Building Mentorship Networks to Support Black Women
A Guide to Succeeding in the Academy
This new book in the Diverse Faculty in the Academy series pulls back the curtain on what Black women have done to mentor each other in higher education, provides advice for navigating unwelcoming campus environments, and explores avenues for institutions to support and foster minoritized women’s success in the academy.
Chapter authors present critical approaches to advance equity and to achieve trust and transparency in the academy. Drawing on examples of mentoring between Black women students, faculty, and administrators in and outside of the academy from diverse institutional contexts, exploring the use of digital technologies, and framed by theoretical concepts from a range of disciplines, this important volume provides insights on mentoring that can be employed across all of higher education to support the success of Black women faculty.
Full of actionable steps that institutional leaders can take to support the network of mentors it takes to be successful in the academy, this book is a must read for department and university leaders, faculty, and graduate students in Higher Education interested in supporting and fostering mentoring for those most vulnerable in the academic pathway for success.
Table of Contents
Diverse Faculty in the Academy: Series Editors Letter
Fred A. Bonner II
Kimberly A. Griffin, Ph.D., Professor of Student Affairs, University of Maryland
SECTION I. Mentoring Across Rank: Possibility Model Network
Chapter 1. Still Retaining Each Other: Sustained Mentoring
Bridget Turner Kelly and Sharon Fries-Britt
Chapter 2. A Critical Duoethnographic Account of Two Black Women Faculty Using Co-mentoring to Traverse Academic Life
Tonisha B. Lane and Deidre Cobb-Roberts
Chapter 3. Engaging in (De)liberate Dialogue: An Endarkened Feminist Trio-ethnography among Black Teacher Educators
Erica D. McCray, Tianna Dowie-Chin, and Alexandria Harvey
Chapter 4. On Seeing Academics who are Black and Woman: Understanding the Ontological We
Lisa L. Merriweather and Cathy D. Howell
SECTION II. Peer Mentoring Network: Standing in the Gap
Chapter 5. Solidifying our ‘Scholarhood’: Growing (up) Together as Black Women in the Academy
Christa Porter, Tiffany J. Davis, and Ginny Jones Boss
Chapter 6. Contemporary Digital Mentoring Relationships and Community Building among Black Women Academics: "We All We Got"
Tykeia Robinson, Felecia Commodore, and Jennifer M. Johnson
Chapter 7. How #CiteASista Leveraged Online Platforms to Center Black Womxn
Brittany Williams and Joan Collier
SECTION III. Mentoring for Radical Self Care: Centering Self in the Network
Chapter 8. For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide when the Tenure Track got too Rough
Chrystal R. Chambers and V. Thandi Sulé
Chapter 9. Retained by the Grace of Sisterhood: The Making of an African Woman Academic in US Academia
SECTION IV. Power of Community Mentoring: Expanded Sister Circle Network
Chapter 10. #BlackWomxnHealing: An Intergenerational Space of Creative Communal Care for Round the Way Blackgirls in Academia
Chapter 11. A Black Professor’s Resistance and Renewal: Journey Reflections with Letters to my Daughter and Educators Who Labor for Freedom and Liberation
Charisse L. Cowan Pitre
Chapter 12. Black Women Faculty- Doctoral Student Mentoring Relationships: SistUH Scholars
Tiffany J. Davis, April L. Peters, Chaunté L. White, and Miranda S. Wilson
Chapter 13. Pathways to Success for Black Women by Black Women
Sharon Fries-Britt and Bridget Turner Kelly
Bridget Turner Kelly is Associate Professor of Student Affairs at the University of Maryland, College Park, USA.
Sharon Fries-Britt is Professor of Higher Education at the University of Maryland, College Park, USA. Dr. Fries-Britt was the recipient of AERA’s 2021 Social Justice in Education Award.
"Dr. Bridget T. Kelly and Sharon Fries-Britt's book on mentoring as a critical success factor for Black and other women in academia brings to light the strategies in which we have engaged to support one another as we navigate institutional structures, politics and barriers toward successful careers in higher education. This book underscores the importance of mentoring as a general concept and the ways in which Black women and women of color have created their own networks, sister circles and freedom trains to survive, thrive and excel despite "trials on every hand" in the words of a traditional spiritual. Most importantly, this book validates my story and that of so many of my colleagues and provides a strong message that mentoring should not only come from those who may look like us. This book will encourage all members of the academy to think more intentionally about their own responsibility to mentor that next generation of scholars, particularly those of us, women scholars of color, who have for too long been underrepresented in higher education."
- Dr. Lori S. White, President, DePauw University
"Building mentorship networks to support Black women eloquently captures why mentoring networks cultivated by and for Black women are so vital to their educational trajectories. A mentoring resource with broader applicability, each contributor, takes specific care to unpack the complex experiences of Black women in higher education, particularly how they must navigate spaces not readily prepared to treat them with warmth; hence, institutional leaders should take notice if they wish to genuinely foster spaces and opportunities for Black women. Page by page and line by line, this book breathes life into a generation of Black women who are either traversing the academy or aspire to."
- Dr. Lori Patton Davis, Professor and Chair, Department of Educational Studies, The Ohio State University
"Building Mentorship Networks to Support Black Women is a captivating account of the value of Black women in the academy to other Black women in the academy. Here, the editors have masterfully built upon and expanded their canonical framework of co-mentoring in ways that bring to light even more of the obvious, and less than obvious, mechanisms for mentoring Black women in the academy. From the one who mentors to the mentorless, no one is ignored in this book. From the physical to the spiritual, no connection to wellbeing is overlooked. And from the in-person to the digital, no platform is discounted. For any Black woman (or others) who has experienced a betrayal of the academy, this book offers a lifeline to the support, validation, and strength you need. It is guaranteed to leave you treasuring the mentoring relationships you already have with other Black women, regretting those you’ve let go of, and looking for more ways to value those you may have taken for granted."
- Dr. Kelly M. Mack, Vice President, Undergraduate STEM Education; and Executive Director, Project Kaleidoscope, Association of American Colleges and Universities
"Building Mentoring Networks to Support Black Women reminds us of our responsibility to uplift, support and sometimes even carry our sisters, and of the power that results when we, as Black women, act as each other’s keepers. Affirming and thoughtfully written, each chapter, will lead you to reflect on the mentoring experiences that have shaped your life while prompting you to consider how to more fully cultivate and nurture new and existing mentoring moments."
- Dr. Danette Gerald Howard, Senior Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, Lumina Foundation
"In Building Mentoring Networks to Support Black Women, Drs. Bridget Turner Kelly and Sharon Fries-Britt have curated a master class on what it takes for Black women in the academy to succeed and how they are ensuring their own success. It’s time to dismantle dominant, western frameworks of what mentoring is, who needs it, and who can do it. Kelly and Fries-Britt, in company with their stellar cadre of authors, have shown us the way and now we must follow."
- Dr. DL Stewart, Professor and Chair, Higher Education, University of Denver