GW was cited by Black Enterprise magazine last month as one of the nation’s 50 best schools for African-American students. The University was ranked No. 36 based on more than 1,000 interviews with African-American professionals in higher education in the magazine’s first-ever rankings. Howard University was No. 5 and Georgetown University ranked No. 11. While it is questionable whether this sort of list is a valid measure or makes any difference in the long run, that GW made the list is a worthwhile achievement.
Most college applicants consult the academic rankings published by U.S. News & World Report, but for minority students, more specific lists are hard to come by. Magazine executives say the Black Enterprise survey was developed to give African-American students insight into schools’ academic and social environments. The new challenge for colleges is to strive to be on this list as diligently they do to be on the U.S. News & World Report‘s list.
Many colleges and universities are constantly working to improve diversity on their campuses. At GW, an Africana studies program is the result of interested students advocating its creation and University administrators listening to their concerns. In fact, much of the credit for improving diversity goes to students who work hard to promote the many religions, cultures and lifestyles that are represented at GW. The University should continue its efforts to attract a more diverse and academically talented student body.
But the goal of diversity should not stop at admissions. Both the University and students themselves need to take advantage of the diversity already on campus – segregated diversity is the same as no diversity. Hopefully the Black Enterprise list will encourage GW and other universities to make themselves more appealing to an array of prospective students.