Despite decades of faculty diversification efforts among institutions of higher education, many colleges and universities still struggle to achieve and maintain adequate representation of faculty of color. The years from 2000 to 2018 have brought forward many higher education diversification initiatives focused specifically on improving job satisfaction and lowering stress levels among the under-represented minority (URM) faculty population as a means to increase their retention. Although research on URM faculty retention has repeatedly revealed disproportionate service work between URM and non-URM faculty, I aimed to examine the extent to which service work varies according to faculty race, as well as the connection between this service work and retention-related outcomes.
Utilizing data from the Faculty Survey of the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI), I first sought to reveal racial disparities in faculty service work through descriptive analysis specifically related to mentoring, advising, committee work, and community service. After operationalizing faculty service work through factor analysis, I performed a series of regression analyses to determine any possible connection between service and career outcomes, including job satisfaction, career-related stress, and career intentions, controlling for demographics, institutional factors, and other experiences related to teaching and research.
Several important findings were revealed through this study. First, URM faculty did report spending more time than non-URM faculty on service-related work such as advising, committee representation, and community service. Further, within the sample of full-time faculty used for this study, an increase in service work was shown to relate to increased career-related stress, lower job satisfaction, and higher intention to leave an academic position and/or institution. Both mentoring and salary showed to be significant covariates, mitigating impacts on career-related stress and job satisfaction. Further analysis should be conducted to determine whether the relationship between service and retention-related outcomes can be extended to the URM faculty population at large.
Ultimately, these findings demonstrate a need for institutions to better monitor and assess the service workload being performed by faculty, particularly by faculty of color. Findings further serve as an impetus for leaders in higher education to consider service work as a possible hindrance to the wellbeing of URM faculty.