Friday, January 18, 2008

A Black Millennial Professor

Last semester was my first semester at a mid-sized institution in the South. One interesting aspect of the initial semester of my first tenure track position. The most important part of this new journey in my life is the fact that I am one of the only African American female faculty member on my campus (that I have seen thus far). I have met a few African American males, but most of them are either in athletics or are on a satellite campus thirty minutes away.

Despite the fact that I rarely have an African American student in class, I have enjoyed this first semester. Most of the students are from rural communities and consequently they have not experienced any level of diversity. At first, I felt a large amount of pressure to focus on the material and to minimize the fusion of my ethnic background. However, towards the end of last semester, I realized that the students were genuinely interested in my background and wanted to get to know me as a person.

As a millennial, I have to continually display a virtual wall between the students and myself. I am only zero to five years older than they are, but I want to ensure that the students respect me as a professor.

The story of my life. Aside from research, I have to focus on the fact that I am one of the only African American faculty on campus and that I am a 25 year old tenure track professor.

The saga continues...

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