Achieving excellence through diversity? An examination of presence and role of diversity offices in universities worldwide


 Presenter (s) Seungah S. Lee, Stanford University; Francisco O. Ramirez, Stanford University

In the pursuit toward excellence, how have universities worldwide incorporated and institutionalized diversity and inclusion? How is the notion of diversity conceptualized and interpreted in universities across the globe? Utilizing a unique cross-national sample of 500 universities who partake in the international higher education community, we examine the extent to which diversity offices have become institutionalized across the globe. We find that diversity offices are predominantly concentrated in Western countries. Furthermore, the way diversity is conceptualized and discussed varies across regions. Diversity is predominantly addressed as an issue of race, class, and ethnicity in Northern American universities, and universities in Australia and New Zealand too adopt the more “traditional” notions of diversity and multiculturalism by focusing on aboriginal and indigenous rights. European institutions mostly discuss diversity as it relates to gender and focuses more on achieving diversity in staff and faculty than in students. Finally, Asian institutions discuss diversity in relation to internationalization in adopting the “diversity towards excellence” rhetoric.

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