DEI credential expansion dates back at least to 2020
At least a half-dozen colleges in the United States offer Diversity, Equity and Inclusion degree programs or soon will, and dozens more offer certificates or other qualifications in DEI.
Bentley University near Boston offered the first DEI bachelor of arts and bachelor science programs in the U.S., and at least five other schools offer similar degrees or are preparing to do so, according to a recent USA Today article.
“There has also been an explosion in DEI certificate programs,” the outlet reported Feb. 6.
“Dozens of colleges offer minors or concentrations with titles such as ‘diversity studies,’ from Texas State University to Michigan Tech to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.”
However, “comprehensive” data has not been collected to report on the exact number of degrees or their outcomes, according to USA Today.
A Bentley DEI major profiled by the outlet took classes on topics such as “managing diversity in the workplace, the history of racism in the U.S. and the ways in which people’s identities intersect.”
Heads of schools offering DEI qualifications told the outlet they hope to appeal to a broad range of students, ethnically, culturally and even politically.
Paulette Russell, president of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, told USA Today that more employers realize implementing and running DEI programs requires “specific skills.”
DEI job opportunities are way up since 2020. Job postings in the DEI domain jumped 123 percent between May and September 2020 alone, according to Indeed.com; though the job website terms it “Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging,” or “DI&B.”
“The timing coincides with the rise of recent nationwide protests as companies began to express their support for the Black Lives Matter movement and publicly make promises to fight for equality in and outside of the workplace,” Indeed stated in a news release about the increase, updated in August of last year.
Matthew Krajewski, senior manager of accessibility and product inclusion at Indeed, had advice for those seeking to transition to the field.
“The more reading you can do, and the more you can demonstrate how that reading has impacted your worldview, the more you prepare yourself for becoming fluent in the language of DI&B,” he stated in the release.
“I frequently cite Audre Lorde and James Baldwin in my own work, and make sure to read the latest commentary from leaders like Ibram X. Kendi and Shaun King,” he added.
MORE: Applicants for university’s janitor job openings required to submit DEI statements
IMAGE: Shutterstock/Dmitry Demidovich
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