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Archive for Tuesday, July 3, 2007

KU administrator has diversity goal

July 3, 2007

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Kansas University has hired an administrator to lead minority recruitment for faculty and staff.

Maurice Bryan, who has been provost at Ottawa University for three years, began work Monday in Lawrence as associate vice provost for diversity and equity.

Bryan is no stranger to KU, where he worked as director of equal opportunity from 1993 to 2001. He said his new position would be related to his previous one, but it would not involve compliance issues or discrimination complaints that were common in his previous job.

Bryan said he preferred to look at diversity in terms that transcend physical appearances and skin color.

"I think what is more difficult and more rewarding in the end is to get people who truly think differently than us and bring a different approach to issues, emotions or thoughts," Bryan said. "In some situations, we're actually uncomfortable with that."

He said attracting faculty and staff with different backgrounds and viewpoints would enrich classroom discussions and help existing faculty and staff grow as people.

"Sometimes people think just changing the physical bodies, without really changing ourselves, can work," Bryan said. "What we really need to do is to change how we do things, how we think, and be presented with new ideas and new perspectives."

KU Provost Richard Lariviere said in a news release that the university aimed to give students a mix of different viewpoints and backgrounds in its faculty.

"Maurice knows this university, he knows diversity matters and he has the knowledge and skills to lead this important effort," Lariviere said.

In 1997, KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway set goals for minority and female faculty numbers. By 2006, the number of minority faculty had increased 75 percent and the number of female faculty was up 41 percent.

Bryan said that after three years at a smaller, liberal arts university, he would need to update himself in order to evaluate the diversity status of major research universities across the country.

But he said many people still lacked appreciation for the importance of diversity at educational institutions.

"We still have a long way to go toward people embracing what is, in my mind, crucial to a democratic nation," Bryan said.

Comments

Horace 7 years, 4 months ago

Diversity, Diversity, Diversity. That's all we hear. But to what end?

It has been documented that diversity impairs educational satisfaction:

""It is commonly believed that increases in black enrollment will produce positive assessments from students about their educational experience. But in fact the correlations went in the opposite direction. As the proportion of black students rose, student satisfaction with their university experience dropped, as did their assessments of the quality of their education and the work ethic of their peers."

http://www.publicpolicy.umd.edu/faculty/reuter/PUAF734%20Readings/rothman%20and%20lipset.pdf

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 4 months ago

I'm still confused about the supposed need for "diversity." Why don't we just hire the smartest, most capable instructors we can. Period.

Victor Dawson 7 years, 4 months ago

Because the good ole boy system is still alive and well in this country. How smart is it to suggest that a person can receive a quality education without being exposed to others of different cultures, ideas, or beliefs. Furthermore, how can you live in Lawrence (the most liberal city in Kansas) and encourage diversity. Diversity is what makes this town so great!!!

perkins 7 years, 4 months ago

How absurd of KU to create and fund such a position as "vice provost for diversity and equity." Just burning our tax dollars and always begging for more. In private business the head honcho would simply notify his hiring staff to try to hire minorities if two candidates are otherwise equal. Will the free-spending Lawrence school district be next to create such an administrative position? I'm e-mailing this one to my state senator. Thanks, Journal World, for letting us know about this.

KU_cynic 7 years, 4 months ago

I am reluctant to bring these points up, as I try to be open minded to KU hires, but:

  1. This appears to be another example of a KU insider (former staffer, brand-new Ph.D. grad) being hired into an important position rather than a highly qualified outside person with a track record of success. It is also somewhat ironic that a newly minted black scholar is taking a job as a full-time administrator for diversity rather than taking a job as scholar engaged in full-time teaching and research. There are too many minority academics who take this route and that lose respect with the scholarly community in which they are trying to promote diversity.

  2. That Bryan "has recently served" as provost at Ottawa University is prominently discussed in the KU press release. But, a google search on Bryan reveals a letter to the Ottawa University campus newspaper The Campus as follows:

Former Provost bids a farewell By Maurice Bryan Dear Students: You are aware by now that I have resigned from my administrative position at Ottawa University effective October 1, 2006. That I am leaving OU is clear. Why I am leaving is not. I cannot illuminate that for you here. All I can say is that circumstances arose recently that made it imperative that I resign.

The letter comes up under a banner with a May 2, 2007 date, but the story link itself carries a September 2006 link (www.thecampusnewspaper.com/news/2006/...).

How/why Ottawa University hired a provost without a Ph.D. and allowed him to serve in a top leadership position while he was still completing his Ph.D. at KU are good questions. Another good question is why did Bryan resign from Ottawa as provost in fall 2006? And why did he write such a cryptic letter to the student newspaper about his resignation?

I just hope that KU has done its homework on this hire.

mick 7 years, 4 months ago

I don't believe that Higher "Education" truly wants diversity of thought. Belief in the THEORY of Evolution will continue to be their sine qua non. Political Correctness will continue to be the only acceptable belief system.

Godot 7 years, 4 months ago

In the back of my mind there is a memory of some controversy with Bryan when he was here before.

imastinker 7 years, 4 months ago

The more of this stuff I read, the less I like Chancellor Hemenway.

I recieved a letter from KU a while ago. As a somewhat recent grad who is doing quite well, they thought I might share that money. I cannot think of places where I'd like to send my money less. I read about this, buildings being built while others are in disrepair, and I recall that my student loans that paid for my tuition are partly paying for others tuition, because KU thought it would be nice to use tuition dollars to give student loans from.

So anyway, I just bought a boat. Apperantly I'm not good at deciding when a boat is in good shape and it's wasted lots of my money. But at least I know that it's much better to waste money on an old boat that's not worth it than send it to KU. I'll have to remember that tonight as I patch the big hole in teh bottom that I somehow missed when I bought it. Nothing like a boat that doesn't float, but it's at least better than a universtiy administrator that cares nothign about the money he's spending so frivilously.

Christian Hinton 7 years, 4 months ago

Hmm...I don't really know enough to comment on the hire, but:

  • Qualification should always take precedence over "diversity" or some kind of quota.
  • It is refreshing, however, to see references to diversity beyond race, etc. Diversity of thought seems like an interesting idea...maybe...

Newell_Post 7 years, 4 months ago

Diversity:

  • Hire some smart ones
  • Hire some dumb ones
  • Hire some qualified ones
  • Hire some unqualified ones
  • Hire some good ones
  • Hire some bad ones

That's diverse isn't it?

Isn't it time we just hired the best ones and didn't look at anything else? For all of the faults of the current Supreme Court, I hope they manage to end the travesty of reverse discrimination. That wasn't even the purpose of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

machiavelli 7 years, 4 months ago

"How absurd, so many people fighting tooth and nail for continuation of white power majority.

When a black man, a mexican man and a white man can apply for a bank loan having the same credit and all be given the same answer:or apply for a job with the same experience and education and have an equal chance of getting that job, then you might have a point.

Until then, you are the Klan, nothing more."

Nah. See, I'm as liberal as they come. But I simply don't buy the argument that minorities have less opportunity than whites. Statements like that are based on the supposition that we're all equal in the first place--or at least supposed to be--so we should all have the same opportunity, right?

Wrong on both counts. We're not all equal; and the issue is more complicated than simply a matter of "equality."

You introduce a scenario where a black or hispanic man applies for a job, but will be presumably turned down in favor of a white man, all other things being equal. But that's where I have the problem. All things will never be "equal." It is simply impossible for qualifications to be "equal." Things will never be completely, one hundred percent equal. And that's even assuming that all three men graduated the same year, with the same degree, with the same GPA, at the same university, with the same major.

I wish some of my fellow liberals would learn that life isn't Disney bullshlt, where we're all in a complete utopia of wonderful, happy contentment. I wish they would stop thinking that's even possible.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 7 years, 4 months ago

It seems to me that Martin Luther King wanted a country where color no longer matter in hiring and firing. Hemenway is a moron dragging his university into the ground on a daily basis. Fire him and get a real Chancellor.

camper 7 years, 4 months ago

Maurice is most capable of filling this position.

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