Identities, academic cultures, and relationship intersections: postsecondary dance educators’ lived experiences pursuing tenure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The political hierarchies and assumptions built around tenure and promotion processes across U.S. postsecondary institutions are fraught with complexities and have a significant effect on eventual outcomes. A tenure case’s success or failure could depend on many factors, possibly including circumstances out of a candidate’s control such as the institution’s geographical location, dominant cultures and systems in operation, ineffective mentorship, unclear policy, and, most relevant to this article, faculty members’ identities. Faculty who hold minority or underrepresented status in relation to race, ethnicity, gender expression, sexuality, social class, age, or ability can face marginalization, bias, and work responsibilities unrelated to professional goals and personal needs. In this article, I describe how tenure-track dance faculty perceive their experiences working toward tenure through analysis of 50 participant survey responses. The participants’ interpretations of how power, privilege, and identity affect(ed) their paths to tenure highlight problematic, sometimes discriminatory practices in academia and provide rich ground for cultivating improved mentorship practices and creating institutional and departmental policies that promote diversity, inclusion, and equity, while also supporting each individual’s strengths and goals. Further, the participants in this study offer useful strategies for understanding and/or establishing work–life balance, setting boundaries, and prioritizing tenure responsibilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-208
Number of pages21
JournalResearch in Dance Education
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 3 2020

Keywords

  • Postsecondary
  • faculty
  • identities
  • mentorship
  • tenure

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