Thursday, March 4, 2010

Law School Rankings and Diversity

A new study just published in the Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice confirms what many of us have known for years. The study by two sociologists suggests that the U.S. News & World Reports annual law school rankings are getting in the way of building a more diverse student body. A school's diversity is not given any weight in the rankings. The almost mechanical focus on LSAT scores, undergraduate grades and the school’s exclusivity ends up weighing against most minority applicants.

I, for one, believe that diversity has a significant positive impact on the learning environment. Indeed, I think that students who interact with a diverse student body in class are better prepared and informed about the real world outside the classroom. In fact, this was one of my reasons for joining the faculty at Valparaiso University School of Law. A faculty that I am proud to note goes out of its way to recruit promising minority students.
The unique perspectives and experiences the students are exposed to will ensure that they are better able to participate in a heterogeneous and complex society. Though far from scientific, if you doubt this, just think of the instances you have been forced to think outside of the box or reconsider something after chatting with someone different from you.
In light of this study and other research documenting the benefits of diversity, one can only hope that the powers that be will give some consideration to allocating it the weight it deserves in any ranking formula.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Website Tracker