In the UK, fewer than 1% of university professors are Black. In the United States, about 10% of academics are Black, with the numbers thinning up the academic ladder. The numerical minority of Black academics has led to consistent exclusion, marginalisation, and a signal that their ideas are not equally valuable in academia. Such pervasive marginalisation of any group is detrimental to research and to the academic experience, for educators as well as students.
Professors Without Borders aims to challenge the barriers to and within quality higher education, for students and professors alike. In this conference, it invited Black members of the academic community to shine a light on their experience of the application and recruitment process for lecturing positions; the role of race and intersection of gender in promotions and in inter-collegiate relationships; and the impact of under-representation and discrimination on their research aspirations.
Guests also considered how institutions of higher education in the UK and the USA can share best practices and develop tools to dismantle visible and invisible barriers with the aim of increasing their impact, representation, and opportunities at universities worldwide.
The virtual conference took place on the 28th of August 1400 BST and was composed of two panels followed by a Q&A. The first panel discussed Black In The Ivory: Understanding the Black Experience in Higher Education, while the second panel focused on Intersectionality: The Dual Barriers of Racism and Sexism.