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Bridging the Gap: Preparing Diverse Faculty Through the Inaugural AACTE/Holmes Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

The road to tenure can comprise unforeseen barriers to success for some underrepresented faculty of color, barriers that often start before pursuit of a tenure-track appointment. Underrepresented faculty describe gaps in mentoring that can begin in graduate school and later impact their opportunity to receive a tenure-track offer as well as their success during the tenure process (Cole, McGowan, & Zerquera, 2017Garrison-Wade et al., 2012).  For those faculty who receive tenure-track appointments, gaps in mentoring can persist during the tenure process. Underrepresented faculty of color discuss not receiving quality support and mentoring from senior faculty during the tenure process. They also discuss feelings of isolation, lack of value for their research, and an expectation to serve as the diversity consciousness of their department. A 2016 report by the TIAA Institute made visible the impact of barriers to tenure among underrepresented faculty of color. The report found relatively small gains in the number of underrepresented faculty of color across a twenty-year period. Gains were mostly attributed to an increase in non-tenure-track appointments.

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