An International award for excellence

An academic paper, co-authored by current Dean of Students Dr Vivien de Klerk and Professor Sarah Radloff of the Rhodes University Department of Statistics, has been selected by The International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations as the winner of their 'International Award for Excellence'.

The paper, entitled ‘Measuring the Effect of Diversity Interventions at a South African Residential University’, was selected by the journal's editors for the award from the ten highest-ranked papers emerging from the referee process and according to the selection criteria outlined in the referee guidelines.

As winning authors Dr De Klerk and Prof Radloff have been invited to present a featured session at the upcoming Twelfth International Conference on Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations, which is to be held in Vancouver, Canada in June 2012. In addition to being granted a free registration to attend the conference, they will be acknowledged in a short presentation.

The International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations creates a space for discussion for anyone with an interest in mediating cultural difference and diversity. The journal functions as a place for thinking about and discussing the realities of diversity in today's world, and publishes articles ranging from the 'big picture' and the theoretical to the everyday business of negotiating difference and diversity in organisations, communities and civic life.

The journal is peer-reviewed, and, as per their website, it “is supported by rigorous processes of criterion-referenced article ranking and qualitative commentary, ensuring that only intellectual work of the greatest substance and highest significance is published.”

Dr De Klerk and Prof Radloff's paper takes on the challenge of exploring the many implications of diversity  within a post-apartheid society. Pertaining to a wide range of issues, among them social, cultural, linguistic and racial, successful management of diversity by university administrations is a primary goal in facilitating transformation, both in day-to-day institutional practices as well as in the less easily defined areas of perceptions, attitudes and mindsets, which the authors refer to as, “the most powerful determinants of the prospects for success in any efforts to achieve real change.”

The paper reports on the results of a comprehensive survey which was carried out in the Rhodes University residences in 2007 and 2008, and focuses primarily on aspects of race and culture. The paper has a two-fold aim: to describe a range of strategies which may be used to counteract prejudice in an institution, and to offer a method of measuring the effectiveness of these interventions. 

Dr De Klerk is a rated NRF (National Research Foundation) researcher whose research interests over the years have included issues in language and gender, personal naming practices, and language shift. She has authored two books and has had over 80 peer-reviewed articles published in scholarly journals.

Professor Radloff is a past recipient of the Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Senior Researcher Award and has 142 research publications in refereed journals to her credit.

Story by Jeannie McKeowin





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