Women of Color (WoC) Research

Women of Color Key Activities Include:

  • Collect and analyze institutional data.
  • Thoroughly review the university’s diversity initiatives and policies.
  • Design the focus group protocols and individual interviews.
  • Conduct the focus groups and analyze data.
  • Based on results of qualitative research results/themes, design and administer interventions and assess results.
  • Disseminate results and create institutionalization strategy.

During the first two years of the AdvanceRIT project, the WoC research team conducted two focus groups, consisting largely of tenure-track STEM WoC faculty at RIT during the spring of 2013. Participants self-selected from a wide e-mail call, using the snowball non-probability sampling technique. This technique was selected given RIT protected status restrictions on race demographic data. Therefore, there was no way to identify prospective participants who identified with the WoC group. The researchers sent out a scripted invitation that outlined the purpose of the project. It pointed out that the focus-group discussion would be audio-and-video-recorded and that we would preserve the participants’ confidentiality so that they could not be identified outside of the research group. The focus group facilitators were WoC faculty members chosen from a neighboring university. At the outset of the focus groups, they reminded the participants that the project aims were to ascertain barriers to WoC faculty’s career advancement. Seven STEM WoC faculty participated in the focus groups, four in one focus group and three in the other. Each participant was given an opportunity to respond to the questions, with each focus group lasting 90 minutes.

The researchers undertook a qualitative analysis of the data obtained from the two focus groups’ transcripts using the constant-comparative method. This enabled identification of patterns in the data to reveal similarities and differences. The analysis entailed a three-phase approach. The first phase (open coding) permitted identification of ideas, themes, and issues. The second phase (focused coding) produced a reduced set of related ideas, topics, and themes, and the third phase allowed for identifying concepts that tied into the emic themes that cut across the two focus groups. The following five main themes emerged:

  1. Absence of Professional-Personal Life Balance & Respect
  2. Feeling of Isolation/Not Belonging
  3. Lack of Access to Influential Internal Networks
  4. Mission Drift & Criteria Creep
  5. Lack of Effective Mentorship

The Women of Color social science research effort is led by Professor Kijana Crawford (SP). For more details on this research and the resulting programming, visit the P&T SMARTS webpage.

Research Team Members Include:

Dr. Kijana Crawford 
Professor of Sociology 
NSF AdvanceRIT Leadership Team 
Sociology/Anthropology Program Co-Director 
Department of Sociology/Anthropology 
Email: drcgss@rit.edu 
Phone: 585-475-2943 
Office: 3263 Eastman Hall

Dr. dt ogilvie 
Distinguished Professor of Urban Entrepreneurship 
Founder of the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship (CUE) 
Former Chair, CUE Advisory Board 
Saunders College of Business 
Email: dt@saunders.rit.edu 
Phone: 585-475-2046 
Office: LOW/012-3331