Bias, an automatic—usually unconscious and unintentional—inclination, preference, or favoring of an individual or group over another, is an inherent aspect of an individual’s academic leadership and decision-making processes. Bias alone is not a detriment to building an inclusive and supportive environment for faculty. However, oftentimes an academic unit leader’s biases result in the justification, rationalization, and facilitation of exclusionary processes and practices toward faculty, particularly those from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. This article discusses the impact of bias, specifically implicit bias, on academic leadership. Moreover, the impact of a leader’s biases toward diversity attributes (e.g., gender, sexual orientation/affinity, age, ethnicity, race) of faculty are highlighted. Specifically, key areas of academic leadership are explored: faculty recruitment (hiring), retention (evaluation), and advancement (promotion and tenure). Recommendations, promising practices, and strategies for minimizing the impact of implicit bias are provided.
The authors are with the School of Kinesiology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL.
Falkoff, M. (2018, April). Why we must stop relying on student rating of teaching. Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from https://www.chronicle.com/article/Why-We-Must-Stop-Relying-on/243213)| false
Lilienfeld, E. (2016, June). How student evaluations are skewed against women and minority professors. The Century Foundation. Retrieved from https://tcf.org/content/commentary/student-evaluations-skewed-women-minority-professors/?agreed=1)| false
Payne, K., & Vuletich, H. (2018). Policy insights from advances in implicit bias research. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences,5,49–56. doi:10.1177/237273221774619010.1177/2372732217746190)| false
Rollock, N. (2012). Unspoken rules of engagement: Navigating racial microaggressions in the academic terrain. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education,25,517–532. doi:10.1080/09518398.2010.543433
Rollock, N. (2012). Unspoken rules of engagement: Navigating racial microaggressions in the academic terrain. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education,25,517–532. doi:10.1080/09518398.2010.54343310.1080/09518398.2010.543433)| false
University of Iowa Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. (2017). Faculty search committee practices to advance equity. Retrieved from https://provost.uiowa.edu/sites/provost.uiowa.edu/files/wysiwyg_uploads/Search%20Committee%20Practices%20to%20Advance%20Equity.pdf)| false
Williams, D. (2007, March–April). Achieving inclusive excellence: Strategies for creating real and sustainable change in quality and diversity. About Campus,12(1), 8–14. doi:10.1002/abc.19810.1002/abc.198)| false
Williams, D.A., Berger, J.B., & McClendon, S.A. (2005). Toward a model of inclusive excellence and change in postsecondary institutions. Association of American Colleges and Universities. Retrieved from https://www.aacu.org/sites/default/files/files/mei/williams_et_al.pdf)| false