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faculty of color, prejudice, discrimination, microaggressions


The purpose of this project was to better understand the experience of racial and ethnic minority faculty at Western Washington University and to develop recommendations to improve the climate for faculty of color. This report was derived from interviews with 25 tenured and tenure-track faculty of color conducted in the spring of 2014. Approximately two thirds of faculty reported few or no negative incidents related to their race or ethnicity. The remaining third reported numerous incidents of prejudice and discrimination. Generally, participants did not believe these incidents threatened employment but, instead, were experienced as ongoing microaggressions1 that questioned faculty competence, devalued scholarship, made cultural assumptions about ethnic groups, and trivialized diversity and diversity efforts at the institution. Although many participants experienced prejudicial incidents, the most significant impact of race and ethnicity was the additional workload shouldered by many faculty of color. Women, faculty who immigrated to the United States, and faculty who taught courses related to race and ethnicity were especially burdened. The disproportionate workload resulted from a variety of sources including requests to serve on committees or perform tasks due to their minority status, serving as a support and advisor for underrepresented students, the emotional labor required to manage prejudicial events, and the additional time spent on scholarship to ensure legitimacy. Participants had several suggestions that could improve the climate for faculty of color at Western Washington University and the report concludes with a list of recommendations.

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Raine Dozier, Ph.D. for The President’s Taskforce on Equity, Inclusion, & Diversity




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