Measuring the Ivory Tower: Career Satisfaction Among Faculty of Color
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Factors that influence recruitment and retention of faculty of color are slowly being investigated as universities observe the increase of diversity within its student population. In spite of this, limited empirical evidence illustrates career satisfaction rates of faculty of color, explicitly rates of dissatisfaction that may lead to abandonment in a career of higher education. The purpose of this study was to investigate career satisfaction among faculty of color that embraces not only compositional diversity, but advocates for meaningful discourses in the creation of a diverse campus climate facilitated through the recruitment and retention of faculty of color.
Respondents (n=610) consisted of randomly selected tenured and tenure-track faculty from sixteen institutions of higher education in the state of Texas. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to examine the factors and relationships between career satisfaction and faculty of color. Two surveys were used in this study: a) the Job Satisfaction Survey (Spector, 1994), and b) the Faculty of Color Themed Inventory (FOCTI), which was created by the researcher. The three components (factors) found using EFA were labeled Individual Issues, Systemic Issues, and Support Systems by the researcher. Additionally, the researcher correlated the FOCTI to the FOCTI, JSS to the JSS, and lastly the FOCTI to the JSS. Numerical values represented correlations above .5 or below -.5 (moderately correlated) and statistical significance was set at the .05 level. The highest correlation was found at the .760 level between Individual and Systemic Issues (FOCTI). Lastly, the data analysis of EFA and SEM allowed for an initial explanation of the interactions among the latent and observed variables. The five observed variables found to affect career satisfaction among faculty of color were gender, identifying as a person of color, identifying if born in the U.S., tenure status, and overall job satisfaction.
Findings indicate that analyzing career satisfaction across disciplines can aid university departments, chairs, administrators, and deans to identify factors that contribute to the recruitment and retention of faculty of color. Thus, it is important for higher education to make a concentrated effort to change the practice, policies, and procedures of the academy to welcome and support the entire campus community.