Thursday, July 1, 2021

Bentley University launches a bachelor's degree in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Is this program for you?

 Bentley University, a private university in the Boston area, offers a new major this fall: Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Gary David, a sociology professor, was part of the design team for the new program. 

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, David said that he:

wanted a major that moved DEI away from compliance--where institutions, companies, and nonprofits feel they need to or are required to meet certain diversity standards--and toward opportunity, with graduates working on ideas and programs to improve society with diversity, equity and inclusion at top of mind.

So--is Bentley's DEI program a good major for you? Before you decide, ask yourself these questions:

First, are there entry-level jobs for people who get a DEI degree from Bentley? 

The answer to that question is yes. Diversity is on the mind of every college president, whether that person leads an Ivy League institution or a small liberal arts school.  Nearly all major universities have a DEI officer at the senior executive level (vice president or associate provost). Schools are also hiring DEI-trained people to work in student services, student housing, and Title IX offices.  

UC Berkely, for example, spends $25 million a year on equity and inclusion and has 400 employees running programs to enhance diversity across the university.  

Second, how much will it cost to get a DUI degree from Bentley?  

Tuition, books, fees, room, and board at Bentley total approximately $76,000 per academic year--or about $300,000 for a four-year degree.  That's pretty damn expensive. Of course, you may qualify for a scholarship or tuition reduction of some sort, which will reduce your costs. 

Still, every student who does not come from a wealthy family will probably have to take out student loans to get a DUI degree from Bentley. That means Bentley graduates will enter the job market with a lot of debt.

Third, is DEI the career for you?

Finally, students should consider whether DEI is the right career choice. On the one hand, there are jobs in this field--from entry-level to executive positions.

On the other hand, once a person begins a career in DEI, it may be hard to switch to another field. Someone who wants to become a professor, for example, will need more than a DUI degree from Bentley to get a faculty job. 

Also, everyone surely understands that People of Color (POC) are more attractive candidates for DEI jobs than--for example--a white male who hails from rural West Texas.  I feel sure that a survey of the senior DEI executives at major U.S. universities will find many more POCs than non-POCs.

In my view, a person wishing to make a career in DEI would probably be better off skipping Bentley's DEI program (with its $300,000 price tag), getting an undergraduate degree in a mainstream major, and then going to law school.  

Christopher Manning, USC's first Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer

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