importance of diversity in higher education

Embracing diversity means accepting differences in others. The New York Times’ project on immigration highlights the fact that, since the 1990s, Hispanic and Asian student enrollment in American schools has risen by more than five million, greatly impacting educational and social development at all levels of learning. The agencies also hosted an interagency listening session for education, housing, and transportation leaders at the U.S. Department of Education's headquarters in Washington, D.C. Despite the decades that have passed, I vividly remember a freshman year conversation with an African student from Ghana who revealed (quite surprisingly to me) that he felt he had little in common with the African American students on campus. In these debates over merit and diversity, or fairness and social mobility, one thing seems to be a given: maintaining diversity in higher education matters significantly to universities. Understanding the character of students is important in order to become a competent teacher. Taking these feel-good ideals and making them a reality can be tough for educators, especially with so many other initiatives on their ever-tighter schedules. Then in the 1920s, at the height of the racial caste system known as “Jim Crow,” the U.S. government embraced new policies promoted by eugenicists. Our manuscripts address the experiences and outcomes of individuals from underrepresented and underserved communities, focusing on institutional barriers and challenges, patterns of access and achievement, and the impact of … The Trump administration has accelerated federal executions since the November elections. Juan Miró is Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and David Bruton, Jr. Centennial Professor in Urban Studies at the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. Jesus appears in hundreds of songs in every secular genre. Today, diversity in higher education is the norm, as students display a high degree of diversity in terms of age, ethnicity, native languages, religion beliefs, family responsibilities, socio-economic status, academic preparation, learning styles, abilities… Grant attempts to use science to justify racism. Another reason is based on the idea that diversity enriches the educational experience of all students on campus, not just minorities. Similarly, Gregory L. Fenves, president of the University of Texas at Austin, noted how the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 “affirmed the University of Texas’ efforts to enroll a diverse student body.” He also stated that “diversity is essential” to the university’s efforts to provide the highest quality education. An important explanation for why diversity matters in U.S. colleges and universities is that attending a diverse university will better prepare students for the future labor force. Through culturally diverse classroom … They also included forced sterilization programs. We define diversity, equity, and inclusion based on language from the D5 Coalition, Racial Equity Tools Glossary, and UC Berkeley:Diversity includes all the ways in which people differ, encompassing the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. Promoting Participation in a Diverse Democracy: A Meta-Analysis of College Diversity Experiences and Civic Engagement. Thus, colleges and universities with a strong record for attracting and retaining diverse students and faculty may be attracting the best candidates, overall. Indeed, higher education, a sector that leads in so many areas, still has much progress to make in leading the way for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Higher education institutions are facing student populations with increasing diverse academic and non-academic needs (LaRocco, Anderson & Archambault, 2013). In addition to the reasons above, we believe that diversity is also an ethical obligation of American universities. In 2014, U.S. public schools hit a minority majority milestone with Latino, African-American, and Asian students having surpassed the number of … The Importance of Diversity & Cultural Awareness in the Classroom Drexel University School of Education Cultural diversity in the classroom is on the rise. To raise broad-minded and well-educated children we need to teach them to stand up to intolerance and discrimination and to reject stereotypes. Advocates for diversity in higher education emphasize a variety of reasons. Some projections suggest that by 2050 half of all U.S. workers will be people of color, and the percent of Muslim adherents in the U.S. population will double (Stafford and Griffis 2008). These campus protests have drawn further attention to the issue of diversity, and they have forced those of us in the Department of Sociology at the University of Tennessee to better articulate the value of diversity to our students. Join –Consider joining a campus committee to further DEI planning and practices at your institution. Bowman, Nicholas. For most college professors, research is an important component of their work. We believe it is time for universities to undertake a discussion about this disturbing chapter of their history – a time when their own community led the development of white supremacist ideologies. The Importance Of Diversity In Higher Education. Diversity Promotes Creativity At its core, creativity is all about bringing together different ideas and transforming them to make something new, unique, and personal. Advocates for diversity in higher education emphasize a variety of reasons. At the beginning of the 20th century, many administrators, alumni and faculty members from American universities were at the forefront of the eugenics movement, a pseudoscience that sought to improve the genetic qualities of human populations by selective breeding. Like it or not, there has always been diversity among students in the classroom. It is also timely to reflect on the extraordinary impact universities can have in our nation and the world. Student bodies are no longer composed of primarily male, White students. Interracial marriage was still forbidden in 16 states when it was declared unconstitutional in 1967. Most college and university leaders recognize the importance of the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work being done on their campuses, but that doesn't always mean the work is happening for the right reasons or leading to the right results. Spread the loveSchool climate and school culture directly impact student success. Until law firms start making that an intentional part of what they do, diversity in the higher ranks is going to consistently be an issue. This commitment is reflected in ACE’s positions on public policy, its programmatic activities, and its Minority students and faculty will scrutinize opportunities at less diverse institutions more carefully than opportunities at fully integrated institutions. A norm is a socially constructed concept which forces so many people to hide who they are so that they could blend in. Diverse views, which arise from divergent human experiences, stimulate innovation. Our nation is changing, and our higher education institutions need to reflect this diversity. In 1896 the U.S. Supreme Court had paved the way for segregation when it ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that keeping races “separate but equal” was constitutional. Developing shared understandings among people of different races, religions, gender orientations, and identities goes a long way toward reducing prejudice and increasing tolerance. At the same time, despite idealistic aspirations and concrete progress, inequities in higher education persist. As a result, it is particularly important for the school culture (and the classroom culture) to reflect, acknowledge, and celebrate diversity. They believed the immigration of these groups to the U.S. should be curtailed. Stafford, Darlene E. and Henry S. Griffis. At the same time, we can be hopeful that the act of protesting can help to bring attention to and change these environments. An important explanation for why diversity matters in U.S. colleges and universities is that attending a diverse university will better prepare students for the future labor force. These programs affected all racial groups but especially targeted women, minorities and the poor. They spoke of the “yellow peril,” the “flooding of the nation with foreign scum” and the arrival of “defectives, delinquents and dependents.” These views are not unlike President Trump’s recent complaints about Mexico sending “rapists” and “criminals,” or about admitting people into the U.S. from “shithole countries.”. Southern Baptist seminary presidents double down on bad theology on race. Research has shown that improving the diversity of university faculty and staff is important: It improves the learning outcomes of students (Milem, 2003) while also creating a more inclusive campus climate where incidents of discrimination and bias are less prevalent (U.S. Department of Education, 2016). The movement was led by presidents of elite private institutions like Harvard, Yale and Stanford, and also at public universities like Michigan and Wisconsin. They considered immigration and racial mixing a threat. This is important for educators and institutions if they need another reason to have a diverse faculty. With the Immigration Act of 1924, Congress implemented quotas that favored immigration from Northern Europe and drastically reduced arrivals of Eastern European, Jews, Italians and Africans. 2011. Diversity matters in education because no one should have to feel embarrassed of who they are. “The Nordic race will vanish or lose its dominance,” renowned Yale professor and economist Irving Fisher warned in 1921. It was only after the Holocaust that the U.S., rather slowly, abandoned its own eugenicist policies. The fact that thinkers from prestigious American universities provided the intellectual foundations for Hitler’s racial cleansing policies is scarcely mentioned in our country. The eugenics movement also actively advocated in Congress for policies to prevent immigration by “undesirable” racial and ethnic groups. Harvard University stated that it plans to continue to use race as an admission factor to “create a diverse campus community where students from all walks of life have an opportunity to learn from and with each other.”. Show More. Taking a faculty position at a college where minority assistant professors are regularly tenured and promoted is less risky than taking a chance at a more homogeneous institution. The work of racial justice and the 2020 election. They range from business oriented considerations, like the need for a diverse and well-educated workforce to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse marketplace or the belief that diversity fosters innovation and creativity. That diversity comes with a host of benefits at all levels of education and in the workforce. Thus, in reality, there is a great diversity of perspectives within members of the same race, the same ethnicity, the same gender orientation, and the same religion. Chief diversity officers have become increasingly common across leading institutions of higher education, driven by the push to create more diverse, inclusive and equitable environments for the benefit of all members of the community. Clearly, there is value in learning first hand that all Latinos are not immigrants, all African Americans do not share the same political perspectives, and all gay men do not act alike. Stephanie A. Bohon, University of Tennessee, A publication of the American Sociological Association, Copyright © American Sociological Association. their families, and the press. A New York Times article describes the renewed concerns of many universities that they will face a difficult and costly path toward maintaining diverse student bodies if race-based affirmative action were to be struck … Eugenicists advocated effectively for forced sterilization in court cases that remained the law of the land for decades. In a diverse college, students who were raised with deep-seated prejudices may learn that they have surprisingly similar beliefs and interests with students who appear, on the surface, different from them. A century after the misguided eugenics movement took a hold of higher education in the U.S., most universities now actively work to be inclusive and diverse. Yet children today still grow up in racially segregated and class homogeneous places where they play, go to school, and attend religious services with others who are like them. In fact, teachers should be aware and recognize … Accordingly, they regarded Africans, Asians and even Southern and Eastern Europeans as inferior. As the U.S. Department of Education notes, students’ experiences with diversity help mold them into more engaged citizens. Diversity can alleviate pressure to follow the norm. From every circumstance, students bring a varying set of values, perspectives, and beliefs to the learning environment. In 1916 he published “The Passing of the Great Race,” widely considered the most influential eugenics book. College is often the first opportunity young people have to interact with people who are different, and these interactions make them worldlier and better prepared for a globalized work force. Organizational researchers have consistently shown that new ideas are better fomented in diverse work teams, so faculty members who are surrounded by a great variety of colleagues with whom they can collaborate often have a creative edge. Diversity in education represents a broad range of ideas and initiatives to create learning environments that are safe, inclusive and equitable for as many identities as possible. Moreover, the current and future health of our nation—economic and otherwise—requires that the whole of our population have equitable access to sources of opportunity. Unless otherwise noted, all material © Sojourners 2020, advocate policy preferences and positions beyond the requirements of the Constitution, “affirmed the University of Texas’ efforts to enroll a diverse student body, admitting people into the U.S. from “shithole countries.”, led the development of white supremacist ideologies, Jesus Shows Up In Discos, Honky-Tonks, Blues Bars, and Strip Clubs, Faith Leaders: Trump's Rushed Executions Show ‘Blatant Disregard’ for Life. What’s important, however, is why those universities are trying so hard to maximize diversity — even though no law requires it, and in several states affirmative action is explicitly forbidden. Recognizing, fostering and developing sensitivity to the needs of people in various identity categories are primary aims of educational diversity. The book was translated to German and after he became Fürher, Adolf Hitler wrote a fan letter to Grant thanking him and praising the book as “his Bible.”. One reason colleges value diversity is different perspectives allow students to learn from one another. … This vision became enshrined in the Declaration of Independence when it proclaimed that “all men are created equal.”. Why is Diversity Important on College Campuses? By using sojo.net you agree to our Privacy Policy, The Trump administration recently announced plans to scrap Obama-era guidelines that encouraged universities to consider race as a factor to promote diversity on campus, claiming the guidelines “advocate policy preferences and positions beyond the requirements of the Constitution.”. At the same time, universities can reproduce inequalities. The Work Before Us In this episode of the Harvard EdCast, Richard Reddick discusses the expansion of DEI initiatives in higher education, the rise of diversity work as a profession, and how … Diversity in education is a wonderful opportunity to create a better sense of community for our kids. Witnessing these differences is important. The pursuit of diversity now can help universities make amends for aggressive anti-diversity practices of the recent past. Research has shown that diversity experiences are associated with increases in civic attitudes (Bowman). We value your feedback! The Importance Of Diversity In Higher Education. Those smaller things are [some of] the reasons why people feel included and like they are part of the team. 2008. Campus cultural diversity enriches the educational experience. Some projections suggest that by 2050 half of all U.S. workers will be people of color, and the percent of Muslim adherents in the U.S. population will double (Stafford and Griffis 2008). Colleges for a long time have had a lack of diversity on their campuses. Those policies included new anti-miscegenation laws that criminalized interracial marriage. It completely stopped immigration from Asia. A less common, but equally important argument for the value of diversity in higher education is that there is diversity in diversity. On the Importance of Diversity in Higher Education The American Council on Education (ACE) has a longstanding record of commitment to access to higher education for all qualified Americans and to the advancement of equal educational opportunity. But, why is diversity essential for the educational mission of U.S. universities? The eugenecists’ ideas may not have predated the racial prejudices and segregationist practices that existed in the United States, but they provided academic validity to help sustain those prejudices and practices. Quite the contrary, they fostered ideas that promoted racial disparagement and exclusion, causing great harm to the country in ways that we must still deal with today. Students report less discrimination and bias at institutions where they perceive a higher … Some university leaders immediately went on the defense. For them, the Nordic “race” – that is, people from Northern Europe, like Anglo-Americans – was the master race. Such inclusion simultaneously (1) creates more equitable opportunities for students from marginalized groups to participate in higher education and (2) promotes the kinds of outcomes for all students that employers and society need, such as complex thinking skills, the ability to work across difference, increased civic participation, and decreased prejudice (see, for example, National Leadership Council … Some estimates show that half of America’s current workforce now passes through college first and 75 percent of students in high school spend at least some time studying in a higher education setting. If educators of different cultural backgrounds are aware that the educational institution openly hires those of diverse cultures, they are … In addition, their college education experience must be enhanced, not just for underrepresented populations, but for the student body as a whole. Rev. Eugenicists were anti-diversity. It is the fact that each and every student is unique. This is one reason that federal funding agencies like the National Science Foundation put a premium on projects that involve a diverse set of investigators. A misguided perception of racial diversity (just one form of diversity), is that people of one race bring a different perspective to an environment than people of another race. Numerous campus protests recently at Princeton, Harvard, Missouri, Brown, Yale, Cincinnati, Tennessee, and elsewhere have drawn attention to the ways in which university conditions can promote fear, injustice, violence, and abuse. “A review of millennial genderation characteristics and military workforce implications.” Center for Naval Analysis, http://www.cna.org/documents D 18211. We believe that promoting diversity in our campuses helps fulfill the inclusive vision that gave birth to our nation. The future of access to higher education for many minorities may be in peril depending on the Supreme Court's ruling in the affirmative action case Fisher v.University of Texas that will determine the status of affirmative action policies. Chief among such sources of opportunity is higher education. It is the very people who are the most committed to doing diversity work who are experiencing this diversity fatigue. They must embrace their renewed values and help lead our nation toward a more just and equitable future. Universities can be sites for important social change. More than … We write not only as professors but as higher education administrators with a keen interest in diversity on campus. These policies were developed to reverse fears of what President Theodore Roosevelt called “race suicide” or the dwindling of the Anglo-American “stock.”, New York lawyer Madison Grant, a graduate of Yale and Columbia, was a prominent eugenicist and friend of President Theodore Roosevelt. Beyond teaching eugenics on campus – 376 American colleges were offering courses on the subject by the late 1920s – these academic leaders and their followers worked hard to take eugenics ideas mainstream – and did so “with considerable effect,” according to Harvard Magazine. They range from business oriented considerations, like the need for a diverse and well-educated workforce to meet … Coerced or involuntary sterilizations continued to happen into the 1970s. 8, No. 1; 2018 ISSN 1925-4741 E-ISSN 1925-475X Published by Canadian Center of Science and Education 9 Preparing Teachers for Diversity: A Literature Review and Implications from Community-Based Teacher Education Huanshu Yuan1 1University of Washington, USA At the University of Tennessee, cutting funding for the Office of Equity and Diversity sends a message that diversity is not a priority. The problems of diversity at many institutions of higher education begin with access. While it may be assumed that it is important to have viewpoints from all races, this perspective fails to recognize that, although we can see differences in the averages across groups, individual members of a group are unlikely to be average. The historical images of the desegregation of universities in Alabama, Arkansas, and Georgia are iconic reminders that public institutions of higher learning were some of the first sites of U.S. integration. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education largely publishes empirical research focused on issues related to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in post-secondary environments. Higher Education Studies; Vol. On April 22, 2016, the Tennessee legislature voted to cut all state appropriations for the Office of Equity and Diversity at the state’s flagship university. Mariama White-Hammond , founding pastor of New Roots AME Church in Dorchester, Mass., offers a sermon on the Genesis creation story and our role in that story. Sadly, the “all men are created equal” proclamation was not a guiding principle for our universities not so long ago. Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi shows that in the darkness of loss, there can be great meaning in the searching. Edmund T. Gordon is the Vice President for Diversity and Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies Department at the University of Texas at Austin. Eugenicists championed ideas of racial superiority. The session addresses the need for increased diversity in our schools and neighborhoods, and … Since the April decision, students, faculty, and staff at the University of Tennessee have repeatedly rallied in protest. According to the National Viewpoint: The Importance of Hiring a Diverse Faculty report, “Diversifying the faculty reduces the amount of discrimination claims. A significant strength of the American higher education system (Morphew, 2009), institutional diversity as an “ideological pillar” (Birnbaum, 1983, p. ix), has allowed postsecondary institutions to more effectively serve a diverse student population and their needs; it has both afforded opportunities to those historically underserved as well as removed barriers to both access and entry. There has been a discussion over the process of admission to college in the past decade. Students who are exposed to diversity and inclusion curriculum in the classroom will be able to explore social problems and improve their critical thinking skills. Universities can and should foster an atmosphere where tolerance and understanding are generated through safe spaces where interactions between different people are the norm. Got something to say about what you're reading? For the university, diversity is also important. Reducing hate-related violence by enhancing understanding is a laudable goal of any institution of higher learning, especially in our current era of divisiveness and mistrust. For instance, black students were not admitted to the University of Texas and many other universities until the 1950s, and lack of black representation among students and faculty remains an issue. Review of Educational Research, 81(1), 29-68. I had assumed that race was a great connector and was surprised that other factors may matter more. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Education, student-body diversity in higher education is important not only for improving economic and educational opportunities for students of color, but also for the social, academic, and societal benefits it presents for all students and communities. 1055 Words null Page. Organizational researchers have consistently shown that new ideas are better fomented in diverse work teams, so faculty members who are surrounded by a great variety of colleagues with whom they can collaborate often have a creative edge. Diversity gives people confidence and makes them proud to share who they are. This move came as a blow to a university struggling to create a more welcoming gender, religious, and racial environment for students, faculty, and staff in Central Appalachia—a region with a long history of intolerance. And the movement succeeded. 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