Navigating a Professional Minefield: Service Workload, Identity Taxation, and Department Culture

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K. Michael Rowley Kinesiology Department, California State University, East Bay, Hayward, CA, USA
Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

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M.P. Jenny O Kinesiology Department, California State University, East Bay, Hayward, CA, USA

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E. Missy Wright Kinesiology Department, California State University, East Bay, Hayward, CA, USA

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Faculty with personal and professional identities that are marginalized in higher education experience identity taxation, which is the experience of greater physical, mental, emotional, or psychological labor beyond what is experienced by faculty members with dominant-group identities. Inequities in service work contribute substantially to this taxation. Here, we describe persistent inequities in service work in academia, the impacts and consequences of those inequities, and strategies from the literature and our own experiences to make service work more equitable. We then detail two case examples for how we implemented some of these strategies in our kinesiology department, including (a) adopting an equity-based model of service work for required department and college service committees and (b) applying an equity lens to a faculty search committee. Finally, we reflect on our successes and areas for improvement.

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