Leadership In Action-CEO Profile of Jackie Jenkins-Scott
March 19, 2013
Increase in Diverse Students and Investments in Education Needed
The growing body of research and literature on "diversity" indicates that the ability to work effectively in a diverse workforce is critical to being prepared for jobs in our innovation and knowledge-based 21st century economy. As the President of Wheelock College for nearly ten years, I have seen first-hand how a diverse student, staff and faculty population is critical to providing a quality educational experience for our students, whom we hope will leave Wheelock prepared for success in today's increasingly global society. In July 2012, we learned that the United States fell again in global rankings of our percentage of young adults earning a college degree. Our country is now ranked 16th in the world. The number of college graduates must more than double in order to achieve President Barack Obama's goal of reclaiming world leadership in college graduation rates by 2020. This goal cannot be achieved without an increase in the diversity of students attending college and without investments in education. There also must be more intentional workforce preparation to increase our citizens' skills and abilities to match the new knowledge economy.
This year, Wheelock celebrates its 125th Anniversary of living our mission to improve the lives of children and families - all children and all families. We strive to build an educational community that provides a challenging and nurturing intellectual environment built on a curriculum and pedagogy dedicated to diversity, social justice and equality. We understand that a respect for human diversity and a genuine appreciation of how our many commonalities enrich our institutional mission and work are the best tools for our students as they leave Wheelock and make their contribution to society.
In the past seven years, we have made significant progress in our commitment to diversity. Today, 23% of all Wheelock undergraduate students are students of color and 32% of our Class of 2014 are students of color, with nearly 52% of this class being first in their families to attend college. I am most proud that Wheelock has been recognized as having the most diverse faculty and staff of any institution in Boston, with nearly 30% of our faculty being African American, Latino and Asian.