With the dismantling of affirmative action policies by courts and legislatures, colleges and universities face the challenge of ensuring diversity within their faculty and student populations. Dr. Stella M. Flores, a professor of Higher Education and Public Policy at the University of Texas, Austin, shares valuable research on college access and completion outcomes for underrepresented populations. Her insights provide guidance on fostering diversity amidst changing policies.
Dr. Flores highlights the importance of a multi-sector approach to addressing faculty diversity. The lack of diversity is not solely due to the education pipeline; other factors contribute as well. By broadening the perspective, institutions can identify systemic issues and develop effective solutions beyond conventional methods.
Dr. Flores draws attention to the impact of the prison system in California, referring to it as the “11th UC campus.” This observation urges institutions to explore alternative pathways to diversify their faculty and student bodies. Collaborating with correctional facilities can provide educational opportunities for incarcerated individuals, promoting inclusivity and addressing societal inequalities.
Institutions must implement inclusive policies and practices to ensure diversity. Prioritizing access and completion outcomes for low-income and underrepresented populations, including immigrant and English learner students, creates a supportive environment. Recognizing demographic changes in U.S. schools and the contributions of Minority Serving Institutions further enhances diversity efforts.