Letters to the Editor

Diversity measures

June 18, 2012


To the editor:

On June 10, you published an op-ed by George Will, which was entitled, “Higher education bubble will pop.” In this article, Will derides the plethora of well-meaning but expensive initiatives to support programs promoting and enforcing “diversity” and its variants.

My hunch is that there are more administrative staff members involving “diversity” than there are economists at many universities. Given their administrative importance, universities should pay closer attention to how they assess the results of their “diversity” programs.

Intellectually, measures of diversity are a shambles. I know of at least five, none of which is consistent with eight elementary criteria of inequality measures. In 1999, I published an analyses of diversity measures and proposed an improvement, called diversity difference, which does meet the eight criteria. (Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory, pp. 45-65). No one, to my knowledge, has refuted its findings even after 12 years. No academic administrator has ever called to learn more.

Universities pride themselves in fostering research and teaching and the use of research to improve many things. One would think that at least one university would consider improving how to measure diversity. The inability of existing “diversity” programs to document improvements may be due to inadequate measures. This inability or unwillingness of universities to “heal themselves” is another reason why the headline of the Will op-ed is likely to become true.


Mike Ford 5 years, 7 months ago

guess who commented first....first troll out from under the bridge wins....

temperance 5 years, 7 months ago

Why did college and university administrators fail to contact Mackenzie about a 12-year old article published in an obscure academic journal? How could they miss his genius insights? Maybe he'd receive a better response if he didn't put the word "diversity" in scare quotes.

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