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Inside Higher Ed: Is Diversity Moral? Educational?

Part of WiFi (What I Find Interesting) Wednesday.


Inside Higher Ed: Diversity Moral? Educational?

Read Is Diversity Moral? Educational? by Scott Jaschik, from Inside Higher Ed, April 13, 2021.

In a former life, I used to work on university committees that helped bring life to institutional diversity statements. Sometimes the work was straightforward, other times, it was rife exposing the underlying fears of ‘the other’ present on campus.

A new study shows why these statements these created and for what audience they were written.

According to author Scott Jaschick in Inside Higher Ed, “A paper published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that most colleges “assert that diversity provides compelling educational benefits and is thus instrumentally useful.” That’s not surprising, because several decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court have given that as a reasonable reason — within certain constraints — for having an affirmative action plan.”

While many who work in diversity education and social justice may have anecdotal stories about institutional support around diversity efforts, they may hold hope that these statements are guiding senior leaders to make tough decisions.

This may not be the case.

“The paper adds that many diversity policies are explained to attract support from white people. “These findings indicate that the most common rationale for supporting diversity in American higher education accords with the preferences of, and better relative outcomes for, white Americans over low-status racial minorities. The rationales behind universities’ embrace of diversity have nonlegal consequences that should be considered in institutional decision making.”

But the paper added, “Though white Americans may prefer instrumental rationales because of an increased perception of educational value, greater sense of belonging, and reduced social identity threat, there is little reason to think that racial minorities, particularly low-status groups such as Black Americans, would share this preference.”

To study their hypothesis, the researchers conducted a series of experiments in which they asked people to “to imagine they were a prospective student” and to answer “questions about each ostensible university as they read their diversity statements.”

White participants preferred the universities with statements that stressed the practical benefits of diversity. Black participants preferred the universities with statements that stressed the moral issues.

In your own institution, what type of benefit is diversity described as adding to your institution and its work?

Continue reading Is Diversity Moral? Educational? by Scott Jaschik, from Inside Higher Ed, April 13, 2021.


Harvard Business Review: Managing a Top Performer Who Alienates Their Colleagues

Read Managing a Top Performer Who Alienates Their Colleagues by Rebecca Knight, from Harvard Business Review, April 13, 2021.

When working on a team, there is no guarantee that a new colleague hired for their incredible skills could turn into the worst part of the team.

Having a supremely talented and confident employee on your team is a wonderful thing — except, of course, if that person is also alienating their colleagues. “This is a person who’s both contributing to — and undermining — your team’s long-term performance,” says Nancy Rothbard, professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

by Rebecca Knight, from Harvard Business Review, April 13, 2021.

Even if the person is delivering top results, it could be with unintended consequences. “People may respect this person, but they don’t like working with them and they don’t trust them,” says Linda Hill, professor at Harvard Business School and coauthor of Being the Boss: The 3 Imperatives for Becoming a Great Leader. “Over time, this person becomes isolated because others go out of their way not to work with them.”

Give tough feedback

It’s no fun to give negative feedback, but in the case of a so-called “competent jerk,” you need to make the person aware of the problem, says Rothbard. “This person needs to understand the metaphorical wake they leave behind.”

Talk about development

“Even in spite of myriad talents and abilities, this person will not advance in your organization without good interpersonal skills. As the manager, you need to “help them understand that this behavior could derail their career.” Hill also recommends being honest about the flaws and conflicts in your organization’s incentive system.” 

Encourage empathy

“Next, you need to help your employee develop a plan to improve their relationships. It starts with empathy. “You need to teach them techniques to help them become more sensitive to others’ reactions,” says Rothbard. Encourage your employee to pay closer attention to colleagues’ emotional responses. You also need to help your employee develop a deeper understanding of others’ perspectives, says Hill.”

Be compassionate

“It’s also prudent to show a little empathy yourself. After all, “this person is not all bad,” says Rothbard. They’re likely highly conscientious and “care deeply about getting the work done right.” Think about the aspects of your high-performer’s personality that you enjoy and admire, says Hill.”

Coach

“You also must try to help this person overcome their natural know-it-all tendencies. “Many times, these people have learned how to moderate their behavior with the boss,” which makes them a lot easier for you to get along with, says Hill. Your objective is to get them to act that same way with their colleagues. “You need to encourage them to ask questions and not assume they know everything.” 

Continue reading Managing a Top Performer Who Alienates Their Colleagues by Rebecca Knight, from Harvard Business Review, April 13, 2021.


Higher Ed Jobs: How Job Seekers Can Make Waiting Less Painful

Read How Job Seekers Can Make Waiting Less Painful by Justin Zackal, From HigherEdJobs.com, April 14, 2021.

Since 2018, I have been applying for full-time employment. I had to rethink my job-search strategies after a few weeks, months, and now years. Learning patience in the process is a necessary strategy in order to weather the storm of job searching. Often it is the uncertainty of the wait that causes the most pain in this type of search. Author Justin Zackal shares tips from Kate Sweeney on how to make job seeking and its waiting less painful.

Distract Yourself

“Instead of ruminating about your career fate, Sweeny said a coping strategy is to find a particularly enjoyable and absorbing activity to distract you from thoughts of uncertainty during difficult waiting periods. Short-term denial, she adds, is a typical and even beneficial response to difficult life events.”

Look for Silver Linings

Identify the benefits of all possible outcomes. Even bad news has upsides. For job seekers, this could mean greater certainty with what’s not meant to be, the needed push to pursue another line of work or an “alt-ac” career, or remaining in a familiar geographic area. Whatever the case, find the silver lining. “People who minimize their attachment to that goal and even reconsider the definition of a good outcome will likely experience less anxiety as they wait and less distress in the face of bad news,” Sweeny wrote.

Keep Things in Perspective

Don’t let a search committee that barely knows you, or layoffs determined by the administrative bean counters, pass judgement on your value as a professional. There are too many variables related to economic patterns and idiosyncrasies of a hiring manager. “People can reduce the potential sting of a bad outcome by calling into question the validity of the news as a gauge of their self-worth or aptitude, or by casting doubt on the reliability of the news source,” Sweeny wrote.

Plan Ahead

Do something to mitigate the harmful effects of a bad outcome. Don’t suspend a job search just because you applied for your ideal position. Keep planning as if you won’t get the job and you’ll be better off for the next opportunity. You can also prepare for layoffs by preemptively adjusting your family budget or performing more professional development activities such as networking, informational interviews, and polishing your resume/CV. “Such efforts constitute a type of proactive coping,” Sweeny wrote, “and research suggests that people who engage in proactive coping suffer fewer negative consequences in the face of stressful or traumatic events.”

Manage Your Expectations

This returns us to the question of being a pessimistic job seeker, bracing for bad news, or an optimistic job seeker, who’s already drafting that big career change announcement for social media before being offered a job. So should you be pessimistic or optimistic? According to Sweeny, it’s both, but at different moments during the waiting process. “The best advice may be to maintain optimism early in a waiting period and then shift toward pessimism just prior to learning the uncertain news, all the while maintaining hope for (but not necessarily expectation of) a good outcome.”

Continue reading How Job Seekers Can Make Waiting Less Painful by Justin Zackal, From HigherEdJobs.com, April 14, 2021.


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Joseph Rios, EdD
leadershipandvaluesinaction@gmail.com
I am Joseph Rios and I believe that leadership is an expression of our values
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