Higher Education in a Global Society: Achieving Diversity, Equity and Excellence: Volume 5

Table of contents

(32 chapters)

Contents

Pages v-ix
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Higher Education in a Global Society: Achieving Diversity, Equity and Excellence compiled by Allen, Bonous-Hammarth and Teranishi is a welcomed addition to the series, Advances in Education in Diverse Communities: Research, Policy and Praxis. All that was intended in the initial conceptualization of the multi-volume series is richly embodied in this single volume. We, as Americans, are often known for our insularity, as though the world and its axis begin and end in the West. Higher Education in a Global Society moves us beyond that narrow context to higher terrain, to broader intellectual conceptualization. By embracing the notion of tertiary education in its global tapestry, the volume vividly analyzes the promise and peril that often co-exist in education, in various nation states. A signal contribution of this work is that it does not conceptualize the education enterprise in a steady state, but one which is in transition as schools at all levels confront the conflicting, often contradictory demands of a global society and global economy. Even more compelling in the volume is the constituent strand of social responsibility in the discussion of not only those who advance through the tertiary system of education, but those who fail to advance through the same system. Congratulations are offered to not only the co-editors for the compilation of this fine work, but to the Rockefeller Study Center in Bellagio, Italy for their wisdom in hosting the conference venue where these papers were initially delivered. If prognostications are at all appropriate here, Higher Education in a Global Society will be read, re-read and referenced for many years to come.

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Preface

Pages xiii-xxi

W.E.B. Du Bois proclaimed the colorline as the problem of the 20th century; in similar fashion, the problem of the 21st century could be characterized as the “wealth divide” or more clearly, the challenge of extreme economic disparity alongside broad socio-cultural diversity. Women-of-color scholars have used various concepts such as “the matrix of domination” (King, 1988), “intersectionality” (Collins, 1991), “borderlands” (Anzaldúa, 1987) and critical race theory (Crenshaw, 1995) to demonstrate that the “problems of the 21st century” are related to rapidly expanding diversity alongside stubbornly persistent economic inequities across race, ethnicity, gender, class, language, citizenship and nation. Extensive technological, economic, political and social changes, along with immigration, have coalesced to produce a global community of great diversity and interpenetration. Unfortunately, this global community continues to be fractured by extreme disparities in wealth, divided into “have” and “have-not” societies (Chua, 2003).

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We thank the various foundations, organizations and individuals who helped to ensure the success of this project. We are greatly indebted for their many contributions. The strengths and positives of this volume owe to their generosity. We three are responsible for any problems and/or shortcomings of the volume.

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List of Contributors

Pages xxv-xxvi
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International scientific associations and their surrounding transnational epistemic communities provide a major avenue for intercultural dialogue. International scientific associations belong to the larger family of international non-governmental organizations (INGOs). The number of INGOs has increased much more than that of IGOs, passing from less than 300 at the beginning of the 20th century to several thousand a century later. Some of these organizations, like Amnesty International or the World Wildlife Fund, represent effective pressure groups vis-à-vis global decision makers who are not accountable to larger constituencies challenging governments on specific policy issues. Others, like several international scientific associations, are less visible but play key roles in international cooperation and in the formation of a global civil society and public space. Many INGOs have soft power, given that for many domestic policy issues, from human rights to environmental protection, INGOs are in fact the driving force of the decision-making process and attract citizens into coalitions that bypass national boundaries.

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Any discussion of diversity in higher and tertiary institutions would be incomplete without connecting the conversation to the broader aims of the University. Since its European origins, the University was founded on goals to pursue knowledge and, in more recent times, to provide that knowledge to a student body representative of its community and nation (Rhodes, 2001). Educators recognize that the role of the University now and in the future takes on greater importance given the central role that knowledge plays in the new millennium. Greater demands for and application of knowledge in our society suggest the need for more inclusive learning environments, where scholars and students develop and share their intellectual resources in more efficient and timely ways.

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It is useful to provide a context for the elaboration of this argument by referring to the historical and intellectual roots of Nigerian federalism, the nature of Nigeria's ethnic mosaic, and the influence or impact of ethnicity on the architecture of Nigerian federalism. The foundational or theoretical building block of Nigerian federalism was and continues to be ethnic, as opposed to geographical, diversity. The artisanal design and construction of this ethnicized federalism was informed by the imperative of elite accommodation initially between the departing British colonial administration and the emergent leadership of the inheritance elite and thereafter, at various times between 1960 and the present time, among the political leadership of the various fractions of the politically significant and mobilized ethnic groups (Jinadu, 1985, 2002).

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The specific difficulty in my country to treat all the problematic links to the questions of diversity and segregation is due to the Republican Ideology, which is strong in France and includes no recognition of minorities in the public sphere. In addition, there is a lack of statistics and studies on racial representation. This fact, which my colleagues questioned, has to be understood as a first step to comprehending the state of diversity in higher education in France.

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The second half of the twentieth century brought an enormous rise in the education level in almost all Eastern European countries. Education became a mass phenomenon. Many new universities emerged, and the number of their employees engaged in research and teaching increased.

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China is known for its culture of uniformity and conformity. Such a cultural tradition was reinforced in the socialist system that was established in 1949. This was significant in education, which then became an important and instrumental part of the planned economy. During the high time of the planned economy, the entire nation was but one gigantic production unit under one central plan. People's lives are therefore also highly coordinated according to a general national plan. Products from all over the country were collected by the central government, and resources over the entire country were allocated by the central government. Therefore by design, there was not disparity, but then there was also no diversity.

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Higher education/higher learning is an activity and experience (academic in scope, socializing in character) organized and structured in institutes, funded and regulated by authorities (state/private). It is an activity that helps to mold people who make up society, fostering societal development on the base of intellectual enterprise, scholarly work, and inquiry. We face the challenge of understanding higher education. Our discussion is not only directed toward professional educators, but also urges reconsideration of Russian higher education among the broad spectrum of social processes and developments following the decline of state socialism in Russia.

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Much of what we know about the status of different populations in the educational system is gained by understanding the factors that facilitate or restrict student progress in the educational pipeline. The educational pipeline as an analytic model places access to and opportunity in higher education in a larger social and institutional context and examines the steps leading to the successful completion of college as part of a larger, more complex process. Namely, it helps us to understand the process – as a whole and in stages – by which the many are reduced to a few on the path leading from the earliest years of schooling to post-college outcomes.

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It has become fashionable in both academic and policy discourse to suggest that the latter provides a way of explaining differential access to education, employment, housing, health and welfare facilities, and so on (Ratcliffe, 1999). External constraining factors, particularly institutional racism and individualised forms of discriminatory behaviour, are said to account for the fact that minorities fail to acquire their full citizenship rights. Sometimes, minorities have been seen as undermining their own interests by a process of self-exclusion.

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The Netherlands is home to approximately three million people of foreign origin. More than a third (35.6 per cent) belongs to one of the four major ethnic groups: Surinamese, Turks, Moroccans and Antilleans (see Table 1). Of the approximately 16.1 million people in the Netherlands, about 12 per cent are considered to be ethnic minorities (excludes foreign nationals and refugees). The Netherlands is thought to have one of the highest rates of ethnic representation in Western Europe, given its geographical size and population. The Netherlands has a non-Dutch population that represents over 15 per cent of the total population. This is almost twice as much as Great Britain, for example, with an ethnic population of about 8 per cent. Even though not all of the non-Dutch population would be considered members of traditional ethnic groups (e.g., white Germans and white Americans), it could be said that at least 10–12 per cent are part of traditional ethnic groups.

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In the United States, women across all boundaries from race and ethnicity to socioeconomic class and region have achieved, according to the data, unprecedented success in higher education, as evidenced by their enrollment numbers, graduation rates, and professional and postgraduate participation. Bonner (2001) described this notion of success utilizing U.S. Census data, showing that women accounted for large increases in enrollment in degree-granting institutions of higher education during the late 1980s. From 1988 to 1998, while higher education enrollment for men rose by 6% nationwide, enrollment increased by 16% for women. Moreover, enrollment of women in U.S. graduate schools outpaced men during that same decade, with the number of women increasing by 60% compared to an increase of 17% for men (see Table 2).

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In the past 30 years, California has played a key role in engaging the U.S. with broader international economic and political relationships. A large part of engaging California in a broader global context has been the plethora of technology. Because of the globalization of world markets, California's internationalized economic participation positioned itself well relative to other national markets, for example, in Asia and Europe. As a result, by the late 1990s, California had the fifth largest economy in the world (The Commerce and Economic Development Program, 2004). While California became increasingly engaged in international relationships, its population voiced increasing concerns for developing and sustaining a racially and nationally diverse workforce to engage with the rest of the world. However, during the late 1990s, there was movement in the other direction that restricted access to higher education and public resources for people of color (e.g., Proposition 187) and immigrant populations (e.g., English-only movement) (Allen, Teranishi, Dinwiddie, & González, 2001).

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The change mandate for postsecondary and tertiary institutions requires little context. In the United States, the tensions between higher education and its public demands are evident as institutions struggle to support more participants than ever before in a system with finite resources. Recent assessments of the purposes and outcomes for American higher education show ongoing concerns over achievement gaps that persist across economic, racial, ethnic and gender lines, declining civic engagement among college graduates, and overall outcomes that are primarily “private and personal rather than public and societal” (National Center for Postsecondary Improvement, 2002, p. 4).

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Two cases recently decided by the U.S. Supreme Court will likely determine the future direction of U.S. higher education. The cases Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger challenge the legality of affirmative action programs in the University of Michigan Law School and in the University of Michigan Undergraduate College. The plaintiffs, supported by the Center for Individual Rights and other conservative organizations, contend that the University of Michigan's affirmative action programs engage in “reverse discrimination” by favoring Black and Latino students for admission over equally or better qualified white students. The University of Michigan, joined by a broad coalition of universities, corporations, and social activist organizations, reject characterizations of affirmative action programs in the Law School and Undergraduate College as “racial preferences” or “racial quotas.” Instead, the University argues that race is but one of several factors legitimately considered in the effort to assemble a diverse student body where the educational benefits of diversity are maximized.

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At first glance, it might seem from the statistics that 18- to 20-year-old members of minority ethnic groups are doing relatively well in terms of higher education. They are in fact better represented in UK colleges and universities than young whites. However, this is far from the whole story. Certain black groups, such as African–Caribbean males and Bangladeshi females, are significantly underrepresented in higher education in general and certain programmes in particular. For example, there has been difficulty recruiting Black and ethnic minority students into teacher training programmes (DfEE, 1998). The experience of participating in higher education is also often different for black and white students. Black and minority ethnic students are more likely to be concentrated in the new universities. In the mid-1990s, only 0.5 percent of the students at the older established universities came from a Black or minority ethnic background, compared with 14.4 percent in the new universities (DfEE, 1998). This inequality helps to perpetuate a system of white privilege, one that is entrenched in other areas of public life in the UK. Black and minority ethnic students are also more likely to study part-time than white students, are more likely to drop out of courses, and more frequently opt for lower-level qualifications (i.e., a diploma rather than a degree).

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Higher education plays a key role in training leaders who are responsible for enacting a vision of a multi-racial democracy that is equitable, inclusive, and thrives on a healthy exchange of perspectives. How are college students’ cognitive and social cognitive skills linked with their diversity experiences? While the college curriculum may provide the theory and concepts necessary for understanding a multi-racial and multi-ethnic society, students’ experience with others of diverse backgrounds (inside and outside the classroom) provides an opportunity to practice living in a pluralistic democracy among “equal status” peers. Building on previous social science research, evidence presented in the University of Michigan affirmative action cases, this chapter empirically examines the link between interactions with diverse peers and students’ cognitive skills using standardized instruments as well as survey measures in a classroom-based study. Findings indicate that students’ cognitive skills are associated with particular types of interactions with diverse peers and the desire to influence society. Students who had negative interactions with diverse peers also tend to score lower on the disposition to think critically. The implications of these findings suggest that one's capacity for complex thinking skills is linked with the capacity to interact with diverse people and commitment to the public good – all of which are critical to a working, pluralistic democracy.

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Within the next decade, countries like the U.S. will face a daunting challenge to increase the preparation of students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to meet expected workforce demands for nearly 2.2 million more trained professionals in these fields (National Science Board, 2004, pp. 3–7). The U.S. also needs to ensure that its STEM workforce also represents women and students from African American, Chicano and Latino origins – individuals who historically have been underrepresented in the sciences but who now comprise a growing percent of the K-12 pipeline and of the diverse population who will use STEM knowledge and applications in the future.

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This chapter aims to examine the nature of writing on gendered change in the Commonwealth higher education institutions and to outline the theoretical and historical contexts that have framed gendered changes. It considers how certain themes cohere around the mapping of conditions for women's entry and achievement in higher education and attempts to analyse some of the issues that have emerged from scholarship and practice relating to women in higher education.

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Education systems are subject to periodic reviews that may be undertaken as part of a process of quality enhancement or are necessitated by some shift in ideological orientation. In countries where social and political roles have remained more or less unchanged, these reviews rarely result in sudden and fundamental change. However, any change in a system engenders positive and negative reactions. In this day and age, there are examples of countries emerging from repressive systems of governments to relatively freer, more transparent and democratic systems. In order to keep pace with the new political dispensation and to ensure its survival, it becomes essential that the education system of such a state is transformed and reengineered to respond to and reflect the aspirations of the changing society.

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Importance and relevance of formal education continues to be a significant factor in social development and change. This is particularly important in developing countries like India, which has been traditionally and historically driven by the principle of inequality and hierarchy through religion and a caste system. Education has been a monopoly of few upper castes (especially Brahmins) whereas majority masses have been denied access to education. Education underwent significant change only after the advent of British. Although the Britishers’ goal of introducing modern education was limited to their vested interests, it was secular in nature and open to all and therefore it could reach the castes other than Brahmins. Supported by modern system of education, the industrial revolution brought modern values of life, such as equality and humanity, to India. For the first time in the history of India's education, these castes could access formal education.

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Innovation within a bureaucratic University requires broad collaboration from all agents – those internal as well as external – to promote institutional goals for positive outcomes in novel yet compelling ways. As suggested by the preceding set of chapters, the environment, particularly the cultural values in higher education institutions, can either facilitate change outcomes to support or limit diversity efforts. The same momentum that compels agents within higher education to adopt or adjust their cultural values, also contributes to discourse within the University about intertwined goals related to curriculum, academic programs and other endeavors. Thus, postsecondary institutions with genuine goals to promote diversity will have these goals reflected in their activities and at core layers of the organization to influence institutional plans and actions.

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Many years ago, the amazing literary giant and social critic James Baldwin was never more profound when he noted that “Color is not a human or a personal reality in America, it is a political reality” (Baldwin, 1963, p. 139). If we ever had any doubts about the currency of Baldwin's commentary, we have only to remember the remarks by Senator Trent Lott (R-Mississippi) and his subsequent resignation as Senate Majority leader, in the U.S. Congress. Lott was under criticism for his remarks at a party celebrating the 100th birthday of Senator Strom Thurmond (R-South Carolina), who ran unsuccessfully for president in 1948 on a segregationist platform. At the birthday celebration, Lott said the nation would have been better off had Thurmond won that election. The damages in Senator Lott's comments are not simply that they are offensive as a characterization of our national past. The damage is that his words imply an intention or acceptance of racial segregation as the continuing reality of America's future. Lott's remarks are but reflective of the Southern Manifesto or the Nixonian strategy, often called the ‘bubba factor.’ The strategy was to reclaim the south by appealing to the fears of southern white men. This blatant Confederate viewpoint was furthered and joined by conservative scholars and activists who developed the counterattack programs to dismantle the civil rights agenda and social programs, aimed at equalizing educational opportunity. The code word was “reverse discrimination.”

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The simplest approach to measuring racial composition is to calculate only the proportion of White students in the total undergraduate enrollment (%White). This was the most common approach in earlier studies of student body racial diversity (see, e.g., Astin, 1993).2 A slightly different alternative, at least conceptually, is to calculate the percentage of students of color or racial minorities (students who reported their racial/ethnicity to be non-White). Recent studies are more likely to use this alternative (see, e.g., Antonio, 2001; Gurin, Dey, Hurtado, & Gurin, 2002; Terenzini, Cabrera, Colbeck, Bjorklund, & Parente, 2001). This measure centers the focus of analysis on students of color and thus may be more advantageous than “%White” for interpreting findings. Still, the basic assumption underlying both approaches is that as the proportion of White students decline and by definition the proportion of students of color increase, the student body necessarily becomes more diverse. Accordingly, these approaches presume a zero-sum game for diversity on college campuses, where gains for one group come at the expense of other groups.

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It has been an increasing concern in American education that students of African American, Mexican American, and Native American origins are not well served by the American educational system. In higher educational institutions, these groups are underrepresented among both students and faculties. Students in these groups in higher educational institutions have been more alienated and thus their experiences in college have been far more discouraging than students of other groups (J. Anderson, personal communication, April 2001). Although there have been some affirmative efforts in assuring access to and participation in higher education by these groups and considerable progress has been made, people of color continue to remain substantially underrepresented in colleges and universities. They accounted for only 12.9 percent of all full time faculty and 9.6 percent of full professors in 1995…. Tenure rates for tenure-track faculty are also much lower for faculty of color than for White faculty (American Council on Education, 1998, p. 41).

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At my retirement luncheon (July 2004), a colleague described the effect of my photography in a way that has special resonance for a discussion of campus diversity. I had recently installed three photo composites in UCLA's Ashe Student Health Center. These are collections of about 50 photographs each, presented in the form of the I Ching hexagrams for creativity, inner truthfulness, and community. Ronni Sanlo, director of UCLA's Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Campus Resource Center, said that at a meeting of the Queer Alliance, students talked about seeing my new work in the Ashe Center. With my photos in place, they now feel welcome there. This response explains why the campus environment needs steady attention, so that the people of a college or university can recognize it as their own. Ronni's next words emphasize this need. Pointing to the bare walls of the residential commons building where we were having lunch, she said, “Look at these walls. Who's welcome here?”

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Hugh Africa returned to South Africa in July 1994 after an absence of 30 years. His deep involvement at all levels of education – from basic to university – covers almost four decades. After obtaining the B.A. and B.A. (Hons) degrees from the University of Natal, he completed the M.A. degree at the University of Leeds and received his Ph.D. at the University of Toronto. He also holds a Natal Teacher's Diploma.

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Subject Index

Pages 453-457
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DOI
10.1016/S1479-358X(2005)5
Publication date
Book series
Advances in Education in Diverse Communities
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-0-76231-182-8
Book series ISSN
1479-358X