It has been nearly two generations since the passage of the 1963 federal Equal Pay Act, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the passage of Title VII and IX of the Education Amendments in the early 1970s – all meant to address issues of discrimination. Yet colleges and universities today still reflect basic limitations and inequities – often based on racial, gender, and other types of discrimination deeply imbedded in our history and culture – that limit the full participation of considerable numbers of our population and deny our institutions, and our society as a whole, the benefit of their perspectives, scholarship, skills, leadership, and energies.
While the last three decades have witnessed historic efforts – and successes – that have expanded access and inclusion, those efforts have had mixed results in terms of changing core institutional values, rewards and accountability structures, and diversifying top leadership in higher education. The end result is a sense that higher education has not succeeded adequately in meeting its mission to empower individuals to fulfill their potential and aspirations, and to contribute to the continuing strength and sustainability of our democracy, our economy, our intellectual and cultural life, and our ability to understand our global context and compete in it successfully. Thus, proponents of diversity in higher education are at a crossroads. Building on the enormous progress of the past 30 to 40 years, they are now looking at a mission only partially accomplished and a changing landscape with new imperatives and new challenges.
Related Conference Summary:
Leading in Academe: The Women’s Studies PhD Program (2005 Annual Conference)