New Conversation: Racial Equity in Higher Education
On April 25, 2023, JPHE Senior Editor Z.W. Taylor spoke with Dr. Herlanda Hampton, hailing from Little Rock, Arkansas. Dr. Hampton has a doctorate in education from the University of Arkansas Little Rock, and Dr. Hampton also holds a Master of Science in Sport Administration from Georgia State University and a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Currently, Dr. Hampton lives in Anchorage, Alaska and is the Scholarship Program Officer for the Alaska Community Foundation.
As a Black woman critically invested in racial equity within higher education broadly, Dr. Hampton spoke about the need for institutions to fundamentally change in order to truly promote equity for minoritized populations.
Dr. Herlanda Hampton: I am very interested in the diversity of faculty and higher education outcomes for students from marginalized communities, the intersection of race and gender in leadership roles, and ultimately, what intersectionality looks like across higher education, leadership, and student outcomes, especially for those pursuing terminal degrees.
Zachary Taylor: Thank you for introducing yourself, Herlanda. Your research interests sound very interesting. Can you tell me more about what you're currently working on and any future research projects you have planned?
Dr. Herlanda Hampton: Yes, certainly. Currently, I am conducting research on the impact of faculty diversity on student outcomes, specifically looking at historically Black colleges and universities. I am also working on a project examining the experiences of Black women in leadership positions in higher education. As for future research projects, I am interested in exploring the experiences of underrepresented students pursuing terminal degrees, particularly in STEM fields. I would also like to examine the impact of mentorship on the success of underrepresented students in graduate programs.
Zachary Taylor: Yes, yes. You know what's kind of interesting, at least historically, is the "canon" of Higher Ed literature. If you've gone through a student affairs program, you kind of know what the canon is, which includes Chickering and Astin, Tinto, Pascarella, and Terenzini, those essentially all-white folks who wrote a lot of books on Higher Ed. What's really interesting to me is that a lot of that canon is, I wouldn't say intentionally dismissive, but ignorant of the experiences of students of color in the system. It is also disproportionately focused on the undergraduate student experience. You don't read much more about the community college perspective. And, as you mentioned, the graduate school perspective, with students earning Ph.Ds, J.Ds, M.Ds, those are the high earners, largely helping to stem the very persistent racial wealth gap in the US. More students of color need to pursue those graduate degrees, have positive experiences, and find mentors to become mentors to other people. So, Herlanda, if you were to say that you have a broadly spanning research agenda, what would you say is the most critical issue right now, and if you were going to write the book on it, what would you write about?
Dr. Herlanda Hampton: Diversifying faculty in Higher Education. It has been shown through research to be beneficial to all students to have diverse faculty, and we have to address that from a leadership perspective. We have to get the buy-in from leadership, administrators, down to department chairs and other faculty, not just faculty of color, to create a more inclusive environment for everyone. Environments where these faculty of color are, they feel welcome so that they can be retained, that's just what we have to do. The numbers are persisting. The gap is persisting. It has persisted for several years in my own research. I think that the last data pull was from 2017. So there's probably some more updated numbers, but I mean it's just a very serious issue. We just have lagging diversity, and it's just not getting better. And that lends itself to who's graduating with terminal degrees? Who's able to apply for these positions? How are these positions being written? Is there a diversity focus in those position announcements? Hiring committees? What are they doing? So there's such a layered approach to how this needs to be addressed, and I think that that's where we just really need to be looking.
Zachary Taylor: I agree. There are so many angles from which to attack it. Because, as you just mentioned, there's leadership involved, there's kind of the institutional bureaucracy involved. There's the search committee. There are the individual decisions of that search committee. There are so many aspects to it. And someone that I actually just recently reached out to was Dr. Damani White-Lewis. He's a professor at Penn, and he wrote a paper on the roles of the faculty search committee and how, in the research, really, he kind of found that so many of the decisions, even though you want to have a rubric of some kind, you want to do some box checking, you know, just the bureaucracy of the system requires you to have a PhD. There are minimum requirements, whatever the case is, but talking so much about how so subjective a lot of that criteria is. And with all that subjectivity, and you see who's on the hiring committee, then you're like, wow! There really is this "I'm going to hire myself" kind of mentality where that search committee doesn't diversify. And there are very strict parameters on what folks believe is valuable and not valuable research, and there's no wonder that non-diverse hiring units and search committees keep hiring non-diverse faculty members.
Dr. Herlanda Hampton: Because we need to first address our implicit biases. And as a scholarship provider, that's something that I'm really working towards for our own committees. And so any type of people grouping that you have as individuals, as we come together, we have those biases that play a role when we're trying to select an application or recipient of something, a job, a scholarship, or anything like that. And so as we're addressing that, we have to bring those things out, flush those things out, and realize how comfortable we are with seeing people who look like us in certain positions. People who are from our same city, or, you know, in our sphere of influence like that. Comfortability really does impact how you select those final candidates for a faculty position and anything else. And so we really have to address that bias and like, "Oh, I didn't know that I had this favoritism that comes up when I'm making these choices." And so it is difficult because we are like, "Oh, I'm not racist. I'm not, you know, trying to," but we do it, and we don't even realize it.
Zachary Taylor: Exactly. I remember very... This is not a great example, but I know Harvard had that website for a long time, was it the implicit bias test? You're kind of asked to make these rapid-fire type assessments of images on a screen, and it would eventually tell you what your implicit bias is, you know, your unconscious things and how you see the world. That's what's so... I think kind of troubling to me is that, you know, Gloria Ladson-Billings wrote this piece and the hook of it was, "What is CRT doing in a nice field like education?" Yeah, she was talking about why you would think education would be this haven of inclusivity, and education is about lifting other people up, and education really hasn't turned that lens on itself, kind of really critically thought, "How are we perpetuating some of the things that we're trying to teach out of other people?"
Dr. Herlanda Hampton: I think we have to address the history of education in this country, specifically higher education. We know that it was developed as they brought it over from Europe, and it wasn't very inclusive then. And that mindset has not been removed from the higher education infrastructure in this country. So when you think of an institution’s history, and how they were set up to not educate anyone outside of a very homogeneous group, then you realize, "Okay, we have some real things that we have to overcome before we can start looking like the things that we're teaching."
Zachary Taylor: Totally. And that's why, you know, that call... I think Ladson-Billings' piece must have come out in the '90s, you know. I think maybe there's a lot more visibility of critical race theory, and how it what it stands for, and how it can be applied to education context. But how little has changed, largely policy-wise and, like you said, faculty diversity-wise. And even, you know, probably in your everyday work, have you in your everyday work kind of made a specific choice.
Dr. Herlanda Hampton: To do that equity work, I mean, have you changed how things have been done? You want to really pay attention, right? You want to make sure that you're not, just for me as a scholarship provider, providing to just one group of students. It's about being equitable. These resources are very impactful and transformational, and you want to make sure that they're not only targeted to one specific group. And so, I was in a meeting yesterday about addressing some of the lower-income areas in the city of Anchorage. And then we go out into greater Alaska and look at the rural community and the indigenous communities, and we want to make sure that we're not overlooking them, the rural students and things like that. So equity is central to everything that I do as a scholarship provider, and I think about it often all the time.
Zachary Taylor: Yeah, which is, it takes that kind of intentionality. And, you know, I was working with someone at an HSI, a Hispanic serving institution, talking about getting their HSI designation, and about how in so many ways they earned the HSI designation because of population shift, not because of anything intentional. They weren't really serving Hispanic students specifically per se. What their population represented was that they were a Hispanic-enrolling institution. There's a discussion about intentionality there about how what does our curriculum and programming and support services and faculty and staff look like if we're truly Hispanic-serving. Going back to the drawing board entirely because they have then, that discussion of we have this new identity, whether it was earned or circumstantial we have. What does it mean to be serving? And is that... you know. Talk to me a little bit more, too, about, you know. If you're the administrator at an institution of higher education, how do you, at least in your own little bubble, your own institution, you know, maybe starting there. How do you start those discussions about critical race theory, about intersectionality? How do you? How would you go about making that first step?
Dr. Herlanda Hampton: That's a good question in today's climate. It's just so difficult. Because you see everything labeled as well. And it's really, really difficult, and I just try to start. I had a conversation with a colleague last week about the experiences of the intersection of race and gender in this country in particular, and it's just about starting from a historical perspective and just being real honest about what America is and where America came from. So if I ground that conversation in our history which I know we're fighting about that also. Unfortunately, I'm calling an indoctrination, I feel if we're able to agree on where we started from as a country. Again, I talked about where higher education started from. I feel like we can build out from there." And if we have some difficulties discussing our history, then we have additional issues. But if I could just start from the beginning of what America was when it was formed, then we can have impactful conversations. If you understand the three-fifth discussion when it comes to slaves and African people, then you realize the differential treatment from the beginning. And the 3/5 mindset has not, has not changed or transitioned much, though we've gone through several movements for quality. But we're still very much in America, who believes that people of African descent, or from the African diaspora have a three-fifth existence. So, we're fighting for equality even right now. We have to be really honest. If we're an institution of our higher education, we have to be able to at least agree from a historical perspective on what America is, and what institutions of higher education are, and where they came from. And that's where you just have to get everybody on the same page, and it it's the hope that you will be able to. But I just know we live in such a difficult climate to even talk about that, that we will have to work through that. But yeah, I just think you have to start from that perspective."
Zachary Taylor: That I completely agree, and you know not to make too much of a jag into the Covid space. But there was, so there was so much negative about Covid. Obviously people lost lives. People lost lingering illnesses, all that sort of stuff, I mean. It was awful outcomes for many people and disproportionately black folks and Hispanic folks not to mention, you know. And you think okay. If we had to find a silver lining in there somewhere, it for me would be...Now I, at least personally, I am more connected to some people virtually than ever been before. There's more of an acceptance of the bureaucracy of the higher LED system to accept that as legitimate connection...So colleges are holding online courses. No degrees are made online. So there is this acceptance of the system that we are going to allow for this virtual communication, and we are going to ratify it with degrees. You can earn a degree online. I think to myself, Well...for the humanistic work that you want to do...that I want to do...is connecting people to each other...It just hits different when You're having these discussions in a physical room with physical people where there is a type of...Yeah. But I don't get on a computer screen.
Dr. Herlanda Hampton: Exactly. I would love to have these conversations that we're having right now in person, it's a richer experience. Yes. But there's this... I guess we have to wrap it in the work we can do coming together will have and impact on the students we serve. If you really want to increase outcomes, create better outcomes, create better environments for everybody it’s about the numbers. So let's just go to like graduation rates and retention rates and all of that stuff, especially if you're in a funding model that's based on those things right if we want to increase those numbers and make them look more positive then we need to get together to have these discussions and connect as people.
Zachary Taylor: So I think, higher ed really did academically capitalize on the pandemic by now. This explosion of online curriculum for better or some students need it both for disabilities have more access to never. I'm all about that. All away from physicality. and I think part of what makes this time so difficult now is we're very divided and we cannot agree on our own history, facts and things that have actually happened together and talk about it on a message board, or it's on an Instagram comment. And that is how we're communicating. We're not doing the in person discussion in real time with reactions, and you know, Look at our politicians, we everyone shouting each other down and trying to compete for air time and microphone. I mean Herlanda, thinking about all those hurdles. I mean. you know, saying, you know, starting from understanding history kind of where we've come. How would you incentivize that in person interaction? How do you get people quite frankly that look like you look like me in the same room together like, how do we? How do we do that?"
Dr. Herlanda Hampton: Because that's where we're truly going to be able to do the work. We can think pre-Covid, if we could think 5 years ago, when we were convening and we had discussions, we need to get back to that. Some of the time, of course, being able to connect like you and I are today is perfect because I can't come to Mississippi where you are right now. So, having this conversation is wonderful, but this is the beginning of something that could be greater, right? So, as I said, if we say the work that we're doing is going to further benefit students, and these are the things that people want to hear, the buzzwords that people want to hear, the numbers, the outcomes can be better. Then, I think people are more inclined to say, "Okay, I'll sign up for that meeting. I'll go to that conference," because I do want to show up in person. That's when you'll really get those people who are interested in creating spaces and better outcomes for students, which will in turn create better environments for faculty, staff, and other stakeholders.
Zachary Taylor: Absolutely, absolutely. Speaking the language of the system, in some ways, and saying, "Okay," and you know that there is a kind of equality, equity argument here, saying, "Okay, if we're adopting policies and practices that are good for all students, and we're trying to lift up everyone who is not necessarily doing the equity work with understanding who doesn't have equitable resources, or who started behind someone else, and how can we catch them up and scaffold them further?" But that really, like you said, goes back to that intentionality piece of being intentional with that argument to institutional leaders and people who have their finger on the button, who are numbers and saying, "Hey, there are disproportionate numbers of students in this group who are not persisting, or they're leaving, or they're going someplace else, or they're leaving higher education entirely." Asking them, "Don't you want them?" And you know that there is a kind of equality, equity, argument here, saying, okay, if we're adopting policies and practices that are good for all students. And we're trying to lift up everyone who is not necessarily doing the equity work with understanding. Who doesn't have equitable resources, or who started behind someone else, and how can we catch them up and scaffold them further? But that really that, like you said back to that intentionality piece of being intentional with that argument to institutional. You know, leaders and people who have their finger on the button, who are numbers and saying, hey! There are disproportionate numbers of students in this group who are not persisting, or they're leaving, or they're going someplace else, or they're leaving hired entirely. Don't you want those students? You know, and really to force an answer for them to say, Well, no, not those types. I don't know if anyone would say that I'm sure some would, pushing those leaders to break it down in ways that really address those equity gaps and asking that blunt question. Don't you want them? Don't you want them? Don't you want them? And you know I was just I'm a huge sports fan. I'm watching the NBA playoffs, and I'm. NFL. Draft is coming up, you know, and and you think about how important Jackie Robinson was and how important Jesse Owens was, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee. And so, you know, having not only Don't, you want those students, but don't they deserve to have role models, you know, don't they something something as human, as basic as that is asking some folks who have you modeled your career after? Have you looked up to? And how often do they look like you? Exactly. And don't students also deserve some to look up to that. They see themselves in. And that's a discussion that I have never had in a Higher ED space. I have never been in a room that's had that discussion. Right? It says, open about that, saying. Don't, we want them and don't. We want those kids to have role models. They see themselves in. Yeah. And it's even for students, and it's even for young faculty, mentoring it.
Dr. Herlanda Hampton: you know, just as a full, you know. Picture. So it's just a lot of work. It's a lot of working, and like it. They just have to buy into it. And so it's about how do we get in the rooms and have those conversations?
Zachary Taylor: Yeah, yeah. And I, you know, thinking about if diversifying the faculty is the goal. How other arguments can be made for that being the goal to achieve a very kind of academic capitalist goal of more enrollment, more profit. Adjuncting of faculty, I mean, that's another whole discussion we could have, but that has slowly chipped away at the academic freedom of minorities faculty members. You know the kind of groundbreaking work that some of those folks do. And I think about the cultural taxation piece. One thing, actually, that I was very hesitant to do because in my graduate program, in my Dissertation committee, it was 3 people of color and one white woman, and my advisor was a black man. I always kind of felt a little bit guilty and a certain way about asking him for something because I didn't want to be a bother, and I kind of didn't have the words to describe it at the time. That wasn't educated enough to describe it. It was a cultural taxation. It's a service piece right for black faculty members or faculty members of color.
Dr. Herlanda Hampton: And it's the mothering piece for me in my research that comes up for black female faculty members. I'm mothering students and colleagues. And there's nothing left for me. Because I'm doing all of these things I'm spent. You know my self-care is at an all-time low, and what else came up in my research is racial battle fatigue, for that is a result of cultural taxation. Because I'm being tasked with so many things in addition to trying to stay up with what's expected of me, and dealing with challenging environments and challenging work. And I am just burned out and racial battle fatigue is very similar to combat battle fatigue for veterans, and we know how serious that is. PTSD, anxiety, depression, I'm on the mental health side, and then the physical health, you know hypertension and everything else can deteriorate. So yeah, it's very important to just be aware. And like you say you didn't want to ask your Major Advisor, because you already know. And then, if we could just continue to push that to the forefront of what these faculty are being tasked with, and what's being placed on them hopefully, we can create, you know, a shift. These people are loaded down, you know. Another thing is a diversity unicorn. We've hired one, and we're going to put them everywhere. Put them on every task force, every piece of literature to display diversity. Ask them for comment about every issue that comes up that is racially charged or anything that's tied to race. And I mean again, that's in addition to, and you know, once you look at that, you're like, oh, my God, that's a lot. And we want more people to understand that that's the reality of these black folks on campuses oftentimes especially PWIs because it's just not enough. There's no plurality. So this person is tasked with so much.
Zachary Taylor: So you got me a little interested now. So you talked a little bit about the research you did and this idea of mothering, and it's kind of that intersectionality discussion where you know it can be a person of color in a position of power. But also there's the you know, the racial aspect, the gendered aspect. Their ages rolled into their ability, disability, identification, as well into there. What were some of the things that your research found that you know you really think are kind of actionable. What can we, what can folks do as a result of what you learned?
Dr. Herlanda Hampton: Yeah. That's a hard one, I think. I think about one of my participants who just said everybody always came to her for everything. Right so. And this is just speaking of like colleagues in, you know, leadership. They would always just come to her naturally like, and they have all these issues, and she's like, "Well, I have my own issues, and I don't know how to. I don't know the solution," because it just happens so much, and then not even in just a higher education space. But black women are often tasked with that. And I in America you can think about mammy right? And so like when we were tasked with raising everybody's kids, their own children, you know, being sacrificed as a result of this position. You know, from domestic workers to you know, maids, and it almost just feels like, you know, just moving that forward, and it's still just very much showing up because of the nature of what black women bring, and how we're able to take on all of these things while caring for others. And the dark side of that we don't care for ourselves if we're not very again attention or mindful. But yeah, how do we stop that? I just. I honestly don't know, because I feel like I've seen it pop up in so many different arenas. Ultimately the black woman needs to speak up for herself and say, "I can't do these things. I'm busy," and I know with no, with nothing else. You can do a no, but somebody else might be able to address the issue. I've had to do this myself. I mean, as recently, you know, as today. But these women have to draw boundaries and not allow people to cross them, but they're concerned with what's the blowback of you know, creating the boundary. If they say no to the department chair, then, like what? How? That can show up down the line right? Yeah, it's a difficult exchange.
Zachary Taylor: Well, what do you think about cluster hiring and bringing on a group together as a cohort? Did you research that?
Dr. Herlanda Hampton: It creates camaraderie and is different from showing up singularly. I think there are benefits to that, and I went through the same thing last year when I was hired with two other people at the foundation. We formed a cohort, and it has been very supportive.
Zachary Taylor: Yeah, and you mentioned earlier the connecting lines between racial battle fatigue and battle fatigue veterans. When you go through the military, you join in a cohort. I also remember back to my teaching days and being hired in a cohort. It was a nice touch point, and my emergency contact became some of those folks in that cohort.
Dr. Herlanda Hampton: I think that's an awesome idea, and there are benefits. While I'm going through a thing as a new person, it gives me an opportunity to share my frustration and put our heads together to figure out how we can get mentors and leadership to listen to us.
Zachary Taylor: Right. And especially when you're going to live someplace different. You talked a little bit about some of the research that you gleaned from AERA and some of the perspectives of being a black woman elsewhere. What did you see at AERA, and what did that get you thinking of?
Dr. Herlanda Hampton: Yeah, on a global perspective in a country like the Netherlands, who does not or really makes an effort to not recognize Black Dutch citizens. And what was brought on in the research by my co-presenters was that there is a generational requirement before you're able to call yourself a Black Dutch citizen. They want to know where your parents are from, and where your grandparents from for them to be able to be fully accepted in that country, or recognized which is really interesting. And then, when you go further into how this is represented in a higher education space, these women experience additional difficulties as a result of identity and relatability, and that type of thing. So the Dutch is a very interesting place because they have some traditions that are problematic, like black-facing these characters that they have around the holidays and things like that, so really did open my mind to wow. You know, this global experience can be very, very intense outside of the United States.
Zachary Taylor: And that's fascinating. And it gets me thinking about again, more of that intersectionality discussion of okay. Now you add immigrant to the intersection of being a black woman, and also linguistic diversity, you know. I'm sure they're speaking Dutch or what they were speaking there, Swedish, or whatever the cases it's in. That's an interesting thing to think about. You kind of transpose that on kind of a US context. And you know, at least the folks of color I've spoken with and trying to learn as much of their stories is that if you have been a person of color and have lived in America multi-generation, and there's kind of that historical oppression that your family has faced, that it's just you. There is a different kind of angst and distrust of the system. That's what's interesting to me is the United States does in some ways pride itself on. We have so many immigrants who want to come here, and people want to come here and have a better life, and America has to be wonderful. Blah blah blah! It's like, ask as some of those immigrant folks what their experiences actually were. If it actually was this transcendent experience, it's not the case all the time. And to those folks of color who have lived those intergenerational lives in the US historical antecedents, saying, hey, two generations ago, my mother couldn't drive a car, couldn't vote, you know we're not that far removed from some really crazy oppression. So, you know, in your kind of reading of that, and listening to that literature, are there a couple of lessons that I think the US could learn, or at least us higher ED can learn from that international perspective? I mean, how could higher ed change to maybe capture and be more supportive of those experiences?
Dr. Herlanda Hampton: Yeah. for me. It starts with just how different the experience is for immigrants who come into this country versus black folks who've been here for generations. It's just a different experience, particularly when we look at immigrants coming from African countries right? Because we're African American. That's how we're often identified in this country. However, Africans in our experience are very different. When they come to America, they have just a different experience altogether. They come here and you just see a number of them excel and just doing a number of things that black folks are doing who have been here for generations, and from a higher ed perspective we have to be mindful of that. It's not the same, right? So when you see a kid from Nigeria coming into your Higher Education Institution, who's been a valedictorian or whatever he's overcome, let's not set expectations around everyone who looks like him. We have to be mindful that students coming from lower-income marginalized communities in Mississippi are not going to show up on campuses in the same way as some of these students from African countries are showing up. It's just not the same experience. That generational existence here in America, particularly in the South is one of note that we, the Higher Education administrators, staff and faculty, have to be aware of, and that's where support programs and systems have to be put in place. Well, you know, I have someone so in my class, you know, if You're in a department of meeting, and you know they're asking all of you know. But I can't get Tim or John to do anything. It's a different experience. And so we can't just set expectations again. Those biases just based on one thing, and it's the reverse is true. So when you have immigrants of color coming on campus, we can't expect for them to perform, and present the same way as those kids who are non-immigrants. And again it just goes back to mindfulness and intentionality. We have, I mean, we, we have to say, the quiet parts out loud, and for me it's just. We have to acknowledge those differential experiences. And we just yeah, we just can't group it all together and say it's all the same, student. They all happen. I agree. I cannot imagine what it would be like to have a parent, or a grandparent, or even a great grandparent that would have literally not been allowed to step foot on campus. And now you're supposed to feel a sense of belonging on that campus, you know, and having, like family members, have been excluded. And then how skeptical I'd imagine students would be feeling like. Well, I'm in this capitalist America I've got to get a degree. This is what I'm supposed to do. And then you get there. And all of a sudden it's a bunch of institutionality and systems and bureaucracy that was so exclusive of your family folks that might have looked like you were. I would just... you know the confusion that you would experience too, exactly in comparison to the immigrant who has the American dream mentality. I am here because I'm in America and this education will allow me to access that American capitalistic system. I can benefit from it, and that's why my parents brought me here, because they are wanting to ensure that I get this American education so that I can better myself, right? So this American dream betterment. All these things are different from the local student who's been, whose families who have been excluded, and they know very well the stories of these campuses that have not allowed their family members ancestors to even come, you know, be out of the in the dark right? Some downtowns. Right? So, you know, it's a very different experience. It just is when you're wrapped up in the Hope and the dream of what this institution can provide versus okay. I'm trying to over overcome all the generations before me, not being able to be admitted. So it's. It's a it's a very different experience.
Zachary Taylor: This is very Langston Hughesy dream deferred. We're going down the Dream deferred pathway. I have thought about that poem for some reason. A couple of times. I think the idea of dreams have come up, which is very serendipitous, but it's like that for that family net to never, even not even have the dream deferred to have it completely taken away. No dream. Yes, and then the dream itself is not really a dream anymore, because let's say you do have a family member access an institution? Let's say it's a PWI, and they, you know, they have broken through. They have overcome all the hurdles. That's not a dream-like experience, you know. I'm sure it's incredibly uncomfortable. Yeah, it's not even dreamed before it's like nightmare deferred it's it also speaks to. I mean, I would. This is not a secret that international students, when they enroll in US higher ED, and if they are immigrants and a student visa that they're going to pay a ton of money to go here. I mean, it's something like 4 or 5 times in cases undergraduate or undergraduate tuition rates. You know, there is a yeah inherent return on investment that I believe institutions see in international students that if we fund that student just enough, they'll continue to pay, and we will capitalize on that investment. And it's very sad that institutions just do not see that in many cases of students of color or low-income students, or first gen students because they're not seen as having a return on the investment institutions. Don't see them as profitable. Which is very, very, very dark. So it is. But it did tie back, though, to your an earlier discussion about diversifying the faculty because that idea of having a role model you see yourself in can really, really, really turn the tides and help out. So from your research, then, in terms of intentionality, what do you suggest institutions do then to...I mean, is it auditing faculty search committees to make sure there's diversity? There is it, like we talked about earlier, cluster hires or cohort-based hires, is it? I'm thinking about something else like should junior faculty of color have reduced teaching loads for 3 years or reduce something to allow for acclamation to a system that has excluded them. I mean, what? What are some of your implications, and what do you kind of...you know? If you were President Hampton of an institution, what would you do to help diversify that faculty and place more weight and more value on students of color at your school.
Dr. Herlanda Hampton: Yeah. Start with the job posting, highlight that this is what we're doing, right. Then pay very close attention to who those selection committees are. If you're a senior leader, you have to get around campus and say, okay, I have to do an inventory of what are open positions, and what do our departments look like? You have to be in communication with these department chairs and these search committees to make sure that what I want to happen, which is centered on diversity and equity, we have to make sure that we're following through because the message is lost in transmission. I'm still seeing, you know, just got to pull the data on what's been happening, and I have to be really close and in touch with those search committees, and what's going on. We have to talk about setting up those mentoring opportunities and really following up and seeing that implementation through. Again, intentional on these things, we need to create support systems, not only for our faculty, who are new, and look at things like cluster hiring that could be beneficial, but also creating the support, making sure we have support systems in place for all of our students, with a really specific focus for our students of color, because support systems can make a difference. And that's why I love community colleges because they have some great support systems for students to be successful if their parents, if they are homeless, if they need food, those types of things. So we have to make sure that we have that in place for the outcomes to be what we want them to be. But if we're just saying, okay, I'm about diversity. You're not doing the follow-up work. It's not gonna happen. You have to make that job posting attractive. You have to go outside of your comfort zone. You have to recruit from HBCUs and other Hispanic-serving institutions in those places that will get you equity when it comes to faculty. You cannot look past those. And so for me, it's about having, like a 5 or 6 point plan of things that we need to do to really address the gap. know the numbers, know what's going on. Be familiar with departments, be familiar with the need, and how we're representing ourselves as people look for employment, because it's not that people aren't graduating. That's one of the lines, we don't have any graduates of color with terminal degrees to choose from. It's not true. You're just not hiring them.
Zachary Taylor: Like last conversation I had with somebody, they talked about the moral obligation of higher education to students. Essentially we talked about if you are going to admit X student, you have to know exactly what is down the road. That discussion doesn't really manifest itself too often with faculty because we talk a lot about faculty hiring, but faculty retention and faculty research apprenticeships and teaching training a lot of folks. This is no pedagogical training you show up unless it shows up in your pro-graduate program. You're just hey? I'm here. And you know a lot of times in the hiring process, you do have to present a lesson and things like that. But there's no pedagogy in a lot of these times. I mean, you just kind of okay. I'm going to be a faculty member. Sometimes you just kind of fall into it, you know. So we do need some of that definitely. Like the high school teachers go through development in the summer like we need to address those things so that contributes to success and in positive outcomes. But we're just so used to doing a thing a certain way. And I guess why it's important to have these conversations. But if we're going to shift anything, we have to do so do it differently. Because there, there's not the moral obligation to the faculty that not only are we going to make an in like you said an intentional decision to hire this person, hire them. We are morally obligated to support them. Why wouldn't you? I mean getting your point about the about the numbers? It's like students who leave the institution that does not look good for retention. Rates of faculty and staff color to it does not look good either.
Dr. Herlanda Hampton: Why are you always hiring for the same department? Why do you already have so many open positions? When I see that at universities, I'm alarmed. Like I was looking around, and I saw that Stanford had like several positions open across their campus, and I'm like, what's happening at Stanford? So yeah, why do you have so many? Why is nobody staying? It's telling. Obviously, everybody's not retiring, you know.
Zachary Taylor: So you know you have to be. I and I think people are so comfortable, and it's just not. It's not. It's explicitly being shown that these things that we've done of yesterday are not benefiting, and that moral obligation to our students is just not being here too. So future-wise, what is in your short-term future? I mean, what kind of things do you want to work on in the short-term next couple of years? That's kind of on your to-do list of it could be equity work when it comes to, since I'm in the scholarship provider role now.
Dr. Herlanda Hampton: Equitable awarding and monitoring student outcomes for a scholarship provider, because a lot of times we are giving a check, and we don't know what's happening. For me, it's about knowing what's happening. It's about as we talk about mentorship. It's about creating mentors and cohorts of students as they go off to campuses because that's the difference maker. Again, a support system, a support program making sure, continuing to focus on equitable scholarship providing. That's a big deal for me, and I've put in a proposal to present a presentation on reaching rural students, because when you say, rural in Alaska versus rural in Mississippi or Arkansas, where I'm from, it's completely different. There is a cultural piece to that and physically you can't even reach them. They're off the road system. How do you overcome that? To make sure that you are providing an equable experience for students to be able to access your resources. And so for me immediately, right now, it's just about equity and scholarship providing and making sure that we are supporting students through matriculation of a program, whatever that is. Because I can't provide a scholarship for you one year, and then you're out. That's not good for me. And again it just goes back to the numbers for me so immediately. Right now, that's what I'm looking at. I also would just love to get back to a community college campus. I just think it's such an interesting group of students and the non-traditional student who needs different types of support. And so that's where my immediate interest lie.
Zachary Taylor: So how about Dr. Hampton in 2035 something like that? What's the long view?
Dr. Herlanda Hampton: Creating a business or create an organization where I do scholarship providing and access management for students, and having them come in? And there are a number of different organizations that do this. But I would love to provide my own scholarship. I would love to create a cohort of students and scholars who I see all the way through, and I make sure that that's done. I'm in a prime position here to create that at the Alaska community foundation. But it's nothing like being able to be where things start and stop, so that I could do this important work from a leadership perspective, and ensure equity is happening from my own experience. And so, I would love to see that happen down the road at 10 to 12 years.
Zachary Taylor: That's a very altruistic, selfless goal. You know the very first thing, the very first word you said was creating. It was creating something for someone who's not yourself, you know, which is always really admirable. What we need to do now is get this interview transcript in front of Bill Gates or Jay Z, or somebody to say, "Surely you have an extra 10 to 15 million laying around? Oh, surely you do that, that you could endow this in some way that would yield a few $100,000." Can you imagine the impact that that would make if that was if you were doing that intentional very equity focused work? I mean, that would be so transcendent for so many people's lives.
Dr. Herlanda Hampton: My cousin received one the Gates Scholarships in 2016. That was a transformational opportunity. It was funding into grad school. I don't know why I stopped it, but I know you still have some millions laying around when this can happen. So I'm not sure why that was ended. But yeah, I'm all about transformational. I'm open to new, very transformational scholarship this year at the foundation, 25,000 up to 125,000 for undergraduate studies. That is crazy. And so these kids have are in prime position to do the things that they want to do without having to be concerned with the financial burden of student loan debt. Yeah. And so that's what I want to be able to do. Let me get some Gates money on board and create a situation for students who need access. Let me go into these communities and support these students and change their lives and the lives of their families, and the lives of kids and partners and all of it for the future. I mean, that's the ultimate thing and the ultimate work. I am very focused on it have been for a number of years.
Zachary Taylor: Is there anything else you want to add? Is there anything you didn't quite get to talk about?
Dr. Herlanda Hampton: No. I think all of this ties in together, while I'm a scholarship provider. I think the diversification of faculty and higher education is important for these students whom I'm trying to finance, to go to school to see people who look like them in leadership roles, faculty and staff positions. That will make all the difference in their ultimate goals and being able to achieve those goals.