With the shifting demographics of societies such as the United States and Canada, access to higher education presents a variety of challenges to ensure that universities are able to meet the challenges associated with increased student diversity on campus. The current paper reviews first the literature on the linkages between social inequality and education, before turning to an examination of Canadian data with respect to access issues and the possible barriers to increasing diversity among postsecondary institutions. The evidence reveals that first-generation students and those whose parents did not attend university, Aboriginal peoples, and students with disabilities (among others) continue to be underrepresented in postsecondary education. At the same time, the paper argues that while institutions of higher learning can facilitate improved access, they must commit to developing support services and a more welcoming and inclusive environment in order to ensure student retention and success among an increasingly diverse student population. The paper concludes with a discussion of “best practices” from the perspective of a predominantly undergraduate, liberal arts institution in southern Ontario.
Michalski, Joseph, Tracy Cunningham, and Joe Henry. 2017. "The Diversity Challenge for Higher Education in Canada: The Prospects and Challenges of Increased Access and Student Success." Humboldt Journal of Social Relations 1 (39): 66-89.