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ERIC Number: EJ832309
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0190-2946
Diversity and Privilege
Maher, Frances A.; Tetreault, Mary Kay
Academe, v95 n1 p17-20 Jan-Feb 2009
Efforts to diversify university faculties began almost forty years ago. Since then, the number of white women faculty and faculty of color on U.S. campuses has grown slowly but steadily. At the same time, the explanatory framework for this shift--what they call the "terms of inclusion"--has changed profoundly. "Diversity" and "excellence" were once widely seen as opposites, in that diversity was perceived as a threat to, or a watering down of, excellence. Yet in many quarters today, diversity and excellence are understood to be mutually reinforcing. Excellence, it is said, rests on diversity. How has this change occurred? In January 2000, the authors set out to examine efforts over the past four decades to diversify the faculty of three universities--Rutgers University-Newark, Stanford University, and the University of Michigan. This journey--documented in their 2007 book, "Privilege and Diversity in the Academy"--showed them that the long-standing use of the term "excellence" in opposition to "diversity" has reflected less a commitment to academic quality than an enactment of academic privilege; that is, it reflected the power of established elites to control the norms of the academic enterprise to keep new people, new topics, and new methodologies at bay. Privilege, in its root meaning, pertains to a law--in this case often silent and unseen--that works for or against individuals and groups. The authors have learned that to bring a genuine range of experience and perspective to American campuses, not only must the goals of diversity and excellence be conjoined, but the operations of privilege must also be deliberately excavated and challenged.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A