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Center for the Study of Multiculturalism and Diversity

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Mount Scopus, Jerusalem, 9190501

tel. 972.2.5494950

Challenges Facing Students from Minority Groups

In 2016, in order to better base CSMD's strategy on data and inform HU’s work on diversity, CSMD initiated a study on challenges faced by minority students at HU. While there is already significant research on the needs and challenges of under-represented groups in Israeli academia, we sought to better identify specific steps the university should undertake in order to truly be pluralistic and inclusive. Conducted by HU's Unit for Excellence in Education, the research was, in part, based on focus groups of students from four under-represented communities: Arabs, Ethiopian Jews, ultra-orthodox students and students from Israel’s social and geographic periphery. The research also analysed student satisfaction surveys through the lens of group identity. Interestingly, students from all of these groups pointed to shared challenges; in particular, they expressed feelings of alienation and marginalization. From this study, we understood that instead of assigning a central office to serve such students, university departments should be the primary agents assigned with promoting equal opportunities. We also learned that the university must take a proactive approach towards such students and ensure that all students enjoy avenues for engagement and activism. CSMD shared the research findings with HU administrators and this study forms the basis of the holistic approach CSMD is promoting more generally (see below) (# 27).