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When employers say they want to hire diverse students, what do they mean?

Anita Jobb AvatarAnita Jobb
July 10, 2023

Diversity in higher education encompasses a broad range of identities and backgrounds, including:

BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color): This term recognizes and emphasizes the unique experiences of black and indigenous communities in the context of broader racial and ethnic diversity.

LGBTQ+: This acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, with the ‘+’ signifying the inclusion of many other sexual orientations and gender identities.

First Generation Students: This term refers to students who are the first in their families to attend a college or university. These individuals often face unique challenges due to a lack of prior family experience with navigating higher education.

Black and African American Students: These students identify as having roots in any of the black racial groups of Africa. It includes both recent immigrants and long-term U.S. residents.

Latino Students: This term refers to students who identify as Latino, Latina, or Latinx, denoting their cultural or ancestral ties to Latin America.

Economically Disadvantaged Students: This group includes students from low-income backgrounds who might face financial hardships that can pose barriers to attending and succeeding in college.

Women: While women are not a minority in terms of population, they are often underrepresented in certain fields of study, particularly in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. Efforts to promote diversity in higher education often include initiatives to increase female representation in these areas.

Other groups that can be considered part of the diverse population in colleges include students with disabilities, veterans, adult learners, and international students.

It’s also important to remember that diversity is intersectional, meaning individuals often identify with multiple groups simultaneously. For instance, a student may identify as a first-generation college student, a woman, and a member of the BIPOC community. Each aspect of their identity interacts with the others and influences their experience. Therefore, creating an inclusive environment means considering and respecting all these aspects of diversity.

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