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Diversity as a Core Value of Educational Mission. Presentation to the Association of Institutional Research Chicago Illinois 17 May 2006. Stanley Rothman, Smith College, 2003.

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Diversity as a Core Value of Educational Mission

Presentation to the Association of Institutional Research

Chicago Illinois

17 May 2006

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Stanley Rothman, Smith College, 2003

  • In a sense, diversity is like free speech -- almost everyone approves of it in the abstract, but its application in concrete situations can produce great controversy.

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Neil L. Rudenstine, Diversity and Learning, 1996

  • The primary purpose of diversity in college admissions . . . represents now, as it has since the mid-nineteenth century, positive educational values that are fundamental to the basic mission of colleges and universities.

  • Such diversity is not an end in itself, or a pleasant but dispensable accessory. It is the substance from which much human learning, understanding, and wisdom derive.

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Justice Antonin Scalia

  • Tempting targets, one would suppose, will be those universities that talk the talk of multiculturalism and racial diversity in the courts but walk the walk of tribalism and racial segregation on their campuses–through minority-only student organizations, separate minority housing opportunities, separate minority student centers, even separate minority-only graduation ceremonies.

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Stephen Macedo – Author of Diversity and Distrust (2000)

  • Diversity is a never-ending contest over what defines us as a nation.

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Bill Fitzsimmons, Harvard University

  • If an institution is not attracting the very best students, male and female, from the widest variety of economic and ethnic backgrounds, it will be increasingly irrelevant to what goes on in the world.

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Managing College Enrollments

  • Enrollment as Strategy

  • College Student Marketing

  • The Student Educational Experience

  • Selectivity & Positioning

  • Pricing and Family Income

  • Diversity and Educational Mission

  • Enrollment Planning (analytical models)

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Enrollment Management



Outreach Selection Educational Mission

Programs Goals


Access Choice Investment Completion


Diversity Student Retention Outcomes



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Enrollment as Strategy

Boston College Founded 1863

  • Irish Catholic Immigrants

  • Boston Immigrants

  • Emerging Boston Middle Class

  • Returning Boston GI’s

  • Boston Leadership

  • Coeducational

  • Regional

  • National

  • National Elite

  • International

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Research Findings vs. Evidence

Research Findings Evidence

Internal management High-stakes, legal system

Gather facts Document the impact

Track trends Demonstrate improvement

Answer questions Justify policies

Program effectiveness Compelling Interest

Address areas of Societal needs and

student needs the Constitution

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2028 Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

  • Define Mission

  • Plan

  • Measure

  • Document

  • Assemble

  • Communicate

  • Improve!

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Mission Statement

Strengthened by more than a century and a quarter of dedication to academic excellence, Boston College commits itself to the highest standards of teaching and research in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs and to the pursuit of a just society through its own accomplishments, the work of its faculty and staff, and the achievements of its graduates. It seeks both to advance its place among the nation's finest universities and to bring to the company of its distinguished peers and to contemporary society the richness of the Catholic intellectual ideal of a mutually illuminating relationship between religious faith and free intellectual inquiry.

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Mission (continued)

Boston College draws inspiration for its academic societal mission from its distinctive religious tradition. As a Catholic and Jesuit university, it is rooted in a world view that encounters God in all creation and through all human activity, especially in the search for truth in every discipline, in the desire to learn, and in the call to live justly together. In this spirit, the University regards the contribution of different religious traditions and value systems as essential to the fullness of its intellectual life and to the continuous development of its distinctive intellectual heritage.

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Mission (continued)

Boston College pursues this distinctive mission by serving society in

three ways:

  • by fostering the rigorous intellectual development and the religious, ethical and personal formation of its undergraduate, graduate and professional students in order to prepare them for citizenship, service and leadership in a global society;

  • by producing nationally and internationally significant research that advances insight and understanding, thereby both enriching culture and addressing important societal needs; and

  • by committing itself to advance the dialogue between religious belief and other formative elements of culture through the intellectual inquiry, teaching and learning, and the community life that form the University.

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Mission (continued)

Boston College fulfills this mission with a deep concern for all members of its community, with a recognition of the important contribution a diverse student body, faculty and staff can offer, with a firm commitment to academic freedom, and with a determination to exercise careful stewardship of its resources in pursuit of its academic goals.

Approved by the Board of TrusteesMay 31, 1996URL: http://infoeagle.bc.edu/cwis/mission/mission.html

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Define Diversity

  • Compositional/structural diversity = A statistical profile

  • Organizational diversity = Curricular, Co-curricular, and

    Extra-curricular programs

  • Functional diversity = The purposes served

    Sample Statement on Diversity

  • Compositional and organizational diversity are necessary conditions for achieving higher levels of intellectual engagement on matters of social justice, service to others, and reflection on personal and religious values.

  • Functional diversity is achieved by the creation of a dynamic education community based upon a campus culture of inclusiveness. By valuing respect and care for the individual (cura personalis) and by engaging one another through teaching and research, students and faculty are best able to develop their competencies and leadership skills for an ever changing and more complex world.

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  • Clearly defined goals

  • Measurable objectives

  • Know when achieve objectives

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Measurable Diversity Benefits





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Policies and Programs

  • Inventory of existing policies and programs (alternate means)

    • Race neutral - inclusive, undifferentiated benefits

    • Race conscious – race or ethnicity consciously considered

  • Assess (narrow tailoring)

    • Impact for beneficiaries

    • Impact on non-beneficiaries

    • Relative impact of means

  • Periodic Review

    • Race conscious policies still needed?

    • Balance with race neutral programming

    • Nuanced race-conscious means?

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Integrated Assessments

  • Admission selection is holistic, thus assessment measures should also be multidimensional in order to capture the same individualistic approach

  • Rather than study benefits of diversity in isolation, we should integrate dimensions of the academic experience with positive educational outcomes for individuals and the college community

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Ongoing Assessment

  • Because structural diversity by itself does not ensure educational benefits, simple enrollment growth is not a direct assessment measure

  • Structural diversity in classrooms or in inter-group dynamics must be linked to outcomes

  • Process-based measures should describe the causal relationships between structural diversity and educational benefits

  • Focus on improvements over time

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Document Educational Benefits

  • Program participation rates

  • Completion rates

  • Measures of achievements/success

  • Correlate achievements to programs

  • Campus climate surveys

  • Opinion surveys on the value of diversity

  • Learning gains against controls

  • Statistical modeling of net effects

  • System of key performance indicators

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Assembling the Evidence

  • Mission Statement

  • Leadership Statements (President, Trustees, Deans, Employers, Graduate Admission Deans, etc.)

  • Map best practices of similar institutions

  • Review and synthesize general social science research and management studies at other institutions

  • Document educational benefits

  • Detail service to external communities (ex Latino graduates who serve Hispanic communities)

  • Describe pathways to leadership (alumni/ae success)

  • Document the making of sound educational judgments supported by the evidence (given deference from the court)

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Ogden Nash

Progress is alright, but it has gone on too damn long!

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Resources for Diversity Planning

  • The Access and Diversity Collaborative, www.collegeboard.org/diversitycollaborative

  • Diversity Web, www.diversityweb.org

  • University of Washington, Diversity Appraisal, www.depts.washington.edu/divinit

  • Milem, Jeffrey F. et al, Making Diversity Work on Campus: A Research-Based Perspective, AACU, 2005

  • Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education, Self-Assessment Guide: Outcomes Assessment and Program Evaluation, 2004.

  • Orfield, G. et al, Higher Education and the Color Line, Harvard Education Press, 2005.

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Resources for Planning (continued)

  • US Dept of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Achieving Diversity: Race Neutral Alternatives, 2004.

  • Rigol, G. Admissions Decision-Making Models, The College Board, 2003.

  • ACE, Investing in People: Developing All of America’s Talent on Campus and in the Workplace, 2002.

  • Orfield,G. and Kurlaender, M., Diversity Challenged Evidence on the Impact of Affirmative Action, Harvard Education Publishing Group, 2001.

  • Hurtado, Sylvia et al. Enhancing campus climates for racial/ethnic diversity: Educational policy and practice. The Review of Higher Education 21 (3): 279-302, 1998.

  • AACU, Diversity Blueprint: A Planning Manual for Colleges and Universities, 1998.

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Resources for Research on Diversity

  • AACU Conference, Diversity & Learning: A Defining Moment, October 19-21, 2006.

  • Shaw, E., Researching the Educational Benefits of Diversity, College Board, 2005.

  • University of Michigan Lawsuits and Research, www.umich.edu/~urel/admissions

  • Michigan Student Study,


  • The Civil Rights Project, www.civilrightsproject.harvard.edu/research.php

  • Postsecondary Education Opportunity, www.postsecondary.org

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Resources for Diversity Research (cont.)

  • University of Maryland, College Park, Moving Towards Community, diversity database of resources and initiatives.

  • Higher Education Research Institute,


  • The National Survey of Student Engagement, http://nsse.iub.edu/

  • The Educational Trust, College Results On Line.

  • Bowen and Bok, The Shape of the River, Princeton University Press, 1998.

  • The Spencer Foundation, Researching Issues of Diversity in Higher Education, Conference Report, 1997 www.spencer.org/publications/index.htm

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Thank You!

Robert S. Lay, Dean

Enrollment Management

Boston College

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