The Corner

Culture

The Kind of Diversity Colleges Actually Need

College officials are constantly prattling away about their “commitment to diversity,” by which they mean adding a few more faculty members who “represent” groups that have previously been shortchanged. This doesn’t improve the competence of the faculty, but it does buy peace with the Social Justice Warrior–types and gives the officials something to crow about to influential leftists.

Vic Brown is a former college administrator and faculty member who has a rather different idea about adding to faculty diversity. In this Pope Center article, he argues that students would benefit greatly if there were more people on faculty who understand the professional world of business and would help prepare them for it.

Brown, who had a long career in business himself before embarking on one in academia, observes that few college students know how to conduct themselves in a business setting. They don’t know how to speak and dress properly, or write cogently. They would benefit from having one or more people on the faculty who’d help them by modeling good business conduct and to carefully edit all of their written work so they’d learn to write memos and reports that will impress their superiors, not make them roll their eyes.

Getting back an assignment with lots of corrections is the sort of thing that some students would regard as a microaggression. Tough.

Reading and editing student assignments to catch all the errors is hard and unpleasant work, but college officials should make doing that part of the job requirement for these hires. Brown is right in saying that the time they spend on careful editing of student papers is time far better spent than on doing the obligatory research that almost no one ever reads anyway.

The fat years are over for higher education. Colleges will need to show that they add value rather than merely hand out degrees. Diversifying the faculty as Brown suggests would be a step in the right direction.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.