Needing to Be Seen, Longing to Be Heard: Empowering Educators of Color Through Affinity Groups

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



While research indicates doctoral students of color need to be better supported by their institutions, there is a lack of well-aligned practices within the literature that targets specific support for doctoral students of color. This chapter reports the findings of a participatory action research study conducted with educators of color by utilizing affinity groups as an empowerment mechanism to provide well-aligned and appropriate support to improve the retention rates of educators of color within school districts and their academic programs. The study's results revealed educators of color require targeted support, including a safe space, validation, cultural understanding, and mentorship. Once provided with these targeted supports, educators of color gain internal empowerment, further developing a sense of advocacy. Both support and advocacy motivated participants in the study to stay in the education profession and persist through their doctoral studies. The chapter concludes with an empowerment framework to support educators of color and, by extension, graduate students of color.


Chapter in Best Practices and Programmatic Approaches for Mentoring Educational Leaders. ISBN 9781668460498 (hardcover); 9781668460504 (ebook); 9781668460535 (pbk.)

Marissa White is a graduate of the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) program at Sacred Heart University.