As institutes of higher education adapt to meet new challenges and take advantage of new resources, new higher education jobs have developed in the fields of technology, web development and diversity officers. Partly because of the social changes that began in the 1960s and partly because new communication technology, including television, has made students more sophisticated in their expectations and familiar with faces and accents not found in their home town, colleges and universities have had to move with the times
The social movements of recent decades have resulted in legal findings and laws that mean a different way for higher education to go about its business. The result is an office that specializes in the legal requirements concerning recruiting students and employees, the content of class materials and the atmosphere of the working and learning environment of the institution.
Because of the complexity of these requirements and the questions of how to implement them, many institutions have added a position called Chief Diversity Officer to their roster of higher education jobs. Even if that title isn’t used, many colleges and universities as well as some high schools have someone who does the job.
Reaching out to prospective students is an important area for this specialty. In universities that routinely accept students on the basis of legacy (a parent or grandparent is a graduate), a diversity officer can help to balance the mostly white male upper-class history of some schools by balancing students of other backgrounds with the legacies. To make these students feel more at home, the officer can help to fill other higher education jobs with qualified candidates of various ethnic backgrounds, providing new students with faces that seem friendly and familiar.
Television and the internet have presented educational material with the help of a diverse population of teachers. Even students from small towns are comfortable with a variety of people, accents and modes of dress. Educators are aware that students have to learn to deal with such diverse populations to prepare them for the working world. To this end, diversity officers oversee extracurricular organizations to ensure that the attitudes that would hold their graduates back are dealt with.
Even students who never deal directly with the school’s diversity officer will receive an education that is better because of those who hold these higher education jobs.