Diversity is one of the main features of modern education and tutoring. The leader (administrator, teacher, tutor, etc.) plays a crucial role in the diversity management on campus creating a friendly and positive climate and atmosphere in this social setting. There are differences of gender, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation, disability, and religion that also challenge the capacity of academic communities to be genuinely inclusive, educationally effective, and responsive to the needs of our democratic society. Every aspect of the community’s life, its values, its culture will be revisited and tested against the changing conditions. The role and responsibility of the educational leader is to ensure fair treatment of all students in spite of their age, gender, nationality, race or background. The challenge of cultural diversity and educational equity involves four related issues: the bases of support for these policies; the current status of diversity and equity policy; the links between diversity policy and the core categories used to construct the above profiles; and the nature of the universities as a complex ecological systems as crucial to the implementation of cultural diversity policy.
At the heart of an ethical treatment is the campus’ deliberate construction, over time, of a code of ethics, and this construction is overseen and guided by the leader (Aten, 2004). The code embodies the ethos of the campus and ethical issues of cultural diversity. The educational leader is responsible to create an atmosphere of trust, in which all in the campus can feel free to argue, propose, question, and challenge. The confident leader encourages dispersed leadership so that anyone can form a sub-group, investigate a particular aspect of the school’s life, research an abstruse point, and then present the findings to the wider group (Woodhouse, 2003). The educational leader has to judge when the discussions have gone on long enough, bring together the disparate ideas, and then articulate the refined essence of what has been said. However, such a dialogue is not, must not be, a one-off event. The focus of ethnic diversity represents an effort to avoid the diffuseness that treating all these differences together would entail (Nelson et al 1999). The intention is not at all to slight the seriousness of finding appropriate responses to these other dimensions of diversity. It may, at many institutions, seem obvious that the people who should participate are the people who have known interests or responsibilities connected with diversity (Woodhouse, 2003). In a time of very considerable flux, it is essential that the campus, and in particular the leader, articulates its ethical code clearly. It is a reasonable assumption that all connected with the campus shared a common set of diversity values. “The ideological infrastructure that guide educational policy and constitutes the ethos of academic institutions must incorporate diversity. Consequently, higher education can live up to the reputation of being a “marketplace of ideas” (Woodhouse, 2003, p. 98). The educational leader will be the inspiration in that he will always be questioning, always seeking out a way of doing things which better enhances learning, and leading the reflective discourse that explores every aspect of the community’s life. The leaders of high performing schools need to be thoroughly sensitized to this issue of diversity in order to ensure that the students take account of these significant issues. There needs to be a sensitive awareness of the emotional well-being of all members of the community, and opportunities for emotions to be discussed (Williams, 2006). The case of the University of Missouri shows that the campus community needs to be outward looking; changes in the world are so rapid and all-pervasive that there cannot be any inward turning (Woodhouse 2003, p. 98). The responsibility of the leader is to put at the heart of all that the school does the fostering of self-esteem, for all adults and students.
In brief, the educational leader’s task, working with the rest of the community, is to make the campus a place to which staff and students want to come, a community in which enjoyment, openness and caring are highly in evidence. The acceptance of difference, indeed the welcoming of diversity, needs to be central to the ethos of the community.
- Aten, J.D. (2004). Improving Understanding and Collaboration between Campus Ministers and College Counseling Center Personnel. Journal of College Counseling, 7 (1), 90.
- Nelson, J.L., Palonsky, S.B., McCarthy, K. (1999). Critical Issues in Education. McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages.
- illiams, L.S. (2006). Communication across the Campus: Expanding Our Mission to Practice What We Profess. The Journal of Business Communication, 43 (2), 158.
- Woodhouse, Sh. (2003). Affirmative Action and Academic Employment: Differentiation of Campus Perceptions in the University of Missouri. The Western Journal of Black Studies, 27 (2), 98.