How can political science increase its diversity?

The overwhelming whiteness and maleness of many academic disciplines is an on-going concern.  Here’s an excerpt of a piece by Colleen Flaherty in Insidehighered.com on the struggle for diversity in political science:

Imagine there’s one political science faculty slot to fill, and two equally qualified candidates emerge from the pack. One applicant is a woman, and there are few women serving in the department. Her area of expertise, however — Europe — is already well-represented among current professors, and they’re hoping to “fill out the map.” The other candidate is a white male – a demographic well-represented in the department — but his area of expertise, Africa, is something the department is hungry for.
What does the search committee do?
“The answer is that you go to your dean and ask for two slots,” said Jennifer Hochschild, Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government at Harvard University and professor of African and African American studies at Harvard University — acknowledging that the response in most cases will be “No.”
Beyond that, she said, there are no easy answers: Hochschild walked the room here through a variety of what she called “problematic” solutions to the faculty question; hiring the woman in the hope that she’ll mentor female undergraduates, or represent “family” concerns at faculty meetings, puts unfair expectations on her. But not hiring her could be worse — even if the department ends up with a more global orientation.
Hochshild posed her not-so-hypothetical dilemma (she said her department has faced such choices) to a group of political scientists here Thursday during a session on “Equality in the Academy,” at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association. While speakers in the discussion all agreed that the discipline needs to become more diverse, they noted challenges — such as the one in Hothschild’s dilemma — to getting there.

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Class differences in learning

A new study shows clear cultural differences between middle class and working class students in how actively they participate in their own learning.

In a paper that will be published in the October edition of the American Sociological Review, Indiana University sociologist Jessica McCrory Calarco writes about what she saw when she observed a bunch of third-through-fifth-graders in a public school. Crucially, she only studied white kids — she wanted to isolate the effects of socioeconomic class. What she found, as McCrory put it in the study’s press release, is that “Middle-class parents tell their children to reach out to the teacher and ask questions. Working-class parents see asking for help as disrespectful to teachers, so they teach their children to work out problems themselves.”

 

Read more about this at NY Mag.

This provides further evidence for these cultural differences discussed in Irv Peckham’s excellent and informative Going North Thinking West: The Intersections of Social Class, Critical Thinking, and Politicized Writing Instruction.

New organization for combatting rape on campus

Faculty Against Rape is a new organization with the following mission:

The mission of Faculty Against Rape (FAR) is to get more faculty involved in sexual assault issues on campus, and to protect faculty members who experience retaliation for doing so. Our name is a nod to the Feminist Alliance Against Rape (FAAR), the first national anti-rape organization established in 1974. To fulfill our mission, we provide

resources for faculty to best support survivors inside and outside the classroom
tools, guidance, and support for faculty who want to get more involved in reform efforts on their campus
tools, guidance, and support for faculty who are facing retaliation for fighting sexual violence on their campus.

Check it out.

NYT’s charts the depressing lack of racial progress of the past fifty years

America’s racial divide is older than the republic itself, a central fault line that has shaped the nation’s history. This month it has manifested itself in sometimes violent protests in Ferguson, Mo., after a police killing of an unarmed young black man. The resonance of that event is related to deeper racial fissures between blacks and whites; that divide is the reason that the events in Ferguson amount to something bigger than a local crime story.

What is the state of that larger divide? In what areas has there been meaningful progress toward shared prosperity over the last generation, and in what areas is America as polarized by race as ever — or even more so?

Across a broad range of economic and demographic indicators, the data paint a largely depressing picture. Five decades past the era of legal segregation, a chasm remains between black and white Americans – and in some important respects it’s as wide as ever.

From:  America’s Racial Divide, Charted

The Racial Gap in Cancer Treatment

According to an op-ed in today’s New York Times:

“Black women experience significant delays in diagnosis and treatment [for cancer]. According to the C.D.C., even when they have similar insurance coverage, 20 percent of black women with an abnormal mammogram wait more than 60 days for a diagnosis, compared with 12 percent of white women. And 31 percent of black women wait 30 days to begin treatment, compared with 18 percent of white women.”

Read the entire piece here.

Faculty Women of Color Conference at the Univ. of Illinois

Check out this exciting national conference for faculty women of color on March 28-29, 2014:

The Faculty Women of Color in the Academy National Conference is a unique educational and professional opportunity for women of color scholars. With a theme of “Taking it to the Next Level,” the goal of the conference is to connect, empower, and support women as they pursue the next level of their career in the Academy.

More information here.