Diversifying the Faculty: Women and Racial Minorities
Friday, May 27, 2016
A lecture with Elizabeth Aries, the Clarence Francis 1910 Professor in Social Sciences (Psychology). In the wake of the Amherst Uprising in November 2015, pressure has intensified to recruit more faculty of color to tenure-track positions at the College. A look back at the issues the first women faculty confronted in joining a mostly male faculty in the 1960s and 1970s has many parallels to the issues confronted today by colleagues from ethnic and racial minority groups who are joining a predominantly white faculty. As Amherst College approached coeducation in 1972, only five tenure-track women were teaching at the College. President J. William Ward argued that women should have equal opportunity not only to attend Amherst but to serve on its faculty. Over the next decade, 45 more women faculty were hired. However, many of these pioneer women found Amherst a difficult place to work and lead their professional lives, and few remained on the faculty long-term. What challenges did the pioneer women face at Amherst, and what lessons can be learned from their experiences for further diversifying the faculty?