Thriving in the Academy: Culturally Responsive Mentoring for Black Women’s Early Career Success

  • Tamara Bertrand JonesEmail author
  • Jesse R. Ford
  • Devona F. Pierre
  • Denise Davis-Maye


Current literature extols challenges that Black women in academia face. The evidence typically suggests lack of a critical mass of Black women in institutions are to blame for their diminished access to mentoring relationships, stifled tenure, promotion, and advancement rates, and contributes to an overall sense of isolation and overwork. Started in 2001, the Sisters of the Academy (SOTA) Institute created a network of Black women in academia. With a focus on professional development and mentoring, SOTA’s mission is to ensure that Black women thrive despite the oppression they experience in academia. Using a culturally responsive model for mentoring, the SOTA Research BootCamp serves as a professional counterspace focused on research development for early career scholars, advanced doctoral students, and junior scholars, while centering the perspectives of Black women to ground participants’ experiences. In this chapter we explore how culturally responsive mentoring serves as a model for: challenging the current deficit narrative about Black women in academia; developing culturally responsive mentors and protégés; and ensuring that Black women in academia thrive.


Black women Professional development Mentoring Race 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tamara Bertrand Jones
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jesse R. Ford
    • 2
  • Devona F. Pierre
    • 3
  • Denise Davis-Maye
    • 4
  1. 1.Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.University of North Carolina GreensboroGreensboroUSA
  3. 3.University of South FloridaTampaUSA
  4. 4.Alabama State UniversityMontgomeryUSA

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