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This critical literature review investigates how "diversity" and "equity" are employed in top-cited higher education scholarship published between 2000 and 2015. No analysis to date has offered such a comparative exploration relative to well-recognized racial disparities in higher education. Findings reveal a divergence with "diversity" largely attending to affirmative action concerns and "equity" to analyses of the pursuit of equity in higher education. The article concludes with advocacy for the equity frame because of its presumption of a normative justice-oriented standard and embedded orientation toward inquiry and action, both of which offer greater promise for policy, practice, and research that aim to enhance racial justice in higher education.