Leadership Studies Ed.D. Dissertations


Retention of Faculty of Color as it Relates to Their Perceptions of the Academic Climate at Four-Year Predominantly White Public Universities in Ohio

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Rachel Vannatta


The purpose of this correlational study was to examine the relationships between demographic characteristics, academic climate perceptions, and retention plans of 103 tenured and tenure-track faculty of color at 11 four-year predominantly White public universities in Ohio. The 59-item Faculty Retention Questionnaire was administered online and assessed perceptions of the academic climate defined by six variables (job satisfaction, social climate, faculty-student relationships, role conflict, role clarity, and retention). Demographic characteristics were also measured (e.g., racial/ethnic background, gender, age, sexual orientation, country of origin, institution type, academic discipline, marital status, with/without children, and tenure status). Likert-type scales, multiple choice, and open-ended questions measured employment values and intent to stay in current position. Of the 725 surveys distributed, 103 were submitted, yielding an overall response rate of 14%. Critical Race Theory (CRT) framed this study. Correlational results indicated that job satisfaction was significantly related to and highly important to the retention variable. Analysis of variance revealed that U. S. born faculty of color are more likely to be retained than non-U. S. born. Forward multiple regression analysis identified job satisfaction as the sole predictor of retention with job satisfaction only accounting for 23% of variance in retention. Further regression analysis identified social climate, role clarity, and role conflict as factors that best predict job satisfaction. Conclusions from the study raised larger questions regarding job satisfaction: (1) Does job satisfaction mean something different to faculty of color than it does to mainstream faculty? (2) Do faculty of color perceive job satisfaction as part of their social/cultural experience? (3) Is job satisfaction a part of the dual reality that is inherent in people of color through the identification of being a member of an underrepresented group or by having minority status in America? Responses to these larger questions may be best understood through the recognition and understanding of Critical Race Theory. Findings suggest the importance of providing opportunities for the sharing of subjective cultural worldviews of faculty of color with mainstream faculty with the intent of creating greater understanding, cooperation, and positive relationships, thus serve as a retention strategy. This may provide the opportunity to build an academic climate that supports all faculty. The researcher offers other explanations and suggestions regarding the findings from this study that may be valuable in faculty of color retention.