Chang, M. J. and Lising, A. 2005. Making diversity work on campus: A research-based perspective. Association of American Colleges and Universities: Washington, DC.


How Race Manifests in the Academic Department

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