Nation’s Largest Meeting of Minority PhD Scholars Opens in Tampa
TAMPA, Florida, October 25 – About 1,200 minority doctoral students, faculty members and education leaders from across the country are convened
Focus Is Diversity of Faculty
here through Sunday to focus on issues that face young and aspiring faculty members of color. The Compact for Faculty Diversity Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, now in its 19th
year, is the largest gathering of minority Ph.D. scholars in the nation.
The mission behind the conference is to increase the number of ethnic and racial minority faculty members on college and university campuses.
"Underrepresented minorities have made gains in recent years in academia, but a major shortage persists," said Ansley Abraham, director of the SREB-State Doctoral Scholars Program.
Only about 5 percent of faculty at public four-year colleges in the United States are black, 3 percent are Hispanic, and about 1 percent are Native American.
Yet the college classroom is rapidly diversifying: More than a third of America’s college students are members of minority groups, and the proportion is climbing. In 2009, 38 percent of U.S. public high school graduates (44 percent in SREB states) were non-white. That proportion is expected to rise to 46 percent (55 percent in SREB states) for the high school class of 2019.
“A minority instructor at the front of a classroom can be a role model, someone students of color can identify with,” Abraham said. “Picturing yourself as a successful adult can be powerful motivation to complete your studies.”
Scholars from more than 230 institutions in over 40 states will learn to navigate the path to becoming a faculty member through workshops, leadership training and mentoring. Sessions address innovative teaching strategies, tenure tips, grant writing and publishing, for example. Recruiting sessions bring together universities and research labs with talented young scholars, and the conference provides plenty of opportunity for networking.
"The chance to share stories about surviving the rigors of graduate school and strategies for becoming successful faculty is hugely important in this environment,” Abraham said.
See scenes from last year's Institute and hear from the graduates themselves in this video (YouTube) >
The Compact for Faculty Diversity Institute on Teaching and Mentoring is a partnership of regional, federal and foundation programs that focus on minority graduate education and faculty diversity: the Southern Regional Education Board, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, the National Institutes of Health Bridges to the Professoriate program, the National Science Foundation Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education Ronald E. McNair Program.
The SREB-State Doctoral Scholars program manages and hosts the Institute.