Created to give Black professors a voice and to increase visibility, the Black Faculty Association (BFA) developed as a faculty-led grass roots movement. Spearheaded by #BlackInTheIvory and the tragic death of George Floyd, Black faculty gathered in solidarity asking what steps should we take. From that initial meeting attended by less than fifteen, a decision emerged to engage others in the desire to form the BFA. In a true grass-roots style, the movement grew to include every Black faculty at FIU. With this idea of cohesiveness and unity, the BFA operates in an organizational structure system honoring African leadership styles.
The BFA utilizes a cross-functional organizational structure, or matrix model that keeps flatness as a critical factor. Leaders interact with one another and can influence decisions and actions throughout the organization. The purpose of flatness is to minimize strict hierarchical procedures for communication and decision-making. Members can communicate and bring ideas to leaders without a formal outline to follow.
Specifically, the BFA categorizes and links leadership roles to functioning. In academia there is an emphasis on the traditional components of research, teaching, and service. The BFA includes these established aspects, as well as creating an additional one: professional development and mentoring. Leadership roles in BFA align with these functions.
The Black Faculty Association (BFA) of Florida International University (FIU) is an organization that exists to promote unity, increase productivity, and enrich the morale among Black faculty. The BFA seeks to provide a greater awareness and understanding to FIU of the systemic factors impacting Black faculty.
Through comprehending these dynamics, the mission is to establish within FIU an institutional culture that provides conflict resolution and support to Black faculty seeking an inclusive, objective, and conducive work environment.
Inspire, lead, and provide a voice to current and future Black scholars at FIU and create the next generation of Black excellence and governance. Through this leadership, the BFA sets the standard on how an innovative urban, multicultural Research 1/Very High research university located in a multi-lingual setting can impact the university setting, local community, state, and nation; thus, making FIU a first-choice destination for esteemed Black academics from around the world.
Impact Students (undergraduate and graduate)
To improve equitable and broad assess to higher education, this proposal seeks to develop a “HBCU Day” with colleges and universities in the state for them to come and visit FIU. The aim is to foster a bi-directional partnership with HBCUs to build relationships and recruit Black graduate students and create a pipeline for Black doctoral students to look at FIU as a work destination.
To accelerate the demographics of the academy, the BFA will aim is to create an infrastructure for increased collaboration between FIU offices and Black faculty. This organization would have a tri-fold purpose: (1). Develop pipeline for cross-discipline grant opportunities among Black faculty;(2). Expand Black faculty’s research and teaching networks by introducing faculty to others with similar intellectual pursuits; (3). Increase Black faculty’s visible presence in leadership roles, institutional direction, and strategic planning.
Impact Institutional Climate and Culture
To elevate bold ideas that support the generation of just societies in academia, the BFA will hold enhanced workshops, seminars, and teaching sessions independently and in collaboration with other entities with students, faculty, staff, and administration. The purpose of these training programs is to produce positive significant changes in empathy and understanding within the university that can assist in transforming the culture of the academy by reducing racism, discrimination, and sexism.