Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) has gained significant attention in higher education in the past years and many institutions have created new offices on campus, task forces, and steering committees to help create change. Ultimately, a campus community needs to create shared values and align work with those values while encouraging adoption across every group. Different acronyms have arisen for departments that lead this work and may include:
- · DEI – Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- · JEDI – Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
- · DEIB – Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
- · CD&I – Culture, Diversity, and Inclusion
- · EDI – Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion
Regardless of the acronyms selected, the campus department works to set goals and provides ongoing support and resources to encourage action across the campus in creating a more welcoming environment for all. Acronyms will likely change over time as the focus and work adapts to meet the specific needs of each college campus. ONGIG has created a glossary of Diversity and Inclusion terms that can be used as a reference guide as you continue in your learning journey.
As a network of assessment professionals, many of us believe what gets measured gets focus, time and attention. Assessment outcomes help us understand what direction we are moving. COVID-19 helped create a movement to change the country with the goal of becoming a more equitable and inclusive place. Higher education is responding and evaluating its practices to help us intentionally create institutions where all students can succeed and prepare for successful careers. Leadership creates departments on campus to help strategically work towards creating a culture that is inclusive and equitable integrating different strategies and ideas.
No matter what your position is at an institution, you can play a role in shaping the culture and direction though your efforts. The following steps can be used for continuous improvement and ongoing learning in the DEI area:
- · Assess where you are before figuring out solutions of where you want to go.
- · Set goals that are measurable, practical, and achievable through qualitative and quantitate measures.
- · Identify knowledge gaps and areas where you can continue to learn and grow.
- · Measure the impact of work done to achieve your goals.
- · Share successes and areas for continued work.
Understand that the country, higher education, your institution, and you are on a journey where progress, innovation, and learning evolve. Together, we can all create a more equitable and inclusive campus for our teams and students to thrive, but this work will take time. There is no right and wrong way to engage in this work, there is however a way that works better for your campus culture. Finally, this journey is not easy, it takes time, willingness, and energy.
“Inclusivity means not ‘just we’re allowed to be there,’ but we are valued. I’ve always said: smart teams will do amazing things, but truly diverse teams will do impossible things.”