The academic dimension of diversity

Last night as I was helping my daughter pack her suitcase for a high school band trip, I noticed one of my favorite books lying on her bed: Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston. I remember reading it as a college student and having part of the early 20th century African-American experience opened to me.

It made me think what a gift we give our students when the curriculum exposes them to different ways of knowing, being, and experiencing the world.

In our colleges and universities, we have a great opportunity to integrate diversity into the academic domain through research, teaching, and student life. Here are a few approaches that can help:

  1. Supporting research that includes diverse voices and frameworks
  2. Ensuring that the curriculum in every discipline reflects a broad range of viewpoints, such as:
    1. including cross-cultural focuses in a social work course
    2. reflecting on minority interpretations of events in a history course 
    3. assessing the cultural implications of laws in political science 
  3. Encouraging cultural student programming and diverse student groups on campus

Diversity graphic

When you think about your role as a leader, how can you use your influence to ensure that equity and diversity are addressed in the academic domain to benefit student learning and student life?

Anita Rios

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