Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

The Specter of Academic Employment: The Diversity Statement

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

The Specter of Academic Employment: The Diversity Statement

Article excerpt

A colleague of mine shared with me a blog post titled, "Making Sense of the Diversity Statement," by Karen Kelsky. In it, the author shared that in application requirements for faculty positions, there now seems to be a new requirement of providing a diversity statement as part of the application packet. The lead-in quote offers a look-over-your-shoulder cautioning: "This year, all of a sudden, every application is asking for some kind of diversity statement. What should I do?" Oh how reminiscent of the 1980s scary verse, One, two, Freddy's coming for you! Perhaps not so extreme, but, clearly, as the author shares, she receives inquiries as to what to do on a weekly basis.

A cursory review of current announcements for faculty positions from The Chronicle of Higher Education and HigherEdJobs.com yielded no requests for diversity statements of any kind. While it would have been impossible and exceptionally time consuming to review every position available, a sampling from across the fields, ranks, institutional size and geographic location did not overwhelm me with any more than the typical requested materials: resume/curriculum vita, references and the application. This is not to say they didn't exist; I just wasn't overwhelmed by them. The same was true for position announcements in student affairs, a field noted for promoting and championing diversity in all of its variety. Aside from a position for an Upward Bound counselor, there was clearly an absence of the request for a diversity statement. This was true even for positions with diversity, multiculturalism, working with women, working with veterans and admitting underserved students as the focus.

If requesting a diversity statement is a trend, it is slow to catch fire. The author does provide a great example for those who find themselves face to face with the daunting task of producing a single-page response to the value diversity brings to our workplace, our students, and our lives. It shouldn't be too hard to conjure up a series of paragraphs. After all, almost all of our institutions have proclamations on diversity in mission statements, admissions brochures and on departmental websites. …

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