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Location, Location, Location: The Geographic-Diversity Issue

2018 Diversity in academe Cover

In this special report, we look at diversity through a somewhat novel lens — that of geography. Our coverage examines how a college’s location affects its mission, its ability to recruit students and faculty members, and its campus culture. You’ll hear from academics who moved to an unlikely location and loved it — and others who left it. Yet others describe working or studying on the outskirts of Detroit, on the Spirit Lake Dakota Sioux reservation in North Dakota, and in Alaska’s vast interior.

Geography can divide people, both physically and politically, but some academics are eager to bridge those divides. One scholar, worried that large rural states like his are being left behind in the digital economy, proposes creating a “cyber-land-grant” university system financed by Silicon Valley. Meanwhile, a college president — a gay, black urbanite — who moved to a rural state not knowing what to expect has been pleasantly surprised. “The most important parts of the human experience,” he writes, “are remarkably similar across time and geography.”

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