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Abstract

In today's globalized market, students emerging from the university must be prepared to embrace difference and engage with diversity across a wide range of interactions. Primarily homogenous universities are ill-equipped to instill in their students the necessary acceptance and critical understanding they will need in the ever changing, multicultural world. Minority faculty members play key roles in transforming majority institutions into more diverse learning communities thereby reshaping the makeup and climate of the institution. However, these minority faculty members face challenges beyond those normally encountered by all new faculty members as they try to acclimate into the higher education arena. These challenges range from a lack of meaningful mentorship and the internalization of negative perceptions to outright isolation and discrimination.

Northern Kentucky University's "New Faculty Collaborative" explores these challenges and confronts them in novel ways to foster a welcoming and collegial atmosphere that can assist in the recruitment and retention of minority faculty. In this paper, we share strategies for mentoring, supporting, and building a sense of community within a department. We suggest how to create a safe space and collaborative environment that stands in counterpoint to the traditional more individualistic and hierarchical model, helping new faculty of color to overcome the obstacles that they all too often face. All new faculty members must negotiate a new institutional culture but the incorporation of the support strategies described in this paper make our program unique as a learning community that includes everyone.

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