The underrepresentation of women of color in faculty positions in the U.S has presented a longstanding challenge for most universities desiring the benefits of faculty diversity for equity and excellence, student learning, and ongoing knowledge and technology development. Lower status and fewer opportunities for women who are also members of a racial/ethnic minority group lead to their experiencing a “double bind,” with increased consequences for the survival and success of women of color in the academic profession , . Women of color in the disciplines of science, mathematics, and engineering are even more scarce and isolated than those in many humanities and social science fields .
To improve this situation, some universities have recently developed, implemented, hosted, and learned from professional development conferences or workshops engaging academic women of color, and focused on understanding and responding to their needs. This paper describes four such programs, challenges in conceptualizing and implementing their strategies, and frames a discussion about how and why such initiatives offer important elements in the development, advancement, and success of faculty of color and institutional excellence.
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