"Solo" Faculty at Colleges,Univs, Profess.Schools:Improving Retention, Reducing Stress--how to order
Clients and Client Evaluations
Rising Above Cognitive Errors: Improving Searches, Evaluations, & Decision-Making--how to order
Mentoring Early-Stage Faculty---how to order
"Solo" Faculty at Colleges,Univs, Profess.Schools:Improving Retention, Reducing Stress--how to order
Helping Early-Stage Faculty Succeed at Prof.Schools, Colleges, & Universities--how to order
Speeches Given
Vital info for Grad.Students--how to order
Faculty Diversity: Removing the Barriers, 2012
Background & Honors
Visiting Dissertation Scholars Program
Host Campuses for 2012-13
Contact Us

This booklet by Dr. JoAnn Moody was revised in 2010.  Length: 44 pages. Cost: $9 each but $8 each for orders over 25. See order form below.
Complete title:   "Solo" Faculty at Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools: Improving Retention and Reducing Stress   (Resources for:  Department and their Chairs     Deans      Mentors    Faculty Developers     Solos Themselves)

Below are the first few pages of the revised 44-page publication as well as the Table of Contents.  For "How to Order" info,  go to the bottom
of document.

Because colleges, universities, and professional schools are increasingly using vigorous and comprehensive faculty recruitment strategies, they are hiring a greater number of women and under-represented U.S. minorities. Some of those new hires will find themselves placed in puzzling and demanding “solo” roles.  They will find that they are the only one or one of only a few women in a predominantly male department (in a science or engineering area, for instance). Or they find they are the only one or one of only a few under-represented U.S. minorities in a majority department (in any academic field). In this booklet, I will focus on the special stressors and “extra taxes”—exacted at both the individual and the organizational levels—that many solo/pioneer faculty discover they have to deal with.


Unless such stressors and taxes are addressed and solos come to enjoy a sense of welcome and belonging, they understandably will not thrive and they may be relegated (often unintentionally) to the margins of the professional and community lives of their departments and campuses. In some cases, solos will decide to transfer to more hospitable departments at other campuses. In the worst-case scenario, they may become deeply demoralized, conclude they are a “bad fit” for academe, and leave the professoriate altogether.

 The booklet will illuminate the following topics:

What are the extra stresses and bewildering social dynamics often experienced by a faculty member in a solo role (or in a numerically-few role)?

In a solo situation, why does a minority faculty member who is not an immigrant usually have more demanding dynamics to deal with than an international or immigrant minority?

How can the stresses of the solo be pro-actively reduced by:

·   the department chair?

·   the solo’s department and especially senior members of  the department?

·   the solo’s faculty mentor(s)?

·   departmental or campus-wide faculty developers? teaching and learning centers?

·   the solo him/herself?

Why do some senior faculty who are solos shy away from lobbying to bring about the increased hiring of women or underrepresented minorities? Why do senior solos sometimes seem fearful and resist mentoring or befriending junior colleagues who share their group membership? What risks and losses could be awaiting senior solos?


In my consulting work, administrators and faculty sometimes say to me that their own personal way of interacting with solos is this: be distant but friendly and do no harm (a kind of passive-bystander approach). Unfortunately, their approach is good-intentioned but short-sighted: it withholds collegial support to the solos and it makes no attempt to ameliorate the departmental dysfunctions sure to bewilder and at times hurt them. This booklet will clarify why and how to take pro-active steps to improve the departmental climate and professional life for solo faculty members.

 Organization of the Publication

Six “Discussion Scenarios” and my analysis of each of them form the backbone of this booklet. As a consultant, I routinely use problem-based dialogues/scenarios that have embedded in them common issues and situations occurring in academe. Why use such scenarios? They jumpstart the workshops and retreats I run for faculty, administrators, committees, faculty senates, diversity councils, ADVANCE gender-equity programs, individual departments, and others. Workshop participants and I analyze and discuss each scenario and then move on to brainstorm concretely about remedies—by whom, what, and how?—to address the problems suggested in each scenario. Such a practical, highly interactive approach allows me to tap into the participants’ wisdom as well as promote collective problem-solving.


Collective analysis and problem-solving are exactly what are missing in most sessions designed for deans, chairs, committees, and departments. Frequently, power-point presentations dominate most of the “air” time and enforce passive listening. By contrast, authentic leadership-development should prompt participants to generate new ways of dealing with situations they routinely confront. Through sharing of successes and failures and joint practice in solving problems, leaders will acquire new perspectives and skills. They will also acquire a new community of allies from whom they can seek ideas and support in the future. 

 Invitation to you to be an Active Reader

You the reader will be given a similar opportunity to ponder various aspects of the “solo phenomenon” and to generate ways to solve the problems set forth. As you consider each of the six scenarios below, please ask yourself:

What good practices do I see, at both the individual and organizational levels?

What bad or negative  practices do I see  at the individual level?   What dysfunctions do I see at the organizational level?

What could be done to remove the bad practices and dysfunctions or at least diminish  the severity of them?   By whom and how?

After you’ve pondered a scenario, you can then   move  directly to the section following each scenario entitled “Analysis, Discussion, and Some Remedies.”   There you can compare your insights, hunches, and answers (to the  three questions above) with the analyses I have generated.   My hope is that this   booklet will increase  understanding of the solo phenomenon  and prompt a variety of leaders to immediately reduce the unfair stressors and complex dynamics that solos so often confront. 



“A” Scenario:   A Solo Woman in Chemistry and her Male Colleague in Law

“B” Scenario:   Two Early-Career Faculty (in Philosophy and Economics) Talk About Leaving

“C” Scenario:   Dialogue  Between an External Mentor and a  First-Year Mentee in History

“D” Scenario:   Engineering Department Chair and Dean and their Conversation  “E” Scenario:   Senior Solo and Junior Solo in the Same Medical Department   

“F” Scenario: Two Very Different Departmental Cultures: Their Effects on Solos  (serves as summary of the booklet).

HOW TO ORDER "SOLO FACULTY" BOOKLET  (44 pages; 8 1/2 by 11)
Email the following information to jamoody83@gmail.com
1. Your Name and Title
2. Your Department and Institution
3. Your Mailing Address (building, street, etc.)
4. Your Phone and Email Address
5. Number of Copies you are ordering.
Cost of "Solo Faculty":  $9 each but $8 each for orders over 25. Plus modest charge for handling and shipping. Invoice will be enclosed with the shipment. Payment will be due within 30 days. Sorry, no credit cards.