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ERIC Number: EJ1094904
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0024-1822
Two Steps Forward, One Step Backward: Must This Be the Future of Diversity?
Butler, Johnnella E.
Liberal Education, v99 n3 Sum 2013
Johnnella Butler writes here that the title of this article "Two Steps Forward, One Step Backward," expresses the "wicked problem" of diversity as a concrete goal in higher education. The concept of the "wicked problem," is a term coined in the late 1960s by social planners. Consulting Wikipedia, as so many of our students do, we find from the entry for "wicked problem" that "wicked" does not connote "evil" in this instance, but rather refers to problems that resist resolution. "Moreover, because of complex interdependencies, the effort to solve one aspect of a wicked problem may reveal or create other problems." Defining a wicked problem is itself a wicked problem. "Every wicked problem can be considered to be a symptom of another problem…. The problem is not understood until after the formulation of a solution." Yet, "wicked problems have no given alternative solutions." Here, Butler discusses faculty diversity, a wicked problem spawned by efforts to address the problem of minority access to higher education, has in its turn spawned several lateral wicked problems for faculty of color. Butler urges faculty and administrators of color, in particular, to come together around the qualitative and quantitative data that tell us that, unfortunately, the experiences of forty years ago still hold true for women today. She further encourages faculty to assess their positionalities on campuses and to decide, in concert with others, which pieces of the problem--and the possibility--each person can tackle in order to advance engaged diversity as compositional, intellectual, philosophical, social, cultural--and imperative.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A