Reader's View: Higher education needs to think differently
It’s no secret higher education faces challenges (“ St. Scholastica announces second round of cuts ,” June 5), but these hardships should spur college and university officials to look for new opportunities.
Here’s one idea: Do a better job recruiting and celebrating neurodiverse students by placing a more prominent emphasis on neurodiversity, a term that recognizes certain brains function differently. It includes people on the autism spectrum as well as those with dyslexia or ADHD, among others. Many high-functioning neurodiverse individuals think differently, and often better, than their neurotypical peers.
As a dad of two neurodiverse sons, including one at the University of Minnesota Duluth, I launched “The Neurodiversity Challenge” (theneurochallenge.com) to encourage institutions of higher education and corporations to do a better job recognizing the value neurodiverse individuals offer. If schools do a better job comprehending the value of neurodiversity and actively recruiting these students, it can become a competitive advantage at a time when many schools are struggling with dwindling enrollments and budget deficits.
Higher education’s efforts to expand diversity should go beyond race, gender, and sexuality. Neurodiversity is good for a school's overall diversity, and is good for the bottom line. Like neurodiverse individuals, it’s high time college and university administrators think differently.
St. Paul, Minnesota