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The Cost Of Inclu$ive Excellence

On the one hand, it’s tough that it costs about $43,000 per year to attend the University of St. Thomas [1], a private Catholic liberal arts college in Minnesota, where tuition rose nearly four percent over the previous year.

On the other hand, look at the kind of exciting administrative support you get for your money! The university is inviting applications for Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence. At the University of St. Thomas, associate vice presidents make an estimated base salary [2] of between $135K and $146K. Here’s more information about the position from the university’s website: [3]

JOB SUMMARY

In accordance with our University of St. Thomas mission of advancing the common good and convictions of dignity and diversity, the university seeks to create and sustain a diverse, equitable and inclusive community. Reporting directly to the President, the Associate Vice President for (AVP) for Inclusive Excellence will lead the development and implementation of a proactive diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, which will support St. Thomas’s mission and strategic priorities.

The AVP for Inclusive Excellence is a high-level management position reporting directly to the President and serving as a member of the President’s Cabinet. The AVP for Inclusive Excellence will lead the development of a vision and effective strategy that champions the importance and value of a diverse and inclusive university environment. Annual university-wide goals and strategies will be developed by the AVP for Inclusive Excellence to bring together various constituencies across the university. Tapping into a broad array of existing university resources, the AVP for Inclusive Excellence will also engage faculty, staff and students to build a welcoming and inclusive culture at St. Thomas.

Key to success in the position is the ability to establish effective and productive relationships with other university leaders in ways that are developmentally supportive and productive.

The AVP for Inclusive Excellence will design and implement training initiatives on cultural competency, gender diversity, disability, sexual identity, inter-faith understanding and other topics designed to increase awareness and support of equity and inclusion values, and maintaining compliance with applicable laws. The position serves as a key advisor and resource person for leadership, faculty and staff in the areas of diversity, inclusion and equity.

The AVP for Inclusive Excellence will implement an ongoing strategic “action plan to combat racism” designed to activate the university and infuse inclusive practices across the institution.
This position is the nexus of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at St. Thomas. It is a non-academic, professional staff position that does not have a research requirement. The work performed will require being accessible to constituents and present on campus approximately 90% of the time. The primary areas of accountability include strategy, support, coordination, and education.

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TYPICAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Collaborating with university partners, lead the development and oversee implementation of a vision and related strategy and action plan that advances university priorities and champions the importance and value of a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment. Comprehensively assess university culture and make recommendations about campus climate, student diversity, equity and success; and employee outcomes related to diversity and equity. Engage with university leadership, faculty, staff and students to build a welcoming and inclusive culture at St. Thomas.

Plan, guide and advise university leadership on diversity, equity, and inclusion matters. Collaborate with leadership to create, implement and monitor programs designed to ensure fair and equitable treatment of students, faculty and staff.

Create strong partnerships throughout the university to advance diversity, equity and inclusion goals and objectives. In partnership with Human Resources, Enrollment, Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, assess potential barriers and develop strategies focused on recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce and student body. Participate in and advise on St. Thomas’s recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups. Work with Human Resources to reach out to diverse communities of professionals and develop recruitment strategies that attract underrepresented candidates.

Coordinate the design and delivery of training initiatives on anti-racism, cultural competency, gender diversity, ability, sexual identity, inter-faith understanding and other topics designed to increase awareness and support of equity and inclusion values, and maintaining compliance with applicable laws. Oversee the development and implementation of campus-wide training and events to promote anti-racism, cultural understanding and competency and a climate of equity and inclusion. Partner with Student Affairs, Human Resources, Faculty Development and other departments that provide training and development on topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Influence diversity, equity and inclusion outcomes by collaborating, coordinating and supporting diversity-related efforts occurring across the university.

Work with the campus team that responds to bias-motivated incidents on campus and coordinate the campus response and students support efforts.

Promote St. Thomas’s commitment to a climate of equity and inclusion through interaction with individuals inside and outside St. Thomas, including the Board of Trustees, senior staff and cabinet, faculty, staff, students and community leaders.

Gather, research and analyze data for use in decision-making with respect to campus diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Develop measurable goals and outcomes related to St. Thomas’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

Manage the diversity, inclusion, and equity budget, including developing budget proposals, justifying expenses, and monitoring accounts.

Performs other related duties as assigned.

On the university’s webpage explaining its philosophy of diversity [4], this paragraph appears:

Diversity, equity and inclusion are indispensable to academic excellence and the holistic development of our students. Our university community includes people of diverse races, ethnicities, geographic origins, gender identities, ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientations, religions, work experience, physical and intellectual abilities, and financial means. As an educational community, we live, learn and work inclusively in fulfillment of our shared commitment to advance the common good.

Serious question: I wonder what the leaders of this Catholic university would say if you asked them to define the “common good.” I wonder if they could do it without speaking in Incluso-Diverse cant.

In 2017, the average student loan debt of St. Thomas graduates was $41,000.  [5] Hey, diversity, equity, and inclusion do not come cheap. Next year, the university ought to add an Associate Vice President for Excellent Inclusiveness.

UPDATE: A reader comments:

I have worked for 10+ years as a faculty member at a public university. I have watched the diversity bureaucracy expand until it now looms over just about every aspect of our working lives. I’ve gone through semesters in which *every* committee meeting is taken up by some initiative sought by the diversity office. Endless amounts of money are thrown at it because everyone is intimidated into silence. The “bias reporting system” our own diversity office administers is run like a little Stasi. All of the anonymous reports of “microaggressions” (yes, you can report your fellow students or your colleagues for “microaggressions” — we’ve been told this explicitly) are shared only with the president and a tiny cabal accountable to no one.

Might this power be abused? Does the university need to host at its own expense the fifth speech this semester by a non-binary professional activist? By what authority can the diversity office write our curriculum, tell us how we should teach our classes, or determine whom we should hire for faculty positions? Do we really need to write a full page to our chairs at the end of *every year* about what we’ve done to advance diversity? Does the dean of diversity really need an assistant dean of diversity and an assistant to the assistant dean of diversity, especially when we’re always being told that the campus has no money? How does it make us appear to the public that the website of the diversity office features materials extolling the dignity of “sex workers” and BDSM? Are these “training sessions” the diversity office pushes really anything other than ideological reeducation? No one dares ask any one of these questions in any public setting. I suspect that I have colleagues who resent these developments as much as I do, but no one will say so explicitly.

The diversity bureaucracy is both a jobs program for Gender Studies majors and a tool of surveillance and repression. It is purely ideological. Cut out this tumor and there might be something like the free exchange of ideas again. Getting rid of this monster should be legislative priority one for anyone who cares about higher education.

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64 Comments To "The Cost Of Inclu$ive Excellence"

#1 Comment By John Mark On February 5, 2019 @ 5:04 pm

The fear factor is a reality that will not go away. Telling people to get a backbone may or may not work. It has always been this way; most of us are sheep. Solzhenitsyn said that if, during the reign of Stalin, the people had collectively challenged the authorities, especially during their midnight or wee-hours-of-the-morning arrests, it might have turned the tide. Who knows.

Einstein said, and this is slightly tangential, that what worked in India against the Brits would never have worked against Hitler.

I am not by nature a bold person. I have spoken up at times, mostly where I worked, on issues where I felt the ‘boss’ was being unfair. In my case it changed nothing. There weren’t enough of us. Only if those at the top are people of some character can speaking out make any difference; it is impossible to intimidate them unless you literally engage in their own tactics, such as students did in the late 60’s and 70’s. That, of course, tragically ended in the meaningless death of four students at Kent State. I have read articles which voiced the opinion that this was the desired result of the protesters; innocent deaths.

In the end, most people will knuckle down in order to keep their jobs. So it is wrong, it is the way it is.

One would hope that eventually colleges and universities go completely leftist would end up with no students except those who are already open to that (or go out of business altogether). One way that might happen is if graduates, constituents and responsible journalists, such as yourself, will continue to publicize how anyone’s tuition dollars are being spent. Many parents seem oblivious…..

#2 Comment By JM On February 5, 2019 @ 5:06 pm

I teach liberal arts at a good, orthodox liberal arts college. Even so, at least one third of class material is an expensive waste, and over half the students would begetter off working for UPS or in a church. The entire college system, like the government, is an unfortunate, bloated yam. Kids should go to trade school and read a book list. A much better use of funds.

#3 Comment By cajunpower On February 5, 2019 @ 10:50 pm

I was very sad to see that my undergraduate alma mater, a chronically underfunded state research university, has a diversity dean. The dean is a brilliant and delightful person, but to what use are her talents being put?

Ultimately, the problem with diversity as a goal is that it’s not a goal. And the problem with diversity as a value is that it’s not a value. It’s pretty much value neutral.

If diversity was a good in and of itself, and especially if it was as valuable as it’s made out to be, we’d shut down all of the public HBCUs. Or we’d impose population-based quotas requiring that the student body (and faculty) be representative of the population at large. Why should African American students who attend HBCUs be deprived of racially and socially diverse educational environments?

I’m aware of the reasons that we have HBCUs, and I don’t support shutting them down, but isn’t that what we should be clamoring for based on the logic of “diversity”?

#4 Comment By Brian in Brooklyn On February 5, 2019 @ 11:16 pm

Caroline writes: “The modern quest for equality is bogus…and only creates more division.”

The quest for equality is millennia old, and is not about creating something, but halting the attachments that prevent its recognition.

Matt in VA writes: “We can see this in K-12 education, where the focus is on ‘closing the gap’

Sometimes trying to close the gap is just that. Where my husband grew up in the rural South, there were two high schools–one majority white and one majority black. His father attended the second school, and when my husband’s time came and they checked the school out, his parents found that not much had changed from his father’s day: no AP classes; same curricula; even some of the same textbooks. My in-laws moved so that my husband and his sister would be able to go to the first high school.

Re: Marx: the old bearded one once wrote: “The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.”

I have never been able to understand how conservatives combine a reverence for tradition with support for market capitalism–the economy they extol is the destroyer of what they seek to preserve.

Siarlys writes: “Let’s have MORE diversity, not less.”

The problem is that attempts at diversity are divided against themselves since they can only include that which wishes to be diverse. Religions/ideologies which think they are superior do not desire diversity and will rightly resist it. We are once more back to the solution proposed by Tendai: local coherence; global incoherence.

#5 Comment By CF On February 5, 2019 @ 11:22 pm

St Thomas shouldn’t qualify as Catholic anymore. Actual Catholic events there, such as pro-life speakers, often have counter-events/protests. I’ve spoken to current students who say SJW ideology runs rampant.

One graduate told me that after leaving St Thomas he had more respect for Muslims than for Christians, because Islam at least honors him as a prophet while most Christians think he said some things about being nice. That’s the impression St Thomas made on this person.

Catholic student groups that used to hold events on campus now hold them at orthodox Catholic churches. The school’s politics are no longer worth the hassle for them.

#6 Comment By Brian in Brooklyn On February 6, 2019 @ 1:03 pm

Matt in VA writes: “What’s important about Foucault?”

His last lectures and his ideas about power are most interesting to me. The last lectures especially mark an important turn/advance from his earlier writing.

More Matt: “covering up the fact that queer theory boils down to ‘desire is inherently good'”

Queer theory is much more than that. For example, Jose Esteban Munoz’ writing is a complex investigation of futurity. He even writes that “books of criticism that simply glamorize the ontology of gay male cruising are more often than not simply boring.”

There is also the overlap between queer theory and Buddhism in that they both address issues regarding the construction of personhood (with once again Western thought catching up to Buddhist wisdom centuries after the fact).

#7 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 6, 2019 @ 2:02 pm

The problem is that attempts at diversity are divided against themselves since they can only include that which wishes to be diverse.

And I intend to use the logical contradictions as leverage to crack it wide open, without returning to previous forms of denial.

#8 Comment By Brian in Brooklyn On February 6, 2019 @ 2:53 pm

Siarlys writes: “And I intend to use the logical contradictions as leverage to crack it wide open, without returning to previous forms of denial.”

May the tetralemma be with you.

#9 Comment By Matt in VA On February 6, 2019 @ 3:21 pm

Brian in Brooklyn says:
February 6, 2019 at 1:03 pm
Matt in VA writes: “What’s important about Foucault?”

His last lectures and his ideas about power are most interesting to me. The last lectures especially mark an important turn/advance from his earlier writing.

More Matt: “covering up the fact that queer theory boils down to ‘desire is inherently good’”

Queer theory is much more than that. For example, Jose Esteban Munoz’ writing is a complex investigation of futurity. He even writes that “books of criticism that simply glamorize the ontology of gay male cruising are more often than not simply boring.”

There is also the overlap between queer theory and Buddhism in that they both address issues regarding the construction of personhood (with once again Western thought catching up to Buddhist wisdom centuries after the fact).

Brian in Brooklyn, unfortunately, your response is what I always get when I ask this question about Foucault. Notice that your entire response is just assertion. “Munoz’ writing is a complex investigation of futurity.’ Oh– futurity — and it’s “complex”! Wow, man! Complexity! There’s nothing here. Say something! I mean, yeah, I know, you’re under no obligation to educate me. But this is always, always what happens. People who are into this stuff have nothing — *nothing* — to say. At least, that’s what seems to keep happening.

#10 Comment By Hound of Ulster On February 6, 2019 @ 3:57 pm

@Brian in Brooklyn

That passage from Marx should be required reading for anyone who considers themselves a traditional-minded conservative.

The error that traditional-minded conservatives make in both political strategies and ideological coalition-building is the assumption that markets are a morally neutral concept…whoa boy, are they so wrong about that.

Spoiler alert: market capitalism is not, nor ever has been, friendly to traditional religious cultures of any sort.

#11 Comment By Thomas Hobbes On February 6, 2019 @ 7:02 pm

Matt in VA says:
Brian in Brooklyn, unfortunately, your response is what I always get when I ask this question about Foucault. Notice that your entire response is just assertion. “Munoz’ writing is a complex investigation of futurity.’ Oh– futurity — and it’s “complex”! Wow, man! Complexity! There’s nothing here. Say something! I mean, yeah, I know, you’re under no obligation to educate me. But this is always, always what happens. People who are into this stuff have nothing — *nothing* — to say. At least, that’s what seems to keep happening.

I’m inclined to agree (though I haven’t read them much either). The point of postmodern philosophy could basically be summed up as: “The world is more complex than Rousseau, Marx and Nietzche make it out to be.” They don’t have any big narrative to replace Marxist thought, liberalism, or nihilism for that matter with though. If Foucault or Derrida did have such big ideas they would have been able to articulate them better. Their big idea is basically that there isn’t one. The problem of the postmodernists is basically the problem of society today: we’ve found the solutions of Marx and Nietzche to be failures (though they both did an awesome job stating the problem) and the solutions of Locke and Rousseau just aren’t very satisfying. We have no new ideas, just more complicated descriptions of how we have failed. Of course one response to this is hey, why not just go back to Aristotle or Aquinas…

another comic: [6]

#12 Comment By Brendan from Oz On February 6, 2019 @ 11:27 pm

Matt in VA – try Understanding Post-Modernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Roussseua to Focault by Stephen Hicks.

Focault is heir and promoter of the silliness Rousseau (which began in Ancient times in contrast to Reason), and his History of Sexuality and Power very influential indeed among the SJW set that reads at all.

#13 Comment By Brian in Brooklyn On February 7, 2019 @ 1:12 am

Matt in VA writes: “I mean, yeah, I know, you’re under no obligation to educate me.”

I have no objection to sharing what I know, but even me at my most verbose would fail to accomplish the goal of talking about Foucault and queer theory in even the most cursory way. The topics are too broad.

As for assertion: “queer theory boils down to ‘desire is inherently good’” is as much of an assertion as anything I posted. Again for reasons of space, I made a quick reference to Munoz and queer futurity (as I often make quick reference to Buddhism and Tendai), but this is not the place to go into detailed explanations of any of the proceeding (though sometimes I do include links to web pages and books). What I am trying to do is point in a direction that can be taken up or ignored. If you are interested, you could read Munoz’ “Cruising for Utopia,” though you would probably also need to read Leo Bersani and Lee Edelman whose ideas Munoz is taking issue with in his work (and some of Foucault’s work stands behind all three). I am not so sure that it is a matter of having nothing to say, but rather too much.

Thomas Hobbes writes: “They don’t have any big narrative”

An accurate assertion (though not having a big narrative may be a big narrative unto itself). As with William James, neither Foucault or Derrida wrote that one great tome assembling their thought into one grand/definitive system/statement.

More TH: “we’ve found the solutions of Marx and Nietzche to be failures”

Maybe because they looked for solutions in the same place they found the problems. Matthew J. Moore’s “Buddhism and Political Theory” offers an interesting take on how Buddhism can solve the problems Nietzsche saw correctly, but to which he could not propose sensible solutions.

More TH: “why not just go back to Aristotle or Aquinas…”

Even better, why not go somewhere untried: Nagarjuna or Chih-i. If you like a big narrative, you cannot do better than:

[7]

#14 Comment By JonF On February 7, 2019 @ 9:02 am

Re: Why not just ho back to Arustitle and Aquinas

Well, the one was OK with slavery, defending it as the result of natural law, and he also considered women to be, always and everywhere, subrational beings. The other had no concept of religious liberty. Yes, there are some thing in both those guys’ writings that can inspire, but readopting them wholesale would be as foolish as readopting Hippocrates and Galen wholesale in medicine. We have learned some new things over the centuries, often at severe cost.