Promoting Diversity: Recommedations for Recruitment and Retention of Minorities in Higher Education

By Dumas-Hines, Frances A.; Cochran, Lessie L. et al. | College Student Journal, September 2001 | Go to article overview
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Promoting Diversity: Recommedations for Recruitment and Retention of Minorities in Higher Education


Dumas-Hines, Frances A., Cochran, Lessie L., Williams, Ellen U., College Student Journal


Many institutions of higher education are facing the challenge of finding ways to diversify their campuses. The purpose of this paper is to provide recommendations for recruitment and retention of faculty and students at institutions of higher learning. These recommendations are based on a review of literature and research conducted on 29 universities in Midwestern United States. Specific suggestions and examples are provided for the following strategies: (1) Develop a university-wide philosophy statement that encourages cultural diversity.(2) Analyze the cultural diverse faculty and student composition on campus and set goals for enhancing diversity. (3) Conduct research on best practices/programs/activities that promote recruitment and retention of culturally diverse faculty and students. (4) Develop, implement, and evaluate a comprehensive plan for recruitment/retention activities that focus on enhancing cultural diversity on campus among faculty and student populations.

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Higher education institutions throughout the United States are facing the challenge of colorizing their campuses. Learned societies such as the Association of American Universities, the American Association of University Professors and the American Council on Education publicly support greater diversification in higher education.

   "The questions confronting the academy are whether diversity is a
   legitimate goal; whether achieving a diverse student [or faculty body] is
   an educational value; and what is the educational role and purpose of
   higher education" (Wilson, 1995, p. 19).

This article provides recommendations for higher education to address the challenge of diversifying its student and faculty populations. The following recommendations are based on a review of the literature as well as on the results of a research study conducted on 29 universities in Midwestern United States:

1. Develop a university-wide philosophy statement that encourages cultural diversity.

2. Analyze the cultural diverse faculty and student composition on campus and set goals for enhancing diversity.

3. Conduct research on best practices/programs/activities that promote recruitment and retention of culturally diverse faculty and students.

4. Develop, implement, and evaluate a comprehensive plan for recruitment/retention activities that focus on enhancing cultural diversity on campus among faculty and student populations.

Each of these recommendations will be expanded upon in the following sections.

Developing a University-Wide Philosophy Statement

A good beginning for addressing cultural diversity on campus is for the university to adopt a mission statement overtly embracing cultural diversity. This mission statement should emphasize a campus philosophy/climate that is open to diversity. Potential examples of such statements follow:

* The mission of the University is to provide a culturally diverse learning environment that promotes personal, intellectual, ethical and spiritual excellence through sensitivity, sound judgment, tolerance and respect for all persons, cultures and ideas.

* The mission of the University is to prepare a multiculturally diverse community of learners to live in a society that supports equity and diversity.

* The mission of our University is to promote equity for all students from entry/admissions to exit/graduation.

* Our University seeks to serve societal well-being by advocating diversity and fostering equal opportunity for all citizens to participate in a democratic public sphere.

* The purpose of the University is to develop an environment that honors diversity by creeating a heterogeneous community where all individuals can maintain integrity of identity, learn from other cultures, and share equal participation in the larger community.

It is not enough for universities to develop mission statements that support campus diversity.

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