Winkle-Wagnrer R and Locks A M (2014) Diversity and Inclusion on Campus: Supporting racially and ethnically under-represented students. London: Routledge
ISBN 978 0 415 80707 4
For students of, and practitioners in, the post secondary sector in the USA, this book is comprehensive in terms of racial and ethnic diversity and diversity and inclusion matters. It does not, by the writers’ own admission, and despite fleeting references, cover matters pertaining to gender, sexuality and (dis)ability. Socio-economic issues are wrapped up in race related analyses, but there s little coverage of factors relating specifically to white working class students. This said, the overview of policies, approaches and practices is transferable to other contexts. Consequently the text is relevant to an international readership, and to an extent broader inclusion and diversity related concerns.
The book consists of three main sections, covering recruitment and admissions, retention and progression and completion and employability/employment. The chapters in each section cover political matters, policies, economic factors and the outcomes of initiatives through an analysis of large scale research and development projects, experiments and scrutiny of statistical data, patterns and trends. Alternative approaches are considered and contrasted. The end of each chapter contains reflection questions designed to stimulate further research. In addition, a case study is included, which provokes questions and challenges relating to the focus of each chapter in a practical sense. Consequently each chapter contains theoretical, research based, reflective and practical elements.
Four key factors re-emerge throughout each section, and these are presented as issues which affect the success of under-rep[resented groups at each stage of the post secondary education journey. These are related to institutional types, campus climate, support systems and financial aid for students. The sections represent key transition points and consequently the nature of analysis rightly changes for students and the reader.
Ethnic diversity within the student body is presented in different ways – essentially as an opportunity to transform society, and secondly as a source of problems to be addressed. The reader is left to draw his/her own conclusions; and to adopt a stance. For a non-American reader, the fact that the law, and case law has required a shift in the twentieth century from deliberate exclusion (segregation) to affirmative inclusion policies, is of particular interest.
Just as the theoretical framework is repeated, so are conclusions. The needs to engage and interact in an invitational manner, with students and their families, to promote inter-cultural sensitivity and awareness through social interaction, an integration into the subject discipline are all broken down and analysed. Different approaches to recruitment (meritocratic, positive discrimination, quotas, and a ‘top 10%’ approach) are explored. The organisation of group and team work, the promotion of culturally relevant social activities, mentoring and role modelling are all given close consideration.
As I mentioned at the outset, and as I feel is evident throughout this review, th study is comprehensive. The book refers to survey tools, research outcomes and political intentions, which all help the reader to apply his/her own understanding to his/her own context. As a basis for CPD or faculty staff and for staff working within the student support/experience offices, the content of this book demands close attention. To understand and apply the outcome of reflections on the content would be to develop a sensitive institutional and cultural ethos and atmosphere. For these reasons I recommend the text wholeheartedly.
Professor Kit Field, University of Wolverhampton