Article excerpt

In New York State and nationwide, we live in an increasingly diverse society. The richness of this diversity is exemplified by the differences of our intellectual disciplines, races and ethnicities, genders, ages, faiths, sexual orientations, political perspectives, social and cultural experiences, learning styles, nationalities, talents, and challenges. Seeing our world through someone else's "lens" can help us understand the nuances of our own lenses more deeply and clearly. But it may also be surprising, perhaps uncomfortable, and even, at times, threatening. Contributing to these challenges is our need to recognize with courage and honesty that some of us are and have been privileged in our society precisely because of our "difference." Recognizing the ways in which such privileging affects those privileged and those not is difficult. Nevertheless, it is worth the effort not because it may permanently change our own lenses but because we may be able to understand better the perspectives of others and gain the skills to navigate our ever-changing world. The globalization of our economy and our society makes acknowledging and understanding our diversity an urgent priority. More and more, dealing with the world means dealing with people from backgrounds and orientations other than our own.

Thus, to meet our college's mission "to anticipate and respond to human needs," we must ensure that we understand, value, and promote diversity in our teaching, research, and outreach education. Our graduates must share in this understanding of diversity and its value so that they are able to work and live as effective members of diverse workplaces and communities. Our curriculum must include theoretical and experiential learning opportunities that enable our students to deepen their understanding of diversity and develop the skills needed to appreciate it and use it effectively. …


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