Strategies for Creating a Diverse College Campus

Dr. Colleen Batchelder

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Is your college campus diverse?

It’s no surprise that most universities are trying to become hubs of diversity, equity, and inclusion. However, many of them fall short––and fail their students.

There’s not only a lack of students of different races on campus but what about their faculty and staff?

National Centre for Educational Statistics reveals that “Of all full-time faculty in degree-granting postsecondary institutions in fall 2018, some 40 percent were White males; 35 percent were White females; 7 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander males; 5 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander females; and 3 percent each were Black males, Black females, Hispanic males, and Hispanic females.”

Diversity in these areas should be just as important.

Look, I’m not knocking all colleges. However, some universities need to change––they need to move from tokenism to actual diversity.

And they need a few strategies to help them on their journey.

Here are four strategies that universities can implement to create a diverse college campus and a safe space for their students:

Create a Diversity Council

A Diversity Council is a campus-wide committee that promotes diversity and inclusion at the school. And the committee would include researchers, undergraduate students, graduate students, administrators, faculty members, staff members, and alumni.

When you have a committee dedicated to diversity, you can provide resources to students on and off-campus. You can also educate them in areas of gender equity/safe space/racial justice, etc.

Diversity councils should be more than just publicity for universities––they should actually help students create these safe spaces by holding all people on campus to these high standards.

Every student needs to be on the same page. And they need to be held to the same expectation.

Make Diversity a Priority in the Curriculum

Diversity needs to be built into campus tours and information sessions so that students can see their future represented on campus. And this diversity should continue within each student’s syllabi.

Diversity should be a part of each course so that students can see themselves and those around them represented in their learning.

When professors create courses that contain inclusive language, gender-neutral pronouns, and multiple examples, they advocate for diversity. And they show students that subject matter is more significant than their gender, race, or sexual orientation.

Create Diversity in Leadership

Every student should have an opportunity for leadership on campus. This not only gives them the tools that they need once they graduate, and it also gives them the ability to explore their own biases in leadership and correct their course through education.

It’s not easy to backtrack when you’re fifty-five. However, when you’re nineteen, you can make mistakes, have the chance to learn from them, and move forward as a better person.

Diversity in leadership exposes students to a variety of people. It gives them a chance to step into one another’s shoes and see the strong points of working with different people.

Remember, diversity is about people working toward a common goal. And the goal should be greater understanding, and leadership gives them the chance to gain that understanding.

Students need to see themselves in leadership roles––especially when it comes to leading activities or events that promote diversity and inclusion on campus.

Ensure Diversity in Residence Halls and Student Housing

In order to create a diverse college campus, students should live on a diverse floors. Diversity in residence halls and student housing will also help make a more accepting environment for all people.

When students have the opportunity to live with people who differ from them, it shows them how to resolve conflict, enjoy community, and advocate for diversity after graduation.

Diversity in residence halls helps students understand that not everyone is the same––and they should learn how to appreciate this.

A diverse college campus is a safe space for everyone––and it’s the only option that universities should be working towards.

There are countless programs that universities can offer to help promote diversity on campus, whether it’s multicultural programs or LGBTQIA groups––universities need to be proactive about these offerings.

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Dr. Colleen Batchelder is a leadership strategist and diversity and inclusion consultant. She has been featured in Entrepreneur, Entrepreneur Mexico, Ladders, She Owns It, MSN, Chief Learning Officer, and Talent Management. In addition to being a sought-after writer on leadership and DEI, she is also the author of an upcoming anti-racism book through Quoir Publishing (coming out in 2022).

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