The Heavy Lifting of Diversity: A Need for Scholar Administrators

  • Jacinta Saffold Association of American Colleges & Universities
Keywords: Diversity, Scholar Administrator, Contingent Faculty, Minority Programs


Technological innovation and new economic terrain of the twenty-first century has called for higher education to re-examine how interdisciplinary ethnic studies and minority serving programs are positioned in the twenty-first century. This essay considers the utility of spaces like Black Studies departments and programs like the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship within the structure of Liberal Arts education today from the vantage a recent graduate. In the wake increasing hostility towards minority students and unfavorable media coverage of incidents on campus, colleges and universities must consider how rolling back minority focused academic and programmatic offerings alongside dramatic increases in contingent faculty and administrative staff hiring has left cultural voids. As Liberal Arts educators grapple with narrowing budget constraints and changing campus climates, the call for higher education employees who understand why disciplinary and programmatic offerings are tied to campus climate and how to use such resources grows louder. Scholar Administrators, in their ability to straddle the historically divisive line between faculty and staff, can help usher in a type of diversity that allows each student, faculty, and staff person to bear witness to the humanity in others, which ultimately is the heavy lifting of diversity.

Author Biography

Jacinta Saffold, Association of American Colleges & Universities

Associate Director for Diversity, Equity, and Student Success

Mellon ACLS Public Fellow