College diversity has become a major issue and fact of campus life for many colleges and universities. With the influx of foreign students from overseas plus ethnic minorities raised in North America added to a mix of students who perhaps might not have had much exposure to people from different races, a culture shock of some type is a reality for many students when they enter higher education.
As a result, it’s always good to expose college students some type of diversity training and the use of external speakers specializing in diversity is a great way to do this as part of a full diversity campus program. Although there may be internal resources for diversity education on campus, bringing outside college diversity speakers will complement internal programs and add more useful angles to diversity especially if speakers come from different backgrounds.
Of course, one of the requirements of a good college diversity speaker is that the person should have had lots of experience working with people from very diverse backgrounds including ethnicities, sexual orientations and handicapped individuals. A speaker of a visible minority would be interesting as well since that person can relate experiences from a minority point of view to audiences.
A good diversity program should be educational and entertaining that addresses outcomes in the Learning Reconsidered document, particularly the Humanitarianism learning outcome, which involves the understanding and appreciation of others. Ideally, such a program should address more than one learning outcome. Other possible outcomes are Cognitive Complexity, Knowledge Acquisition, Integration and Application and Inter and Intrapersonal Competence. Successfully addressing Learning Reconsidered outcomes will mean that the college diversity program will help students in their overall development.
College diversity speakers who have had working industry experience in environments with diverse workplaces will be a great bonus since these types of speakers can talk about real life examples of diversity success stories from the working world. These types of examples will help students appreciate the need to develop their own diversity skills for their future careers. This gives them greater incentive to embrace diversity since positive benefits to them are presented.
College diversity speakers also have to outline how students can develop diversity skills that they can use both on campus with other students who are different from them as well as in their future careers after graduation. These are important life skills that are necessary in today’s diverse society in North America.
If these diversity skills can be presented and tried in fun audience activities during presentations, students will be able to grasp on to the ideas much more readily as they see immediate benefits from participation. In other words, high levels of interaction between the speaker and audience will always make for better presentations.
Diversity is often seen as just a negative to be tolerated because getting along with each other is the politically correct thing to do. Overall, the best type of college diversity speaker is one who can turn actually turn this perceived negative into a positive. Such a speaker will leave the audience wanting to embrace diversity because of the many positive benefits they realize that could come out of it. This will give students a new outlook on diversity that they can use for life.