As our deeply divided nation confronts the devastating effects of a global pandemic and accompanying economic crisis, along with the continuing destructive legacy of racial injustice, the need to build a civic-minded culture comes clearly into focus. Colleges and universities provide excellent environments for constructing civic-minded cultures that cultivate graduates who bring civic values and practices into the wider society. Whether in person or online, colleges and universities bring together people with different life experiences, empowering them to care for each other and work together for positive change.
Diversity and Democracy
Undergraduate global health education is a relatively new field that exemplifies how a liberal education can prepare students for work, life, and citizenship in an interconnected world. Contributors to this issue explore themes that are relevant across higher education, including experiential learning, cultural humility, critical reflection, ethical engagement, social justice, constructive dialogue, curricular coherence, and interdisciplinary collaboration.
This issue of Diversity & Democracy was produced in partnership with, and funded in part by, Allegheny College. The Association of American Colleges and Universities would like to thank Caryl Waggett and Vesta Silva of Allegheny College for their leadership and guidance in serving as guest editors for this issue.
Today’s students are taking the lead to create change at their colleges and universities—in the curriculum and cocurriculum, policies and practices, facilities and student services, and campus climate and institutional priorities. Some of these efforts are entirely student led, while others involve partnerships among students, faculty, staff, and administrators working toward shared goals, including increased support for equity, inclusion, global citizenship, environmental sustainability, campus safety, and all forms of diversity.
Students from low-income backgrounds come to college with valuable perspectives and strengths, yet they also face daunting challenges—from rising college costs, to family and work responsibilities, to the difficulty of navigating predominantly middle-class norms on campus, to basic needs insecurity. The contributors to this issue of Diversity & Democracy describe their work to honor students’ assets and identify and break down barriers that may stand in the way of their success.