It’s tough to create a culture that fosters diversity on campus.
When a university goes out of its way to accept multicultural students, it is criticized for manufacturing a diverse student body. When a campus does start to have a more varied student body, that change often goes unnoticed as metrics of diversity are hard to measure. Because national demographics are shifting so much, more and more minorities are of college age every year, boosting multicultural admission numbers annually.
But despite these obstacles, the University has shown it is genuinely committed to increasing diversity on campus and making GW a dream school for students from all backgrounds.
The fact that the University is focusing on increasing the diversity of its faculty shows a long-term commitment to creating a culture of inclusion on campus. Students are cycled out of GW every four years, whereas professors and administrators stick around for decades.
Prospective students will see a broader dedication to fostering an inclusive culture if they see that University leadership is multicultural. Current members of the student body might connect better with administrators and professors if they know that campus leadership understands where they are coming from.
And this effort to boost faculty diversity has been successful. The number of minority faculty rose 3 percent, demonstrating the University’s goals are being realized.
It is important that the University does not just match national trends when it comes to increasing campus diversity; GW can and should lead similar universities in the path to increasing student-body diversity. The efforts of the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative will help be a driving force for that sort of progress.
Of course, these changes won’t happen overnight; increasing diversity is a long-term endeavor. But the University should be sure to remain transparent on its progress, as the community will want to know how it is moving forward with the effort.
It’s reassuring that the University has found a strategy to improve and foster a culture of campus diversity that doesn’t feel artificial. And if the University continues to aggressively pursue diversity as a priority, GW will lead, and not just be a passive receiver of, the journey to a truly diverse community of scholars.