Surviving and Thriving in Academia


This survival guide to academia for women and ethnic minorities is an updated and revised edition of a guide published in 1992 by the American Psychological Association (APA) Committee on Women in Psychology (CWP). This edition is the result of a collaborative effort between CWP and the APA Commission on Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention, and Training in Psychology (CEMRRAT). It is designed to address changes that have taken place during the last 5 years which may dramatically affect the level of success, even the survival, of women and ethnic minorities choosing and pursuing careers in academic environments. Some of these recent changes include the increase in the number of contracted positions, 5-year reviews of tenured professors, changing job markets for private practice clinicians, and changes in the delivery of health care and changes in the nation's demographics toward a majority of color. These changes also have an impact on the preparation of services-oriented doctoral psychologists, who constitute the majority of women and ethnic minorities in psychology. The guide is designed to highlight critical career milestones so that women and ethnic minorities can prepare to meet these academic challenges.

Three other pamphlets that were prepared by CEMRRAT, Valuing Diversity in Faculty: A Guide, How to Recruit and Hire Ethnic Minority Faculty, and Diversity and Accreditation, are helpful supplements to this guide. These pamphlets were designed to aid the academic department seeking to hire faculty members of color, while this guide will assist prospective and current faculty who are members of an underrepresented group.

This guide has three major goals. One goal is to assist new PhDs who are women and/or ethnic minorities in seeking and selecting jobs that effectively complement their personal mix of skills and career goals. The second goal is to help women and ethnic minority faculty members maximize their chances of gaining promotion and tenure. A final goal is to identify strategies to support members of underrepresented groups as they encounter emotional and strategic challenges that may occur if they are denied tenure or promotion.

This guide is specifically addressed to junior (i.e., untenured and early career) faculty. However, as noted in the previously cited CEMRRAT pamphlets, important institutional issues continue to affect the context and academic climate for promotion and tenure of women and ethnic minorities. The authors are cognizant that psychology departments, professional schools, institutions, and the APA have a responsibility to address these issues.