A hard, insightful look at systemic racism in faculty hiring


“This important book addresses one of the most critical issues in faculty hiring at colleges and universities: systemic racism.
(You can purchase it here, from Princeton University Press:
Even while institutions increasingly talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion, they often overlook the processes where implicit and overt bias, marginalizing practices, and outdated understandings of academic work derail efforts to bring on those who offer new perspectives, research agendas, and instructional expertise. Gasman provides compelling arguments to counter existing hiring myths and uncovers a host of compelling perspectives.”―Marilyn J. Amey, Michigan State University

While colleges and universities have been lauded for increasing student diversity, these same institutions have failed to achieve any comparable diversity among their faculty. In 2017, of the nation’s full-time, tenure-track and tenured faculty, only 3 percent each were Black men, Black women, Hispanic men, and Hispanic women. Only 6 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander men, 5 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander women, and 1 percent were American Indian/Alaska Native. Why are the numbers so abysmal? In Doing the Right Thing, Marybeth Gasman takes a hard, insightful look at the issues surrounding the recruitment and hiring of faculty of color. Relying on national data and interviews with provosts, deans, and department chairs from sixty major universities, Gasman documents the institutional forces stymieing faculty diversification, and she makes the case for how such deficiencies can and should be rectified.

Even as institutions publicly champion inclusive excellence and the number of doctoral students of color increases, Gasman reveals the entrenched constraints contributing to the faculty status quo. Impediments to progress include the alleged trade-off between quality and diversity, the power of pedigree, the rigidity of academic pipelines, failures of administrative leadership, lack of accountability among administration and faculty, and the opacity and arbitrariness of the recruitment and hiring process. Gasman contends that leaders must acknowledge institutional failures of inclusion, pervasive systemic racism, and biases that restrict people of color from pursuing faculty careers.

Recognizing that individuals from all backgrounds are essential to the creation and teaching of knowledge, Doing the Right Thing puts forth a concrete call for colleges and universities to take action and do better.

“In Doing the Right Thing, Gasman offers a cogent analysis of how, despite the increase in supportive rhetoric and recent adoption of anti-racism statements, real changes in diversifying faculty have not yet become a strategic imperative for some of the most elite institutions in higher education. Through interviews, national data, and case examples, she powerfully demonstrates the deeply embedded barriers to change and what will be required to interrupt the status quo.”―Daryl G. Smith, Claremont Graduate University

The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Leadership, Equity, and Justice

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s