Book By: Hale, Jr., Frank W. (Ed.)
Review By: Brandi L. Ellis
Undergraduate Student Affairs Advisor
University of California, San Diego

In this text, Editor Hale brings together a collection of best practices with commentaries for the establishment of programs that promote racial diversity in higher education. Here he presents talking points that can be used to stimulate conversations regarding strategies that can bring programs to fruition. Scholars share ideas and observations that address the issues of privilege and inclusion while providing perspective that will help institutions build programs to support students of color. 

Readers are challenged to look at how they interact and where they fit within the cultures of power at their institutions. They see how that fit can influence the services departments or institutions provide and how their interactions with first generation students of color are defined. The first five essays lay a foundation that establishes the need for racial diversity in higher education while highlighting the relevance of diversity for future multiracial generations who enter higher education and the workforce. Remaining essays address current issues facing institutions by emphasizing specific actions taken to address policies and practices that engage students, staff and faculty. Administrators from institutions such as MIT, Harvard, and Florida State share successful retention models and institution wide policies addressing multicultural issues, student mentoring and parent outreach programs. Hale maintains a balance between the critical need to develop programs that cultivate a student intellectually and socially while achieving a multiethnic image that is as diverse as our growing student bodies. 

Advisors will find that this book can best serve in the assessment of how we meet our students’ needs. It is important to start with the Preface, and its brief introductions of the essay authors and their main ideas, before proceeding through the book. This helps readers gain the historical perspective necessary to build frameworks for departments, glean specific strategies to meet student and/or faculty needs, and initiate conversations on how underrepresented populations are served.

I would suggest this book as guide for those involved in strategic planning to address the academic and social needs of underrepresented student, faculty and staff populations. The strategies discussed in this book cannot be implemented without understanding the impact of racial diversity on our institutions. We must embrace challenging discussions if we hope to meet the changing landscape of racially and ethnically diverse students.

What makes Racial Diversity Work in Higher Education. (2003). Book by Hale, Jr., Frank W. (Ed.). Review by Brandi L. Ellis. Stylus Publishing. 336 pp.; $23.95 (paperback). ISBN 1-57922-067-3

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