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Academic and Student Perspectives on Diversity at an “Inclusive Excellence” University

Across the United States there has been a growing trend to advertise, create, and sustain more diverse student bodies in higher education. As a result, many researchers have spent time considering the experiences of racial minority students at majority white universities. While there is significant research into the motives behind universities’ attempts to increase diversity percentages in their student bodies there has been little research on the impact of diversity programs from the perspectives of students and administrators. Considering this gap, this research conducted a more wholistic study into the impact of diversity work at a liberal arts university. This was accomplished by conducting qualitative interviews with students and administrators. This research has found that without clear communication practices between administrators and students, and without high levels of transparency surrounding diversity initiatives, it is difficult for diversity programs to create a positive impact for minority students across campus cultures more broadly. These findings can provide universities with a guide for considerations when seeking to cultivate a more diverse culture.

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