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The present study sets out to characterize and analyze difficulties that typically face faculty of color who teach at Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs). Using personal narratives of junior faculty at a PWI, we explore the themes of shifting identity and marginality for faculty of color as these intersect with the presentation of public selves in university settings. This exploration is consistent with development of the themes of intersectionality and multiplicity in the work of Rivera and Ward in their Spring, 2008 Social Equity and Diversity symposium (2008).

We as authors were initially unsure whether the effort to analyze concerns surrounding multiple identities in a PWI was an act of empowerment, or a strategic response to a work setting where some refused to recognize us as we defined ourselves. Building on this framing question and a review of pertinent literature, we set out to explore how the institutional context shapes our identities as faculty of color. Ultimately, we argue that, in addition to creating inclusive strategies for faculty of color at this level, in order to empower them the PWI must also engage in a critique of the culture of power that still prevails in higher-education institutions.


This article was published by NASPAA, and is available at: