The Urban Review

, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 630–647 | Cite as

Resisting, Rejecting, and Redefining Normative Pathways to the Professoriate: Faculty of Color in Higher Education

  • Jennifer M. JohnsonEmail author
  • Ginny Boss
  • Chrystal George Mwangi
  • Gina Ann Garcia


The Faculty of Color Cohort 2014 (FOCC2014) consists of 20 scholars in faculty positions across the country. Here we use the theory of transformational resistance and data from our private Facebook group webpage as a way to understand the resistance enacted by the FOCC2014 as first-year faculty members. Through critical discourse analysis, we investigate how the FOCC2014 Facebook webpage is used to encourage members to actively resist, reject, and redefine what it means to be a faculty member in higher education. Findings provide empirical evidence of the utility of social media as a space for engagement and community for faculty of color across multiple campuses where the racial/ethnic diversity of faculty is limited.


Faculty of color Socialization Critical theory Social media Higher education 


  1. Ackelsberg, M., Hart, J., Miller, N. J., Queeney, K., & Van Dyne, S. (2009). Faculty microclimate change at Smith College. In W. R. Brown-Glaude (Ed.), Doing diversity in higher education: Faculty leaders share challenges and strategies (pp. 83–102). New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Alire, C. A. (2001). The new beginnings program. Journal of Library Administration, 33(1–2), 21–30. Scholar
  3. Baez, B. (2000). Race-related service and faculty of color: Conceptualizing critical agency in academe. Higher Education, 39(3), 363–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Carter, D. (1994). The status of faculty in community colleges: What do we know? In W. B. Harvey & J. Valdez (Eds.), Creating and maintaining a diverse faculty (pp. 3–18). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  5. De Luca, S. M., & Escoto, E. R. (2012). The recruitment and support of Latino faculty for tenure and promotion. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 11(1), 29–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Denzin, N. K. (1978). Sociological methods: A sourcebook. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  7. Eguchi, S., & Spieldenner, A. (2015). Two “Gaysian” junior faculty talking about experience: A Collaborative Autoethnography. QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, 2(3), 125–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Espino, M. M., Muñoz, S. M., & Kiyama, J. M. (2010). Transitioning from doctoral study to the academy: Theorizing trenzas of identity for Latina sister scholars. Qualitative Inquiry, 16(10), 804–818.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fairclough, N. (1989). Language and power. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  10. Fairclough, N. (1995). Critical discourse analysis. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  11. Foucault, M. (1972). The archaeology of knowledge. London: Tavistock.Google Scholar
  12. Fries-Britt, S., & Turner-Kelly, B. (2005). Retaining each other: Narratives of two African American Women in the Academy. The Urban Review, 37(3), 221–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gay, G. (2004). Navigating marginality en route to the professoriate: Graduate students of color learning and living in academia. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 17(2), 265–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. George Mwangi, C. A., Bettencourt, G. M., & Malaney, V. K. (2016). Collegians creating (counter)space online: A critical discourse analysis of the I, Too, Am social media movement. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. Scholar
  15. Gildersleeve, R. E., Croom, N. N., & Vasquez, P. (2011). "Am I going crazy?!": A critical race analysis of doctoral education. Equity & Excellence in Education, 44(1), 93–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Griffin, K. A., Pifer, M. J., Humphrey, J. R., & Hazelwood, A. M. (2011). (Re)Defining departure: Exploring Black professors’ experiences with and response to racism and racialclimate. American Journal of Education, 117(4), 495–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Harley, D. A. (2008). Maids of academe: African American women faculty at predominately white institutions. Journal of African American Studies, 12, 19–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Janks, H. (1997). Critical discourse analysis as a research tool. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 18(3), 329–342.Google Scholar
  19. Jayakumar, U. M., Howard, T. C., Allen, W. R., & Han, J. C. (2009). Racial privilege in the professoriate: An exploration of campus climate, retention, and satisfaction. The Journal of Higher Education, 80(5), 538–563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Johnson, J. M. (2016). Navigating the #PhDGrind with the support of social media. In D. Y. Ford, S. M. Trotman, R. Goings, T. Wingfield, & M. Henfield (Eds.), RACE Mentoring through social media: Black and Hispanic scholars share their journey in the academy (pp. 205–211). New York: Information Age Publishing, Inc.Google Scholar
  21. Johnson, J. M., Robinson, T. N., Staples, C. L., & Daoud, N. (2016). Preparing to lead: The socialization of Black women for faculty and administrative careers through graduate school. In B. L. H. Marina & S. Ross (Eds.), Beyond retention: Cultivating spaces of equity, justice, and fairness for women of color in U.S. higher education (pp. 103–124). New York: Information Age Publishing, Inc.Google Scholar
  22. Johnson-Bailey, J., Valentine, T. S., Cervero, R. M., & Bowles, T. A. (2008). Lean on me: The support experiences of Black graduate students. The Journal of Negro Education, 77(4), 365–381.Google Scholar
  23. Jones, T. B., & Osborne-Lampkin, L. (2013). Black female faculty success and early career professional development. The Negro Educational Review, 64(1–4), 59–75.Google Scholar
  24. Krefting, L. (1999). Rigor in qualitative research: The assessment of trustworthiness. In A. Miliniki (Ed.), Cases in qualiative research: Research reports for discussion and evaluation (pp. 173–181). Los Angeles, CA: Puscale Publications.Google Scholar
  25. Ladson-Billings, G. (1998). Just what is critical race theory and what’s it doing in a nice field like education? International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 11(1), 7–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. LaRiviere, K., Snider, J., Stromberg, A., & O’Meara, K. (2012). Protests: Critical lessons of using digital media for social change. About Campus, 17(3), 10–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Newbury Park, CA: SAGE.Google Scholar
  28. Machin, D., & Mayr, A. (2012). How to do critical discourse analysis. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  29. Maranto, C. L., & Griffin, A. E. (2011). The antecedents of a ‘chilly climate’ for women faculty in higher education. Human Relations, 64(2), 139–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Maxwell, J. A. (2005). Qualitative research design: An interactive approach (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.Google Scholar
  31. Montgomery, B. L., Dodson, J. E., & Johnson, S. M. (2014). Guiding the way: Mentoring graduate students and junior faculty for sustainable academic careers. SAGE Open, 4(4), 215824401455804. Scholar
  32. National Center for Education Statistics. (2017). The condition of education 2017 (NCES 2017-144). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.Google Scholar
  33. O’Meara, K. A. (2015). A career with a view: Agentic perspectives of women faculty. The Journal of Higher Education, 86(3), 331–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Quijada Cerecer, D. A., Cahill, C., & Bradley, M. (2011). Resist this! Embodying the contradictory positions and collective possibilities of transformative resistance. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 24(5), 587–593. Scholar
  35. Rapley, T. (2008). Doing document, discourse, and document analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.Google Scholar
  36. Smith, D. G., Turner, C. S. V., Osei-Kofi, N., & Richards, S. (2004). Interrupting the usual: Successful strategies for hiring diverse faculty. The Journal of Higher Education, 75(2), 133–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Solorzano, D. G., & Delgado Bernal, D. (2001). Examining transformational resistance through a critical race and Latcrit theory framework: Chicana and Chicano students in an urban context. Urban Education, 36(3), 308–342. Scholar
  38. Thompson, C. J., & Dey, E. L. (1998). Pushed to the margins: Sources of stress for African American college and university faculty. The Journal of Higher Education, 69(3), 324–345.Google Scholar
  39. Trower, C., & Chait, R. (2002). Faculty diversity: Too little for too long. Harvard Magazine, 104(4), 33–37.Google Scholar
  40. Turner, C. S., Gonzalez, J. C., & Wood, J. L. (2008). Faculty of color in academe: What 20 years of literature tells us. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 1(3), 139–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Turner, C., Myers, S., & Creswell, J. (1999). Exploring underrepresentation: The case of faculty of color in the Midwest. The Journal of Higher Education, 70, 27–59.Google Scholar
  42. van Dijk, T. A. (2008). Critical discourse analysis. In D. Schiffrin, D. Tannen, & H. E. Hamilton (Eds.), The handbook of discourse analysis (pp. 352–371). Malden, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  43. Williams, M. S., Burnett, T. J. B., Carroll, T. K., & Harris, C. J. (2016). Mentoring, managing, and helping: A critical race analysis of socialization in doctoral education. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice. Scholar
  44. Wodak, R. (1995). Critical linguistics and critical discourse analysis. In J. Verschuren, J. A. Ostman, & J. Blommaert (Eds.), Handbook of pragmatics: Manual (pp. 204–210). Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins Publishing Company.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Yun, J. H., Baldi, B., & Sorcinelli, M. D. (2016). Mutual mentoring for early-career and underrepresented faculty: Model, research, and practice. Innovative Higher Education, 41(5), 441–451. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer M. Johnson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ginny Boss
    • 2
  • Chrystal George Mwangi
    • 3
  • Gina Ann Garcia
    • 4
  1. 1.Temple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Kennesaw State UniversityKennesawUSA
  3. 3.University of Massachusetts AmherstAmherstUSA
  4. 4.University of PittsburgPittsburgUSA

Personalised recommendations