A Critical Exploration of Diversity Discourses in Higher Education: A Focus on Diversity in Student Affairs and Admissions

  • Leah Hakkola
  • Rebecca Ropers-Huilman
Part of the Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research book series (HATR, volume 33)


Diversity is a concept that is understood and enacted in various ways throughout higher education. Despite past and current efforts to increase diversity using logics rooted in equity, economic imperatives, and cultural responsiveness, data on diverse student admissions, persistence and graduation suggests that the intention to increase diversity to a level reflective of diverse student demographic rates has not yet been accomplished (Pippert D, Essenburg L, Matchet E, J Mark High Edu 23(2):258–282, 2013; Smith DG, Diversity’s promise for higher education: making it work. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2015; Smith M, Ota A, J Coll Admiss 218:16–21, 2013). This chapter focuses on the call to increase diversity in U.S. higher education, and critically analyzes how diversity is understood, operationalized and enacted in institutional efforts to advance diversity among students.


Diversity and inclusion Admissions Equity College recruiting Intersectionality Discourse analysis Critical race theory Student affairs College choice Diversity rationale Affirmative action Diverse student recruitment Intercultural development Academic excellence Internationalization 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Educational Leadership, Higher Education, and Human DevelopmentUniversity of MaineOronoUSA
  2. 2.Faculty and Academic Affairs, Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and DevelopmentUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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