In countries that pride themselves on being civilized, diversity is an integral part of society and should also be reflected in the educational setting. It is not safe to assume that every student is well-versed in inclusion just because they are in a higher education classroom. Therefore, it remains the responsibility of every professor and faculty member to model inclusive behavior in front of all students, regardless of age or background.
One way to achieve this is at the institutional level, where hiring bodies can ensure diversity among faculty members. Students are smart enough to recognize when their role models do not resemble them and will begin to internalize it. Hiring individuals from diverse backgrounds benefits everyone when the institution makes it a point to do so.
Diversity encompasses every aspect of a civilized society, including age, gender, background, ethnicity, experiences, and every other factor that makes individuals unique. All these differences enrich the world and are an essential part of teaching because a student’s experiences shape the way they learn and interact with others.
Accepting and sharing these differences enhances the intellect and personality of all those who learn from them. However, this must be done strategically to avoid decreasing cohesiveness and increasing stress and anxiety. Having a diverse faculty in an instructional system ready to work together for the good of the students and the institution leads to exponential advantages.
A diverse higher education institution benefits students, faculty, and the community. These changes enhance society systematically as individuals with diverse backgrounds come together and learn to integrate as a whole.
When higher education is diverse, students see role models like themselves and become aware of opportunities they may not have considered before. Conversely, students also learn to appreciate and respect individuals from other cultures and with different values. This exposure opens them up to perspectives they didn’t have before, allowing them to see that “different” can equate to “good” in many situations.
From a legal standpoint, diversity is required as educational institutions must adhere to the ever-changing laws on inclusion, from student bodies and curricula to faculty diversity.
Bringing in unique individuals to form a collective whole leads to numerous benefits. These benefits may not happen overnight, but encouraging cohesion and acceptance leads to significant advantages. Educating students in a controlled environment about diversity and its importance before they graduate prepares them for the real world.
Teaching students about discrimination and the consequences can reduce claims of discrimination. Positive relationships are fostered when a student builds a relationship with someone who meets the characteristics of their biases. Students feel like they belong when they meet others who are uniquely designed, enhancing their sense of belonging. Diverse environments encourage creativity, shared learning, and increased knowledge, leading to better test scores among students.