EDEV_505 Week 5_3

Thanks for setting out your documents. I had a read through S’s Diversity Policy statement. Without knowing a jot about S, I’d like to make a few observations on this statement and ask you some questions. (I do remember reading that you are away much of the next two weeks, so please accept my post as much rhetorically as of direct questioning.)

Toronto, according to your sources, is the most multicultural city in the world. This claim, I will accept at face value. I’d like to ask, noting that the statement is dated 2007, if the repeated “will”s, i.e. the second paragraph’s “will reflect”, the third paragraph’s “will ensure” and the fourth paragraph’s “will recruit” have been realised since then. The aspirational nature of the verb form is laudable, but questions can be made regarding other motivations behind this usage. Jackall (2010) explains the concept of self-rationalisation, the voluntary self-authorship “mould[ing of] one’s public face, external behavior, and projection of attitudes, all to fit the expectations embedded in those premiums in the hopes of garnering the rewards promised” (p. 207). The rewards available to HEIs in a multicultural environment may be quite sizable, and rationalising the HEI towards those gains can be interpreted either as mutually beneficial (that is, producing benefits for the HEI and the wider society), or self-serving only. Jackall’s (2010) nuance of ‘self-rationalisation’ draws more on the latter than the former, but what about S? In this case, there is also the possibility that what is published is only a face-value, token acknowledgment of diversity to appease social expectations but is otherwise an “administrative lie” similar to the ones Kline (2010, p. 143) describes in his exposition of the rationalisations administrators provide to faculty members when the flexibility of the truth needs to be exercised.

As a resident of Japan, the Diversity Policy remains a dream for me. Japan’s HE continues to relate the narrative of uniformity in the student and teaching body, and issues of access, ethnic diversity and even civil rights (e.g. LGBTQIA) beyond the provision of an espoused egalitarian treatment of all are completely ignored. In S’s case, much will have been imposed by the needs of the changing society. But in Japan, the discussion about such a change has hardly even begun. Instead the illusion of a one-race society still informs the primary narrative.

Jim

Jackall, R. (2010). Morality in Organizations. In S. Hitlin & S. Vaisey (Eds.), Handbook of the Sociology of Morality (pp. 203–209). New York: Springer.

Kline, D. (2010). On Telling Faculty the Truth. In E. E. Englehardt, M. S. Pritchard, K. D. Romesburg, & B. E. Schrag (Eds.), The Ethical Challenges of Academic Administration (pp. 143–150). Dordrecht: Springer.

About theCaledonian

Scot living in north Japan teaching at a national university.
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