The Locker Room

October 14, 2006

More Pope Center conference video

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 7:03 PM

For more flavor of the day's events, please watch one of the following video montages:

  • Opening session: "Diversity is about educational benefits, not quantity"
  • Panel One: "Is there an intellectual diversity problem?"
  • Panel Two: "Do American law schools need to enhance diversity?"
  • Panel Three: "Does diversity improve education for students?" 

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See Connerly yourself!

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 6:31 PM

Shannon, Jon, & Terry offered you great insights about the Pope Center conference.

Here's a brief video snippet from the keynote speech.

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Connerly talks about experiences, thoughts on diversity

Posted by Shannon Blosser at 2:27 PM

Ward Connerly was the keynote speaker today for the annual Pope Center Conference. Connerly, known in higher education circles for advocating the elimination of raced-based admission practices within the University of California as a member of the Board of Regents, spoke about his experiences growing up in Louisiana, as a young adult, and his thoughts on race issues today.

Connerly said he believes that affirmative action should not be used to promote discrimination, saying that people should be treated equally with no regards to race. He also talked about his experiences with the higher education establishment in "increasing diversity" within the University of California. He called the continue discussions "mindless blather about diversity."

"I could never an answer that made sense to me," Connerly said about diversity. "I could never get a sense of what was meant by that."

Given the fact that Connerly spent 12 years as a member of the Board of Regents his comments should say a lot about the diversity movement in the country. To me, it is a lot about sticking your finger into the wind and guessing which way the wind is blowing. Connerly gets it about the diversity movment. He knows what is more important is who you are as a person, not the color of your skin or even what situation you came from in life. 

"We cannot give deference  to that fundamental principle of treating everyone equal without concern to race." 

Well said, Mr. Connerly. 

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Intellectual diversity at the Pope Center conference on diversity

Posted by Jon Sanders at 11:22 AM

So far we have heard from two advocates for universities discriminating on the basis of race for sake of diversity and three critics of the lack of intellectual diversity in universities. We are soon to hear from an advocate and a critic of discrimination by race for the sake of diversity in law schools. At lunch we will hear from from Ward Connerly, a well-known advocate for moving the academy past race-based preferences in admissions. After lunch we will hear a discussion between two panelists who oppose race-based discrimination for sake of diversity and two panelists who favor it.

I would further note that differences of opinion over these issues exist within each "group" "represented" here: male, female, white, black. That is to say, the Pope Center's job does a very good job of illustrating the kind of academic diversity it has always favored.

This is in stark contrast with a recent University of North Carolina conference on the "politics of inclusion" in higher education — which was an by-invitation-only conference in which participants overwhelmingly favored the premise of the conference. But that, too, did a good job of illustrating the sponsoring institution's approach to the issue of diversity.

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"Live-blogging" the Pope Center conference

Posted by Jon Sanders at 10:53 AM

If you're looking for more about this conference, I am frequently updating my Right Angles post on the conference. You can see it here.

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Diversity and Schools of Education

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 10:49 AM

According to K.C. Johnson, “The advocates of the status quo have changed tactics.” The new strategy is to hide behind educational and procedural jargon.

One example of this is Dispositions Theory in schools of education. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) required all schools of education to assess dispositions of students. Schools of education used the NCATE mandate to assess the beliefs of future teachers. Reinforced by social justice requirements, schools of education targeted students and professors who objected to tenets of the progressive or liberal status quo. Even though NCATE has withdrawn the requirement, Johnson says that colleges and universities are still quietly assessing dispositions among students and teachers.

Having attended two graduate schools of education, I confirm that Johnson’s observation is correct but it requires qualification. Schools of education are a multi-headed beast. The largest and most powerful division in any school of education is the curriculum and instruction department, which is responsible for teacher education. Teacher education programs are notorious for attempting to impose progressive or liberal beliefs on students. Departments of social foundations (history, sociology, philosophy, and anthropology of education) and education policy are generally places that encourage a free exchange of ideas. Unfortunately, foundations and policy programs are small and schools of education marginalize faculty members in these programs.

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Re: Diversity and the State of Denial

Posted by Shannon Blosser at 10:16 AM

Continue onto the first panel discussion, "Is There an Intellectual Diversity Problem?," Duke Professor John Staddon might have just had the line of the morning. When discussing the growth of diversity programs in college, Staddon said, "Diversity has now become a light industry." He's correct with his opinion about the growth of positions and departments at institutions dealing with just the diversity issue.

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Diversity and the State of Denial

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 10:08 AM

Anne Neal argues that the higher education establishment plays lip service to academic freedom. But when presented data on the overwhelming number of liberal faculty members in American colleges and universities, the higher education establishment simply denies the facts and attacks the messenger. Referencing Bob Woodward’s book, she calls this the higher education “state of denial.”

Renowned professors, like Penn State’s Michael Berube, insist that such data do not matter and that faculties do not enforce an ideological litmus test. Berube does not believe that it really matters that overwhelming numbers of liberal professors teach in colleges and universities. But according to Ms. Neal, the question is whether the one-sidedness affects the quality of research and classroom learning. The answer is yes.

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Re: Diversity about educational benefits?

Posted by Jon Sanders at 09:39 AM

It struck me upon listening to these comments that this was an entire exercise in begging the question. The assumption is that discriminating on the basis of race at the university admissions level is good. Then I remembered the genesis of the Educational Diversity Project at UNC.

Daye had signed an amicus brief before the Supreme Court concerning the Grutter case in which was stated (emphasis added):

"We as amicus, drawing upon over three decades of experience as law teachers, scholars, and administrators, know and confirm that racially diverse law schools deepen legal study and enrich student understanding of the law. Joining thousands of other academic and administrative officials, then, we fully endorse both the empirical assumptions that underlay Justice Powell’s opinion in Bakke as well as its legal conclusion, which affirmed the careful use of race as 'a plus factor' in university admissions."

That was before Daye accepted the grant by the Law School Admission Council "to answer the question: 'Does diversity offer educational benefits?'" One would think he'd already answered the question; but apparently now the Educational Diversity Project can answer it according to those "empirical assumptions."

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Diversity is about Educational Benefits?

Posted by Shannon Blosser at 09:12 AM

Charles Daye, a professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, focused the largest part of his discussion on his work with the Educational Diversity Project. The program is a study on-going at UNC-Chapel Hill that is looking at diversity and law schools. According to the study’s Web site, the program conducted a “survey assessing diversity in multiple domains was administered to over 8,000 incoming students from 68 law schools in the United States.” Daye was joined by Abigail Panter, who discussed the methodology.

Daye argued that diversity, specifically racial diversity, is “fundamentally about justice.” He said, “If we lived in an ideal world we would not need to have this discussion.” Daye also touched on the Grutter case, as well as Bakke in making his points, both of which he argued supported a justice principle of racial diversity in education. In Bakke, even though the case limited affirmative action, Justice Lewis Powell wrote in his concuring opinion that diversity served an interest to the state. Affirmative action proponents saw Powel's statement in the case as a victory.

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He sure is dreamy

Posted by Paul Chesser at 08:44 AM

Heath Shuler, that is.

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Pope Center Conference Underway

Posted by Shannon Blosser at 08:28 AM

The annual Pope Center Conference has started at the Brownstone Inn in Raleigh, N.C. The topic this year is "Diversity: How Much and What Kinds do Universities Need?" The first set of speakers scheduled to talk are UNC-Chapel Hill professors Charles Daye and Abigail Panter. Daye and Panter will take up the position of how diversity offers educational benefits and it not about more students.

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High bar set by legislators

Posted by Paul Chesser at 06:49 AM

A juror in the Kevin Geddings trial said House Speaker Jim Black met expectations with his testimony, according to The News & Observer:

Juror James Dicke, a retired meteorologist who lives in Raleigh, said the jury didn't give much weight to testimony from Black.

"Most felt it was quite what we would have expected from a politician -- he was noncommittal to answers and had selective recall," Dicke said.

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