Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Preparing Students to be Culturally Competent, Socially Responsible

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is committed to creating an inclusive educational community consisting of faculty, staff and students from diverse backgrounds and with differing perspectives, interests and goals. The college has a responsibility to reflect the multiplicity of the world outside the university and one that promotes intellectual inquiry and other activities essential to a democratic society.

Such a community elevates the understanding of its members, by bringing people with divergent points of view and cultural frames of reference into contact with each other in ways that promote mutual respect and understanding as well as a heightened sense of intellect and scholarship. The college believes that this commitment will only be fulfilled by intentional action, and is therefore committed to the development and support of initiatives designed to facilitate recruitment, professional development, inclusion and retention of those who are not yet fully represented or included in our community.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences embraces diversity in all its components including the subjects we teach, the topics we research, the students we engage with, the colleagues with whom we collaborate, and the staff that supports the mission of education that is the foundation of our college. We believe that diversity, equity and inclusion contributes to academic excellence.

We welcome diversity in race, ethnicity, gender identities, sexual identities, perspectives, methods, disability, religious beliefs, immigration status, language abilities, nationality, lived experiences, age, socio-economic backgrounds, military status, and political ideologies. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of the diversity of human experiences, but a starting point for our community as a college. We recognize and celebrate the contributions of all our members in an effort to eliminate discrimination and exclusion.

We enact these principles in a spirit of mutual accountability for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners alike. Our vision of inclusion affords all these members the opportunity to participate regardless of differences.

The following proposed initiatives will contribute to the university's efforts to create an inclusive excellence framework, one that responds to the need to enact diversity in intentional ways that enhance faculty, staff and students' intercultural competency, cognitive complexity and ability to work in diverse groups.

These initiatives also serve to address and promote equity in the academic achievement for all students with specific attention paid to groups historically underrepresented in higher education; and to engage the entire university in acknowledging and appreciating the value of diversity, equity and inclusion in all our intentions and interactions in preparing our students to meet the challenges of the workforce and in becoming productive citizens impacting society in positive ways.

This must necessarily involve students, faculty, staff and administrators' multiple identities: race and ethnicity intersecting with gender, class, sexual orientation, international/national/regional origin, ability, and religion. Our recruitment and retention efforts, classroom pedagogy, research, programming and interactions must be catalysts for educational excellence.

  • Cultural Competency Training for Graduate Teaching Assistants: Beginning fall 2017, cultural competency training is mandatory for all new graduate teaching assistants. The full day training focuses on preparing GTA to create inclusive classrooms.
  • Annual Conference for Diversifying Faculty in Illinois Fellows (DFI): Conference encourages fellowship recipients to remain in academia after graduation and to consider the professoriate as a career path.
  • Cultural Competency training for Chairs and Search Committees: The college continually offers cultural competency training for its chairs. It also supports university centered implicit bias training for members of search committees in facilitating a more diverse search process and inclusiveness in faculty hiring.

University Mission

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