Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Compelling Enough to Diversify

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Compelling Enough to Diversify

Article excerpt

Diversity is what everyone is talking about these days. In fact, I recently read a Washington Post transcript for an online chat about work-force diversity where the expert fielding questions was asked to stick around longer because there were so many questions.

Most people say they support the idea of diversity; however, diversity-training seminars in the workplace often are not well received by employees. Many people feel as if they are forced to attend such events, and most believe they already know everything about the topic, particularly if they happen to be associated with someone of another ethnicity. When there is backlash or resentment, it usually stems from the fact that people are opposed to what they consider to be "forced" diversity. In an ideal world, schools, companies and neighborhoods would naturally be diverse, but more often than not, proactive efforts have to be taken.

However, those that are serious about having a diverse work force or student body are always looking for the best ways to achieve such an environment, which is why we decided to publish this "Focus on Diversity" special report. Some institutions struggle to attract people from various backgrounds, while others make achieving diversity look effortless. In one of the stories in this edition, Dr. Gail Kettlewell of George Mason University says, "Diversity has to be part of your mission statement ... nothing less will do."

Regardless of what one thinks about diversity, it is an issue that is here to stay, especially with this country's changing demographics. Community colleges have long been institutions that attract students and faculty from a variety of backgrounds. Their overall accessibility and by the nature of all that they do, from granting degrees to providing continuing education courses, not to mention their relatively low cost, achieving diversity has not been a problem for these institutions. …

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