Longing to Belong: Mentoring Relationships as a Pathway to Fostering a Sense of Belonging for Racially Minoritized Faculty at Predominantly White Institutions

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Raquel Wright-Mair


As predominately white institutions (PWIs) seek to support racially minoritized faculty, there is evidence that racially minoritized faculty members at PWIs experience isolating, hostile, and unwelcoming environments (Bonner et al., 2014; Stanley, 2006; Turner, 2003). Existing higher education research does not explore the significance of sense of belonging for racially minoritized faculty and ways in which sense of belonging can be cultivated in these neoliberal institutions. Through a critical race theory lens and phenomenological method, this study focuses on ways in which mentoring relationships develop pathways to sense of belonging for racially minoritized faculty members at PWIs. Findings reveal a robust network of mentoring relationships for racially minoritized faculty, including holistic and critically conscious mentoring by colleagues, supportive peer mentoring, mentoring students, and community-based mentoring relationships. Implications for research and practice are outlined to further explore how these crucial relationships can develop sense of belonging for racially minoritized faculty members at PWIs.

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