Create a free Diverse: Issues In Higher Education account to continue reading

Book Review: The Future of Black Leadership in Higher Education: Firsthand Experiences and Global Impact

Nathaniel Smith

The Future of Black Leadership in Higher Education: Firsthand Experiences and Global Impact is an excellent book that answers the question, what does it take to succeed as a Black professional in higher education leadership? Comprising 18 different authors, this text shares effective leadership principles and practices for new and seasoned Black professionals, common but unique racial problems that Black higher education professionals face, and rich examples of both wisdom and warning for navigating leadership terrain. The Future of Black Leadership in Higher Education makes a significant contribution to the fields of higher education and leadership studies by concentrating on overcoming the racial challenges faced by many African Americans and other Black Diasporans in the academy.

The Future of Black Leadership in Higher Education: Firsthand Experiences and Global ImpactThe Future of Black Leadership in Higher Education: Firsthand Experiences and Global ImpactThis book’s main goal is singularly focused on the adequate preparation of African Americans who aspire to leadership roles within colleges and universities. Equipped with 14 chapters, The Future of Black Leadership in Higher Education offers readers diversified theoretical insights and real-world examples for practical application. Chapters 1-3 focus on the current state of Black male leadership, the distinct role of Black faculty, a critique of old and new leadership theories, and the duality of the teacher-counselor-student relationship. Chapters 4-6 outline leadership perspectives and challenges at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and predominantly white institutions (PWIs) and ends with a detailed account of one Black man’s leadership journey. Chapters 7-10 explore the important role of the deanship, charting the path toward executive leadership, faculty governance, and leading academic departments, and preparing graduate school students for higher education leadership. Lastly, Chapters 11-14 chronicle the leadership journey of one African American woman, supporting Black leadership aspirants, maintaining equanimity in challenging environments, and closes with vignettes of three Black women who share their eye-opening leadership stories.

The Future of Black Leadership in Higher Education situates itself in the larger context of educational and organizational leadership studies but interrogates leadership through a lens of criticality. Collectively, the authors seek to reconstruct a more contemporary, diversified leadership perspective that empowers African American faculty, administrators, staff, and other leadership aspirants in the academy. The book explores various old and new leadership theories and models, and the authors intelligently argue which theories are more beneficial than others. Throughout the text, the authors provide relevant data and other statistical information to substantiate the case for more robust, reflective representation of African American and Black diasporic leadership, and cite examples of successes and failures at both HBCUs and PWIs.

The main strength of The Future of Black Leadership in Higher Education lies in its format as an edited book. Boasting five editors and 18 authors, this text offers a wide degree of perspectives from early career professionals to more advanced executive-level leaders such as a former university president. As an academic book, each chapter opens with an abstract and ends with discussion and reflection questions. Readers will find this book’s dominant voice is male-centered and lacks a requisite and equitable amount of consideration from Black women, including the incorporation of strong, Black feminist theory and frameworks. The African American community is culturally and ethnically rich and diverse so readers looking for a wider diasporic discussion on Black gender queer forms of leadership or decolonial/anticolonial Caribbean and African-oriented historical leadership perspectives will have to look for possible future editions.

The potential impact this text has on the practical applications for leadership includes its relevance in the larger socioethical debate on justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Future editions may wish to explore the mental, physical, and social emotional health challenges African American leaders face in hostile, friendly, or in seemingly welcoming environments. Adding chapters on Black liberation, resistance, and empowerment as underlying strengths of leadership development and practice along with leadership pressures from racial battle fatigue, microaggressions, and tokenism would help contribute to the uniqueness of Black leadership in higher education. The authors offer an anthology style book using different voices in the field to offer critical perspectives. Each chapter offers personal, lived experiences, real-life examples and ends with reflection questions for further analysis. This text covers different leadership models, theories, roles, types, and levels of leadership. Lastly, this book is highly recommended as a useful resource for doctoral students, higher education practitioners, and researchers for its divergent leadership lens in amplifying the voices of Black leaders in higher education.

Nathaniel Smith is a doctoral student in leadership for educational equity in higher education at the University of Colorado Denver.

The trusted source for all job seekers
We have an extensive variety of listings for both academic and non-academic positions at postsecondary institutions.
Read More
The trusted source for all job seekers