A new report from the American Psychological Association states that an academic workforce that represents demographic changes within the student population and the larger U.S. society as essential to a vital and accurate psychological science that is relevant in the 21st century.
The report notes that more than 40 percent of the U.S. population now consists of people of color. However, as of fall 2021, only 24.6 percent of tenure-track faculty across faculty ranks consisted of self-identified faculty of color, the bulk of whom are assistant professors. The authors state that there are two significant challenges in diversifying the professoriate by race and ethnicity: (1) the small numbers of people of color entering faculty positions despite measurable growth in people of color completing doctoral degrees over time, and (2) the decision by many people of color to leave academia at different points in their careers
Faculty of color encounter a myriad of obstacles and challenges in their pursuit of promotion and tenure. These hurdles include financial constraints, workplace complexities, issues of retention and attrition, and attaining the requirements for promotion and tenure. Faculty of color often begin the probationary period of their tenure-track appointments at a disadvantage to their White counterparts when pursuing graduate degrees in psychology. Many of them have not inherited generational wealth and acquire large amounts of student loan debt to complete their training.
The report offers a wide range of strategies that can be employed to address this problem. While the report focuses on the academic discipline of psychology, the recommendations are relevant for many academic fields.