Lack Of Diversity In Higher Education

Decent Essays
Last week I had the privilege of joining President Obama and the first lady at a White House summit designed to spur efforts to make sure that higher education serves as an engine of upward mobility rather than a replicator of inequality. One hundred college presidents came with formal pledges in hand, committing time and resources to strategies to improve access and success of disadvantaged young adults. The three heads of California’s public systems all attended, including the University of California’s new system president, former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Just weeks on the job, Napolitano was the first participant to directly and explicitly own up to the racial undercurrent to the discussion. UC’s enrollment of low-income students is impressive, but the inadequate representation of Latino and African American students is a real problem. Seeming fully in command of the subject matter, Napolitano lamented the ripple effect this lack of diversity will have at all colleges because of the role UC plays in preparing the future faculty members who will serve as mentors to the next generation of students at campuses far beyond UC.
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But the formal pledge she submitted to the White House for the event included a hint at one plank. It would feature efforts to enhance transfer to UC not just from community colleges generally, but from those that “enroll large numbers of underrepresented and low-income students but send relatively few on to
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