Richard L. Reddick: Determining the role of UT African American Faculty in the Community
“The College of Education has built multiple, very successful partnerships with the DDCE—we’ve worked with them to complete over 10 thematic hires of star faculty nationwide, with part of the financial support for this being provided by the DDCE. We collaborate with their office to develop curriculum and programs for UT Elementary School, as well as middle school reform initiatives that we hope will become a model for all middle schools in AISD.”
—Dean Manuel J. Justiz, College of Education
Bolstering the world-class reputation of a university may, as a first step, involve increasing its institutional impact right in its own backyard. At UT, researchers like Dr. Richard Reddick are attempting to do just that.
“When I was growing up, we could see the UT Tower from my house, but it may have well been in another city, based on our connection with it and its connection with our community,” says Reddick, who grew up in the Dove Springs neighborhood in southeast Austin. He attended Del Valle, Travis, and Reagan high schools in Austin before graduating from Johnston High School with honors in 1990.
Among his research interests are two key diversity areas: (1) exploring ways to increase the impact of African American faculty in the community, and understanding the professional and personal challenges of African American faculty as they research and teach in Austin; and (2) examining mentoring relationships between African American students and faculty, and the extent to which those relationships impact academic success.
High-profile incidents concerning race, such as the arrest of Harvard University scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., or the closure of several stores in Austin allegedly because of safety concerns during the Texas Relays, which are attended by hundreds of African Americans, spur Dr. Reddick’s qualitative research—phenomenological interviewing—on the role of African American faculty in helping to improve and increase diversity understanding in a community like Austin.
“African Americans, whether UT faculty or other professionals, are still dealing with broader societal issues around race,” Reddick says. “Austin is a fascinating laboratory to be in because of its demographics.”
Reddick is an assistant professor in the UT College of Education’s Department of Educational Administration and is the coordinator of the master’s program in College and University Student Personnel Administration. He is a faculty affiliate in the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies. Dr. Reddick has co-authored and co-edited three books on the African American family, historically black colleges and universities, and the impact of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling on diversity in American education. He received his doctorate in higher education from Harvard, a master’s degree in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard, and his undergraduate degree in the Plan II Honors Program from The University of Texas at Austin.
Reddick’s research on mentoring relationships between faculty and African American undergraduate students includes examining factors influencing faculty mentorship, the role of formative experiences in professors’ lives in their approach to mentoring, and the advising and counseling approaches used by faculty in mentoring African American undergraduate students. He currently is working with a Pennsylvania State University researcher and colleague to explore the differences in how African American male and female faculty approach mentoring.
Reddick says UT President Powers’ 2006 promotion of Dr. Gregory Vincent to vice president for Diversity and Community Engagement has sent a positive message to faculty, students, alumni and the community at large about the importance of diversity, “where it’s no longer an add-on, but embedded and centralized in the power structure of the university.”