I’d like to return to the themes of diversity and affirmative action that I wrote about a couple weeks ago. So imagine a small seminary in North America with a faculty that consists of five Caucasian males who were all born and raised in North America. The seminary posts an announcement for a new faculty position and the ad includes the statement “We especially welcome applications from women and visible minorities.”
Twenty candidates apply for the position. Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that all are strong candidates in terms of education, publications, and teaching experience. But while seventeen of them are Caucasian males born and raised in North America, three bring some degree of diversity.
The first diversity candidate is Susanne, a Caucasian female born and raised in North America. The second candidate is Jin, a Korean male born and raised in Seoul, Korea. The final candidate is Mark. While Mark is a Caucasian male (and thus not a visible minority), he does bring a wealth of cultural and experiential diversity since he was raised in Tanzania and Thailand, he speaks fluent Swahili and Thai, and he is at home in both East African and South-East Asian cultures.
Each of these individuals brings a valuable diversity to an ethnically homogeneous, monocultural faculty. Assuming that these three candidates are otherwise equal, how would you prioritize the diversity each might bring to the institution? Do you prioritize the visibility of the diversity that Susanne and Jin bring? If so, do you prioritize gender diversity or cultural and linguistic diversity? Or do you view the visibility of diversity as a secondary issue which might be trumped by Mark’s diverse transcultural experience?