Saturday, November 7, 2015

Diversity at Lincoln

In advance of our upcoming November 19 faculty brownbag discussion on diversity, I thought I might “flip” the brownbag a bit by asking for some of your preliminary thoughts on the topic.

A quick Google search for "diversity in the college classroom" turns up a vast store of information, mostly from the viewpoint of Majority White Institutions seeking to expand the diversity of their student populations: the top six are tips for inclusive teaching from Vanderbilt, Columbia, Harvard,  Berkeley, and the University of Michigan, rounded out by the AAUP’s Does Diversity Make a Difference: Three Research Studies on Diversity in College Classrooms.“  

What does it mean to Lincoln, do you think, to have “Diversity and Globalization” as one of our strategic imperatives?  On the conceptual level, how should a more diverse Lincoln look? What kinds of, and how much, diversity should we be aiming for?  Why do we want it?  Bringing the issue down to ground level, how might having a more diverse student body change what we do in our classrooms?  How might it change what we assign as textbooks and readings, the kinds of assignments we make, the way we structure group projects and discussions?   What potential problems should we be aware of and thus prepared for? What will we be able to do better as a result of having a more diverse student body?

Any thoughts on any of those questions?  Any ideas on other important questions to be asking?  Jump in!


  1. I have no idea what it means, to Lincoln, to have “Diversity and Globalization” as one of the strategic imperatives. My assumption is that it has more to do with dealing with events outside Lincoln than inside Lincoln. If technology and interaction have made the world a global village, we have to figure out how to deal with the different people that make up the world and with whom we will be interacting and competing more closely and frequently.

    Internally, I assume a more diverse student body will make Lincoln look and act more like a majority white institution than a traditional HBCU, debending on how diverse the population is. It might gradually affect more of our choice of examples, courses and textbooks to deal with the student diversity, whatever it is or becomes.

    Safro Kwame

  2. Kwame, I agree that this issue has both internal and external causes and effects. I would hope that your second assumption isn't true, though. I suspect that Lincoln could encompass more ethnic diversity and still not act like a MWI. As a graduate of an women-only college, I would argue that there is a place for "separateness." And, as the upcoming brownbag on diversity will demonstrate, there are many kinds of diversification. It will be interesting to see which one(s) Lincoln pursues.