(The following is taken from Plan 2008: Educational Quality Though Racial and Ethnic Diversity, the UW System Plan 2008 Report)
Why Focus on Diversity? Why Now?
The UW System must re-fashion the education it provides to better prepare its students whose lives will be lived in an increasingly diverse culture. The society of the U.S. is reshaping itself at ever-shorter intervals. Demographic shifts at home, and an increasing demand for multicultural competencies in a global economy, lend urgency to the need to extend greater educational opportunity to all students.
Increasingly, a college education is the bridge between economic prosperity and economic decline in this country. Safe passage from one side to the other is difficult without a degree or certificate. Unfortunately, for too many youth of color in Wisconsin and across the nation, a college education remains out of reach.
The problem is not entirely financial. Many youth of color leave high school, with or without a diploma, not having completed the classes they need for post-secondary education and career success. Reversing this situation will require partnerships among UW System institutions, K-12 schools, Wisconsin businesses, students, parents, and communities throughout the state. That may seem daunting but, as UW System Regent President Sheldon Lubar put it recently, "The UW System is up for the challenge. I call upon the entire state to roll up their sleeves and join us in the work at hand."
Nationwide, the idea of "affirmative action" is being challenged by those who believe it is no longer necessary, no longer practical, or no longer legal. Plan 2008 is designed to achieve its goals in accordance with, but without exclusive dependence on, existing affirmative action statutes.