Widening Our View of Diversity


We gave our thanks last issue in November, but we wanted to devote a few more lines here, to say thank you to our school president.

Mr. Commons: thank you for talking to the Black Leadership Awareness and Culture Club, for bringing to our attention the importance of diversity, not only within the student body, but in the faculty as well. Once again, you have started a conversation that is sure to leave a substantial, positive impact on the Wolverine community.

Take any school profile, whether it be a college or a high school. You will probably find the ethnic breakdown of the student population and the student-faculty ratio, which, of course, are both very important. But the emphasis about diversity in faculty members is far less palpable. It seems that there is such a focus in today’s society on students’ welfare and equality of educational opportunity that we forget about the faculty, our teachers, counselors and mentors.

When people hear the word “diversity,” they usually do not think about diversity within the faculty. But it doesn’t take much to realize that a diverse faculty is just as valuable as a diverse student body, for all the same reasons, too. While all teachers are supposed to follow the same curriculum, they don’t all give the same lectures or lead the same discussions word-for-word. As for the stories they tell, you surely won’t hear the same one from different teachers. Each teacher has a lifetime of experiences to share, and ethnic and religious background most definitely contribute to different perspectives that enrich the classroom environment.

We also don’t typically go to class every day and leave without exchanging a word or two with our teachers. Every teacher, every faculty member on campus, is a potential guide and mentor to us. Adults, with decades’ worth of experience, can often tell us something that our friends cannot and offer a wiser perspective. But we only ask for help from teachers when we are comfortable, when we feel like our teachers might relate to us. In an ideal environment, any student of any background could find an adult on campus from a similar background.
In the offices and in the classrooms, there really isn’t much diversity among the Harvard-Westlake teaching staff. Thankfully, the administration has recognized this issue and has proposed to do something about it. All that remains now is the follow through.

The more that we are exposed to the world, the more we open our minds and realize what is out there, the better informed we will be in the future. But now it is time to apply the concept of diversity to the entire school community, students and faculty alike.