Forging Ahead in a Changing Landscape - Higher Education

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Forging Ahead in a Changing Landscape

by Toni Coleman

I am passionate about three things: the news, diversity and education. A newspaper reporter by training, I was attracted to the profession by its public watchdog role. I also wanted to improve the way people of color were being covered. A maxim of my past employer (the former Knight Ridder newspaper company) I live by is “Diversity. No Excuses.” This mandate for major daily newspaper newsrooms to reflect the diversity of the communities they covered was necessary to ensure nuanced, accurate and relevant stories. It can be applied to anything, especially higher education. Like many of you, I can attest to the transformative and equalizing power an education can have on those struggling to forge a better life.

With those passions — news, diversity, education — I came to Diverse, first as associate editor. You can say I was tailor-made for this job.

It’s gratifying to begin my editorship as this publication, formerly Black Issues In Higher Education, enters its 25th year. The landscape has changed in that time, but the challenges to diversity are ever present, even as the nation prepares for its first Black president or its first woman vice president. Anti-affirmative action bans are on referenda ballots in two states where minorities struggle to reach parity in enrollment at flagship institutions. One critic of holistic admissions wants to preclude minority students from writing in their admissions essays about the challenges they face being minorities.

Clearly, our mission is as important as ever. So continue to expect from us, beginning with this edition, insightful articles and columns confronting diversity challenges, such as the minority student gender gap, the evolving role of HBCUs and other minorityserving institutions and high-stakes testing and its effect on access and equity. In this Hispanic Heritage Month edition, we take a look at Latina sororities, which, in many ways, double as retention tools because they help many first-generation Latina students adjust and feel connected to their campuses, Diverse correspondent Reginald Stuart reports in “The Next Best Thing to Family.”

Also in this edition, contributing editor Lydia Lum explores the Asian diaspora in Latin America in “The Hybridization of Ethnic Studies,” and Victoria Lim writes about Hispanic educators’ efforts to launch an Advanced Placement course on Latin American history. Finally, our Last Word columnist Dr. María Ledesma adds context to the debate over whether Sen. Barack Obama’s ascension to the highest ranks of a major political party means affirmative action is no longer needed.

Former editor Hilary Hurd Anyaso left us a good blueprint to build upon. Moving forward, you will find in the magazine as well as at DiverseEducation.com bold, hard-hitting, relevant and compelling stories told in a variety of formats. We want to hear your comments and suggestions. Together, those of us who are passionate about diversity in the academy will have our voices heard loud and clear.

Email the editor: editor@diverseeducation.com

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