“On My Own Terms” (Overcoming Subtle & Overt Discrimination in the Academy) – Guest Contributor: Dr. Christine Grant, NC State

During the 2013 PROMISE AGEP Summer Success Institute, Dr. Christine Grant (Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Professor of Chemical Engineering, http://www.che.ncsu.edu/people/faculty-pages/grant.html), led the following session:

  • Christine Grant 3Making the transitions (grad student to PhD, postdoc, professor), keeping your cool, and addressing the issues: How do you deal with the lack of respect on the new job that may come from subtle discrimination based on age, gender, or race?
  • Dr. Christine Grant, Professor, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering; Associate Dean of Faculty Development and Special Initiatives, College of Engineering, North Carolina State University; and Founder of “Creative Growth Solutions for You!” 
    • Seminar Synopsis: You can now be called “Dr. ____,” but how do you deal with situations where people question your credentials and experience? This topic was requested by PROMISE alumni and postdocs who found that themselves excited about starting their new positions, but were continually being challenged about their credentials. Often, their hiring supervisors were very supportive and acknowledged their expertise, but when they had to work with others in the department or on a different campus, they received comments like:  ”Did you really do enough work to get a PhD?”  (Even though you’ve won international awards in your field.) -OR- “I need to know if you can teach this class.” (Even when you’ve taught the class to stellar reviews on a sister campus.) How do you handle situations when people argue with you (about being in your own lab) because they think that you’re a student, or support staff? What do you do when other professors try to “steal” your grad students, or when students challenge your authority? These are questions that have been posed to PROMISE by PhD alumni who are underrepresented minorities, and women of all races. Dr. Christine Grant brings to PROMISE her experiences as a full professor of engineering, as a national speaker and leader within the NSF ADVANCE community (winner of many grants to assist women faculty), and as a professional coach. [Dr. Grant, winner of a U.S.Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, was guest at the PROMISE SSI 2004, and she returns as part of the 10th anniversary celebration, courtesy of her company, “Creative Growth Solutions for You!”

Dr. Grant sent us a “recap” of that session:

I hosted a lively event at my roundtable that focused on making transitions and keeping your cool in the presence of microaggressions , lack of respect and both subtle and overt discrimination based on age, gender and race.  Interestingly – there were different issues raised by the men and women in the group.  We discussed topics associated with one’s physical presence (e.g., natural hair, wardrobe) and the importance of knowing the culture of your department/working environment to determine how far to push the envelope. It was also clear that there were challenges for both men and women in terms of welcoming environments and communication norms.  We brainstormed effective strategies to develop academic allies, mentors and most importantly how to empower oneself on the upward professional climb.  We generated lists of actual challenging situations and then discussed potential approaches to selectively address different ones in the academy.

 NEXT STEPS – Opportunity to connect with Dr. Grant, October 24:

Dr. Grant is hosting an “On My Own Terms” E-workshop/tele-teaching on Thursday, October 24, 2013, 7:15 – 8:45 PM.  The website with registration information can be found here: http://creativegrowth4u.com/index.html

The first workshop in the series will focus on Empowerment Outside the “Academic Box” and provide an overview of the five concepts associated with OMOT for current and aspiring academics.  There is a $10 discount for EARLY BIRD Registration.

Creative Solutions

Published by Renetta Garrison Tull

Dr. Renetta Garrison Tull is the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at the University of California Davis. She previously served as Associate Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives at The Graduate School at UMBC, and was Professor of the Practice in the College of Engineering & IT. She was Special Assistant to the Sr. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs & Director of Graduate and Professional Pipeline Development for the University System of Maryland (12 institutions). She is the Founding Director of PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) – http://www.umbc.edu/promise, and Co-PI for the USM LSAMP. Her research on global diversity in STEM continues, and she is an international speaker, covering nearly all continents, for groups and conferences such as the World Engineering Education Forum, the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies, and the Pacific Sciences Congress. Her personal website is: http://renettatull.wordpress.com. Connect with her on Twitter: @Renetta_Tull; https://twitter.com/Renetta_Tull

2 thoughts on ““On My Own Terms” (Overcoming Subtle & Overt Discrimination in the Academy) – Guest Contributor: Dr. Christine Grant, NC State

  1. I hope young people just say no and don’t do anything. But of course they do what they want to and don’t give fuk. Just remember when you come down or flip out like i did you won’t be a damn bit happy.


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