Comparative Analysis of Cultural Diversity and Multiculturalism in Colleges and Universities

Article excerpt

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This article is a comparative analysis of multicultural and cultural diversity models in colleges and universities. The research undertaken revealed that significant differences in managerial approaches by application of two sets of models. Specifically, with regard to the socio-cultural and econo-political deficiency of cultural diversity and professional meritocratic efficiency of multiculturalism, both sets of models were generally concerned about justice and fairness systems through different perspectives. Analysis of perceptual similarities and differences, however, revealed that more variable perceptions exist between these two sets of models. Although both sets of models consistently placed greater emphasis on the issues of competitive justness, the multicultural management system showed more tendencies to emphasize the similarities that promote competitive fairness in institutional constituencies.

Keywords: Meritocracy; Cultural Diversity; Multiculturalism; Academic Massification; Academic Elitism

INTRODUCTION

During the half of the past century, we have witnessed technological innovations, scientific advances, knowledge exploration, and tremendous changes in all societal aspects of human life. We have observed major demographical mobility and an increased emphasis on access to higher education for socially, economically, and educationally disadvantaged youths. The twenty-first century is the time of greater changes. In an era of unprecedented change, the very nature of the twenty-first century's societies are dramatically changing. Not only are we witnessing the revision of our traditional visions and concepts about the ecological and social status of an individual, but also, we are urged to restructure higher educational systems within the context of distance learning through on-line course and degree offerings. Distance learning through online course offerings has transformed sources of knowledge-power to individual learners quickly. In another decade, there may be multiple sources of learning that will become saturated. The distance learning's empowerment of individuals has changed the very nature and core of teaching and learning endeavors. As Chen (2001: 25) indicated: "Although distance learning has existed for some time, the Internet makes it possible to combine text with audio/video, and allows interaction in real time via E-mail and discussion groups. This could lead to substation where the advantages of tuition over the Internet outweigh those offered by local institutions." From another view, proactive thoughts and behavior for planned changes within an established higher educational system may be less likely than traditionally proposed. The cultural versions of traditional academic philosophy and the Internet distance learning as the new and the old signs of progress seldom co-exist. The primary role of peripherally isolated higher educational systems in the evolution of the new institutional forms is in the creation of new patterns and forms related to problematic criteria for management of colleges and universities. In addition, evolutionary perspective of modern life has provided insight into the analysis of change in human nature. Evolutionary theory has recently undergone theoretical changes resulting in the reconceptualizing the nature of the systems, the locus of changes, and the models by which changes occur within living systems (Svyantek and Hendrick, 1988). This article attempts to probe certain coherent evolutionary development of causes and effects of the twenty first century human's images with an extension to the innovative restructuring of college and university strategic management, strategic planning, and strategic policy.

As the twenty first century has begun, not only must we take a new look at individual life style and our images concerning global citizenship, but we must also pay attention to the reorganization of societal organizations, especially higher educational systems. …