Valuing diversity, Part 2

For the next few months, we will look at the MnSCU leadership competencies associated with Leader as Relationship Builder.  Our March focus is on valuing diversity.  We’re pleased to start off with a two-part post by guest blogger Ka Vang, Diversity Programs Director.

How can leaders respond to diversity?

As leaders in higher education, we cannot ignore the changing demographic of Minnesota and the United States, which is directly impacting our system workforce and students.

  • In 2004, 1 of every 2.5 Americans was a person of color and 1 of every 1.5 children under 9-years-old was a person of color (U.S. Census Bureau).
  • Hispanic population is expected to triple from 2010 to 2050 (Pew Research Center).
  • By 2050, nearly half of the U.S. populations will be non-whites (WorkforceDiversityNetwork.com).
  • Non-whites are the majority in a significant portion of the largest 100 cities in the United States (WorkforceDiversityNetwork.com).
  • There may be up to five generations of employees in the workplace (Society for Human Resource Management).

How can leaders address the changing demographics? How do we demonstrate that we value diversity?  One solution that has worked at various higher education institutions is called the Diversity Scorecard. This model allows for strategic actions to be performed based on precise data, rather than assumptions and anecdotal evidence.  In this age of evidence-based strategic planning and outcomes, the Diversity Scorecard engages higher education institutions to bring about equity by doing the following three things:

  • Awareness: Engage in institutional self-assessment to provide a clear and unambiguous picture of inequities.
  • Interpretation: Analyze and integrate the meaning of the inequities.
  • Action: Develop strategic actions to achieve equity in educational outcomes based on data, not assumptions.

The Diversity Scorecard approach examines data through four perspectives:

  • Access
  • Retention
  • Excellence
  • Institutional Receptivity

For more information on the Diversity Scorecard:

University of Wisconsin – library of articles on the Diversity Scorecard

University of Southern California – The Center for Urban Education in the Rossier School of Education

Reflecting on the scenario in Part 1, using this approach will help you have clear and concise answers  for the reporter who asks you if you value diversity as a leaders – one that comes from the heart.

Ka Vang

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3 responses to “Valuing diversity, Part 2

  1. Thanks for your post, Ka and for agreeing to be our first guest blogger! Can you give us some examples of strategic actions that institutions have implemented based on data?

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  2. Anita, I can give you an example from one of our MnSCU schools. At one of our schools in greater Minnesota, leadership noticed after evaluating student retention data that students who iniatially entered college taking remedial courses were not successful taking non-remedial courses (college-level courses). It was as though those students could not transition from the remedial courses to regular college courses. The result was students dropping out of school. So the college created a summer academy for the students who took the highest remedial courses for English and Math to transition them successfully into college level coursework. The school paid for Math and English instructors with system Access, Success and Opportunities grant money. The expectation was for the student participants to get a C+ or better in remedial Math and English classes by providing 50 minutes of tutored study time after the remedial classes twice a week. Students who participated in the study time and successfully completed the classes were awarded the subsequent College Level book the following semester. The school noticed an increase retention from students who went through the summer academy compared to their like-peers who did not attend the summer academy.

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