1000 Paper Cuts: Linguistic Portraits Illustrating the Emotional Toll of Underrepresentation on African American Female Professors at Maryland Community Colleges

No Thumbnail Available

Links to Files


Author/Creator ORCID




Higher Education Program


Doctor of Education

Citation of Original Publication


This item is made available by Morgan State University for personal, educational, and research purposes in accordance with Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. Other uses may require permission from the copyright owner.


While community colleges are experiencing an increase in the number of minority students enrolling, there has been a lack of substantial growth in the acquisition and retention of full-time minority faculty. For full-time African American female professors, this lack has resulted in the circumstance of underrepresentation. Studies demonstrate that underrepresentation leads to marginalization, resulting in negative outcomes for this population. These conditions compromise the professional identity and well-being of African American female full-time professors, limiting their ability to achieve career satisfaction and advancement. This qualitative study asked full-time African American female professors at predominantly White community colleges in Maryland, to explore the emotional toll of underrepresentation. Through the use of a portraiture research design, in-depth interviews were conducted to develop a written illustration of how African American female professors at predominantly White institutions fulfill their professional duties in an environment that has been shown to lead to emotional burnout. This study will add to the body of research that increases the understanding of the lived experiences of minority faculty, which will assist higher education leaders in creating campus climates that promote the well-being of underrepresented faculty and students.