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Patricia Brewer


Despite a growing population, the underrepresentation of African American faculty in predominantly White institutions (PWIs) is a growing concern in the United States. Recent studies indicate PWIs have been focused on increasing diverse student enrollment, particularly among African Americans, but not on recruiting and retaining African American faculty. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to obtain the perspectives of faculty members regarding recruitment and retention of African American faculty at PWIs. The goal was to identify faculty perspectives on recruitment and retention based upon their personal experiences. Conceptual frameworks for this study were Bell’s critical race theory and Tajfel’s social identity theory. Seven African American and three European American faculty who had worked at a PWI for a minimum of 2 years and who served on faculty search committees or provided advocacy for African American faculty through mentoring, coteaching or conducting coresearch participated in semistructured interviews. Data from interviews were analyzed using a seven-step process that included both NVIVO 12 Plus and hand coding. The key results from the study involved (a) distinctions of privilege, (b) European American faculty functions, (c) views of diversity, (d) search committee actions, (e) institutional barriers and (f) approaches to mentoring. Future research includes establishment of formal mentoring programs and building sustainable partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to promote faculty recruitment and retention. Social change implications include PWIs willingness to make systemic changes to institutional barriers and awareness of privilege throughout their institutions.

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