The recent Justice Department announcement disclosing egregious cases of admissions fraud by some of the nation's financial elite is an opportunity to either cast dispersions or to take a critical look at inclusion in higher education.
For myself, how do I improve inclusivity in higher education? How do I limit inclusivity? What biases do I bring to this discussion and how can I learn more about them? I am establishing a new center focused on sustainable business. How do I ensure all students get the same opportunity to participate and benefit from involvement with the center?
Penn State has had a long-time commitment to diversity and inclusion. For its part, the Smeal College of Business has been among the leaders in advancing opportunities for first-generation students, low-income students and students of color. But I know our best efforts fall short and more must be done.
Part of the journey must be a good, hard look at the implicit biases in the system which tilt the playing field towards the already advantaged. I have seen with my own eyes the ways that advantaged kids--like my own--are helped along by the kind of invisible forces of privilege Will Stancil discusses in his article "Ignorance Was Bliss for the Children of the College-Admissions Scandal".
"Advantage, after all, is rarely noticed by the advantaged."
His charge that "advantage is, after all, rarely noticed by the advantaged" is a profoundly simple and stubborn truth. I thought his piece in The Atlantic was one of the best on the admissions scandal to spark reflection and not just the throwing of stones. Enjoy.