There continues to be a gap between the growing, racially diverse student body and predominantly White faculty and staff members who work with students. As of 2004, the populations of faculty, staff, and administrators are still disproportionately dominated by White Americans. This qualitative study investigated how an institution can better retain staff members of color by seeking to understand the difficulties faced by staff of color and what circumstances led them to leave or stay at their institution and what work environments influence that decision. Participants of this study consisted of 18 current and past staff members of color from one university within the Midwestern United States. Findings from this study contribute to the limited research on professional staff members of color in higher education. The experiences shared by participants are organized into four categories: (1) the impact of a negative environment, (2) "the invisible employee", (3) support, or the lack thereof, and (4) navigating the institution. Findings of this study suggest that staff members of color's experiences are greatly impacted by the campus climate and issues of racial diversity are placed upon them to solve or cope with on their own. The theme of isolation was also nuanced throughout the stories of participants. Recommendations developed from findings and participant suggestions are presented at the conclusion of the article to inform institutions, particularly predominantly White institutions, on ways to ensure retention of staff members of color.


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pp. 109-123
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