African-Americans are underrepresented on the faculties of American law schools. Currently, it is estimated that while they make up 12.6% of the U.S. population, only approximately 4% of the tenured faculty members at historically white law schools are African American. Moreover, there is evidence that once appointed to a tenure-track law faculty position, the conditions of employment for African Americans are often problematic. This reality may be indicated by the higher attrition rate and lower tenure rate for them than for white law faculty. Even attainment of tenure by African-American law professors does not guarantee job satisfaction and feelings of equitable treatment. The pioneering Bell-Delgado study of minority law faculty found that a clear majority of the participants described their law school climates as racist (10.4%) or subtly racist (44.3%). Only 12.2% of the participants described their work environments as nonracist. Perhaps not surprisingly, only a minority of the Bell-Delgado participants indicated they were satisfied with their jobs. This study seeks to understand whether tenured African-American law faculty of today perceive problems, challenges, and/or circumstances which, if not unique, are more common for and are more likely to impede African-Americans and other members of minority groups who aspire to careers in the legal academy. Specifically, this study examines perspectives of tenured African-American law faculty with regard to faculty appointment and conditions of employment for members of their group at law schools that have historically had largely, if not exclusively, white faculty and student bodies. This study also examines the perceptions of tenured African-American law faculty members regarding the role that race/racism may play with respect to law faculty appointment for members of their group and conditions of employment thereafter. This study examines, as well, African-American law faculty perspectives regarding potential strategies for addressing problems, challenges, and circumstances, if any, which, if not unique, are more common for them in the legal professoriate. In that connection, the study elicited participants' views on the viability of organizational change, litigation, and strong affirmative action plans for addressing potential impediments to African-American inclusion in American law school faculties.
Adviser: Laura W. Perna. Thesis (Ed.D. in Education) -- University of Pennsylvania, 2012. Includes bibliographical references.