LIMA — Diversity isn’t just about inclusion. It’s about enrollment, teaching and retention, Ohio State’s “chief diversity officer” said during a visit to the Lima campus Monday.
“It’s not just a social justice issue. It’s an economic imperative for the nation, based on the demographic changes and based on how the world is increasingly becoming flat,” said Dr. James L. Moore III, Ohio State University’s Chief Diversity Officer. “We can engage with other societies in ways we couldn’t before, and so because of that many of us are crossing borders, and we are coming in contact with communities and societies that we didn’t (before).”
Society is bringing in more people who are not like each other, some with different skin color or speaking different languages.
“Increasingly, not only are our local communities becoming more diverse and multilingual, they’re becoming global,” he said. “So it’s important that educational institutions take that into account because a public education is a public good, and it’s hard to engage our democracy without it. There are many studies that highlight that when we have diverse employees that productivity typically is stronger and more robust.”
The fight for diversity and inclusion is not a short-term goal despite the rhetoric of today’s politicians.
“There is a lot of rhetoric that’s going on across the nation. Unfortunately, I wish people could vent some of that rhetoric and realize that some of the rhetoric, their circumstances are not going to be improved based on some of that rhetoric. Regardless of who might be in the White House, what side of the aisle you may embrace, diversity and inclusion is a long haul (goal),” Moore said.
There is still much to do before diversity is reached.
“At Ohio State, I’m often stating that I’m probably one of the few people who is trying to put himself out of a job,” Moore said. “I don’t think we’re quite there yet, unfortunately. What really made our country great is because we know we’re a multiracial, national country, but it’s under the umbrella of the United States. We have to be vigilant in our quest to do it, and we have to constantly convey compassion, and not only compassion, we have to be transparent in our efforts.”
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.