Multicultural Campuses

Posted on December 5, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Ϫ A huge trend within higher education is the increasingly diverse values, ideals, concepts, traditions, and people interacting on college campuses. There is no doubt that everyone who works on a college campus must be intentional in gaining greater culture awareness and sensitivity. College administrators must be vigilant in identifying student and community voices that are not being heard and seeking them out in order to provide the services, support and programming necessary to meet the ever changing population. This is an incredible challenge particularly because cultural variance leads to different levels of comfort with self-advocacy and therefore certain people and groups will be far less likely to come forward with their wants and needs. At the same time it is important for administrators to remember that not everyone on a college campus is supportive or knowledgeable about the increasingly diverse world. It is imperative that the fears and misinformation surrounding globalization and multiculturalism are identified, discussed openly and lessened through knowledgeable and respectful conversations.


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One Response to “Multicultural Campuses”

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In response to Scott’s question regarding the multigenerational workforce: The student affairs workforce is not only evolving in regards to increased multicultural diversity, but also in the number of generations working in the field. Given the current economic conditions, this mixing will likely continue with older generations less willing or able to retire and more and more Millennials joining the workforce. The organizational dynamics between generations has increasingly become scholarly work and I do not feel adequately prepared to comment on it as such. However, here are some things I think will be necessary in order for a multi-generational workforce to succeed:

Understanding that problems will arise: Being willing to admit that a multi-generational workforce does pose some challenges is the first step in addressing them. Different generations have different expectations for their work environment, tasks, evaluation, compensation, professional development, etc. Knowing this and being willing to create open dialogue is essential.

An organizational mission that everyone can buy into and support: While a simple mission without much to back it up may have worked in the past, Millennials are less likely than previous generations to buy into concepts without having had all of their questions about it answered. Supervisors must be willing to explain the inner reasons for the work that they expect Millennials to do.

Respect and utilization of a multitude of talents: While Millennials may have the upper hand on technology within the workforce, other skills that take longer to develop like critical thinking, decision making, thorough research, and communication skills must be utilized and respected.

Collaboration/creation of partnerships: Millennials are often associated with teamwork. Creating increased opportunities for colleagues of different generations to work together will not only work will for Millennials, but it will give all employees the chance to learn from one another and work towards common goals. If expectations of the work tasks are clear and everyone’s skills are utilized this can be a great way to make strides to a more cohesive unit.

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