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Diversity and Inclusion Counts: How Quantifying Diversity and Inclusion can Influence Racial Inequality in Higher Education

Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Multi-Purpose Room, Trotter Multicultural Center

A semester never goes by without news highlighting some aspect of racial inequality occurring on our campuses, such as disparities in graduation rates, who pursues different majors, interpersonal experiences such as microaggressions, or blatant racist actions that mark the campus climate. Many of our universities invest in promoting diversity and inclusion, including monitoring progress in different areas, but what if some of our approaches can hide or even reproduce racial inequality on campus?

W. Carson Byrd, a 2019-2020 NCID scholar-in-residence, will discuss a snippet of his current research examining how the processes and policies at universities can reinforce racial inequality on our campuses, particularly when campus units rely on numbers-driven approaches to both measure and monitor progress of diversity and inclusion.

W. Carson Byrd is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Louisville and a 2019 NCID scholar-in-residence. Dr. Byrd's research examines how colleges and universities can simultaneously operate as centers for social mobility and engines of inequality with particular attention to the reproduction of racial inequalities on college campuses. He is currently working on a new book tentatively titled Behind the Diversity Numbers: What Makes a University “Too White” and How to Change Racial Inequality in Higher Education that examines how universities’ uses of quantitative approaches to diversity and inclusion can shape racial inequality on campuses. He is also the author of Poison in the Ivy: Race Relations and the Reproduction of Inequality on Elite College Campuses (Rutgers University Press), an examination of how college students’ social interactions influence what they think about race and inequality, and co-editor of Intersectionality and Higher Education: Identity and Inequality on College Campuses (Rutgers University Press), a collection of intersectional studies of college students, faculty, and staff.

Sponsored by the National Center for Institutional Diversity, Race and Racial Ideologies Workshop in the Department of Sociology and the Department of Sociology.

The National Center for Institutional Diversity Research and Scholarship Seminar Series features scholars who have furthered our understanding of historical and contemporary social issues related to identity, difference, culture, representation, power, oppression, and inequality — as they occur and affect individuals, groups, communities, and institutions. The series also highlights how research and scholarship can be applied to address current and contemporary diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in higher education and society.