Importance of diversity in education

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I’m beginning my senior year at BYU. I’ve finished my generals and I’m halfway through my major. I have two minors in a different college than my major, and I’ve taken classes in multiple colleges across campus. I have a pretty broad survey of this university, and in my time here, I’ve noticed some trends.

Of the 35 professors I’ve had so far at BYU, 25 of them have been white males. I have had eight female teachers at BYU. I’ve never had a religion class or a science class taught by a woman. Only three of my professors have been people of color.

My class booklists have been slightly more diverse, including a few more female authors — however, authors of color have not been well-represented.

Though many classes in my humanities minor focus on eastern nations and cultures, the vast majority of BYU’s general education courses are centered in western culture. The courses offered for the Civilization, Letters and Arts G.E.’s are largely Eurocentric.

I don’t mean to suggest that my education has been of low quality, or that my professors have been incapable — in fact, I’ve loved most of my classes and learned a lot. I merely believe that an education that stems from only one perspective is incomplete.

A complete education must introduce multiple perspectives on a topic. A complete education explores opinions and research from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. No one demographic knows all the answers; no one way of learning can lead to every educational outcome. Every nation, every people and every culture in this world has something to offer students. Ignorance promotes stereotypes and false assumptions. 

Let’s help our university be the best it can be. As students, let’s encourage our teachers to assign readings with diverse authorship. Let’s seek out classes based in cultures we aren’t familiar with, and professors with different backgrounds than us. Let’s show university administrators that we value and expect diversity in our education.

 

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