Calling Out Academic Disparities


In a new book, Disparities in the Academy: Accounting for the Elephant, Professor Phyllis Sharps and colleagues look at the importance of addressing inequities associated with sexism, racism, and their intersectionalities, which they find thriving in today’s academic institutions. It’s a sharp look at the difference between an idea of diversity that simply means adding more minorities vs. genuine equality and inclusion—being heard, respected, valued, and offered equal opportunity to succeed.

The authors provide insights into the phenomenon—“what it is; how it happens; and the impact on the academic progress and success of URM faculty, researchers, students, and academic institutions” and practical strategies for overcoming the elephant in the room.

As Phyllis Sharps writes I the afterword, the book “was inspired by common experiences shared by many of our colleagues, faculty, and students from URM [underrepresented minority groups] in academia and the clinical practice settings. So often, as conversations and relationships develop, a common theme becomes apparent, the ‘elephant’ experiences they encountered on their journey to achieve personal and professional goals and thrive in academia. … Therefore it was important to capture these experiences using multiple types of evidence to provide context critical in the objective evaluation of a highly sensitive albeit pervasive and important issue of racial discrimination and exclusion in the academy.”