Women Of Color Mentorship In Higher Education Process

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Literature is abundant on the barriers Women of Color face in Higher education faculty and administration roles. This literature review will present research from articles and books. Women in higher education who seek leadership roles give up on working in administration for seen or unseen barriers. Jackson and Harris (2007) suggest nine barriers to Black and Minority Females in higher education. The barriers are: ‘race and gender intolerance’ ( p. 121), ‘gate-keeping’ (p. 121), ‘glass ceiling’ (p. 121), ‘myths’ (p.121), ‘lack of encouragement’ (p. 122), ‘lack of networking’ (p. 122), ‘board/trustee relationships’ (p. 122), ‘family responsibilities’ (p. 122), and ‘organizational barriers’ (p. 123). There were 43 African American women university chancellors interviewed for this study. Most women experience some of all those barriers on the road to becoming a chancellor. Those barriers even exist in other leadership roles.

Madsen (1998) suggests women leaders must develop a collective spirit, be willing to hear and receive ideas of others. Also, women must maintain a sense of humor to alleviate pressure and hold respect for non-leaders and leaders that work with them. Madsen (1998) mentions that female leaders should speak with assertiveness and straightforward and chose conflicts carefully. She also discussed the significance of math skills, time management skills, research, and writing, along with oratory skills. Those skills create a keen chancellor of an institution. Women leaders should choose a mentor and develop a proper attitude. According to Jackson and Harris (2007), African American women are making strides in the levels of higher education, barriers still exist. The more African American women move in leadership roles, the more it will open doors for women coming along behind them.

Davis and Maldonado (2015) attempt to answer one of my research questions from my draft concept paper about how women can move away from the glass ceiling concept? The study conducted in this article was a qualitative phenomenological study. The authors five women interviewed for this study. Davis and Maldonado (2015) evaluated how race and gender affected the experiences of African American women, rising leaders. The authors convey that the quantity of research on women’s leadership roles has increased, but hardly any studies explore the leadership growth of African American women. According to the Department of Labor Statistics record, women represented 46% of leadership roles in the United States (U.S. Department of Labor, 2007). However, in 2011, the number rose to 51% (U.S. Department of Labor, 2012).

Challenges to leadership roles are a worldwide occurrence where women when compared to men, work in concentrated in low-level leadership roles (Northouse, 2010). The low number appears to be a trend in the world. Davis and Maldonado (2015) discuss the Black Feminist Theory defined as understanding race, gender, and class. The Black Feminist Theory goes back to slavery days. The authors also discuss the feminist and sociocultural theory in the article. Feminist theory investigates issues on the constant oppression and inequity of women (Davis & Maldonado, 2015). Sociocultural methods examine race, gender, and social status in understanding power forces with governmental and additional systems where power can abuse people (Merriam & Caffarella, 1999).

Five themes become apparent from the experiences of women. Themes from Davis and Maldonado (2015) are as follows: ‘predestined for success’ (p. 57), ‘sponsorship from the unexpected’ (p. 58), ‘double jeopardy of race and gender’ (p. 58), ‘learn how to play game’ (p. 59), and ‘pay it forward’ (p. 60). Predestined for the success theme explain if individual ethics not instilled in them, they would not be successful. Their families made sure to instill specific characteristics in them. The participants demonstrate sponsorship theme by describing how their sponsors donated to their career tenure. The participants explain how race and gender affected their rise to leadership roles, but they never let that stop them. The participants reveal how women must understand that they are excluded from the ‘good old boys’ club. However, women must locate sponsors; often, men were willing to help advance their careers. Last, pay it forward shows that women have a lack of mentor relationships. Women must work to develop mentor relationships with other African American women.

Parker (2015) indicated in research that the Dean of Women was the first supervisory position offered in the 1890s to females in coeducational universities. Those positions became a necessity for the university. Dean of women became imperative because of the significant increase in the female population on university campuses. Research indicated that female professors, compared to male professors transcend up the profession ladder slower, are less productive, have larger teaching loads, and earn lower salaries (Parker, 2015). Mentor mentee relationships were recommended to expand female representation in senior leadership positions (Parker, 2015). Helgesen (1990) suggested that women would be received into areas of mastery until a healthy equilibrium of females and males existed in all worldwide organizations.

Hague and Okpala (2017) evaluated the senior leadership experiences of African American women in North Carolina Community Colleges. In 2006, women comprised 23% of college presidencies roles, but White women were mostly in those leadership positions ( American council on education, 2012). The authors used the Black feminist theory for this research study. The Black feminist theory derived when abolitionists were working to end slavery. Black women were treated unequally as citizens and humans by a system whose main goal was to dismantle them as women (Hague & Okpala, 2017). Race and gender and intersectionality tied into the concept of the Black feminist theory. Intersectionality investigates the belief that gender, race, and social class cross to create a system allowing African American women with different unfair levels of power and benefits (Lloyd-Jones, 2009).

The contributors were asked to describe their senior leadership experiences. They recommended mentoring, networking, and professional development as essential factors to leadership growth. Most of the contributors deemed mentor-mentee relationships as a vital factor during their transformation in the North Carolina Community Colleges (Hague & Okpala, 2017). The contributors also recommended that individuals take dominance of community colleges’ professional development, which prepares leaders to lead at community colleges (Hague & Okpala, 2017). Individuals should make a point to attend training, whether its in-state or out of town. Women should put aside money and save for professional development.

Hague and Okpala (2017) conclude with suggestions for African American women with ambitions of becoming leaders at community colleges. First, it recommended that women take control of their professional training and education. Second, African American women should search for mentor-mentee relationships with a current of past senior administrative leaders. Last, African American women should create professional networking relationships at the state, national, and international levels. Hague and Okpala (2017) recommend that another study like this conducted with a larger sample size. They also suggest that further research performed with a mixed-method or a phenomenological study.

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Also, Allen and Butler (2014) indicated barriers that African American women face such as marginalization, isolation, lack of mentor-mentee relationships, and visibility. The authors use two models to show how coethnic mentorship operates. However, there has been a considerable increase in the amount of African American faculty over the years (Croom & Patton, 2012). Universities need to increase recruiting efforts for hiring a diverse faculty and administration. When fewer women chose not to become a mentor for their junior colleagues, the pessimistic cycle continues. It is vital to survey the various advantages of mentor relationships for African American faculty (Allen & Butler, 2014).

Mentorship is when a person of higher-level ranks, special attainments, and prominence instructs, counsels and aids the career development of a junior faculty member. Jones et al.’s (2013) research indicated that mentor-mentee relationships are more valuable when women are terminal students pursuing their doctorate degrees. A right mentor can help you navigate through any barriers you may face on your journey. After all, they are not mentors if they have not once walked in your shoes. Allen and Butler (2014) elaborated theory suggests that the presence of African American superior faculty, might create ways to refine the all-inclusive performance of faculty retention, research efficiency, and job tenure of African American junior women faculty. Figure 1 showed a demonstration model of coethinc mentorship. However, figure 2 is a model purposely exclusive to African American women.

Allen and Butler (2014) recommended that African American lower-ranking faculty seek to establish mentor relationships with the same racial background, gender, and with some of the same experiences. The research contained two limitations. The model only considered organizational metropolis as a mentoring resource. Second, the model makes a big presumption that shared encounters positives, which is not always accurate in all situations. Allen and Butler (2014) recognize that additional work needed around the development of mentor-mentee relationship models such as the one used for this research. Allen and Butler (2014) also suggest observed testing of the model can produce a greater understanding of variations and results of mentorships relationships.

Jones (2019) explores the critical theories and frameworks about the scarcity of African American women in senior leadership positions. Most of the women chancellors’ head two- year institutions, liberal arts, and all women’s colleges (National Center for Education Statistics, 2015). Men out weight women in senior-level leadership roles in universities and especially at four- year institutions (National Center for Education Statistics, 2015). Women of color face ‘sexism’ and ‘racism’ (p. 8), ‘stereotypes’ (p. 8), ‘isolation’ (p. 9),’ glass ceiling theory’ (p. 9), ‘concrete ceiling theory’ (p. 9) and ‘pipeline theory’ (p. 10). Some women in senior leadership roles demand that society should no longer acknowledge various stereotypes (Perry & Gunderson, 2011). Glass ceiling theory concluded that women of color encounter the bias higher than non- minority women ( Jones, 2019). The precise method is a result of the glass ceiling with additional barriers added at the job (Jones, 2019). The pipeline theory is also known as the ‘pipeline myth.’ Pipeline theory suggests that women of color are not graduating terminal programs at a high rate, therefore are not enough women eligible for leadership roles.

Jones (2019) calls for nuanced data to apprehend vital information about women instructors of color, quantitative, and qualitative research suggested. Research must explore the leadership styles of women (Jones, 2019). Women possess a different type of leadership style than men. Jones (2019) indicated that people need to understand the piece of women of color in senior leadership positions specifically in the perspective of the evolving nature of statistics in the university academy’s (Jones, 2019).

Dunn, Gerlach, and Hyle (2014) explored women of color leadership experiences at universities. The underrepresentation of women in higher education senior leadership roles indicates that male applications and leadership positions work to reject women ( Dunn et al., 2014). Men should not reject women in leadership roles. The contributors revealed that mentor-mentee relations place a significant role in helping them succeed in senior leadership roles (Dunn et al ., 2014). Women must learn from previous mistakes made in administrative positions. Research in the future is needed to compare the encounters of female leaders in different academic organizations to explain how gender influences regulatory encounters and results. This project increased confidence and self- awareness in the capacity to serve as mentors in mentor-mentee relations for future women leaders (Dunn et al., 2014).

Duran’s (2016) research evaluates the encounters of faculty women of color at universities, mainly focusing on battles of Latinas. Women of color voices should not go unnoticed at universities. Latina graduate students launched to support and mentor-mentee projects in communities to share personal testimonials as a way to give voice to women of color working at predominately White universities (Flores & Garcia, 2009, p. 155). Critical- feminism, Latina/0 critical theory, and the United States third- world woman’s liberation as a framework to survey Latina space ( Duran, 2016).

The primary purpose of critical – race feminism is to withstand essentialism (Flores & Garcia, 2009). Essentialism is a traditional view that certain concepts and skills are essential to the world and should be taught systematically to all students regardless of specific needs of abilities (Dictionary.com). Duran (2016) indicated hoe mentor relationships are vital to the success of faculty women of color and the entrance to promotions that women seek to obtain. The mentor relationships can help with the critical race theory regarding women of color. Duran (2016) suggests that universities must create resources and support mentor-mentee systems that endorse voice and encounters of women of color.

Evans (2007) evaluated why women of color are excluded from the academy and explain tenure requirements, specifically in the Florida University System. Tenure is earned at a university if a person fulfilled the need of the university. FAMU had 37 Black women promoted at full professors and 128 Black women promoted as full professors (Evans, 2007). Notice the significant difference between tenured professors in 2007. Racism still is shown at various colleges. Most college campuses do not offer workshops to combat racism on campus (Evans, 2007). If schools hire diverse faculty at colleges, the school should provide seminars with race information.

Last, Evans (2007) indicated that if schools wish to create a genuinely great academy in this country, it must have inclusiveness. She suggests that universities must recruit diverse students and instructor populations that further promote encounters, theories, and frameworks. Evans (2007) indicated from empirical and short narratives that faculty of color functions within a more shared culture than a mainstream culture model.


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