This work examines and compares the racial diversity of student populations in relation to those of faculty and staff across institutions of higher education within the United States. Specifically, this research focuses on employee recruitment, retention, and perceptions of general campus climate by identifying key issues and concerns raised by faculty and staff of color through their experiences working within community colleges in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon & Washington). Two research questions are raised: “How does administrative leadership at community colleges within the Pacific Northwest successfully recruit and retain faculty and staff of color?” and “What factors determine whether recruitment and retention of faculty and staff of color improve or regress?” These issues are addressed through three interconnected research strands: (1) a combined descriptive and correlative quantitative study examining archival data from campus climate surveys, focused on the experiences of faculty and staff of color and white identifying faculty and staff; (2) a qualitative strand based on the individual interview data of eight participants; and (3) a Participatory Narrative Inquiry (PNI) group interview into five participants’ personal stories related to their experiences in higher education. The results showed themes and patterns that negatively impact campus climate, specifically the recruitment and retention of faculty and staff of color. Leadership within higher education will benefit from this research to improve racial diversity within their institutions, thereby enhancing the experiencing of all students, especially students of color (Letcher, 2013; Levin, Haberler, & Jackson-Boothby, 2014; Nixon, 2009).
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