A Quick Take on DEI

Just as educators are understanding the need to update their practices to meet the needs of students whose brains and bodies have been affected by trauma, they are understanding the need to update their practices to increase the participation of populations that have been underrepresented or marginalized in schooling.  

Educational leaders are recognizing that some populations have been dissuaded from perusing higher education because of attitudes, practices, and structures that prevented them from enrolling and studying. I hesitate to make a list of these populations as it will exclude some who have experiences of exclusion. 

For many educational leaders, the effort to increase the diversity of the populations on campus is a social justice issue; they reason “we should do it because it is the right thing to do.” Others see the practical effects, “our institution is made stronger and more effective when we include all perspectives and populations in our work.” Yet others argue from a very practical perspective, “we need to increase the enrollment of these populations as our traditional populations are shrinking.” 

Personally, I find the third argument (“we need to increase enrollment”) to be missing the point. Humans live in diverse cultures; for much of human history, individuals were likely to encounter only their local culture. Today, populations are mobile and large groups of people are relocating to areas where their culture is unfamiliar. If education does not give you experience interacting with a diverse faculty, staff, and students body, you’re wasting your time.