The Flourish network helps them develop relationships with peers.
By Shannon Sigafoos
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is helping Angela Bell, assistant professor of psychology, create new and continuing opportunities for pre-tenure faculty of color to develop relationships with their peers and to connect with tenured faculty of color who serve as mentors. Bell recently received $49,999.00 from NSF to grow Flourish, a network for social and personality psychologists of color, into a year-round offering through at least 2024.
Bell, an active member of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), initially received a Community Catalyst grant from SPSP and a Diversity Initiative grant from Lafayette to establish Flourish’s first meeting in March 2020. She received a second Community Catalyst grant from SPSP for a virtual meeting in February 2021. The grant funding through NSF brings her accumulation for Flourish to $52,399.
“I think Flourish’s success is a direct result of previous initiatives designed to increase opportunities for psychologists of color. As an undergraduate and graduate student, I earned grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Mental Health, and SPSP, all designed for students from marginalized backgrounds to get involved in research. During my first year at Lafayette, I participated in the Black Social and Personality Psychologists Retreat. Through these initiatives, I could support my research interests, attend annual conferences, and meet people who would become important colleagues and mentors,” says Bell.
“I met my Flourish collaborators (Morgan Jerald of Macalester College and Kelci Harris of University of Victoria) through BlaSPR as we transitioned from graduate school and postdoc positions to tenure-track jobs. We talked a lot about how support networks helped fight against cultural and professional isolation that comes with being underrepresented in higher education. Then, we connected our BlaSPR and SPSP experiences to our respective research interests in stigmatized social identities, friendships, and designing interventions to reduce the effects of racism. We grew from there.”
Flourish, which won a 2020 SIPS Mission Award, offers resources for addressing challenges and mitigating negative consequences for tenure-track faculty of color by providing dedicated spaces for sensitive discussions on navigating academia, expanding professional and social networks, affirming scholars’ positions, and promoting their work. Workshops are dedicated to defining tenure/promotion guidelines, identifying institutional norms, and setting individualized goals to provide a clear and precise support path designed to increase the likelihood of successful advancement.
The ultimate goal of Flourish is to foster promotion, retention, and inclusion for faculty of color to diversify the field and research of social and personality psychology.