Why diversity at universities still matters

The University’s plan to expand diversity on campus is central to receiving a liberal education.

Destanie Martin-Johnson

The University of Minnesota’s new strategic plan is in one of its final stages before it is enacted. The plan details the policies the University will enact, which include more financial support for graduate students, introducing courses on societal and global issues into students’ liberal education requirements and a push for more diversity in the school.

All these points will help students, but the intention to increase diversity on campus caught my attention the most.

A previous edition of the Minnesota Daily reported that the University plans to increase the range of diversity among faculty members. The plan to build a more diverse staff here at the University is smart, and I feel that it can provide examples of positive role models for students of diverse backgrounds.

And because staff members are usually around for longer periods of time than students, this plan can help the University reshape itself to fully represent diversity and the real world. Setting measurable goals for diversity can also help reduce the possibility that the University will overlook a previously set goal or let one fall by the wayside.

While I think hiring diverse faculty members is an excellent way to promote the school as more diverse, I feel that the University should also pay attention to how many students of each race it has accepted each year.

Diversity within universities and schools is a vital factor in developing quality higher education.

Attending a school that represents all different kinds of races and cultures is beneficial because it provides students with enriched educational experiences. Additionally, it helps strengthen communities and enhance personal growth, as people are exposed to cultures that are different from their own. Finally, diversity prepares college students for the real world, where one will encounter and likely work with a wide range of people. 

More than half of babies born in the United States today are people of color. With the country’s demographics constantly changing and minority populations increasing every year, it’s important to help improve the education and character of the people who will one day be taking care of this country.

The University is accepting public comments online regarding the strategic plan until Sept. 25. This is a great way for people to offer suggestions and constructive criticism for how to address the need for more diversity at the school.

Increasing the number of faculty from diverse backgrounds and paying attention to diversity within the campus community are two necessary steps in bringing a greater range of faces on campus to promote a pluralistic society.