Adding/Removing a Course for the Human Diversity Requirement

Original Policy Source APPM Section III. Item 29.
Policy Approval Authority University Council
Responsible University Office Office of the Provost
Responsible Officer(s) Associate Vice Provost
Contact Person Ian Gawron
Primary Audience Faculty
Status Active
Effective Adoption Date 09-14-2017
Last Review Date 12-12-2019
Policy Category/Categories Faculty & Academics


This information is intended to set forth the basic procedures by which a department, program area (e.g., Center for Black Studies), school, or college can submit a course to fulfill the Human Diversity baccalaureate requirement for graduation.


NIU’s Human Diversity baccalaureate degree requirement reaffirms the university’s commitment to human diversity and the belief that inclusion, academic equity, and diversity represent dimensions of excellence. The human diversity degree requirement places NIU in compliance with IL Public Act 87-581, which requires that institutions of higher learning in the state of Illinois address human diversity in the course of a student’s education. This proposal seeks to ensure that every student will have the opportunity to develop the cultural competency and awareness of social justice necessary to participate meaningfully in a multicultural and global society.

All undergraduate students must complete the human diversity baccalaureate requirement either through a designated human diversity course, or a non-course based experience that is designated as "human diversity." Human Diversity is defined as gender, ability, race/ethnicity, citizenship, wealth/material resources, religion, age, or sexual orientation, and includes an analysis of power and addresses people's differing access to resources/opportunities in the present or past. Students may meet this requirement within their general education program, their major program, a minor program, electives, through community college courses with an IAI designation "N" or "D," or through a university-approved co-curricular experience. To qualify as Human Diversity:

  • The course must focus on one or more of the following social categories: gender, ability, race/ethnicity, citizenship, wealth/material resources, religion, age, or sexual orientation. In cases where a course focuses on only one category, reasonably similar breadth and depth of study must be devoted to its social impact;
  • The course’s approach to diversity must include an analysis of power and address people’s differing access to resources/opportunities in the present or past;
  • At least 33 percent of the course content must address diversity as outlined above;
  • At least 33 percent of the course grade must comprise assignments/assessments focused on diversity as outlined above in the introduction.


Submitting a course or non-course based activity to fulfill the Human Diversity baccalaureate requirement for graduation:

  1. Departments, program areas, schools, or colleges must complete the Human Diversity Application. This is an online form that will be routed appropriately once submitted.
  2. The Human Diversity Application must be approved by the respective college’s curriculum committee. If the area submitting the application has no college (e.g., Center for Black Studies), the application will be routed to the Baccalaureate Council once submitted.
  3. For course based options, upon approval by the college’s curriculum committee, the application is forwarded to the General Education Committee for review and approval.
  4. Applications received up to the last day of a calendar year will be added to the next catalog.
  5. Applications for satisfaction of the Human Diversity (HD) requirement must be submitted within the first four weeks following the end of the semester in which the student completed the co-curricular learning experience. For graduating seniors, applications must be submitted no later than two weeks prior to graduation.

To have a course or non-course based activity removed as a Human Diversity Requirement, show the removal as an “other catalog change” in the appropriate college curriculum committee attachments.

Approved by the Baccalaureate Council: September 14, 2017
Revised by the Baccalaureate Council: December 12, 2019

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