“Let us not be blind to our differences but let us also direct attention to our common interests and how those differences can be resolved. Moreover, if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.”
John F. Kennedy, 1963
President Kennedy spoke these words in 1963 or more than half a century ago, but they carry a more resounding meaning today than in any previous time. In today’s rapidly changing world, we must be willing to acknowledge, understand, and embrace cultural diversity. Due to its immense territory and diverse heritage, the United States has one of the world’s most complex cultural identities. This makes America a unique place to live in.
Since the country’s inception, millions of immigrants worldwide have made the journey to the United States. It is home to more immigrants than in any other country in the world. From more than 23 million immigrants in 1990, this number grew to over 40 million in 2017 and a record of 44.8 million in 2018. These numbers account for foreign-born residents in the U.S. or 13.7% of the country’s population or 1/5 of the world’s migrants.
The immigrant population in America is also very diverse, with migrants coming from every country globally. To say that immigrants make up the backbone of the United States is no exaggeration. More specifically, immigrants make a significant portion of the workforce across a wide range of industries. Over 1/3 of the immigrants compose the farming, fishing, and forestry industry while 25% work in computer and math sciences. It is worth mentioning that over 4 million immigrants work in the healthcare and social industry, making them essential workers. Immigrants are an integral part of America’s cultural diversity, whether business owners, workers, neighbors, or taxpayers.
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Importance of Cultural Diversity
Immigrants bring new energy and ingenuity to the country, making it known as the center of multiculturalism. The United States has become more progressive and forward-thinking, with every culture integrated into the American identity. It goes beyond mere aesthetic as it is an expression of human creativity and an embodiment of human strivings. Cultural diversity is humanity’s collective experience and identities.
Today, we experience the impact of diverse cultures and origins the moment we set our foot out the door, if not at home. Every person in America has been immersed in a culture that is not their own. Each may have reacted differently, experienced culture shock, and may have become disoriented. This is an acceptable reaction when we meet new people that are fundamentally different from us. We revert to our own cultural experience and make it as a gauge to judge others. However, passing judgment to the point that we develop prejudice towards another must never be normalized.
Culturally Diverse Schools
For this very reason, we need to foster a welcoming environment where people understand each other and rise above cultural differences, prejudice, or bias. This must start at home, but it must be encouraged and welcomed in school. To ensure that every individual’s human rights from all cultural backgrounds are accepted and respected, understanding and tolerance of different worldviews and lifestyles must be introduced at an early age.
Sending your children to a culturally diverse school during their adolescence will positively impact their worldview. A study hypothesized that a classroom cultural diversity climate promotes cooperation among adolescent students, leading to adolescents’ intercultural competence. According to the same study, intercultural competence goes beyond intergroup attitudes. It includes one’s awareness and knowledge of the different worldviews. Adolescent students in a culturally diverse classroom are exposed to peers who have different worldviews from their own. Through this exposure, they develop behavioral flexibility to deal with the diverse cultures in their environment.
Adolescence is a crucial developmental period. Introducing your child to a culturally diverse environment will prove beneficial in the future. They will interact with people from different cultural backgrounds, values, beliefs, and experiences to develop a highly valuable intercultural competence.
Schools are where our children get the most of cross-cultural encounters. How schools approach cultural diversity determines whether it poses a threat and a challenge on campus or an opportunity for cultural exchange and personal growth. However, it is never too late to expose yourself or your adult children to the country’s beauty of cultural diversity. Colleges in the United States are also a major context for cross-cultural encounters. It may be said that college campuses are more progressive and aggressive in integrating cultural diversity.
Diversity in College Campuses in the United States
The increase in cultural diversity in the U.S. is also reflected on college and university campuses across the nation. College campuses are a ripe environment for a culturally diverse student population. They provide a dynamic place where differences in opinion, beliefs, culture, and traditions to interact. Diversity continues to grow and become increasingly important in students’ life. Academic officials ensure that college students welcome cultural diversity in the classroom, campus, and beyond.
Why is diversity important in college campuses around the country?
Diversity defines the United States. Today, more than half of babies born in the U.S. are people of color. Based on data collected in 2011 by the United States Census Bureau, minorities make up 50.4% of the country’s younger population belonging to the age of 1 and below demographic. With the changing migration and immigration climate, the Bureau predicts that by 2030, the United States will experience a demographic turning point. The older population will expand with all the baby boomers reaching the age of 65 and older. Four years later, by 2034, it is projected that older adults will significantly outnumber the younger population. This will be the first in U.S. history.
At the beginning of a new decade, immigration is projected to have a natural increase in population. This will be due to population aging among Americans. In 2030, the immigrant population will be the primary driver of population growth for the United States. As the years progressed, the U.S. population will become more racially and ethnically diverse. By 2050, our country will have no distinct racial or ethnic majority – a more inclusive future for everyone.
Our beloved nation is changing, and there is no better way to reflect this than through higher education!
Diversity in Numbers: Higher Education Enrollment
In just over 20 years, the American population grew to more than 50 million citizens, many of whom are people of color. Between 1997 to 2017, the United States saw a dramatic change in its racial and ethnic makeup. Most importantly, this change is reflected in the educational attainment of the American people. During this period, people have become more educated, seeking enrollment in a degree-granting institution.
Managing cultural diversity in higher education has become one of the central concerns in the education sector. It is important to note that over the past 20 years, minority enrollment in undergrad programs across the country has significantly increased. Minority enrollments in American colleges and universities have ballooned by over 120%. According to the American Council of Education, only about 2 million enrollees in 1981 to more than 4 million in 2001. In the 1990s, Hispanic, Asian, and American Indian enrollments at a degree-granting institution increased by over 30%, while African American enrollments rose by 17%.
As indicated in the status report by the American Council on Education, between 1995 to 1996 and 2015 to 2016, the number of undergraduate students of color increased by 30% to 45%. This is a remarkable indicator that as the United States moves forward, our country’s future is in the hands of educated, culturally diverse adults.
Importance of Cultural Diversity in College Campuses
What a college or university values and what it holds to be true are reflected in the mission it has set into achieving. The educational policies, practices, and policies emerge from its mission. Having a unique responsibility to instill in their students the necessary skills, competencies, and knowledge they need to excel in their chosen field. The U.S. is linked to the global community, and it is only wise to consider what is necessary to remain a relevant and productive member of society. Higher education institutions in the country have recognized and responded to these changes by revamping their mission statements. Colleges and universities across the country have undergone a dramatic transformation, affirming the role of diversity in higher education.
Preserving diversity is essential for us and serves the needs of our modern and highly globalized society. Many higher education institutions share a common belief that diversity in their faculty, staff, and student bodies are important in providing high-quality education. We have sifted through various reliable sources and articles to come with the following, highlighting both the importance and benefits of cultural diversity in college.
Our Country Has Changed and Will Continue To Change
A changing nation requires institutions, mainly higher education institutions, to adapt to this change, taking into consideration the need to integrate cultural diversity in their policy-making and reform. As we have mentioned, there will come a time in the United States when race and ethnicity can no longer be distinctly identified. Better preparation of our workforce is needed since there is no doubt that a diverse community is a future, and tomorrow’s leaders are communities of color.
College admission may have risen over the years, but students of color and ethnic minorities are still underrepresented in selective college campuses. There is a detrimental impact of race-neutral policies in educational opportunities on the future generation. A reduced representation of students of color is expected when admission policies in place do not consider race. It only makes sense for universities to focus on their admission policies considering diversity, as the future workforce is likely to be diverse.
Diversity Enriches The Educational Experience Of Our College Students
We have seen a steady increase in minority enrollment in colleges and universities. Communities of color are closing the education gap, yet there are still prevailing disparities in higher education. With a more inclusive admission policy, we can ensure that every college student’s educational experience is richer. Race-conscious methods should be prioritized to attain the degree of diversity that will cater to our diverse nation.
Over the past years, the U.S. Military has focused on creating a more diversified and inclusive force that would attract the country’s best talent. Although racial and ethnic minorities are still underrepresented in some military areas, mostly at the high levels of the chain of command, the U.S. armed forces have indicated that it is essential to provide national security to have a highly qualified and diverse officer corps.
We can depend on the prospect of young adults who are slowly moving into the workforce to have a strong cross-cultural understanding and armed with intercultural competence.
A Culturally Diverse College Produces Globally Competitive Graduates
It is within our national interest that we invest in our future workforce. People of color to this day make up more than 1/3 of the workforce, and this will only continue to increase. Fostering an inclusive and culturally diverse classroom and campus environment in higher education strengthens graduates’ global competitiveness. Education with a diverse setting fosters mutual respect and cooperation among peers. It helps build strong communities of individuals gauged not by their skin color but by the quality of their character and what they bring to the table.
A survey revealed that approximately 75% of the respondents disclosed that their companies would shift focus on diversifying their workforce in the next three years. This effort is meant to ensure that they meet their goals and leverage their business interests. Further, 85% said that their business must have diverse employees. This business decision makes sense, especially in today’s marketplace.
Sixty of the leading Fortune 500 companies—Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and General Electric—supported the racially centric admission policies, as evidenced by legal briefs submitted the Supreme Court in the Grutter v. Bollinger case. It shows that Fortune 500 companies are committed to the flexible assessment of an applicant’s competence. This leads us to another benefit that cultural diversity brings.
College Students From Colleges And Universities That Value Cultural Diversity Brings Positive Impact To Future Employers
Studies have shown that diversity in the workforce leads to progress and competitiveness within the workforce. It also facilitates innovation and stimulates creativity. Diversity is what makes the workforce heterogeneous. In today’s industries, having a diversified workforce is a necessity. This is in response to the shift in the world economy in the 21st century. Distance is shrinking, and day by day, the world is advancing more towards globalization, and we need to sustain our nation’s prosperity.
A diverse college campus provides students with different insights and worldviews as students from different backgrounds add their input into the mix. Diversity in college campuses does not just benefit students of color or ethnic minorities. Diversity benefits everyone. Collaboration with people outside of your racial group or people of different backgrounds encourages innovation and creativity as it helps them change minds and shape ideas, therefore benefiting all students. Racial diversity on campus has a positive effect on students’ overall and academic and social aspects, making them invaluable assets in the workforce.
College Students From Culturally Diverse Campus Develop Diverse Cultural Perspectives Are More Creative And Innovative
Our culture significantly influences our perception of the world. With the different worldviews, it may be challenging to work in teams. However, in order for us to be truly educated, we should embrace and practice our appreciation of our differences. College students in culturally diverse campuses interact with peers who have different thought processes, histories, and modes of expression.
Developing a deep appreciation for the varied cultures, various viewpoints and interacting with numerous people with different personal and professional experiences breed creativity.
Open communication is also encouraged in a culturally diverse setting. It provides a platform where diversity of thought is welcome. This drives students to get more creative and innovative, which leads to a well-functioning multicultural team.
Most Culturally Diverse Colleges in the United States
For most young Americans, college is the first time they will have the chance to engage with peers of different racial, ethnic, or geographic backgrounds. Meeting people from diverse cultures, histories, and worldviews can provide college students with invaluable experiences to prepare them for the real world. Students learn to develop realistic solutions to real-world problems. Educational experience in a culturally diverse college or university campus is deeper, richer, making them more open-minded and critical thinkers.
Wouldn’t you love to experience rich cultures in college and university campuses promoting diversity? Most diverse degree-granting institutions are among the hardest to get in to. On average, colleges across America admit 55.5% of their applicants. Some colleges even admit less than half of its applicants, even single-digit admission rates!
Here are some of the most inclusive and most culturally diverse college campuses in the country:
New York Institute of Technology
Old Westbury, NY
New York Institute of Technology, a private technological institute committed to its inclusiveness, recently established the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity (DEI) Task Force. The DEI Task Force’s main objective is to “welcome diversity, foster equity, and promote a culture of inclusion” on campus. With a 75.7% acceptance rate, NYIT has one of the highest acceptance rates among the schools on this list.
In terms of diversity, there is an 83.2% chance that among a pool of random students, 2 of them are of different races, ethnicity, or U.S. citizenship status. American undergraduates enrolled in NYITT, 31.3% identify as white, 21.6% as Asian, while 20.2% identify as Hispanic, 11.4% as black, and 5.6% are multi-racial.
Newark, New Jersey
Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N) is a regional campus of Rutgers University and is one of the five primarily bachelor’s degree-granting institutions in the United States. RU-N believes that its distinctive excellence is exemplified by its students’ and staff’s unique range and diversity. Among the undergraduate students in the university, 20% of whom identify as African American. Hispanic students make up 29.8% of the population while, 23.3% are white, and 19.5% are Asian students.
University of San Francisco
San Francisco, California
A private Jesuit university, the University of San Francisco (USF) values diversity and sees beauty in a mixture of differences. Located in the most diverse counties in the United States, we can expect diversity at the University of San Francisco. USF finds strength in our experience as a common humanity. At USF, less than 30% of the American undergraduate population is white. It is important to note that this is the largest racial or ethnic group on the campus. Asian students make up 27.8%, while 25% identify as Hispanic.
New York University
New York, New York
New York University (NYU), the second most diverse university in the country with an undergraduate population of 35.6% of which identify as White, 23.5% as Asian, 18.8% are Hispanic, and 8.9% identify as black students. NYU is one of the country’s most competitive universities on this list in terms of admissions. Despite being a private university with a high tuition rate, many international or nonresident students choose to enroll in NYU. 20.6% of NYU undergraduate students are foreigners.
University of Massachusetts-Boston
The third most diverse college in the country, the University of Massachusetts-Boston (UMass), actively supports and advances diversity and inclusion as its top values. Through the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI), students, educators, and staff engage in an open conversation to ensure that all members are engaged and included.
The UMass student undergraduate student body is comprised of 18.8% who identify as Black. This statistic is nearly 50% higher than the average rate among American schools.