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New Free Think University Course Profiles Lessons on Diversity from Bowdoin and Bard Colleges

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The multiculturalism and diversity movement is sweeping across America, but social commentators of varying political persuasions are pointing out how the movement in many respects is not achieving the positive changes intended. There is much contemporary talk about ensuring that all institutions in America reflect life’s diversity by using various criteria to manufacture institutional diversity. Others are meanwhile asking: does it, can it and should it work?

Washington D.C. (PRUnderground) January 10th, 2014

The multiculturalism and diversity movement is sweeping across America, but social commentators of varying political persuasions are pointing out how the movement in many respects is not achieving the positive changes intended. There is much contemporary talk about ensuring that all institutions in America reflect life’s diversity by using various criteria to manufacture institutional diversity. Others are meanwhile asking: does it, can it and should it work?

Free Think University’s new course entitled “What is Diversity?” addresses the issue head on.  The main feature of the experience is writer David Feith’s presentation of an encounter between Barry Mills, president of Bowdoin College, a small liberal arts school, and the philanthropist Thomas Klingstein.

In recent years, Bowdoin College has begun seeking to recruit students of diversity by hosting its “Experience Bowdoin Weekends.”  These weekends present an opportunity “for multicultural, low-income, first-generational students who have not had the opportunity to come see Bowdoin,” said Associate Dean of Admissions and Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment Elmer Moore.  He emphasizes that this is not minority recruitment, but rather “multicultural and diversity recruitment.”

“Diversity of ideas at all levels of the college is crucial for our credibility and for our educational mission,” President Mills contended.

While schools like Bowdoin claim to try to embrace and increase diversity, others offer a critical opinion of what is really happening. 

The real story, wrote Mr. Klingenstein, was that “I explained my disapproval of ‘diversity’ as it generally has been implemented on college campuses: too much celebration of racial and ethnic difference,” coupled with “not enough celebration of our common American identity.”  His comments are supplemented by a news video about how the multiculturalism and diversity movement can derail our American ideals.

Contrasting opinion, a priority at Free Think University, is offered by Sophie Kerby. She makes the case for why college campuses need diversity. “Our growing communities of color are America’s future, and it is important that we not only prepare people of color as future leaders, but that we also expose all students to diversity in education so that America’s students are more competitive in an increasingly global economy,” Kirby argues.  

The course finishes with a personal experience of a former student at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, which challenges the reader to think about how this diversity movement translates into personal experiences. You can see the full course here.

“Students pick the questions that create courses at Free Think University,” said Free Think U co-founder Jim Van Eerden.  “No matter a person’s political leanings – Conservative, Liberal or otherwise – we think this course experience is an important contribution to a more civil dialogue about how we define diversity and the implications of mandated diversity policies.” 

About Free Think University

Free Think University is where more than 30,000 free-thinking students have joined what Mortimer Adler called “The Great Conversation” – the dialogue of the ages about The Big Questions of our day, and where they participate in one of the fastest-growing independent scholarship funds in America. Submit questions for future courses to ideas@freethinku.com. For more information go to www.freethinku.com or follow @freethinku.

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