Diversity in the Athletic Department

Introduction

            There is still the possibility for many student athletes in predominantly white universities to graduate without ever being trained or coached by African American instructor or other individuals of different color. According to Buhler (2002), there seems to be a constant gap in what colleges say they are committed to, especially when it comes to what colleges actually do and the diversification of faculties. The portion of minority faculty, particularly Latino and African American, coaching, or even teaching in higher learning institutions have remained low over the previous two decades (Smith & Mazin, 2004). At the onset of the 21st century, according to Daley, Wingard, & Reznik (2006), about 87 per cent of regular members of faculties in the US were white people and about 64 per cent were male. These inequalities have increased at each academic pipeline level. The latest report by the National Center of Education Statistics showed that African American represented about 9.67 per cent or 21047 of the 217518 managerial, executive, and administrative employees in US college institutions granting degrees (Turner, Gonzalez, & Wood, 2008). Athletics department are among some of the educational areas that have been affected by these disparities. These departments have a significant number of women student athletes or minorities. As a result, this paper intends to offer strategies that will help athletics department in employing and retaining qualified minority employees.

Strategies to Increase Diversity at Athletics Department

            The first strategy is making the departmental climate welcoming. Many learning institutions perform a yearly survey of the climate in order to evaluate how the environment can attract employees as well as students (Daley, Wingard, & Reznik, 2006). From various researches, the departmental climate is extremely significant in the recruitment and retention of a diverse department. Messmer (2007) defined a working climate as a learning environment or workplace, which ranges from slight to dramatic, which can control how employees or students feel safe, valued, listened to, and treated equally and with respect. In their study concerning faculty of color, Smith & Mazin (2004) revealed that when the athletics department perceives the institution to be not diverse or unsupportive, it is likely to stay like that. The lack of support results in the downbeat experience by the department. In addition, departmental climate is one of the factors influencing the retention of minority employees (Smith & Mazin, 2004). Turner, Gonzalez, & Wood (2008) offered a detailed explanation concerning how to make the athletics department welcoming. They suggested that a joint effort intended to inform newcomers concerning their responsibilities and assignments would significantly help in making the working environment welcoming. Messmer (2007) also argued that the athletics department should channel their effort towards smoothening the transition of new employees. Such efforts incorporate dealing with issues concerning the departmental climate in order to guarantee that the concerns are seriously taken (Smith & Mazin, 2004).

The second strategy is circulating the announcement of job to non-traditional places (Smith & Mazin, 2004). This seems not to be a new strategy, though it is an efficient one. It is surprising that many departments in learning institutions, including the athletics department, continue ignoring this powerful strategy, and then they grumble when they achieve the same outcome. Various cultural, social and educational bodies can be tapped in order to assist spread the word concerning job openings (Turner, Gonzalez, & Wood, 2008). The Human Resource Office has the capacity to compile easily a list comprising of fraternity contacts, ethnic publications, fraternities and churches. The department should be capable of identifying at least twenty non-traditional ways of spreading information concerning job opening, including deployment of social media (Turner, Gonzalez, & Wood, 2008). Smith & Mazin (2004) suggested that departments should take a proactive and aggressive attitude towards the recruitment process in order to be serious about diversification. According to Smith & Mazin (2004), the athletics department can better comprehend the richness and perspective that would be brought to the department by the student athletes by developing more personal connections with the potential students.

The third strategy is not using recruitment committees that comprise of white people only.  Addressing the problem of employing people of the same race, and considering candidates of different ethnic backgrounds and races, integrates a more innovative and expanded ways of perceiving faculty positions (Daley, Wingard, & Reznik, 2006). This does not imply that recruitment committees comprising of people of the same race cannot recruit a candidate from another race. However, it implies that a diverse recruitment committee seems to perform better than homogeneous recruitment committees do. According to Messmer (2007), diverse committees are normally more welcoming to candidates who are dissimilar from the conventional model. As such, Daley, Wingard, & Reznik (2006) argued that an athletics department using a diverse recruitment committee makes it less likely that a candidate would be rejected because he or she does not suit the conventional model. Indeed, a diverse recruitment committee is significant in hearing various voices, and incorporating complexity in the recruitment process (Daley, Wingard, & Reznik, 2006). According to Smith & Mazin (2004), a group of individuals who might share the same experiences might mistakenly contribute to a less varied faculty even when they have good intentions.

The fourth strategy is ignoring the myths. Some of these popular myths point out that it is very hard to find eligible minorities (Daley, Wingard, & Reznik, 2006). On one hand, some employees even go ahead to conclude that minorities cannot feel comfortable working in their organizations. On the other hand, some employees have concluded that the minorities will demand for a higher pay, which the organization cannot offer. According to Turner, Gonzalez & Wood (2008), these myths are excuses forwarded by employers for not making genuine effort or hiring minority employees. Buhler (2002) challenged the negative myths and attitudes surrounding the recruitment of minority people. He offered a clear confirmation of how dedicated universities and colleges are capable of employing diverse faculty, regardless of organizational change and lean budgets (Buhler, 2002). Thriving universities and colleges have showed that myths can be defeated via strong leadership, which increased diversity.

Another strategy is offering incentives for the athletics department. A research by Turner, Gonzalez & Wood (2008) showed that an intervention strategy was needed in about 71 percent of faculty recruitments in which individuals from minorities were recruited at universities and colleges. It should not take much effort for the athletics department to recruit minorities. There is need to ensure that before the recruitment of new employees, there are extensive discussions concerning how departmental diversification improves the quality of departmental programs. As such, no candidate should be referred to as an “affirmative action hire.” The athletics administrator needs to take a preventative action in order to address any repercussion, and to guarantee that each one is made aware of the departmental support for the new recruitment. Daley, Wingard, & Reznik (2006) also argued that the administrator of athletics department should point out the invisible form of affirmative action of recruitment that are perpetrated via discriminatory policies in order to guarantee that minority candidates are not looked down upon or discriminated against.

Smith & Mazin (2004) recommended that training the search committee is significant in addressing issues related to minority hiring. Daley, Wingard & Reznik (2006) research offered various importance of having a diverse department in athletics. According to this study, a diverse athletics department significantly contributes to excellence by offering student athletes varied perspectives of engaging in sporting activities. Athletics can also influence the increasingly diverse sporting environment (Messmer, 2007). In addition, sports can create linkages with the minority populations that are hard to reach. However, this should not imply that promoting diversity means abandoning the pursuit of academic excellence. Search committees should be better trained in order to put into consideration the optional research techniques, interests as well as strengths that would improve academic excellence among student athletes. Solace

According to Daley, Wingard & Reznik (2006), athletic department of colleges and universities have the chance of increasing their faculty diversity via their own athletic programs. Smith & Mazin (2004) and Daley, Wingard & Reznik (2006) discussed the challenges and aspirations faced by new employees. They also discuss the process of socializations of new employees by pointing out that the process begins right when the employee become part of the department. As employees move through the various programs of the department, they are necessarily getting prepared for departmental roles. As such, athletics department can increase diversity via their own programs (Messmer, 2007). Nevertheless, according to Buhler (2002), this needs the department to deliberately mentor the minority employees, and make organized effort to place them in departmental positions.

Daley, Wingard & Reznik (2006) and Messmer (2007) recommended that the athletics department should involve the ALANA community. ALANA is an abbreviation for African, Latino, Asian, and Native American communities. The ALANA community is made up of the minority group. When individuals from this communities visit the campus for interviews, they are also assessing the campus community. As such, it is logical to involve the ALANA community in the recruitment process. The department can achieve this by using various ways that range from having members of these communities serving on the committee. According to ROOO, it is also significant involve members of these communities who are already hired at the institution. When prospective ability is introduced in order to meet the present needs of the ALANA community, they have an opportunity to directly ask questions concerning the institution. As such, they obtain a good perspective of the community and campus climate. Some learning institutions offer personalized resource information and tours, which has the names of ethnic grocery stores, restaurants and businesses. The athletics department should also offer personalized information having the names of ethnic minorities, which hold significant political or government offices, organizations and social clubs specifically catering to ethnic minorities.

Conclusions

            The portion of minority faculty, particularly Latino and African American, coaching, or even teaching in higher learning institutions have remained low over the previous two decades. Athletics department are among some of the educational areas that have been affected by these disparities. The first strategy is making the departmental climate welcoming. Many learning institutions perform a yearly survey of the climate in order to evaluate how the environment can attract employees as well as students. Departments should take a proactive and aggressive attitude towards the recruitment process in order to be serious about diversification. Athletics department should also not use recruitment committees that comprise of white people only. This does not imply that recruitment committees comprising of people of the same race cannot recruit a candidate from another race. However, it implies that a diverse recruitment committee seems to perform better than homogeneous recruitment committees do. Athletic departments of colleges and universities have the chance of increasing their faculty diversity via their own athletic programs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Buhler, P. (2002). Human resources management. Avon, Mass: Adams Media.

Daley, S., Wingard, D., & Reznik, V. (2006). Improving the retention of underrepresented minority faculty in academic medicine. Journal of the National Medical Association , 98 (9), 435-1440.

Messmer, M. (2007). Human resources kit for dummies. Indianapolis, Indiana: Wiley Publishing.

Smith, S. A., & Mazin, R. A. (2004). The HR answer book: An indispensable guide for managers and human resources professionals. New York: MACOM.

Turner, C., Gonzalez, J., & Wood, J. (2008). Faculty of color in academe: What 20 years of literature tells us. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education , 1 (3), 139-168.

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