Profiles in Diversity Journal Second Quarter 2022

Page 27


Worth Watching





Nicholas D. Hartlep, PhD Robert Charles Billings Endowed Chair in Education & Education Studies Department Chair

Why I Don’t Wish to “Assimilate” As a Korean department chair in the field of teacher education, I am very aware that there is a shortage of Asian leaders in U.S. higher education. I have made the choice to serve as a department chair to model to other Asian Americans that they can and should also serve in this capacity or even a higher-level leadership position. I have the privilege of serving as the chair of the Education Studies Department at Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college of the South. Based on the data I have read, I believe we need more department chairs, associate deans, and deans who are Asian American in the field of teacher education. In 1991, Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic wrote a law-review article entitled, “Derrick Bell’s Chronicle of the Space Traders: Would the U.S. Sacrifice People of Color if the Price were Right.” In their article, they write that “Storytelling is essential for social movement, precisely because it insists that our choice of narrative matters.” The counterstory I would like to share, and one that I have experienced personally, is that, the higher a leader ascends within an organization chart, the more he or she will be asked to assimilate. I don’t wish to assimilate. The best advice I ever received was to be comfortable being myself. If leaders allow themselves to become something they are not, they actually shortchange themselves. Changing who you are in order to be hired is not something I would ever do. The narrative I would like to share with readers of Profiles in Diversity Journal is that being an “Asian Leader Worth Watching” is extremely tiring, especially since Asians are not viewed as being leaders in U.S. higher education in the first place. Despite this challenge, more Asian Americans are needed in the field of higher education for this very same reason. Asian Americans ought to apply for leadership positions and reapply until they are hired. These individuals will need to move from entry-level leadership roles to executive-level leadership roles. Thank you, Dr. Sydney Freeman, Jr. for nominating me and thank you, Profiles in Diversity Journal for the public recognition for being an “Asian Leader Worth Watching.”

Job Title: Robert Charles Billings Endowed Chair in Education & Education Studies Department Chair Education: PhD, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; MSEd, Winona State University; BSEd, Winona State University Company Name: Berea College Industry: Higher Education Company CEO: Dr. Lyle Roelofs, President Company Headquarters Location: Berea, Kentucky Number of Employees: 862 Your Location (if different from above): Lexington, Kentucky Words you live by: “I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.” – Toni Morrison Who is your personal hero? My wife What book are you reading? The Inequality Machine: How College Divides Us by Paul Tough What was your first job: Golf caddie Favorite charity: Habitat for Humanity Interests: Reading, and watching children play sports Family: Stacey Hartlep (Wife), Chloe Hartlep (Daughter), Avery Hartlep (Daughter), and Olivia Hartlep (Daughter)

2022 Second Quarter