Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions

pp 1-5

Date: Latest Version

Diversity and Higher Education

  • Kimberly GriffinAffiliated withCollege of Education, University of Maryland Email author 
  • , Jeni HartAffiliated withOffice of Graduate Studies, University of Missouri


Heterogeneity; Inclusion; Multicultural; Pluralism; Social justice


The representation and inclusion of individuals from a broad range of cultural, physical, and psychological categories within postsecondary education, with a particular emphasis on those who are historically underserved or underrepresented.

What Is Diversity?

Colleges and universities have come to embrace the notion of diversity. For example, many include diversity as part of their institutional mission. Campuses often include a “diversity course” for students as a requirement to graduate. Advertisements for faculty and professional staff positions ask applicants to include a statement on their philosophy of diversity. There are also campuses that evaluate how faculty engage with diversity as a criterion for promotion and tenure. However, there is a general lack of clarity in regard to the definition of diversity and what is meant when the term is used. The dissenting opinion by Clarence Thomas in the US ...

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