Menlo College Professor Hosts Workshop on Women of Color in Political Science

Political science professors and graduate students who are women of color will gather next week in San Francisco for an all-day workshop of networking and training aimed to diversify the profession.

Most political science professors are white men, and many women of color scholars drop out of graduate school or the academy, perpetuating the lack of diversity and inclusion in the discipline. Seeking to help reverse those trends and make women of color feel more welcome and be more successful, two political science professors are organizing an all-day workshop in San Francisco, to be held on Wednesday, August 30, 2017.

Over 80 women are expected to attend the event, which will include three plenary speakers and a series of breakout workshops on topics ranging from finding a mentor and navigating the job market, to life after having tenure denied and negotiating administrative demands post-tenure.

The event will take place at the Women’s Building in San Francisco. Conference organizers include Menlo College Political Scientist Dr. Melissa R. Michelson, and California Lutheran University Dean of Arts and Sciences Dr. Jessica Lavariega Monforti.

“This workshop is necessary given continued disparities in representation in political science, and persistent barriers to the success of women of color,” Michelson said. “The workshop will cultivate the growing mentoring network of women of color in the discipline. We will share stories about and strategies for mitigating challenges faced by women of color at every stage of their careers, from graduate students to administrators.”

The profession remains overwhelmingly male and Anglo despite the increasing diversity of the general U.S. population and higher education student population. The problem does not begin at the untenured faculty level; women of color drop out of the profession much earlier in their professional careers, as documented by Lavariega Monforti and Michelson in their published work.

“Research demonstrates that women of color face barriers such as lack of mentorship, financial resources, and significant familial responsibilities in their pursuit of higher education and subsequent careers in political science, which is one of the most male and Anglo dominated fields of study in the social sciences,” said Michelson.

Workshop leaders include Dr. Michelson and Menlo College Provost Dr. Terri Givens. Plenary speakers are Dr. Lavariega Monforti, Dr. Valerie Martinez, University of North Texas; and Dr. Valeria Sinclair-Chapman, Purdue University.

The workshop is funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and the American Political Science Association, as well as by donations from the Scholars Strategy Network; the Office of the Dean of Social Science in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University; Politics, Groups, and Identities journal; California Lutheran University; and Menlo College.

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