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BWNC Hosts Presentation by Carol Wright on How Race Shapes Educational Outcomes and Social Experiences of Students and Faculty

The Black Women’s Networking Committee (BWNC), in conjunction with the PSC Project on CUNY and Race, hosted a presentation by Carol Wright, PhD, Visiting Scholar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Initiative on Faculty Race & Diversity, at BWNC’s Black History Month Reception in February 2011. An expert in the field, Wright examined the ways race shapes educational outcomes and the social experiences of students and faculty in American educational institutions. City Tech President Russell K. Hotzler attended the presentation.

Dr. Wright holds a BA from Lafayette College, an MA from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a PhD in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow at TERC, a not-for-profit education research organization in Cambridge, MA, where her scholarly interests focused on the schooling of African American students in urban and suburban educational environments. At TERC, she also worked on “Inside the Double Bind” – an NSF-funded project that synthesized extant research about women of color in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and identified most promising practices to broaden participation of women of color on STEM faculties.

As a Visiting Scholar and Research Associate at MIT, she conducted research on the experiences of underrepresented faculty of color there and played a leading role in the collection, analysis and presentation of the findings. She has also taught at Bowdoin College, Wesleyan University and served as an Advising Dean at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently, she is a research associate for with the Professional Staff Congress (PSC)-CUNY, leading the study on CUNY and Race. The project will document existing practices in recruiting, hiring, retaining, mentoring and promoting faculty and professional staff, while addressing barriers to increase diversity and inclusiveness.

According to Wright, underrepresentation of ethnic and racial minorities on U.S. faculties and in the academic workplace continues despite years of affirmative action policies. Barriers exist to the full participation of faculty and professional staff of color throughout higher education. PSC-CUNY has chosen to take on the important task of better understanding these issues by investigating racial disparities in the career trajectories of University faculty and professional staff over a 10-year span, 2000-2010. The PSC will manage a two-year research and communications effort involving the collection of information from a wide range of sources including CUNYfirst, individual CUNY campuses, focus groups and interviews.

The project will document existing practices in recruiting, hiring, retaining, mentoring and promoting faculty and professional staff, while addressing barriers faced as departments and work units make efforts to deepen diversity and inclusiveness. Findings from this research effort will be of special interest to university administrators, faculty, professional staff, unions, policy makers, and others concerned with the vitality of CUNY’s academic community and hopefully change the way many think about strategically building diversity into the fabric of institutional culture and its impact on the processes that lead to advancement for faculty and professional staff.


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