HAMILTON BETS ON DIVERSITY: Starting in the 2017-2018 academic year, Hamilton College will include a diversity requirement across all majors. A liberal arts college located in Clinton, N.Y., Hamilton has in recent years reportedly been facing protests from students asking for a more inclusive campus.
Departments and programs will decide how their students can meet the diversity requirement, with the goal of encouraging students to think about different identities and social groups. Some programs will weave in diversity material into other courses, and some may develop new courses on the topic. According to Inside Higher Ed, most faculty are on board with the change, but several critics have expressed concerns about the requirement threatening the “freedom of inquiry.”
While Hamilton isn't the first to make a commitment to diversity in curriculum, it is leading the way in terms of requiring all majors to participate. Karen Brewer, chemistry professor at Hamilton, says the diversity courses can prepare students for multicultural workplaces.
"Well, science depends upon a diversity of perspectives in order to kind of decide what questions to ask and what approaches to use to answer those very complex questions," Brewer told NPR.
"So students thinking about this in the context of sciences is really beneficial to their careers. They'll hopefully be able to work more efficiently and better in teams, show leadership in those teams and hopefully to spot innovation when it's coming from a different perspective."