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College Diversity and Learning Reconsidered
Campus Activities by Diversity Speaker Clint Cora

College diversity can be a significant element in the overall learning experiences of college and university students during their years on campuses.    This fits in rather well with the ideas presented in Learning Reconsidered, a document released jointly by NASPA (National Association of Student Personnel Administrators) and ACPA (American College Personnel Association) in 2004.  

Learning Reconsidered explored the ways that college students experience learning on campuses and how it can be further enhanced.  It suggested that students learn not only by absorbing facts during courses in classrooms and lecture halls, but also utilize the entire campus resources as part of a more full development for them.

Helping college students learn and develop is not limited to just the domain of faculty professors.  Learning Reconsidered claimed that other campus staff could also play a huge role in helping students in their overall development.  These other campus staff could include leaders and student advisors in campus activities, student affairs or residence life.  Even student governments can play a role here.  

Most campus activities offered to students such as music bands, comedians, movie nights and other types of acts have been purely entertainment in nature.  There was very little actual learning involved with such offerings on campus.  In other words, these acts resulted in little, if any development for students.

The Learning Reconsidered document may change some of the types of campus activities that take place in the future now that campus staff realizes that significant development for students can indeed take place outside the classrooms.  Instead of programming activities that are just purely entertainment, different types of programs with some inclusion of a learning element for students can be added.   Such programs represent golden opportunities that will help fulfill specific learning outcomes described in Learning Reconsidered.

One such opportunity to achieve a Learning Reconsidered outcome is related to college diversity.  Because many college and university campuses have become more diverse with students of different ethnicities, diversity has become an important issue of campus life.  Both the general student body and staff are therefore ripe for further exposure to diversity training, awareness and skills education.

Specific education and awareness in this area will help students utilize the increased diversity on campuses as a positive learning experience.   Diversity is not just about forcing everybody to get along and tolerate each other.   A good program can help encourage students to use diversity in many positive and rewarding ways.  Students who have been exposed to diversity programs will generally give great feedback about these learning experiences.

One of the outcomes of Learning Reconsidered is Humanitarianism, which involves the understanding and appreciation of other people and different cultures.  A good diversity event or program that increases awareness of different cultures to students will fulfill this particular learning outcome.

Examples of possible campus diversity events are cultural arts shows such as music, dance and theatrical acts.  Also extremely important are educational programs with guest speakers specializing in diversity topics and teaching relevant skills for use in diverse environments.  Such programming is not only entertaining, but helps to enrich students’ lives as the exposure to diversity education will help them become more effective in their own futures.  This is particularly important for graduates who will soon work in diverse workplaces that are so prevalent in North America and internationally today.

Although Humanitarianism is the most obvious outcome that a well-designed diversity program for campuses will fulfill, there are other Learning Reconsidered outcomes that can also be addressed as well depending on the type of activity.  Other possible outcomes are Cognitive Complexity, Knowledge Acquisition, Integration and Application and Inter and Intrapersonal Competence.  These are discussed in a separate article in the link just below.

 Part 2 - Student Affairs and Diversity article

So no less than four possible outcomes of Learning Reconsidered can be achieved with the right campus diversity program.

To possibly book me as a diversity speaker as part of your campus diversity program, see my College Speaking Programs.

 

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