This book looks courageously at diversity in higher education through critical, social justice-oriented theoretical lenses. The strength of this edited volume rests in the various case studies as told from the perspective of academic leaders specifically employed as Chief Diversity Officers, Mid-Level Administrators, and faculty members. These case studies uncover the persistent challenges of racism in higher education. This volume also highlights the incredible resistance and resilience, embedded in both individual and collective agency, that can move institutions of higher education forward. While asking, ‘Just How Important Is Diversity Work in Higher Education?’ this volume responds by illuminating its potential role to genuinely affirm our humanity, to pursue continual (institutional) improvement, and to realize the call to justice.
(Francisco A. Rios, Western Washington University)The editors of this volume take on the ambitious project of examining race and racism in higher education. This volume particularly appeals to those interested in applying a variety of critical lenses to explain the persistence of racial inequality and it’s relationship to white privilege.
(Adrienne D. Dixson, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)To explore race/racism in the Obama era is to question how race/racism could persist simultaneously with the election of the country’s first black president. The conversations around President Obama buttressed against the stories of equity/diversity workers in this volume are a constant reminder that the journey to a society devoid of race/racism is ongoing. However, with the type of honesty and courage represented in this volume…we may yet get there. After all, the journey to the promised land requires an acceptance of the past, energy to redress the patterns that perpetuate discrimination in the present, so the future looks very different.
(Kimberly L. King-Jupiter, Albany State University)Occupying the Academy is a compelling and important examination of the realities of race and racism in higher education. It brings to light how inequity not only continues to manifest itself through institutions, but the subversive and shifting composition of whiteness as a powerful and controlling entity in the workplace. Some readers will be shocked, others will be validated; all readers will continue to be disappointed by the enabled assaults on equity/diversity workers and their work.
(Thandeka K. Chapman, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)Occupying the Academy comprises a variety of case studies of diversity work at different public colleges and university, illustrating a broad range of institutional attitudes toward diversity work -- from nominal support to outright hostility.
(Inside Higher Education
)In Occupying the Academy: Just How Important Is Diversity Work in Higher Education?,” the authors describe eight configurations of diversity structures they found in use at colleges and universities. The configurations ranged from having he president claim the additional title or responsibility, either to foster or subvert the diversity effort, to having real diversity infrastructure in evidence. The “to-do list of issues that the people Christine Clark, one of the book’s editors, calls “diversity workers” must tackle are becoming more varied and complex, reaching far beyond racial/ethnic diversity or gender equity.
(The Chronicle of Higher Education
About the Author
Christine Clark is professor and senior scholar for multicultural education, and founding vice president for diversity and inclusion at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Clark was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in México and Guatemala, where she conducted research on school and community violence.
Kenneth J. Fasching-Varner is the Shirley B. Barton and Assistant Professor in elementary education at Louisiana State University. His areas of expertise include educational foundations, pre-service teacher development, reflective practice, literacy, second language development, critical race theory, culturally relevant pedagogy, and multicultural education.
Mark Brimhall-Vargas is the associate director of the Office of Diversity Education and Compliance (ODEC), an arm of the Office of the President, and a visiting scholar for Multicultural Education and Organizational Development in the Center for Leadership and Organizational Change (CLOC), both at the University of Maryland, College Park.