chapter  2
21 Pages

Leadership, Citizenship, and Civic Capacity: The Imperative of Racial Diversity for Realizing Higher Education’s Public Mission

BySusan Sturm, Olatunde C. A. Johnson

In this chapter, we argue that the prosperity of the United States as a nation depends upon revitalizing metropolitan economies and bridging racial divides, both of which in turn depend upon developing diverse leaders who can engage in collective action to solve problems. Many higher education institutions have the mission and capacity to develop diverse leadership equipped to meet these challenges, but the vitality of their efforts depends crucially on racial and ethnic diversity. Specifi cally, higher education institutions have a historically rooted public mandate to prepare the nation’s leadership to address society’s most important concerns, and many serve as “anchor institutions” in metropolitan communities, partnering with external organizations and industry to work toward local and regional revitalization (Maurrasse, 2001). Many are also engaged in programs that enable diverse students to learn and develop skills so that they can interact effectively across difference and become more effective leaders. With all of this in mind, we argue that higher education’s ability to achieve the diversity integral to its public mission depends upon continued use of race-conscious strategies needed to achieve that diversity.