How can we leverage the power of diversity to transform our institutions and ensure an extraordinary education for our students? This is a question that we asked of leaders from the MnSCU system and the University of Minnesota last year.
My team and I had the opportunity to partner with the University of Minnesota to help leaders explore how they can achieve excellence through equity and diversity. We started from a shared definition, agreeing that leaders have two primary responsibilities in order to leverage the power of equity and diversity:
1) Serve, support, and partner with people and communities facing social, cultural, economic, physical, and attitudinal barriers to education, jobs, advancement, and success
2) Address fundamental issues of bias, discrimination, and exclusion
In our conversation, we challenged each other to think about how we could integrate equity and diversity. Our colleagues at the University created this graphic to describe integration in three dimensions: personal, academic, and institutional.
Personal – integrating diversity into the work and lives of students, faculty, and staff members through self-reflection, education, and engagement with diverse individuals and communities
Academic – creating academic environments where students, staff and faculty feel supported, challenged, and included and scholarship reflects diverse ways of knowing
Institutional- setting a vision for the institution’s equity and diversity goals to inform thinking, policies, and practices and measure progress
As you think about these dimensions, what thoughts or actions do they spark for you?