i Diversity Pertained to Education | COLLEGE WRITING: DEBATE(S) IN HIGHER EDCUATION

Brock Moldenhauer

Everywhere people go today, they are faced with diversity. Being able to accept diversity is a key virtue, especially in a learning environment such as Saint Norbert College. In facing this diversity, students develop skills that are essential to build a strong community. Each student encounters different experiences and scenarios that may, at times, lead them to frown upon diversity and push it away. When faced with these situations, they may feel uncomfortable and be quick to escape to a more comfortable position. If students continue to run from diversity or diverse situations, they will never be able to understand a different perspective that others may see. This leaves them close minded, seeing everything the way they want to see it and not how it actually is. Instead, if students embraced those encounters with diversity they would be able to expand their horizons, gain a new vantage point, and put themselves in a position to enhance their understanding and acceptance of the diverse world we live in today. 

Single minded students are often only capable to do a single job or complete a single task. A strength that can make students more employable is being able to see things from a different perspective. Thus being said, students can see things from a different perspective unless they are exposed to that other perspective. In a liberal arts education, students are forced to take classes that they might not at another college and are forced to think at a level that they are uncomfortable with. Those classes put them in a position that makes them try new things and learn from a different view, which is beneficial according to Willemien Kets: “In fact, a little more unpredictability may be what we need to make us all a little less conformist and a little more open to trying new things.” If students are less comfortable to stick to their view on the problem, they will be more applicable to listen and absorb the information given to them from other classmates. The same will apply for the rest of their life. Two brains will always be better educated than one and if students can learn to accept that and understand where the other voice is coming from they also will be better educated and accepting in the long run.

Experiencing diversity in a Catholic college can have good intentions, but because of how strong the Catholic background beliefs are, it can be more difficult to practice. By attending a Catholic college that does experience diversity, it can show students how to practice a strong religious faith that attempts to unite as one. When diverse students can’t come together, a small form of war breaks out essentially between the two groups and as a college community we have failed in the words of the Pontifical Biblical Commission: “This auspicious diversity within humankind (between sexes, tribes and nations) may, however, become the source of unhappy divisions, if humanity does not listen to the voice of God (Gen 2-3) and turns “its own way” (Gen 6:12). As a result, the human race loses touch with beneficent nature (Gen 3:18), man oppresses woman (3:16), and brother kills brother (4:8.23.24); nations scatter (Gen 11) and take to war.” Understanding that a Catholic college does not turn its own way and accepts students of all religions and ethnicities can teach the students how to overcome the diversity and grow as a good person. I am a white Catholic male and I have yet to been a part of a group of all white Catholic men also. Even at my own Catholic church, I experience encounters with many other ethnicities and religions that are willing to learn about God from a different perspective. Meghan Monahan speaks on how Saint Norbert, being a Catholic founded college, is a great example of accepting diverse students of different religions so that they can get an education, while also learning an understanding of the Catholic tradition: “The beauty of St. Norbert is that the main focus has always been on creating well-rounded citizens that embody the Catholic values of community and service.” The Catholic religion is accepting of the diversity within humankind and respects others for what they believe is true, this is evident through the acceptance of Catholic colleges and can teach students that attend these colleges the skill of accepting others for who they are and how to unite as one.

Economic growth is an ever growing task in the United States and students that are exposed to diversity throughout their education are better suited to contribute to the growth than those shielded from it. Students seeking a liberal arts education are often more exposed to this diversity. The diversity at a liberal arts college develops creative thinking skills that many employers look for in an employee as Vivek Ranadive quotes: “The people who will succeed in more expensive labor markets like the U.S. will be those who can think creatively and generate the IDEAS that will propel economic growth.” As the world evolves into a place of outsourcing jobs to China and allowing computers to do all of the technology work, there is more of a demand for people that can lead the economy to success. Those people are going to have to think in a creative way and not be single minded. The students that go to liberal arts colleges are going to be able to take their master trade and apply multiple works of communication into that position. A liberal arts education will allow students to look past the first barrier, problem solve and take their diverse ways of critical thinking to the next level from a different perspective.

Diversity in a college atmosphere can teach students so much more than just understanding that there is diverse people in the world. The diversity can teach skills and strengths that will aid students through their entire life, whether that is in the community or workplace. Students that are exposed to diversity are able to understand the viewpoints of other people that are diverse from themselves. Diversity in the Catholic college can strengthen the Catholic roots and make students spiritually better people. A student’s diverse liberal arts education better suits them to have the ability to promote growth in their own problem solving way of thinking. Diversity in an educational background will help students to be more productive, understanding, and diverse themselves.

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