Rethinking Diversity Frameworks in Higher Education: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Rethinking Diversity Frameworks in Higher Education

1st Edition

By Edna B. Chun, Joe R. Feagin


234 pages

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Paperback: 9780367279530
pub: 2019-07-29
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pub: 2019-07-30
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pub: 2019-07-12
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With the goal of building more inclusive working, learning, and living environments in higher education, this book seeks to reframe understandings of forms of everyday exclusion that affect members of nondominant groups on predominantly white college campuses. The book contextualizes the need for a more robust analysis of persistent patterns of campus inequality by addressing key trends that have reshaped the landscape for diversity, including rapid demographic change, reduced public spending on higher education, and a polarized political climate. Specifically, it offers a critique of contemporary analytical ideas such as micro-aggressions and implicit and unconscious bias and underscores the impact of consequential discriminatory events (or macro-aggressions) and racial and gender-based inequalities (macro-inequities) on members of nondominant groups. The authors draw extensively upon interview studies and qualitative research findings to illustrate the reproduction of social inequality through behavioral and process-based outcomes in the higher education environment. They identify a more powerful systemic framework and conceptual vocabulary that can be used for meaningful change. In addition, the book highlights coping and resistance strategies that have regularly enabled members of nondominant groups to address, deflect, and counteract everyday forms of exclusion. 

The book offers concrete approaches, concepts, and tools that will enable higher education leaders to identify, address, and counteract persistent structural and behavioral barriers to inclusion. As such, it shares a series of practical recommendations that will assist presidents, provosts, executive officers, boards of trustees, faculty, administrators, diversity officers, human resource leaders, diversity taskforces, and researchers as they seek to implement comprehensive strategies that result in sustained diversity change.


Rethinking Diversity Frameworks in Higher Education should be required reading for anyone involved in—or interested in—academic governance. It not only provides a comprehensive overview of the disturbing situation in our institutions of higher education, it provides practical yet visionary suggestions for effecting real and sustained change and creating more inclusive environments for all members of campus communities. Santa J. Ono, President and Vice Chancellor, The University of British Columbia

Through Rethinking Diversity Frameworks in Higher Education, Chun and Feagin have produced the next classic work for higher education leaders who care about and seek to articulate the import of diversity on (predominately white) college campuses. A stunningly comprehensive book, it provides clear and innovative guidance on how to enact transformational change while navigating hurdles such as discriminatory speech and actions, microaggressions, implicit bias, asymmetrical power relations, and unhealthy environments. The real triumph of the book is that it is so much more than a roadmap to change. Rather, Chun and Feagin seek to reframe the conversation around these hurdles, asking if the terms to describe these barriers and the solutions devised to address them are still useful today. Significantly, the authors rely on first-person narratives to shine a light on the current higher education and political climate, and to mine those narratives for new and innovative approaches to intervention. After reading this book, with its frank and honest interrogation of diversity impulses in higher education, readers will be equipped to work toward creating a campus culture that is built on a foundation of empowerment, organizational awareness, and real inclusion. Dr. Robin R. Means Coleman, Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity, Texas A&M University

Rethinking Diversity Frameworks in Higher Education is a very timely book.Most work on racism in college campuses is extremely focused on implicit bias and individual-level prejudice, which misses the elephant in the room: the whiteness of institutions of higher learning. Chun and Feagin provide a toolkit of concepts and analyses that will serve general readers as well as help students, faculty, and administrators understand why racial issues in their campuses are not merely "isolated incidents." Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, James B. Duke Professor of Sociology, Duke University

Rethinking Diversity Frameworks in Higher Education is an important contribution to the conversation on how we make our colleges more accessible, more diverse, more equitable, and more inclusive. After having been a chief diversity officer for five years at a major research institution, this is the book that I wish I had read before taking on the task. It will be on my bookshelf within my reach for as long as I am in the position. Dr. Robert M. Sellers, Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion & Chief Diversity Officer, University of Michigan

Table of Contents

Foreword, by Santa J. Ono, President and Vice Chancellor, The University of British Columbia


1. Campus Turmoil: The "New Normal" of Racist Speech and Actions

2. Discriminatory Experiences from Academic Frontlines: Limits of Organizational and Legal Redress

3. Questioning "Implicit Bias" and "Microaggressions": Toward Better Terminology and Concepts

4. Reformulating the Concept of "Microaggressions": Everyday Discrimination in Academia

5. Imposed Racial Identities: Another Essential Concept

6. Resisting and Coping with Everyday Discrimination

7. Moving Forward: Issues, Strategies, and Recommended Solutions


About the Authors

Edna B. Chun is an educational leader and award-winning author with more than two decades of strategic human resource and diversity leadership experience in higher education. Among her co-authored books are Leading a Diversity Culture Shift in Higher Education (Routledge 2018) and The Department Chair as Transformative Diversity Leader (Stylus 2015). She currently serves as Chief Learning Officer for HigherEd Talent, a national diversity and human resources consulting firm.

Joe R. Feagin is Distinguished Professor at Texas A&M University. Among his books are Systemic Racism (Routledge 2006) and (with Kimberley Ducey) Racist America (4th edn, Routledge 2019). He is the recipient of the American Association for Affirmative Action’s Fletcher Lifetime Achievement Award and the American Sociological Association’s W. E. B. Du Bois Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award. He was the 1999–2000 president of the American Sociological Association.

About the Series

New Critical Viewpoints on Society

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General