As a black female faculty member, Dr. Stevenson of Westminster College became interested in how the experiences of faculty members with similar identities differed from their counterparts in the faculty. Dr. Stevenson has studied the pathways and support systems - how faculty members enter and why so many underrepresented minorities exit earlier than their counterparts - of faculty like herself. Because, when she looked at the two- and four-year institutions she worked at:
"There just weren't many of me."
As a member of our Diversity Scholars Network, Dr. Stevenson participated as one of the co-authors of "Transforming Understandings of Diversity in Higher Education", a collaboration by the members of our Network to understand how we've used "diversity" in higher education and how "diversity" continues to impact the structure and impact of higher education. Dr. Stevenson contributed the chapter "Racialized and Gendered Experiences of African American Female Faculty at Public Community Colleges", which explores the experience of female faculty as part of a larger study on how black faculty members at community colleges experience racialized and gendered experiences that are fundamentally different from their counterparts.
Dr. Stevenson is one of the many members of our Diversity Scholars Network seeking to give a voice to the "marginalized and neglected", while exploring how representation in society and the academy can be made more meaningful through research that focuses on diversity-related topics. Her perspective as a black female faculty member at a community college - one of the sectors of higher education that has most struggled to diversify the faculty - and her experience at four-year institutions has allowed her to challenge the common narratives on the experience of faculty at community colleges and construct a narrative on black female faculty that's personal and powerful.
Assistant Professor, Westminster College
Emerging Diversity Scholar in the Social Sciences
Education/Degree: Ph.D., Eastern Michigan University
Tamara N. Stevenson, Ed.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Communication at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her scholarly interests focus on the intersecting roles of race, gender, and class impacting participation in higher education, issues of access and marginalization relating to faculty and curricular diversity, and the role and function of communication in the teaching and learning process in both two- and four-year college contexts. Her theoretical approaches to examine these issues include critical race theory, campus (racial) climate, and Racial Battle Fatigue. Her dissertation research examined how African American faculty members contend with racism, discrimination, and an anti-Black sentiment in community colleges. Her professional background included more than 10 years in print and broadcast journalism and corporate communication in automotive, health care, and both K-12 and postsecondary educational settings.
Communication and Media Studies