DIVERSITY, INCLUSION, JUSTICE, AND EQUITY
The School of Education is proud to be a leader in the campus-wide initiative promoting Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity. Adding "Justice" to these values underscores the role of educators in the creation of just societies. Through research, public scholarship, community building, and the preparation of education practitioners and policymakers, we articulate and advance our dije agenda.
A Statement of Institutional Commitments
At the School of Education, our effort to study and improve educational practice is inseparable from our determination to develop more effective and socially just systems of education. This mission is grounded in our commitment to promote diversity and to advance equity and inclusion.
As an organization, we value and seek to increase diversity along many dimensions, including race and ethnicity, gender and gender expression, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, language, national origin, U.S. resident status, religious commitment, age, and (dis)ability status. We recognize the history in the United States of racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination and the intergenerational effects of poverty, and we commit to work assiduously to promote and extend opportunities and outcomes for members of those groups that have been historically marginalized by these profound inequalities. It is central to that mission to ensure that each member of our community has full opportunity to thrive in our environment, for we believe that diversity is key both to individual flourishing and to the advancement of knowledge. We know that without a vibrant community of people who identify as members of these groups, we cannot progress as a school. We also recognize that without building critical mass of these groups among our students, staff, and faculty, difference can be isolating rather than productive.
We commit to developing the institutional mechanisms and social norms necessary to ensure that differences are respected, welcomed, and used to support individuals’ flourishing and to advance our collective aims. The pursuit of equity entails institutionalizing policies and practices that facilitate the school’s ability to recruit a highly qualified and robustly diverse community of students, faculty, and staff. The pursuit of inclusion entails both removing barriers to and providing support and encouragement for full participation of all community members in our collective work.
Principles of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The following principles guide the School of Education’s efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion:
- the diversity of our faculty, students, and staff should reflect the character and contours of our demographically diverse society and should be leveraged to develop the knowledge, interventions, and teaching and learning practices necessary for challenging entrenched educational and social inequalities;
- each member of our community (students, faculty, staff) should be recognized both as an individual with distinct talents, perspectives, and insights, and as a member of social groups who have benefited from or been disadvantaged by historical and contemporary power inequalities;
- our practices and policies must ensure the full inclusion and empowerment of persons who identify as members of historically disenfranchised groups, and must also cultivate among all community members shared competencies, sensitivities, and habits of mind fundamental to building an equitable and inclusive school environment;
- diversity of identity, culture, perspective, language, and mode of expression should be protected and actively cultivated in our research, curricular, pedagogical, and work activities;
- informal and professional interactions within the school or in relation to school business should enable courageous, respectful, and civil discourse across differences in opinion, perspective, identity, and power status;
- our institutional responsibility to enact these principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion requires that each of us––individual faculty, staff, and students––contribute to an environment that supports the learning and interactions necessary for the effective, socially just education that we seek.
Actions in Support of the Principles of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
In order to realize our principles, the School of Education will:
- expect school leaders to assume responsibility for coordinating and implementing practices that are aligned with our commitment to promoting diversity and to advancing equity and inclusion as core school priorities;
- make available opportunities to learn and to develop in ways that support each of us in living and enacting the school’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion;
- develop and refine processes that increase the diversity of our faculty, students, and staff;
- establish practices and policies that make visible, discourage, and restoratively respond to acts of discrimination, harassment, or personal abuse based on institutional status or social group identity;
- promote generous listening and the assumption that people are well intentioned and are doing the best they know how at a time;
- sensitize members of our community to the ways that seemingly innocent utterances or gestures may be experienced as insulting or demeaning by others whether or not such an effect was intentional;
- allocate significant time and resources to enhance our curriculum and pedagogical approaches to reflect and further strengthen the school’s commitment to the roles of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the teaching and learning process; and
- identify systematic ways to monitor, regularly measure, and publicly document our progress in achieving our goals for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Our Responsibility as a School of Education
Our responsibility as a School of Education is critical because we know that education can be a force for combatting social injustice and that it is key to advancing knowledge, facilitating understanding, and recognizing every group's humanity. We will act with deliberateness and humility as we seek to respect and leverage diversity, ensure equity, and promote inclusion. And we will build an inclusive learning and work environment by: eradicating unjust practices that undermine institutional access; dismantling day-to-day expressions of discrimination; removing barriers that deny the optimization of efficacy and potential; and facilitating individual, professional, and institutional growth.
Through these efforts we will celebrate and champion together what makes us distinct and find common threads that join us in our quest for excellence.