How Colleges and Universities Can Embrace Diversity
To remain viable, the colleges of the future may need to embrace change and diversity to a far greater extent than their predecessors. This need stems from some systemic issues, including the short supply of adequately prepared students emerging from the K-12 educational pipeline. It is also more pressing due to increased competition for college-ready students by other universities.
To grow their enrollment, colleges will be required to:
1) Partner with the K-12 sector to increase the number of students who are prepared for college, and ensure that they are prepared to participate in post-secondary education successfully;
2) Work to make your university desirable to students who are already prepared.
For higher education can increase its competitiveness in attracting college-ready students, it will become necessary to attract those from other, growing demographic populations such as those from African American, Hispanic or Asian backgrounds. If successful, higher education could become a center of equal access and opportunity for a more diverse set of students. In doing so, it retains its ethos and mission as while ensuring sustained numbers and viability into the future.
To put it simply, enrollment policies at you will have to be flexible to remain sustainable and cannot continue to recruit middle and upper-class white students singularly. By taking a more liberal approach to enrollment, taking into consideration its ethos of equal access, your university can proceed as a highly relevant and forward-thinking institution.
So what can universities do to bring in diverse students?
Strong International Programs
To build a diverse student body, universities need to work hard to bring in students from all corners of the world. Strong international programs will ensure that an inclusive culture is part of the college experience and the schools with the highest levels of diversity know this and implement it.
Diverse Curriculum Offerings
To build a diverse student body, you also need to have a diverse curriculum that includes a large number of undergraduate majors and minors, but more importantly, coveted, world-renowned graduate programs. This will ensure that your university attracts students from diverse backgrounds.
Strong Connections with the World Economy
To build a diverse student body, you need strong connections to the world economy. An understanding of what is happening in economies outside the immediate needs of a university not only attracts a more diverse student body but leads to a wider scope of graduates.
Diversity should never be limited to the swath of people who live in the geographic area of that school. Yes, colleges (particularly public ones) have a responsibility to educate their immediate populations, but the search for diverse students should always be looked at from a global perspective.
The second takeaway is that more and more students are looking for a higher level of education than an undergraduate degree. There are also many non-traditional students who return to graduate school and need the welcoming atmosphere of a diverse, inclusive campus to feel comfortable.
Finally, if institutions of higher education really want to make a mark on diversity, it’s imperative to find ways to connect all students with a diverse workforce. For some schools, this may mean international connections, and for others, it may mean just contacting local businesses and looking for a variety of partnerships. Making the connection between a diverse campus and a diverse workforce is imperative to creating students’ bodies that are varied, and represent many different cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds, and ethnicities.