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This entry provides a brief overview of the historical development of diversity, outlines evolving notions, and discusses the implications of diversity in higher education for institutional change.

Diversity began as a drive to open up access to higher education for those who had been historically excluded from most institutions based on race or gender. The focus on access for historically underrepresented minorities (African Americans, Latinos, American Indians) and White women to certain fields was a compelling force for change in higher education, where historic policies of discrimination and embedded practices have made many institutions alien for diverse communities. Civil rights legislation, social movements, and legal challenges have been part of the push toward providing greater access to colleges and universities not only for students but in ...

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