Exploring Social Justice in


Advancing Women’s Status: Analyzing Predominant Change Strategies. (2011). ASHE Higher Education Report, 37(1), 93–117.


This article examines existing feminist research in higher education related to gender equity and women’s status, looking specifically at strategies used to accelerate the pace of change. While not oversimplifying the various approaches to gender equality in policy and research, the authors look at the connections between particular strands of feminist theories with predominant approaches to advancing equity in the HE

Berrey, E. C. (2011). “Why Diversity Became Orthodox in Higher Education, and How it Changed the Meaning of Race on Campus“. Critical Sociology, 37(5), 573-596

Taking from a longitudinal qualitative study of the University of Michigan between 1965 and 2005, this article traces the evolution of administrators’ diversity discourse. The author argues that HE diversity policies have served to define race in cultural terms, expressed through interaction and instrumental benefits. In such a way, the racial orthodoxy of “diversity” has sometimes worked to advance the goal of racial minority inclusion, but has done so at the expense of actually grappling with systemic racial inequality and by misrepresenting racial minorities’ campus experiences.

Bolger, D. (2016). Gender Violence Costs: Schools’ Financial Obligations Under Title IX. Yale Law Journal, 125(7), 2106–2130

This article aims to document the centrality of financial harms to student survivors of sexual violence, specifically as a gender-based barrier to their educational access, across the United States. Currently, 1/5 women suffer sexual assault or attempted sexual assault in the HE context. Much of the existing literature has centred on the psychological toll of sexual violence, focusing on how it can limit or preclude a student’s ability to learn as victims will understandably go to great lengths to avoid their perpetrators on campus; how survivors struggle with depression, PTSD, eating disorders, anxiety attacks, flashbacks, and nightmares; and how some will attempt suicide or engage in self-harm. Looking at the financial costs, the author examines a legal review to explore the notion of a “rape tax” incurred by survivors vis-a-vis the loss of their productivity, added costs of medical and mental health care, property loss, and deterioration in quality of life. Moreover, the institutional failure to reimburse or effectively minimise the hostile environment created by sexual assault compounds these difficulties.

Bragg, D., McCambly, H., & Durham, B. (2016). Catching the Spark: Student Activism and Student Data as a Catalyst for Systemic Transformation. Change, 48(3), 36–47.

As they’ve expressed their concerns and outrage in response to racist hostilities on campuses across the U.S., students of color have shown how greater access to educational opportunities have not had the positive outcomes their respective institutions advertised. With the aim to better understand the impact of diversity policies on students’ experiences, this paper offers results from the Pathway to Results initiative — a project that examined 48 community colleagues in Illinois. The authors found 4 key challenges that persist to inhibit progress in making HE more equitable: (1) a general failure to recognise that social inequalities within the HE context are real and that practitioners are key to change; (2) inaccessibility to meaningful and useful data on student demographics; (3) a disconnection between practitioner decisions and students’ experiences; and (4) lack of institutional commitment to move innovations for equity from pilot to scale.

This article seeks to explore how students’ pre-college racial environments shape their diversity experiences in third-level education. As almost all of the largest cities in the US have predominantly minority school districts surrounded by overwhelmingly White suburban school districts, segregation remains to be a pervasive issue that can have significant policy implications. For instance, schools with increasingly concentrated minority student populations are among the most under-resourced and most neglected in the country. Moreover, many students will enter into HE with little to no experiences with racially or ethnically diverse peers. Using survey data, this study looks at how pre-college environments and experiences shape diversity outcomes; and how the diversity experience can serve to interrupt the cycle of segregation. However, it is important that HE institutions are more structurally diverse and foster more diverse curricular and co-curricular activities for these impacts to be effective.