Managing Cultural Diversity Within Higher Education Essay (Critical Writing)

Introduction

There is no use denying the fact that education plays vital role in the modern world. To become successful a person should be able to struggle with his/her rivals and have a great level of skills. Very often it is impossible to achieve it without a good education as it gives a person not only knowledge, which will be important in his/her future life, though a very important experience that will differ a graduate from other people and help him/her to become successful.

Under these conditions, one understands a great attention given to this very issue. Nowadays, the process of globalization makes this sphere more diverse and complicated at the same time. There is a great number of people with different mentalities and cultural peculiarities, who want to obtain education and study at a certain educational establishment.

That is why, it is vital to be able to deal with all these people and take into account cultural diversity. Especially vital under these conditions become such issues as leadership, diversity and inclusion as they help a person to feel himself/herself as a part of collective and make new friends. This process is important for a first year student and, that is why, a great number of investigations are devoted to this theme.

The issues of leadership, diversity and inclusion

Globalization and diversity

First of all, it should be said that the issue of diversity and its importance for higher educational establishments is not new. Robinson-Neal in his work traces the history of its development. He underlines the fact that all peculiarities of its evolution show the way in which society develops and people obtain new ideals and beliefs.

Furthermore, Robinson-Neal underlines the fact that nowadays this issue becomes especially important because of the blistering development of another important issue which is globalization (n.d.). According to the latest findings, which are presented in the work Diversity in Higher Education by Cengiz the number of foreign students grow every year (2009) and this tendency will remain.

That is why by the end of 2020 it will be possible to observe a great diversity of different cultures in educational educations (Cengiz, 2009). Arriving from different countries of the world, students also bring their culture and peculiarities of mentality.

That is why, the given work underlines the fact that it is vital to start some new projects connected with this issue which main aim will be efficient management of this diversity and creation of good conditions for different students. Daniel Little and Satya Mohanty in their book The Future of Diversity: Academic Leaders Reflect on American Higher Education outline similar ideas.

They take the idea that the number of people, who want to obtain education, will grow as obvious and they suggest the academic leaders vision of this problem (Little & Mohanty, 2010). The thing is that very often nowadays educational establishments are not ready to respond to appearing challenges.

Campus and diversity

Nevertheless, more and more people arriving from foreign cultures or just representing other culture demand creation of absolutely new approach to the idea of education which will be able to develop a certain set of skills among students and which could help them in their adaptation to new conditions. The process of adaptation is of a great importance as it helps students to obtain new skills and socialize.

The work Managing Diversity Flashpoints in Higher Education also underlines this fact, accepting the idea that it is very important to create good conditions for students to be able to communicate (Garcia & Karen, 2008). That is why, the idea that everything should start from the campus is central for this work.

Being surrounded by a great number of the same students, a person will be able to develop his/her leadership qualities and become a part of collective faster. Additionally, great number of representatives of different cultures, who surround a person, can help to make a student more tolerant and accept this diversity easier. That is why, the idea that the life of a person on campus is very important obtains great popularity.

This idea is further investigated in the research Diversity in Academe. The given work centers around the position of Hispanics students in different educational establishments (Diversity in Academe, 2014). Taking into account their unique culture, it is obvious that they demand some special approach and interaction with students who belong to some other groups can be taken as a good way to socialize and adapt to new conditions of the college or institute.

Leadership

Additionally, leadership qualities will also develop because of the appearance of the necessity to assert oneself and show the rest of students that a person is worth respecting. Under these conditions, the issue of inclusion also plays an important role. Ronayne Jarlath in his work also underlines great significance of this process (2009).

The thing is that even studying with a great number of people and seeing them every day, a person still can be excluded from society because of a great number of different reasons. It can be either the problems with adaptation or a pupils position in society. Thus, a person is not the member of collective and is not able to develop his/her personality.

Under these conditions, the issues of leadership and inclusion become especially vital. Jarlath even suggests certain courses and consultations which main aim will be to help such person to develop his/her leadership qualities. According to Jarlaths idea it will also help a student to become more popular and find his/her place in society (2009).

Jehangir agrees with this assumption, underlining the fact that it is vital to cultivate leadership qualities among students (2010). In the work Higher Education and First-Generation Students: Cultivating Community, Voice, and Place for the New Majority she cogitates about the importance of creation of a good atmosphere among students for them to be able to develop their personality. I

t is a vital thing for every educational establishment and its prosperity and image depends on it. Only strong leaders among students can influence the image of the college or institute positively. Nevertheless, leadership is not a set of qualities, it is a certain state which helps a person to become more efficient in everything what he/she does.

Leadership and diversity

Furthermore, a good leader can become a thing which will fasten the collective and teach students how to accept diversity and become more tolerant. Levine continues cogitation about this very issue, naming diverse issues the most important thing in modern society (2011). Under the conditions of globalization, the issue of diversity continues its development and obtains more and more importance.

Defying diversity as the presence and mutual dependence of a great number of different cultures (2011), Levine also underlines the fact that it can be taken as the basis for new society which will be deprived of any racial prejudices and conflicts. That is why, it is very important to draw students attention to this issue during the process of their study as it is still possible to change their mentality and introduce ideas of cosmopolitanism.

Student organizations, leadership and diversity

To develop such traits among students, it is vital to make sure that they will have to work in mixed groups, where no attention to race or culture is given. For example, the article Student Organizations and Institutional Diversity Efforts: A Typology by Kuk and Bannig suggests student organizations as a very powerful remedy which could influence students and make them more tolerant (2010).

Every student organization has its statute which regulates its functioning and serves as a certain criterion according to which the character of this very organization can be determined. Creation of certain paragraphs, which prohibit some special attitude towards representatives of different cultures, can help to make students more tolerant, and, moreover, being members of this organization, students will have no other chance but to interact.  It will lead to the development of inclusion.

Additionally, leadership qualities will also be developed because of the hierarchy which any organization has. Besides, these organizations turn out to be a very powerful remedy which help to introduce the culture of acceptance, which importance is underlined in the work by Heaggans and Polka where they stress the idea that this concept is very important in modern society (2009) as it can help to avoid a great number of different problems and guarantee stable development of the world.

That is why a great deal of planning should be devoted to the creation of conditions under which the issue of cultural acceptance will appear. They underline the fact that inclusion is impossible without understanding and it, in its turn, can come only after a person has accepted all differences which exist between him/her and representatives of some other cultures and be able to communicate with them without any complications or prejudices.

Racial and gender bias and the issues of leadership and diversity

Especially important this issue becomes on the background of racial bias which, unfortunately, still exist in our society. Denson, in her work states that racial issues matter and influence the process of studying greatly (2009). That is why, such phenomena as inclusion and diversity are very important for educational institutes because very often students give much attention to the color of skin or the size of eyes.

Thus, not much attention is given to the attempts to get rid of the manifestations of preconceived attitude. However, Denson states that nowadays it is a good moment to forget about them with the help of special policy which should be aimed at the development of tolerance among students. Being educated with the idea of equality and surrounded by a great number of different cultures, a person will be not able to discriminate anymore.

Taking into account situation with black people in the USA and world, this issue becomes very important for them. Harper states, that to achieve success in education a black man should be a leader and be ready to defend his culture (2012). His/her example can help to make the issue of inclusion more important. Being representatives of different cultures, black people help to create diversity in educational establishments.

However, certain actions should be made by the officials of college or university to support these people and explain students the main ideas of tolerance and outline beauty of diversity. Only under these conditions there will be no causes for dissatisfaction. Absence of reasons for discrimination can lead to the development of such issue as social justice. The article Social Justice: Creating an Inclusive University Culture is centered around it.

The author states the fact that today in a great number of educational institutions people still suffer from problems connected with their culture or race (Shelton, 2011). However, sometimes certain students can try to struggle with it and strive for social justice. Under these conditions, the issue of leadership and diversity becomes very important and, moreover, they influence another important phenomenon which is inclusion. In such cases students should be given support and help in their struggle.

Besides, this struggle can also develop leadership qualities in a person, which in its turn can inspire other students. Eddy and VanDerLinden also underline great importance of leadership, stating the fact that in higher education the issue of leadership needs deep investigation (2006). Being one of the most important qualities which influences formation of a good specialist, this trait of character needs rethinking and reconsideration.

Special programs should be created to develop it and make a person a good leader which, in its turn, can improve relations between students. The same deals with relations between genders. Traditionally, women were presented in educational establishments poorer than men. It happened due to different historical peculiarities Thus, nowadays situation is different and women enter educational establishments easily.

However, very often they still do not have the same chances. Resting on the fact that diversity issues should be of a great priority nowadays, it is possible to say that great effort should be done to involve women in some social processes. Vieyra, Gilmore and Timmerman state that it could be done with the help of a certain research work performed by women (2011). This process can have positive influence on the whole atmosphere in educational establishment and help to promote development of tolerance among students.

Disabled people

The same deals with people who suffer from different disabilities. They might belong to different cultural groups, though they still have a great number of problems with socialization no matter what race they belong to. Davis states that it is vital to guaranty equal conditions for these people as they need it most of all (2011). Additionally, diversity means existence of a great number of different points of view, which are respected by other people.

With this in mind, it is possible to say that in terms of management of cultural diversity, it is vital to take into account needs of these people and fulfill them. Furthermore, in modern society the issue of gay couples and their relations obtains more and more popularity.

It is obvious that they also want to obtain education and socialize. That is why, they should be involved in the process. Almeida-Neveu admits that involving gay couples in studying helps to diversify diversity and develop personal qualities of students, such as tolerance and humanism (2010).

Current situation and challenges

With this in mind, it is possible to say that the issue of management of multicultural differences within a group of students seems to be the most important for modern education. Parrish and Linder-VanBerschot state that under modern conditions the given sphere often faces such sort of challenges and it is vital to be able to cope with them (2010).

Strazzeri adds, that sometimes it can be very difficult for study and research institutions to align their functioning in accordance with the main principles of diversity management as the whole process of studying should be reconsidered and certain conclusions should be done (n.d.). It is vital for institutions to create such conditions which could help students to become the part of multicultural society of their establishment and obtain respect for other cultures.

That is why, some difficulties can appear. To illustrate these difficulties Vermeulen compares different educational establishments in South Africa and Germany in order to show the way in which these institutions try to face new challenges (2011). It is obvious, that in Germany situation is better as they managed to take into account different peculiarities of people who study at these universities and create appropriate conditions for them.

It is vital for a person to feel comfortable during the process of studying and, that is why, the results are also better. Finally, it should also be said that according to Gayles colleges and universities in the USA nowadays are more culturally diverse than ever before (2009). That is why, the government also devotes its attention to the given issue, trying to develop the ability to work with different groups of people among students and even graduates.

Due to this fact, special teaching diversity courses are created in order to make people more tolerant, flexible and ready to respond to some challenges which appear. The article Joining up agendas: internationalisation and equality and diversity in higher education also agrees with this fact. The given work analyzes all issues connected with the issue of culture in educational institutions and its influence on their well being (Joining up agendas: internationalisation and equality and diversity in higher education, 2011).

According to it, only a few number of educational establishments can be taken as those which really have created comfortable conditions for representatives of different cultures. Unfortunately, great number of other colleges and institutions still suffer from the lack of tolerance and it is difficult to speak about such issues as diversity and inclusion there. The work Context Diversity.

Reframing higher education in the 21st century continues this discussion, adding that it is unacceptable for educational establishments to remain at the same level of development which was peculiar to them in the previous century. That is why, complete rethinking of the whole issue is needed. The thing which is the first to rethink is the attitude towards students which represent different cultures.

Traditionally, conditions of living and studying at different colleges and institutions promoted creation of so called enclaves (Mutendwahothe, 2008), where representatives of a certain culture consolidated and helped each other. However, these enclaves were isolated from the rest of students and people were not able to become the part of society. It was useless to speak about the inclusion.

However, nowadays this issue should be reconsidered. At the very beginning of studying students should be put in that sort of environment which will promote their interaction with other students and socialization. The article Cultural Diversity in Higher Education shows some possible ways in which it could be done and, moreover, underlines the fact that diversity can significantly improve the quality of knowledge given (Cultural Diversity in Higher Education, n.d.).

It is widely known that the afflux of a great number of people with different mentalities gives a great stimuli for the development of science of a country which places these people (Diversity and higher education, n.d.). A great number of famous people like Einstein were immigrants and they promoted development of science in the USA (Mutendwahothe, 2008) and, that is why, certain efforts to accommodate all people with different cultures should be made..

Conclusion

With this in mind, having analyzed the given information connected with the issue of managing of cultural diversity within higher education, it is possible to make a certain conclusion. First of all, it should be said that nowadays this issue becomes especially important.  Development of different means of transport leads to the appearance of such phenomenon as globalization which, in its turn, introduces a great number of possibilities for representatives of different countries.

Nowadays they are able to study in almost any country in the world. That is why, it is vital for educational establishments to be ready to face this challenge and give a great attention to such issues as diversity, leadership and inclusion as only under these conditions further development of the sphere of education is possible.

References

Almeida-Neveu K. (2010) Diversify Diversity: Remembering Gay Students in Recruiting. Chronicle Of Higher Education, 57(5):38-39. Retrieved from http://0-search.ebscohost.com.skyline.ucdenver.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eft&AN=508184076&site=ehost-live

Cengiz, E. (2009). Diversity in Higher Education. Retrieved from http://www.fhnw.ch/wirtschaft/dienstleistung/studierendenprojekte/olten/bisherige-projekte/bachelor-thesis-2009/diversity-in-higher-education-1/diversity-in-higher-education-1

Clarke, J., Thomas, P., & Wallace, I. (n.d.) How Should Diversity in the Higher Education System Be Encouraged?. Retrieved from http://www.bhert.com/publications/discussion-papers/How-Should-Diversity.pdf

Context Diversity. Reframing higher education in the 21st century. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://compact.org/resource-posts/context-diversity-reframing-higher-education-in-the-21st-century/

Cultural Diversity in Higher Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://shell.cas.usf.edu/math/mug/diversity.htm

Davis, L. (2011). Why Is Disability Missing From the Discourse on Diversity?. Chronicle Of Higher, 58(6), 38-40. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/Why-Is-Disability-Missing-From/129088/

Denson, N. (2009).Racial Diversity Matters: The Impact of Diversity-Related Student Engagement and Institutional Context. American educational research journal, 46(2), p. 322. doi:10.3102/0002831208323278

Diversity and higher education. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.heri.ucla.edu/PDFs/Article__Diversity_and_Higher_Education[1].pdf

Diversity in Academe. (2014). The chronicle of higher education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/section/Diversity-in-Academe-2014/799/

Eddy, P., & VanDerLinden, K. (2006). Emerging definitions of leadership in higher education: New visions of leadership or same old “hero” leader? Community College Review, 34(1), 5‐26. doi: 10.1177/0091552106289703

Garcia, J., & Karen, H. (2008). Managing Diversity Flashpoints in Higher Education. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2008.

Gayles, G. (2009). Managing Diversity Flashpoints in Higher Education. The Review of Higher Education, 32(2), 275-277. doi: 10.1353/rhe.0.0041

Harper, S. (2012). Black Male Student Success in Higher Education: A Report from the National Black Male College Achievement Study. University of Pennsylvania Center for the Study of Race & Equity in Education. Retrieved from https://www.gse.upenn.edu/equity/content/center-publications

Heaggans, R., & Polka, W. (2009). The diversity merry-go-around: planning and working in concert to establish culture of acceptance and respect in the university. Educational Planning,18(2):22-34. Retrieved from https://niagara.edu/assets/assets/ncate/Standard5/3/5.3c-Dr.-Heaggans-and-Dr.-Polka-The-Diversity-Merry-Go-Aound-Planning-and-Working-in-Concert-to-Establish-a-Culture-of-Acceptance-and-Respect-in-the-University.pdf

Jarlath, R. (n.d.). Managing Cultural Diversity: Higher Education’s Challenge For the Third Millennium. Retrieved from http://www.ucc.ie/publications/heeu/Millennium/managingculturaldiversity.htm

Jehangir, R. (2010). Higher Education and First-Generation Students: Cultivating Community, Voice, and Place for the New Majority. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Joining up agendas: internationalisation and equality and diversity in higher education. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.ecu.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/external/joining-up-agendas-senior-management-briefing.pdf

Kuk, L. & Banning, J. (2010). Student Organizations and Institutional Diversity Efforts: A Typology. College Student Journal, 44(2), 354-361. Retrieved from https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1G1-228428421/student-organizations-and-institutional-diversity

Levine, R. (2011). More Than Tolerance. Diverse Issues In Higher Education,28(10),9-11.

Little, D., & Mohanty, S. (2010). The Future of Diversity: Academic Leaders Reflect on American Higher Education (Future of Minority Studies). New York: Palgrave Macmillan

Mutendwahothe, W. (2008). Managing Diversity At Higher Education And Training Institutions: A Daunting Task. Journal of Diversity Management, 3(4). 1-10. Retrieved from http://cluteinstitute.com/ojs/index.php/JDM/article/viewFile/4996/5087

Parrish, P. & Linder-VanBerschot, J. (2010). Cultural Dimensions of Learning: Addressing the Challenges of Multicultural Instruction. IRRODL, 11(2), n. pag. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/809/1497

Robinson-Neal, A. (n.d.). Exploring Diversity in Higher Education Management: History, Trends, and Implications for Community Colleges. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ940623.pdf

Shelton, C. (2011). Social Justice: Creating an Inclusive University Culture. Presidency, 14(1):28-32. Retrieved from http://www.acenet.edu/the-presidency/columns-and-features/Pages/Social-Justice-Creating-an-Inclusive-University-Culture.aspx

Strazzeri, L. (n.d.). Diversity management: a challenge for higher education and research institutes. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/edu/imhe/35322813.pdf

Vermeulen, P. (2011). Diversity Management in Higher Education: A South African Perspective in Comparison to a Homogeneous and Monomorphous Society such as Germany. Retrieved from http://www.che.de/downloads/AP143_South_Africa_Report.pdf

Vieyra, M., Gilmore, J., & Timmerman, B. (2011). Requiring Research May Improve Retention In STEM Fields for Underrepresented Women. Council On Undergraduate Research Quarterly, 32(1), 13-19. Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/1042850/Requiring_Research_May_Improve_Retention_In_STEM_Fields_for_Under-represented_Women

This critical writing on Managing Cultural Diversity Within Higher Education was written and submitted by user Colleen Wing to help you with your own studies. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

You can donate your paper here.

More Education Theories Paper Examples