The Challenge Ahead

Diversity in higher education cannot be viewed as a problem that is in need of a solution. It is apparent that engaging diversity provides an opportunity to attend to many issues which have long needed attention--teaching and learning, curriculum, assessment, campus-community connections, climate, student success, and advising, among others. Diversity on campus impels the University to prepare students and the institution for a future in which the diversity of our communities and institutions is recognized as an important resource. Diversity on campus is multi-dimensional. Many different groups and issues fall under the umbrella of diversity, each with its own unique history and context within higher education. But diversity is not about the needs of one or another group competing for scarce resources. It is about purposeful and effective designs for supporting all students' educational achievements. It is an integral component of the mission and purpose of the institution, and is essential to whether our institution will be positioned to educate all students to live, work, and excel in a complex and pluralistic society.

In producing this report, the Task Force on Diversity members recognized that the actions and recommendations represent a first step. It is critical that the changes, councils, positions, and processes implemented over the next few years serve only as “building blocks” for the future. Others on campus and in the community are encouraged to integrate these initiatives and directions in the various matters that foster the overall goals of diversity. The entire community must find ways to better appreciate, accept, and make the best use of our differences. Through an effective commitment to these goals, diversity can emerge as strength.