Most higher education institutions are interested in creating a student culture that is more inclusive and a campus environment that is more equitable. Often, the challenge comes in turning that desire into action, but as you’ll see, schools that promote diversity on campus and throughout their departments create a more cohesive and productive environment for everyone.
A U.S. Department of Education report shows that “students report less discrimination and bias at institutions where they perceive a stronger institutional commitment to diversity.” As our nation begins to make progress in diversity and inclusivity, it is critical that colleges, universities, and their departments move in this direction as well.
Diverse colleges and universities attract more talent.
When researching and building a college list, there are many factors’ students take into consideration – cost, location, program reputation, curriculum, student life, performance opportunities and much more. For many students, elements of diversity and identity are an important factor in researching colleges and determining the right fit for their next four years. In a recent study by Naviance, while location and academics are still at the top of the list, terms like “Diversity” are searched by 49.6 percent of all students, which is higher than factors like student life, cost and athletics. The numbers also show an increase of students seeking campuses identified as LGBTQ-inclusive, with a high international student population and where at least 50 percent of students are female. As you can see by these statistics having a more inclusive program will draw a more diverse group of talented students.
Diverse colleges and universities are more creative and innovative.
One of the most important foundations of the arts is creativity. Diverse experiences and backgrounds help students look at situations and tackle problems from many angles and perspectives. By interacting with people of different backgrounds, students learn to communicate more effectively which improves their ability to work together as a united group. If most students in your department have walked similar paths through life, they are limited in the experiences they can draw from. When there are a variety of perspectives in the room, students can bring true innovation and creativity to their roles, chorography and music.
Diversity prepares students for the future.
Let’s face it, a career in the arts takes passion, talent, tenacity and even a little luck. Regardless of the chosen profession, it is very likely that their future employers, employees and co-workers will come from diverse backgrounds. A diverse college experience helps prepare students to work in a more inclusive society.
In the end, creating a college environment where students feel safe, welcomed, empowered, and valued is not just the right thing to do, it helps your department make better decisions and attract more engaged students who will ultimately become better leaders, listeners and thinkers.
At STAR App, we are committed to helping performing arts students find the right programs and guide them through the application and audition process. Our app is free for students, because we believe every student, regardless of socio-economic status, should have the same level of access to colleges across the country. We are here to help students find those programs that provide the diversity and inclusiveness they seek and encourage performing arts department heads to reach out to us to learn more about how you can make your program stand out and get in front of the talented students you want to enroll.