4 best practices around diversity and inclusion in higher ed

By helping students experience different viewpoints, colleges will better prepare them for post-graduation and increase the value of their degree

2. Recruit diverse employees
To have a diverse faculty and staff on campus, colleges need to use gender-neutral job descriptions, promote on social media, and offer interviews by video conference for those who live far from campus. Organizations should also train talent-acquisition teams to recognize the need for hires of varying backgrounds, as doing so will better equip the university to serve all students.

3. Provide education and training
Many schools are offering training at freshman orientation regarding cross-cultural sensitivity, unconscious bias, and LGBTQ respect. Eric Love, director of staff diversity and inclusion at Notre Dame University in Indiana, hosts a series of events entitled “Diversity Discussions,” during which participants are encouraged to discuss difficult topics. At one of his recent events—“Black Lives, Blue Lives, All Lives: Do I Have to Choose Just One”—the police chief of Notre Dame appeared alongside the founder of the Black Lives Matter chapter from South Bend, Ind. Employees have told Love that these workshops and training sessions have helped them to feel more comfortable on campus than they expected.

4. Assess frequently
Send surveys and create forums for employees to express concerns. This will allow you to evaluate diversity and inclusion initiatives while giving employees and students the opportunity to voice constructive criticism and tips for improvement. Indiana University Bloomington distributes a survey asking students about cultural comfort and the opportunities to meet friends of similar background. Previous surveys have resulted in tangible changes, including increased research opportunities for undergraduates, improved career and academic advising, and changes to first-year student orientation.

Prioritizing diversity and inclusion in higher education provides advancement opportunity for underrepresented communities. Also, research shows exposure to diverse backgrounds and perspectives improves academic achievement for students of all backgrounds, including critical thinking skills and academic self-confidence. To enhance educational effectiveness and to prepare the workforce of tomorrow, colleges and universities must continue to integrate diversity and inclusion into campus life for staff and students.

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