When they see us : a multiple case study to understand recruitment and retention of Black faculty at predominantly White institutions.


Diversity and inclusion in the United States have been poignant topics for decades. These concepts apply to multiple facets of the American landscape, including, but not limited to, higher education. The diversity of educators in the higher education system does not reflect the diversity of learners, nor the variety of modern-day thought. With the current state of diversity within academia, there is a noted lack of faculty that represent the identities of Black, African, African American people and the diaspora. This research study explored the recruitment and retention of different levels of Black faculty members at predominantly White institutions (PWIs) in the United States. The inquiry primarily focused on how diversity in education proves beneficial for all but remained a challenge to execute. This study sought to answer the following primary question: What are the experiences of recruitment and retention of Black faculty members at a PWI? A multiple case study design was employed to discover perspectives and disparities associated with recruiting and retaining Black faculty members. Critical Race Theory was the chosen theoretical framework for this analysis and formed the foundation of the study, proving that many benefits came from diverse educational opportunities. This research pointed to the need for inclusivity of nonhegemonic people and points of view in the educational system. Data collected included interviews conducted with current faculty who identified as Black, and a focus group to further tease out themes. Findings included varying narratives that highlighted the successes and challenges of being a Black faculty member at a PWI; themes discovered from the qualitative research offered strategies for moving forward. Common themes among participants were: (1) the academy was not a primary interest, (2) interest convergence, and (3) “being better than great to be considered average.” These themes pinpointed how the experiences of Black faculty members at PWIs reflected greater concerns within the academy.



Recruitment. Retention. Black faculty. Higher education. DEI.