Diversity Innovations Institutional Leadership and Commitment
Diversity Digest Volume 10, Number 2

Diversity Digest
Volume 10,
Number 2
(2007)

Download our print issue (PDF)
Institutional Leadership and Commitment
Diversity and Learning: “A Defining Moment”
Institutional Diversity in a New Nation: Lessons Lived, Lessons Learned
The Pedagogy of Sentipensante: Recasting Institutional Core Agreements
Transforming Our Institutions for the Twenty-first Century: The Role of the Chief Diversity Officer
Creating Institutional Transformation Using the Equity Scorecard
Curricular Transformation
Service Learning, Multicultural Education, and the Core Curriculum:
A Model for Institutional Change
Drop It Like It’s Hot! Hip-Hop in the Twenty-First-Century Classroom
A Sustainable Campus-Wide Program for Diversity Curriculum Infusion
Campus-Community Involvement
El Camino Real: Where Culture and Academia Meet
Faculty Involvement
Advancing Diversity through a Framework of Intersectionality: Inclusion of LGBT Issues in Higher Education
Transitioning on Campus: Creating a Welcoming Climate for Transgender People
Complicating Diversity Categories: Jewish Identity in the Classroom
Student Experience
Dealing with Student Resistance: Sources and Strategies
Beyond Tourism: Race, Space, and National Identity in London
Research
Graduate and Professional Degree Attainment for Students of Color
Affordability of Postsecondary Education for Students of Color
Resources
Diversity and Learning Resources

Diversity and Learning: “A Defining Moment”

By Kathryn Peltier Campbell, editor, Diversity Digest

Growth is rarely an easy experience. But it is a necessary dimension of life’s rhythms. In adolescence, confident children transition to insecure young adulthood; they outgrow their clothing, their self-images, sometimes even their bodies. Hermit crabs face a similar challenge: but instead of outgrowing their garments, they outgrow their shells, organic casings that provide shelter under which they can thrive. Children, of course, adjust. So too do hermit crabs—but not without initial discomfort as they shift to more spacious shells.

Caryn McTighe Musil, AAC&U vice president for diversity, equity, and global initiatives, likened diversity practitioners to these hermit crabs as she addressed the 2006 Diversity and Learning conference. Diversity education has outgrown its frameworks. Practitioners hesitate to leave the “structural, political, and intellectual shells” they have so painfully crafted. The diversity movement, Musil says, has reached a “defining moment.” Like hermit crabs, diversity practitioners must choose: remain cramped inside the casements of established structures, or embrace growth and move toward new forms of engagement.

When Musil suggests that diversity educators need to shed their figurative shells, she speaks specifically of three distinct movements within diversity education: U.S. diversity, global learning, and civic engagement. Each movement, she notes, has unique strengths, and each movement has reasonable reservations about collaboration. Individuals in different movements fear that alliances will sap their resources or undercut their missions. In collaboration, however, these movements can create frameworks that are ultimately “more encompassing” than those of any single movement. They can accelerate their collective growth and impact by stepping beyond the casings that have constrained them.

As Musil recalled, diversity education has always been dynamic and evolving. The diversity education movement has, among other things, moved from a desire to advance social justice to seeing diversity as a means to promote academic excellence, civic learning, and engagement. The projects and theories presented at the 2006 Diversity and Learning conference, many of which are revisited in this issue of Diversity Digest, illustrate this process of change and renewal. They also illustrate the need to celebrate what Musil calls the “remarkable even if insufficient progress” diversity educators have made—even as the next generation of diversity education emerges.

Diversity Digest, too, has reached a point of transition. The educational initiatives we have promoted for over a decade have expanded beyond our structural boundaries. The next issue of Diversity Digest will introduce a new format, designed to incorporate the distinct and interrelated movements of civic engagement, global learning, and U.S. diversity. Growth, indeed, is rarely an easy experience—but we believe it will reward us with more spacious architecture for doing our transformative work.

To listen to a podcast of Caryn McTighe Musil’s speech “The Shell Game: Regeneration at the Crossroads,” visit www.aacu.org/Podcast/DL06_podcasts.cfm.

Questions, comments, and suggested resources should be directed to campbell@aacu.org.
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