A Diverse Education Is Key to Your Future Success

by Stephanie Thurrott

As the population of the United States continues to become more diverse, companies across the nation are seeing the value of a workforce that reflects and welcomes this diversity.

Students who enroll in universities that provide a diverse education are likely to thrive as they move forward in their careers. Here’s what you need to know if you’re looking to experience different cultures and expand your horizons while at college.

The United States Is Becoming More Diverse

America has long been considered a “melting pot,” but as the country’s racial and ethnic makeup continues to change, it’s important for universities to ensure students gain a diverse education. This will help them see themselves as global citizens and prepare them to work alongside (and lead) people from a wide range of backgrounds.

The Pew Research Center reported that more than half of the babies being born in the U.S. are part of racial and ethnic minority groups. Additionally, the Brookings Institution predicted that by 2045—when today’s college students are at the peak of their careers—the U.S. will become “minority white.”

“Learning with individuals from diverse backgrounds fosters critical thinking, innovation, and social and intercultural development, which translates to effective collaboration, learning, service, and leadership,” said Keith Hall, EdD, vice president and chief diversity officer at Azusa Pacific University.

Businesses Thrive When Workplaces Are Diverse

The changing demographics in America are likely to benefit the economy. Research showed that diversity helps businesses be more innovative, creative, and competitive. A Forbes survey of companies with more than $10 billion in revenue found that 56 percent strongly agreed that diversity drives innovation, and 78 percent planned to focus more on diversity in the next three years.

Recognizing that a diverse workforce attracts top talent, 65 percent of these companies have programs in place to recruit employees from a wide range of cultures. It’s a change that is gradually taking root across the country.

Top companies have long recognized this benefit. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, as far back as 2003, more than 60 Fortune 500 companies supported race-based admissions policies when the Supreme Court was considering Grutter v. Bollinger, a case where affirmative action was ruled constitutional.

All Students Benefit from Diversity

Students who learn in diverse environments tend to be better-prepared employees. They’ve listened to people different from themselves and have developed a richer worldview, which can make a significant difference in the board room and beyond.

“Research suggests that we learn more from people who are different than us than from people who are similar to us,” Hall said. “When students choose to engage a diverse learning community, it heightens their self-awareness, broadens their perspective, enriches their learning experience, and cultivates the cultural capacity and sensitivity needed to serve in an increasingly diverse workforce and global society.”

APU Is Committed to Providing a Diverse Education

With an emphasis on a diverse education, students at Azusa Pacific University are well prepared for success in their careers and in their lives. The school’s commitment to diversity helps students build compassion, learn to innovate, think more creatively, and be better equipped to live and work in increasingly diverse surroundings.

“At APU, we affirm that diversity is an expression of God’s image, love, and boundless creativity,” said Hall. In fact, many of APU’s curricular and co-curricular programs and experiences are aimed at equipping students to effectively engage in its diverse culture.

APU’s two on-campus centers—the Student Center for Reconciliation and Diversity and the Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Excellence—provide programming and services to the university community. These centers support the unique needs of students, including those who have historically been underrepresented and marginalized. Members from both offices regularly partner with administration, faculty, and staff to broaden diversity and inclusion efforts. In addition, diversity ambassadors across APU work to express diversity as an institutional value.

Interested in learning more about the different cultures represented on campus and becoming a member of the Azusa Pacific University community? Explore APU’s offerings and apply today.