State Higher-Education Officials Wrestle With Calls for Diversity and Inclusion

  • 2016-08-22
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education

The recent police shootings of unarmed black men in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis, among others, are likely to spur student protests against racism when the fall semester begins. And with those protests will come more demands for racial diversity and inclusion on campuses, including calls for recruiting more students and faculty members from minority groups, and for incorporating those issues broadly in the curriculum.

College leaders gathered [in Pittsburgh] for the annual meeting of the State Higher Education Executive Officers widely acknowledge the need for those measures. But even as institutions try to increase their racial and socioeconomic diversity, some people are advising that the goal of such efforts needs to go beyond just bringing more minority and low-income students to a campus with the idea that the college is doing them a favor.

Diversity is largely presented as a positive opportunity for disadvantaged students, and that’s good, said Tim Gallimore, associate vice president for academic planning and state authorization at the University of North Carolina system, who spoke on a panel at the meeting. But another crucial goal of diversity has to be to change the views and perceptions of those in the majority, he said — especially those who control the power structure in higher education.