grams that celebrate the history and cultures of different racial and ethnic groups and provide incentives for diverse participation, including among majority groups.

  1. Create a student-centered orientation among faculty and staff. Research indicates that those institutions that are more student-centered—that is, where faculty and staff convey an interest in students’ academic and personal development and where students feel valued—experience lower levels of intergroup tension and better student outcomes. Faculty and staff orientation sessions can be used to provide tools and strategies to enhance students’ feelings of validation and create a welcoming environment for students of all backgrounds.

  2. Include diverse students in activities to increase students’ involvement in campus life. Ensure that programming for diversity involves general support services as well as coordinated activities and support programs for URM students. Administrators and faculty sometimes express concern, appropriately, that URM students may “self-segregate” on predominantly white campuses. They fear that racially and ethnically oriented student groups and activities, such as minority student organizations or minority peer support services, may tend to reinforce segregation from majority groups on campus. Yet research indicates that URM student involvement in such groups and activities is associated with higher social involvement, informal interactions with faculty, and use of general support services. Institutions should therefore encourage a wide range of student support services and programming, as a means to encourage URM students to take advantage of general university supports and other campus activities.

  3. Increase sensitivity and training of staff members who are likely to work with diverse student populations. Administrators and staff can have a powerful influence in shaping students’ perceptions of the campus climate for diversity. Institutions should consider offering sensitivity training and opportunities to develop cross-cultural and conflict resolution skills for those staff that work with students on a regular basis.

Institutional Leadership and Diversity

Institutional leaders—including university presidents, deans, department chairs, and other administrators—are crucial in the effort to establish and maintain a learning environment that values and is enriched by a diverse, multicultural campus community. Institutional leaders must establish expectations regarding diversity goals, “set the tone” for how diversity objectives will be met, and hold all members of the campus community accountable for achievement of these goals. Writing about the responsibility of leadership in creating multicultural dental schools, Kalkwarf (1995) notes, “it is only when [institutional leaders’] actions reinforce the concept

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement