8 comments on “Does Diversity Pay in Higher Education?

  1. The view of higher education become more akin to a business is becoming more true as more and more universities face shirking state allocations and provide more and more resources to students in terms of physical plant (buildings), while asking them to absorb more of the cost.

    There is always more than one reason behind why things occur. I believe that while VT might not have an atmosphere that is inclusive to african-americans, it also simply does not have a critical mass to where people can “see themselves here”. If we take another step back, is the number of african-americans who graduate high school the same as those who go to college? Is there a drop off at this point to where they do not go at all and enter the workforce instead? If so why?

    Also during the same time period 2007-2015 (since I have been here at Tech) the cost has increased dramatically. Could a residential style campus akin to Virginia Tech simply be too expensive? This question then brings in the SES questions and how a “business model” excludes people based on not necessarily their academic ability or the desire of the instiution to have them, but rather the circumstances of the individual. It will not matter if VT is inclusive and diverse visually, if only people with deep pockets can attend.


  2. Great post! I like the way you reflected on the business side of things, comparing academia here. I’d be interested in the study being replicated in the way you discussed here to see how it can be applied or if there are similar results.

    This may be a bit off from what you’re saying, but the ideas discussed here made me think about affirmative action, as well. Diversity in a college setting will always give us something to talk about.


  3. Thanks for posting!

    Two things I want to comment about your post. One if about the ongoing discussion on the concept of diversity and inclusion that sometimes is used interchangeable. One faculty member in my department uses a great example that I agree with a lot. For him, diversity is to be invited to the party. Inclusion is to be asked to dance.

    I believe most of the discussion here is about diversity rather than inclusion. For me particularly, inclusion is the most important thing to promote and to be aware of. This merge into my second comment of the importance of having diverse classrooms.

    I really like the way you describe the university system as a business, and I do think that diversity brings a lot of payback. I also think inclusion brings a lot of benefits for the institution as well. By having diverse classrooms students are faced with different opinions, experiences, and perceptions. That help them have a different view on the world. As a consequence, students can be improve their creativity, critical thinking, global awareness, and ability to collaborate with others, skills that are desired in every single major at the university.

    Again, great post!


  4. I completely agree that higher education is a business in today’s climate, and for sure the inclusion of minority races will attract other minority races to enroll, and vice versa. I am not sure whether this would typically prove profitable to the university or not — if a particular race also dominates economic prowess in society then just including them will assure profitability. Also, the ‘business’ will have a tendency to cater to only the economically well off among the under-represented races, at which point the real purpose begins to get lost — and this in fact is often the case. This brings me to Homero’s point above and makes me ask how inclusive our ‘diverse’ higher education institutes really are.


  5. I had thought about education in terms of business the moment my first tuition bill came in the mail for my first undergrad semester and I looked at the laundry list of fees seemingly irrelevant to my desired educational focus and peripheral activities. I was required to purchase my own computer, yet charged a hefty computer fee. I did not participate in athletics, university-sponsored or recreational, yet charged a serious athletics facilities fee. Parking. Maintenance. “General.” It was daunting to an 18-year-old kid paying for college on his own.

    I was thinking about this again last night as I watched Bernie Sanders call, over and over, for free education, education for common Americans as paid for by the wealthy. I tried to mull that over in a practical sense. I know what I paid for tuition this semester, and what I paid as an undergraduate. Multiply that by every college student in the country, and the price tag for Sanders’ concept is staggering. Business indeed.


  6. It is interesting how in some societies we boil everything down to an amount of money. I believe that inclusive pedagogy is about building a better society to be able to formulate progressive politics to improve the quality of life of humans and the world as a system. Personally, I think that economical drivers in education are negatively affecting the quality of education at all levels. We are seeing these effects currently in many schools in the US and maybe in other countries. What I am trying to say is that if we get into inclusive pedagogy for the economical value, we are missing the point of understanding and integrating people with different backgrounds.


  7. I think it can be dangerous to consider higher education a business, but so much of higher education is run like a business that in some ways it would be impossible to not consider higher education a business. Higher education is becoming very expensive and many people can support especially in today’s economy. Higher education in many ways is an expensive gamble. (You spend 4-years and over $40,000 to come to school and there is no certainty that you will get a job that uses your degree. It becomes an even bigger issue when jobs look for you to have job experience and you don’t have it because you devoted your time to studying.) Many minority students don’t have the same educational opportunities in primary school and they simply cannot afford to make a $40,000 gamble. I think the cost/benefit analysis is steering individuals away from higher education. It is a serious issue that extends and encompasses many different areas.


  8. I think you blog brought the issue about the purpose of education. Right now there is a trend to view education as consumption. It is a server to enjoy. I recently read a paper about education, which says “party college” and ” sport college” receive more applications, ceteris paribus. This remind me of the case of VT. We are building more parking lots, offering more convenient parking for visitors during game days. Also as Aeron mentioned, the huge athletics facilities fee. I am wondering, are catering to this trend as well?


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