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This special issue of the HUArchivesNet was borne out of the "Black Women in the Academy II: Service and Leadership" conference, which was hosted by Howard University in June 1999. The conference brought together women from all over the world to present their research and to discuss issues facing Black women in the academy, in communities, in the professions, and around the world.

The mission of this second conference in the Black Women in the Academy Series—the first conference "Black Women in the Academy: Defending Our Name" was held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in January 1994—was to honor the accomplishments of Black women in higher education and to delineate further the role of Black women at colleges and universities in the new millenium.

From the more than one hundred twenty conference presentations, the editors of HUArchivesNet selected three papers that present personal discussions of the issues confronting Black women in higher education today. The authors, Adrianne R. Andrews, from the University of Pittsburgh, Adah Ward Randolph, from Ohio University, and Rhonda Y. Williams, from Case Western Reserve University, each discuss their challenges and triumphs as Black women scholars intent on maintaining their cultural identities while also gaining professional credibility in an environment that is sometimes hostile.

There is much debate about recruitment and retention of Black women faculty. The work presented here by Andrews, Ward Randolph, and Williams suggests that the answers to this dilemma may be quite evident. These authors and others (Gregory, 1999; Hine, 1997; Locke, 1997) suggest several key policies must be in place for Black women to survive and thrive in the academy: the development of professional and personal mentoring networks (person-to-person, telephone, mail and internet) that include both men and women to help with the geographic isolation; the availability of intensive career counseling; the establishment of systems that reward professional/personal service or that help faculty balance the endless demands on their time; the formation of support groups to help with the struggle to gain professional credibility and to maintain personal legitimacy; institutional support to attend professional association meetings and publish in the "right" journals;

 

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HUAN 4 
May 2000