A Seat at the Table: Strategic Engagement in Service Activities for Early-Career Faculty From Underrepresented Groups in the Academy.
Published Web Locationhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30649021
Many academic institutions strive to promote more diverse and inclusive campuses for faculty, staff, and students. As part of this effort, these institutions seek to include individuals from historically underrepresented groups (URGs)-such as women, people from racial/ethnic minority populations, persons with disabilities-on committees and in other service activities. However, given the low number of faculty members from URGs at many institutions, these faculty members tend to receive more requests to provide service to the institution or department (e.g., serving on committees, mentoring) than their counterparts from majority groups. Faculty members from URGs, especially early-career faculty, thus risk becoming overburdened with providing service at the expense of working on other scholarly activities required for promotion and tenure (i.e., conducting research, publishing). Although many scholars and others have written about this "minority tax" and its implications for early-career faculty from underrepresented racial/ethnic minority groups, fewer have published about how this tax extends beyond racial/ethnic minorities to women and persons with disabilities. Further, the literature provides scant practical advice on how to avoid overburdening early-career faculty from URGs. Here, a group of multidisciplinary early- and mid-career faculty members from URGs seek to provide their peers from URGs with practical strategies for both evaluating the appropriateness of service requests and declining those that are not a good fit. The authors also provide institutional leaders with actionable recommendations to prevent early-career faculty from URGs from becoming overburdened with service.