Value Diversity

One of the most critical things an organization can do to support diversity and inclusion is to Value Diversity. It sounds so simple. Of course we value diversity! However, valuing diversity can be one of the most difficult challenges your organization will face.

Nearly every organization, and especially colleges and universities, has a statement on their website or in their strategic plan about diversity. It may be that an organization “seeks to build an academic community whose members have diverse cultures, backgrounds and life experiences,” or “increase its ability to work with under-served and/or underrepresented populations,” or intends to “advance the organization’s commitment to diversity and multiculturalism among the faculty, staff, students, research, teaching and community outreach, with relevant programs, goals and activities”. No matter the wording, a commitment to diversity on paper or a website is just that…words.

The first step to creating truly diverse and inclusive spaces is to value diversity in and of itself. We need to believe in the moral obligation to provide equality for all persons and “endeavor to foster a just and inclusive culture that embraces the diversity of the larger society.” Diversity needs to become a “way of life” in our organizations culture. Diversity is not something we do, it is something we are.

We need to be strategic about moving beyond a “compliance” mentality of diversity and inclusion and develop an ethos or culture of valuing diversity. In order to do this we need to educate others and ourselves as well as be open to the idea that there is genuine learning to be gained from working with people who are different. By appreciating people for who they are and all they bring to the table we can truly embrace all that diversity has to offer.

On September 2nd, 2015, posted in: BEST PRACTICES

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