"Embarrassingly White": Faculty Racial Disparities in American Recreation, Park, and Tourism Programs
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The recruitment and retention of faculty and students of color is a long-standing challenge in academic programs focusing on leisure studies, parks, recreation, and tourism. However, when confronting the predominantly white composition of educational programs, many evade or, at most, acknowledge the situation as a "deficit." Few offer specific strategies for reversing this pattern, if that is the desired outcome. The purpose of this essay is to extend the discourse beyond traditional diversity initiatives by undertaking a field-wide initiative focused on the disparities in faculty and student representation. First, the essay examines systems that have created and supported the persistence of "white" as privileged in academia. Next, a summary and critique of institutional faculty demographic data over the 5-year period from 2006-2011 from four diverse institutions are presented. This analysis illustrates patterns that have resulted in presumably less than desirable numbers of faculty and students of color. Concrete suggestions for recruiting, retaining, and promoting people of color in academic leisure studies programs are included. Increasingly, today's students are attracted to academic programs in which they will be exposed to faculty representing the diversity they will encounter as professionals. This essay offers a call to bridge the perceived gap between practitioners and academia by recommending systemic changes informed by the lived experiences of communities of color that are effectively served by various leisure service providers.
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Corey W. Johnson, Rasul A. Mowatt, Nina S. Roberts, B. Dana Kivel (2016). "Embarrassingly White": Faculty Racial Disparities in American Recreation, Park, and Tourism Programs. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/11287