I'm going out to a midwest college, where there aren't a ton of minorities (at least at the state level) and am going to meet with the university's affirmative action officer. Does anyone have any thoughts/tips/advice about what might come up during this meeting? Or examples of good questions to be prepared for or good questions for me to ask?
it wasn't clear from your post if you were an eth minority yourself or not, but either way — here are some good questions to ask, not just of the AAO, but also your Dept Chair and/or Dean.
- list item what type of faculty mentorship opportunities are there — either at the campus-wide or school/department level.
- are there early career support groups to help with teaching/publishing (e.g., writing groups)?
- What opportunities are there internal funding for research? or summer stipends?
- funding to attend professional development workshops —> POC-specific mentoring conferences (e.g., Center for Faculty Diversity)
- Who can act as your "service mentor" (besides your Dept Chair) to protect you from the added burden of being asked to "represent" as the POC on various committee?
- is service work related to diversity included / counted in annual reviews for tenure?
Basically, faculty of color experience "cultural taxation" in terms of service work. they are asked to serve on more committees (to bring diversity to them) as well as receive more requests from underrepresented students who look up to them as role models for support. these opportunities are wonderful to do and get involved with and bring lots of satisfaction… but they often don't count for tenure and are unrecognized in terms of time or pay. you need good mentorship to achieve a reasonable work-life balance AND get tenure… so you need to ask questions about opportunities and money that you can apply for to help you achieve these goals. many schools do "informal" mentoring where they pair you with a person who you have coffee with one or twice a semester… THIS IS NOT MENTORSHIP. you'll be lucky if you find a school that takes this seriously and has formal groups, professional development, and earmarked money to do it.
best of luck and congrats on your interview!