Human relations in its most simplistic form constitutes any interaction between two or more people. This interaction will usually include a verbal and nonverbal exchange of ideas, beliefs, views, feelings, attitudes, and opinions.
Human relations programs provide learning experiences that integrate communication skills with the issues of racism, sexism, prejudice, and discrimination. Learning about these issues is insufficient, unless we develop the skills to change attitudes and behaviors, and communicate in new ways with people of different cultural backgrounds and lifestyles.
Even when we are silent, we are sending a variety of messages, therefore, "you cannot NOT communicate." With enlightened communication, prejudice and discrimination may be reduced, and an appreciation for diversity developed.
Commitment to the development of an appreciation and respect for diversity is of vital importance. The university environment represents a microcosm of the entire world. Here, you will find people from different cultural backgrounds, beliefs, attitudes, and lifestyles.
As a whole, we usually respond well to those who are very much like us, but are often put off by those who are different. Cultural and lifestyle differences are often met with disinterest, animosity, and disdain. Those feelings are usually based on fear, misinformation, and misunderstanding.
When we refuse to recognize diversity, or intentionally undermine its influence, we deny ourselves the opportunity to be enriched by each other. Understanding and accepting diversity can determine how successful we are academically, occupationally, and socially.
Therefore, it is important that students use this unique learning experience to sharpen their interpersonal understanding, and communication skills. Ultimately, the enhancement of our human relations skills is a major goal of higher education.