The Lamar University Electronic Journal of Student Research Fall 2007

Maintaining Ethical Leadership and High “Diversity” Standards in Higher Education: A National Issue in Educational Leadership
Clarence Johnson
PhD Student in Educational Leadership The Whitlowe R. Green College of Education Prairie View A&M University Prairie View, Texas Director of Safe and Secure Schools Aldine Independent School District

William Allan Kritsonis, PhD
Professor and Faculty Mentor PhD Program in Educational Leadership The Whitlowe R. Green College of Education Prairie View A&M University Member of the Texas A&M University System Visiting lecturer (2005) Oxford Round Table University of Oxford, Oxford, England Distinguished Alumnus (2004) Central Washington University College of Education and Professional Studies
_______________________________________________________________________ _ ABSTRACT African American students, Asian students, Hispanics students, and White students are treated equally when decisions are made related to college entrance policies. The number of degrees conferred to minorities continues to grow and the gap in attainment between White students and students of color continues to diminish. Educational leadership must deal with the most divisive educational issue since Brown v Board of Education. Research will show the many facets of the higher

education dilemma and suggest that we, as educators, have the answer that is ethically correct. We must make the correct decision based on race, sex, social class, ethnicity, and disability. The solution is an educational leadership decision based on high diversity standards and what is right. _______________________________________________________________________ _ Introduction During the 1965 commencement address at Howard University, President Lyndon Johnson said, “You don’t take a person hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, ‘You are free to compete with all others,’ and still justly believe that you have been completely fair” (Atkinson, 2006, p. 318). Fortytwo years later, America colleges and universities are faced with equity issues in higher education for all minorities. Educational leadership must play the lead role in addressing the equality of higher education for students and meeting the needs of faculty members. Faculty face the same equity issues as incoming freshmen college students. Purpose of the Article The purpose of this article is to examine the issues of maintaining high standards in higher education and solve the diversity dilemma. In our democracy of equal opportunity for education to all students, we enter a complex arena after students graduate from high school. Our leaders have fulfilled the basic right of achieving a high school free education but the higher education institutions must maintain the same position with different guidelines. Research will look at faculty members, universities presidents, and all ethnic groups in the higher education domain. Affirmative Action Race conscious affirmative action in higher education survived a close call challenge in 2003 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that race was a valid academic admission criterion in the Grutter v. Bollinger case. Two years later, a number of “pipeline” programs to help underrepresented minorities gain admission to and complete graduate school have modified their eligibility requirements, opening their participation to all students in an effort to avoid legal challenges (Roach, 2005). “If there’s a need for affirmative action in higher education, it’s clearly at the graduate level” (Roach, 2005, p. 24), says Dr. Ansley Abraham, the director of the Southern Regional Education Board’s State Doctoral Scholars Program (SREB). “We need concerted efforts to steer and assist minority students in those directions. We have to have very intense and focused efforts” (Roach, 2005, p.24). This is a major role for educational leadership.

Minority Doctoral Recipients Ansley and others pointed out that at the graduate level, pipeline programs have been critical to the growth of minority doctoral recipients. Ph.D. programs in particular are known for their high attrition rates. Programs such as Ford’s and SREB’s have been widely credited for improving the chances that underrepresented minorities complete their doctorates. A number of participants in the long running Ford Foundation Fellowship programs say they were dismayed to learn last year that the foundation had altered the eligibility and name of the nation’s largest Ph.D. support program for underrepresented minorities. Since 1979 the program has provided fellowship funding for nearly 2,300 African American, American Indian, and Hispanic doctoral recipients (Roach, 2005). Renamed the Ford Foundation Diversity Fellows program in 2004, the modified program has recently accepted the first cohort of students which includes nonunderrepresented minorities. The new mix of program participants will be funded in 2005-2006 academic year, according to Foundation officials (Roach, 2005). This active role of the Foundation serves as a mainstay in maintaining the high standards for minorities in higher education. Asian Americans Research has pointed a supporting-finger at the Asian Americans because they are considered part of the minorities. In higher education, educational leadership must face every dilemma. As Congress ponders the future of federal programs for minority serving institutions, House lawmakers are proposing a new funding stream for another set of colleges and universities; those serving significant numbers of Asian American students. Much of Congress already funds support for historically Black colleges and universities, tribal colleges, and Hispanic-serving institutions. Twenty-five House lawmakers are calling for a new program to help institutions serving Asian American and Pacific Islander students. The new bill, H.R. 2616, notes that Pacific Islander students are a diverse population that includes 21 ethnic groups (Dervarics, 2005 July). While Asian Americans overall have the highest going rate of any group nationwide, certain subgroups have little representation in higher education. This group includes students of Laotian heritage, where only 6 percent have college degrees. Rates are 6 percent for Cambodian Americans and 5 percent for Hmong Americans, the bill states. By comparison, about 64 percent of Chinese Americans have some college experience (Dervarics, 2005 July). Graduation Rate among Minorities After examining the Asian American position in higher education, research will analyze and interpret the current data. In academic year 1994-1995, just over 200,000 students representing ethnic and racial minority groups graduated from U.S. colleges and universities with a four-year degree. In 2004-2005, that number reached nearly 350,000,

representing an annual growth rate of 5.1 percent and a 64 percent increase the entire 10year period. The growth rate was fastest for Hispanics, where 6.4 percent clip led to a near doubling of degrees from, 54,000 in 1994-1995 to just over 100,000 in 2004-2005. These growth rates are especially impressive when compared with the rate of growth in bachelor’s degrees conferred to White students, which increased an average of 1.3 percent annually during the same time frame (Borden, 2006). The trends are impressive. The number of degrees conferred to minorities continues to grow and the gap in attainment between White students and students of color continues to diminish. But the gap has not disappeared. In this year’s Top 100 analyses, the first to come under the Diverse Issues in Higher Education banner, we continue our focus on the institutions that award the most degrees to students of color (Borden, 2006). The educational leadership behind the scene plays a major role in maintaining the growth trends. Hispanics Research will now weigh in on the largest and fastest growing minority group, Hispanics. New federal support for graduate education at Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) would improve educational opportunities for Latino students and may increase the pool of minority faculty, witnesses told a U.S. House of Representatives panel last month in Texas. Hispanics received about 4 percent of all master’s degrees in 2002, while Whites received 62 percent and African Americans 8 percent, says, Dr. Raymond Pardes, commissioner of higher education in Texas. That 4 percent reflects a small gain during the past decade, but one that significantly trails Hispanic population growth (Dervarics, June 2005). “Progress in educational attainment for Hispanics has been steady but slow, while the population growth has been dramatic” (Dervarics, 2005 June, p. 6), he says. Overall, fewer than half of the HSIs in Texas offer graduate studies, he adds. Only 20 percent of Hispanic-serving institutions offer a master’s degree, and less than 15 percent have doctoral programs, says Dr. Tomas Arciniega, special assistant to the chancellor at California State University-San Marcos, an HSI. Yet he says that by supportive HSIs, particularly those in urban locations, Congress is helping students of all races. HSIs “educate a significant percentage of African American students” (Dervarics, 2005 June, p. 6), he says. In Bakersfield, where Arciniega was president for 21 years, 30 percent are Latino, while African Americans, American Indians, and Pacific Islanders are 15 percent of enrollment. Hispanic-serving colleges and universities are asking Congress to create a new $125 million program to enhance graduate education under Title V of the Higher Education Act. That title supports an undergraduate education program for two and four-year HSIs, currently funded at $95 million. The House and Senate bills propose other changes to Title V. The legislation also would increase the undergraduate program to $175 million, nearly double the current funding. Rivera notes that HSIs receive less than half the per-student funding given to all degree-granting institutions. The university president also called for another new section of Title V with funding to help HSIs improve technology infrastructure. Rivera also asked Congress to eliminate a requirement that HSIs have at least 50 percent low-income students in order to qualify for Title V funds. “This regulatory burden is not required of

other minority-serving institutions and should be eliminated” (Dervarics, 2005 June, p. 6), he says. Historically Black colleges have no such requirement. The income test is one of two major parameters to gauge eligibility for the program; colleges also must have at least 25 percent Hispanic enrollment to qualify for the program (Dervarics, 2005 June). Through the House and Senate bills, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and other leaders also want Congress to allow Title V funds to go toward articulation agreement between two and four-year institutions. Many HSIs are two-year colleges. With the Higher Education Act up for renewal this year, Congress also has a rare opportunity to address the growth of the Hispanic population and its effect on higher education. This growth ultimately may lead to a significant increase in the number of Hispanic-serving colleges and universities nationwide (Dervarics, June 2005). The Hispanic educational leadership is pressing hard toward meeting the needs of the Hispanic student population in higher education. Lottery to Pay for Tuition It is significant to note that research indicated educational leadership explored the lottery for addressing the needs of minorities being included in higher education. New Mexico’s lottery scholarship have helped more New Mexicans of all backgrounds and income levels go to college, but the program has especially helped increase the number of minority students in higher education (Anonymous, 2004). The program which began in the fall of 1997, pays tuition for the New Mexico high school graduate who immediately go on to college and maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average. It paid $36 million in the fiscal year that ended in June, and ended the year with $51 million surplus. From 1991 to 1996, before the program began, the University of New Mexico enrolled an average of 666 minority freshmen who had graduated from New Mexico high schools each year. From 1998 to 2003, the figure soared to an average of 1,143. Of those, 80 percent had a lottery scholarship (Anonymous, 2004). However, the study concluded the program is not a cost effective way to get minority and low-income students to attend University of New Mexico, since half the beneficiaries were not minority students and 70 percent were high income. The study defined high income as families earning more than $40,000 a year (Anonymous, 2004). Minority College Faculty Educational leadership research takes a close and personal look at minority faculty members. Despite gains in recent years, the percentage of minority faculty still lags behind the overall population and the percentage of minority students. According to the American Council on Education, minorities account for less than 20 percent of fulltime faculty at U.S. colleges. “This is an issue that all higher education institutions face, regardless if you’re a two-year community college, a state university, a private college or a big research university like Minnesota” (Pattison, 2007, p. 8), says Dr. Robert Jones, the senior vice president for system academic administration at the

University of Minnesota. “All of our institutions in one way or another is very challenged by this issue” (Pattison, 2007, p. 8). The Keeping Our Faculties conference represents a unique effort to address faculty diversity. Breakout sessions focused on areas such as faculty-driven diversity efforts, mentoring for academic writing, the experience of Black women on engineering faculties and coping with the stress of being the sole faculty member of an underrepresented group (Pattison, 2007). “All too often, when we start these initiatives, we act like we’re starting from ground zero, when in fact there’s been a lot of changes of diversity work” (Pattison, 2007, p. 8), says Dr. Nancy “Rusty” Barcelo, the vice president and vice provost at University of Minnesota and a co-founder of the conference. “I’m going to be able to take a lot of what we’ve heard here and figure out how to apply it to our work” (Pattison, 2007, p. 8). But diversifying the faculty, adds Barcelo, requires efforts well beyond the traditional job search. “If you look at the pipeline, it’s really kind of dismal” (Pattison, 2007, p.8), she says. “Part of what we need to address here is the notion of how we’re promoting graduate education so we can have this diverse pool of faculty in the future” (Pattison, 2007, p. 8). Many attendees voiced concerns about a political countermovement that has stymied diversity efforts, including Proposition 209 in California and the recent approval Proposal 2 in Michigan (Pattison, 2007). Such initiatives have had a chilling effect on efforts to diversify campuses. Slaughter notes that the University of California, Los Angeles and UC-Berkeley enrolled 209 Black students out of a total class of 7,350 in 2004; less than half as many as a decade earlier, before Proposition 209. Of those 209 students, only 83 were Black men, and half of them were athletes. Similarly, Slaughter says, faculty appointments of Blacks at the University of California are under 3 percent (Pattison, 2007). Minority College Presidents Research examines the state-of-affairs regarding the college presidents. Minority presidents often are brought in to promote diversity, leading to, in some cases, an abbreviated tenure. It was only three years ago that Dr. Wayne Branch was tapped to take over the reins at Clark College, a 70-year-old private college in Vancouver, Washington. As president of the Community College of Baltimore County-Essex, Branch oversaw the reorganization of the college after it was folded into a three-college system. Those organizational skills and his background in counseling led Clark to make Branch the first African American president in the college’s history. Clarke trustees also thought Branch could help mend a bitter rift between the faculty and his presidential predecessor, Dr. Tana L. Hasart (Pluviose, 2006). Now barely three years after taking the job, Branch is out at Clark. His dismissal reflects a disturbing trend for minority community college presidents, says Dr. John E. Roueche, director of the University of Texas at Austin’s Community College Leadership Program. “Today, there are only about 39 or 40 African American presidents of community colleges, and that is less than it was 10 years ago” (Pluviose, 2006, p. 23), he says. “And probably 35 percent to 40 percent of that group is graduates of our program” (Pluviose, 2006, p. 23). A college with diversity troubles sometimes reaches out to a minority candidate for help without giving the candidate a frank assessment of a

sometimes hostile environment, adds Dr. Howard L. Simmons, chairman of Morgan State University’s department of advanced studies, leadership, and policy (Pluviose, 2006). “Minority presidents are often asked to take over in case where they’ve had lots of difficulties. A lot of times these institutions already have problems when people go in” (Pluviose, 2006, p. 24), says Simmons, a former executive director of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. “Sometimes, I don’t think they would even hire [minorities] if there were not these looming problems. And, then the faculty takes the position that the president is really in charge and they were not consulted. A lot of times the faculty members take the position, ‘If you don’t do what we want you to do, then you’re going to be out the door” (Pluviose, 2006, p. 24). Dr. Elva LeBlanc, president of two-year Galveston College, says the common faculty complaint of presidential abrasiveness is often simply the result of faculty not getting their way. “I’ve yet to serve at an institution where faculty complaints didn’t include a lack of communication. You send memoranda, you have meetings, you send email, but still, that comes up” (Pluviose, 2006, p. 24), LeBlanc says. Roueche suggests that some faculty members are perhaps unwilling to embrace diversity initiatives when they come from a minority president. He says, by the way of analogy, that if the chairs of a science department and an English department both argue that writing should be included in every course, the science department will carry more weight. “In my view, a White person carrying the banner of diversity is not going to have the same kind of negative reaction that sometimes minority folks have when they’re carrying the same banner” (Pluviose, 2006, p. 24), Roueche says. However, Roueche says numerous minority community college presidents have had enormous success implementing diversity initiatives while at the same time promoting harmony with faculty despite existing racial tensions. Roueche points out that Dr. Walter G. Bumphus, outgoing president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, has been a champion of diversity and “is one of the most respected, honored, admired presidents in the country” (Pluviose, 2006, p. 24). Educational Leadership Moving into the workforce arena, research indicates that workforce leadership calls on educational leadership to produce the quality personnel in the 21 st century. With an urgency not seen in decades, policy leaders concerned about America’s global competitiveness and widening income gaps within U.S. society are propelling issues of academic and workforce preparation to the forefront of the nation’s education policy debates (Olson, 2006). Worried that current expectations and structures are ill suited to the 21st century, politicians, scholars, and business executives are pushing to ground educational standards far more closely in the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the new economy. They are arguing for a closer connection between K-12 and postsecondary education, on the assumption that decent-paying jobs with opportunities for advancement will require at least some education beyond high school, as well as lifelong learning to adjust to a fluid labor market (Olson, 2006).

The changes such leaders are advocating could have tremendous repercussions from preschool through graduate school. On one side of the debate are those who believe that fundamental shifts in the economy, brought about largely by technology, are creating a premium for knowledge and skills. Students must be prepared to take advantage of those new opportunities they warn, or risk joining the ranks of the working poor. On the other side are economists who see a more gradual rise in skill requirements and no shortage of college-educated workers over the next decade. They question the extent to which education offers a solution to the United States’ broader economic problems. Meanwhile large disagreements remain about how best to redesign secondary and postsecondary institutions to meet the shifting demands (Olson, 2006). Educational leadership will focus on meeting the demands of America’s global academic strengths. Educational leadership research focuses on equity and equality. Admission decisions should match the goals of individual and societal equity, and equality should drive both policy and specific decisions. However, the ideal seldom applies. Rather, admission professionals find a tension between equity and equality; the individual and larger social benefits; and in artificially-created market shortage (Caldwell, 2007). Equality is an expectation of even-handed treatment, as discussed by Strike, Haller and Soltis, who write, “In any given circumstances, people who are the same in those respects relevant to how they are treated in those circumstances should receive the same treatment” (Caldwell, 2007, p. 16). Equality concentrates on the individual and the circumstances surrounding him or her. It does not focus on group differences, based on factors such as race, sex, social class, ethnicity, and disability. It assumes that the individual has been assimilated into the society and should not be “hampered by traditional expectations and stereotypes” (Young, 1990, p. 157). On the other hand, equity “deals with difference and takes into consideration the fact that this society has many groups in it who have not always been equal treatment and/or have not had a level field on which to play. These groups have been frequently made to feel inferior to those in the mainstream and some have even been oppressed” (Shapiro, 2001, p. 76). Many policy decisions have negatively impacted participation of the disadvantaged in higher education of the past two decades; the shift from need-based to merit-based financial aid; a shrinking pool of financial aid; and the reduction of state support for public higher education occurring at the legislative level. Additionally institutions’ desires are often driven by financial need, raising student qualifications. The consequences, albeit unintended, of programs, such as the Hope Scholarship Program and the shift to merit-based institutional scholarships, have worked against both equality and equity. They neither provide all students the same opportunities nor an advantage to a specific group. Instead these policies have tended to reinforce the status quo and narrow the range of benefiting students able to benefit (Caldwell, 2007). The recent decision by the Supreme Court on June 28, 2007, adds more responsibilities to educational leadership in higher education regarding enrollment procedures. With competing blocs of Justices claiming the mantle of Brown v. Board of Education, a bitterly divided Supreme Court declared Thursday that public school systems cannot seek to achieve or maintain integration through measures that take explicit account of a student’s race (Greenhouse, 2007). Voting 5-4, the court, in an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, invalidated programs in Seattle and metropolitan Louisville, Kentucky, which sought to maintain

school-by-school diversity by limiting transfers on the basis of race or using race as a “tie-breaker” for admission to particular schools (Greenhouse, 2007). Both programs had been upheld by lower federal courts and were similar to plans in place in hundreds of school districts across the country. Chief Justice Roberts said such programs are “directed only to racial balance, pure and simple” (Greenhouse, 2007, p. A13), a goal he said is forbidden by the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection (Greenhouse, 2007). “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discrimination on the basis of race” (Greenhouse, 2007, P. A13), Roberts said. His side of the debate, the chief justice said, was “more faithful to the heritage of Brown” (Greenhouse, 2007, p. A13), the landmark 1954 decision that declared school segregation unconstitutional. “When it comes to using race to assign children to schools, history will be heard” (Greenhouse, 2007, p. A13), he said. The decision came on the final day of the court’s 2006-07-term, which showed an energized conservative majority in control across many areas. Though Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito joined his opinion on the schools case in full, the fifth member of the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy, did not. Kennedy agreed that the two plans are unconstitutional. But he was highly critical of what he called the chief justice’s “all-too-unyielding insistence that race cannot be a factor in instances when, in my view, it may be taken into account” (Greenhouse, 2007, p. A13). In a separate opinion that could shape the practical implications of the decision and provide school districts with guidelines for how to create systems that can pass muster with the court, Kennedy said achieving racial diversity, “avoiding racial isolation” (Greenhouse, 2007, p. A13), and addressing “the problem of de facto desegregation in schooling” are “compelling interests” (Greenhouse, 2007, p. A13), that a school district could constitutionally pursue as long as it did so through programs that were sufficiently “narrowly tailored.” (Greenhouse, 2007, p. A13) As a matter of constitutional doctrine and practical impact, Kennedy’s opinion significantly limited the full reach of the other four justices’ embrace of a “colorblind Constitution” (Greenhouse, 2007, p. A13), under which all racially conscious government action, no matter how benign or invidious its goal, is equally suspect (Greenhouse, 2007). Concluding Remarks In conclusion, the purpose of this article was to examine the issues of maintaining high standards in higher education and solve the diversity dilemma. Research indicated that in our democracy of equal opportunity for education to all students, we are meeting the needs of minority students that graduate from high school. Research looked at faculty members, universities presidents, and all ethnic groups in the higher education domain. Despite gains in recent years, the percentage of minority faculty still lags behind the overall population and the percentage of minority students. According to the American Council on Education, minorities account for less than 20 percent of fulltime faculty at U.S. colleges. “This is an issue that all higher education institutions face, regardless if you’re a two-year community college, a state university, a private college or a big research university like Minnesota” (Pattison, 2007, p. 8), says Dr. Robert Jones, the senior vice president for system academic administration at the University of Minnesota.

“All of our institutions in one way or another is very challenged by this issue” (Pattison, 2007, p. 8). I support Dr. Jones assessment that all institutions of higher education must face the real issues and provide the educational leadership necessary to attain our goals. We must retool our efforts to meet the needs of all students. Ethical educational leadership in higher education is the answer. References Anonymous, (2004). Lottery scholarships in New Mexico getting more minorities to college. Black Issues in Higher Education, 21(23), 18. Atkinson, R.C., & Pelfrey, P.A. (2006, June). Opportunity in a democratic society: Race and economic status in higher education. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Research Library, p.318. Borden, V., & Brown, P. (2006, June). The top 100: Interpreting the data. Diverse Issues in Higher Education June, 23(8), 36. Caldwell, C., Shapiro, J.P., & Gross, S.J. (2007, Spring). Ethical leadership in higher education admission: Equality vs. equity. Journal of College Admission, 15-19. Retrieved on June 27, 2007, from Dervarics, C. (2005, June). Congress hears call for expanded aid to Hispanic-serving Institutions. Black Issues in Higher Education, 22(10), 6. Dervarics, C. (2005, July). Lawmakers propose aid for college serving Asian Americans. Black Issues in Higher Education, 22(11), 6. Greenhouse, L. (2007, June 29). Ruling curbs use of race by schools. Houston Chronicle, pp. A1, A13. Olson, L. (2006, March). Economic trends fuel push to retool schooling. Education Week, 25(28), 1. Pattison, K. (2007, May). Minority scholars share strategies at ‘Keeping Our Faculties’ conference. Diverse Issues in Higher Education, 24(6), 8. Pluviose, D. (2006, August). Hung out to dry, Diverse Issues in Higher Education. 23(14), 23. Roach, R. (2005, July). Affirmative action fallout: Graduate level programs once aimed at minorities. Black Issues in Higher Education, 22(11), 24. Shapiro, J.P. & Stefkovich, J.A. (2001). Ethical leadership and decision making in education: Applying theoretical perspective to complex dilemmas (2nd ed.). Mahwah: Lawerence Eribaum Associates. Strike, K.A., Haller, E.J., & Soltis, J.F. (1988). The ethics of school administration (2nd ed.). New York: Teachers College Press. Young, I.M. (1990). Justice and the politics of difference. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Press. Formatted by Dr. Mary Alice Kritsonis, National Research and Manuscript Preparation Editor, National FORUM Journals, Houston, Texas.