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Engaging diversity in academia: manifold voices of faculty

Helena Desivilya (Department of Organizational Development and Consulting, The Max Stern Yezreel Valley College, Emek Yezreel, Israel)
Dalit Yassour Borochowitz (Department of Human Services, The Max Stern Yezreel Valley College, Emek Yezreel, Israel)
Shalom Bouknik (The Max Stern Yezreel Valley College, Emek Yezreel, Israel)
Geke Kalovski (Department of English Proficiency, The Max Stern Yezreel Valley College, Emek Yezreel, Israel)
Ilana Lavy (The Max Stern Yezreel Valley College, Emek Yezreel, Israel)
Liora Ore (Department of Health Management Systems, The Max Stern Yezreel Valley College, Emek Yezreel, Israel)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Article publication date: 13 February 2017

987

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the perspectives of academic staff on issues of diversity and social schisms: capturing their perceptions of the complex relations at an academic campus positioned in an intricate sociopolitical context. It also explored how the faculty’s construal of diversity and social divisions inform their educational practices.

Design/methodology/approach

The study employed a qualitative approach using grounded theory methodology. Data collection was based on semi-structured in-depth interviews with 20 diverse faculty members from different departments in a Northern Israeli college. The interviews were transcribed and processed into main themes and categories.

Findings

The findings revealed two main themes: “Diversity awareness” depicting recognition and sensitivity to the complex social context in the college, strategies of directly engaging with it, downplaying or overlooking the intricacies, and “Practices” describing the practical translations of the educational credos into teaching practice. Both themes reflected a myriad of faculty voices.

Social implications

The study illuminated the challenges posed by social schisms, inequalities, and diversity for the faculty who need to grapple with the intricacies on a daily basis. More open dialogue and debates by the protagonists are needed to increase awareness of diversity and experimenting with different ways of addressing the intricacies.

Originality/value

Empirical evidence of the organizational actors’ predicaments, their diverse patterns of coping with intricacies, and the factors underlying their choices contribute to the body of knowledge on managing diversity in vivo by real women and men with different backgrounds and experiences.

Keywords

Citation

Desivilya, H., Borochowitz, D.Y., Bouknik, S., Kalovski, G., Lavy, I. and Ore, L. (2017), "Engaging diversity in academia: manifold voices of faculty", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 36 No. 1, pp. 90-104. https://doi.org/10.1108/EDI-09-2016-0074

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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