Welcome to this first issue of Diversity Digest. This new quarterly newsletter will help connect the growing web of leaders and learners who understand that excellence in higher education is inextricably linked to our success with diversity.
Diversity is a complex issue that touches on every aspect of our lives in society and on campus. Many Americans think it means race alone, or perhaps race and gender. But diversity issues actually challenge educators to reexamine our most fundamental assumptions about significant knowledge, cultural identity and privilege, connections across difference, inclusive community, and democratic principles. Above all, diversity asks us to address the links between education and a developed sense of responsibility to one another.
The growing recognition of the value of diversity on our campuses needs to be matched by public understanding of higher education's role in providing graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute to a diverse society. Diversity Digest will therefore provide guideposts for communicating the significance of our work more effectively.
Each issue will include information to help higher education explain why and how diversity matters to every graduate. Watch for suggestions from communications specialists; stories from campuses that have made communications a high priority; and reports on national and regional efforts to deepen public understanding of diversity as a resource for learning.
Diversity Digest will regularly cover five themes important to any campus working seriously on diversity: Institutional Leadership and Commitment; Faculty Involvement; Curriculum Transformation; Student Experience; and Campus-Community Connections. Across these five themes Diversity Digest will also report about new research and resources on diversity and learning.
The educational benefits of diversity turn out to be most powerful where there is strong leadership and a campuswide commitment. In this first issue, we highlight examples of Institutional Leadership and Commitment, reporting on campuses where diversity has become basic to both the institutional mission and the educational program.
As we go to press, America stands at a crossroads, uncertain whether to move forward or back on the civil rights efforts that began to transform our society only a generation ago. It has never been more important for educators to make explicit the connections between campus learning and the democratic values that guide diversity work.Carol Geary Schneider
Executive Vice President
Association of American Colleges and Universities