Diversity and Change in Institutions of Higher Learning: A Case Study of Educators in the Canadian University College System

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This study documents both individual and institutional change, regarding diversity, through a case study of a post-secondary (i.e., higher education) institution in Canada. The text contains research conducted to explore what motivates and immobilizes institutions and institutional actors to change. By utilizing auto/biographical narratives, the author is able to explore the impact of social, political, and structural forces at work in the institution. The research illustrates how individual and collective agency are instrumental in creating space for diversity in such institutions, thereby preparing the way for larger institutional change. This work will be of interest to educators and administrators in higher education, particularly those who are working with policy, inclusion, and diversity.


“This book chronicles, auto/biographically, the experiences of ten educators working in a Canadian University College ... The focus of the study is diversity, in the context of a changing system of higher education ... The research represented, in its own right, a supportive, dialogical and reflexive space for learning about individual and collective actions, and how power and ruling relations, margins and centers, are constant features of institutional life. These spaces are open, as stated, to challenge and change. Colonizing practices can be resisted in the everyday: this book inspires us to think both big and small in the struggle to create more inclusive learning institutions and respectful, thoughtful human relationships.” –Dr. Linden West, Reader in Education, Co-Director of the Centre for International Studies of Diversity and Participation, Canterbury Christ Church University, England

“Educators should read this book to help them to understand the experience of marginality within their institutions. It suggests that universities and colleges must change their traditional patriarchal and managerial cultures and structures if they are to remain relevant and legitimate in a time when the student population is becoming increasingly diverse on the basis of gender and sexuality, race, national origin, ethnicity, culture, ability/disability and class.” – Dr. Carol Agocs, Professor Emerita, Department of Political Science, University of Western Ontario

“This book offers scholars and practitioners concerned with equity, diversity and organizational change an in-depth and critical exploration of the range of individual, social and institutional issues confronted in addressing diversity and institutional change in an educational setting ... Dr. Chan’s book makes an important contribution to scholarship in this field as it successfully interweaves this multilayered analysis of class, gender and race in organizational change with a critical exploration of the Canadian legislative context and the historical underpinnings to diversity and change in university colleges.” – Dr. Pilar Riaño-Alcalá, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work and Family Studies, University of British Columbia

Table of Contents

Foreword by Linden West
1 The Context of Diversity
2 Narrative Inquiry and the Researcher
3 Silence and Voice
4 Race, Gender and Difference
5 Different Normative Spaces
6 Essential Categories?
7 Administrative Spaces
8 Committee and Institutional Narratives
9 Spaces for Diversity

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