Diversity is a fact. Equity is a choice. Inclusion is an action. Belonging is an outcome.
Resources compiled by Zainab Mohamed, Tufts Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Graduate Program, '21
Introduction and Overview
Tufts has always aimed to be inclusive. The university’s Universalist founders envisioned an institution that would embrace, and offer admission to students from all cultures, religions, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. In December 2013, President Monaco’s Council on Diversity released its report providing specific, actionable recommendations to achieve greater diversity among our student body, faculty, and staff to make Tufts University more inclusive and welcoming to all. In 2020 Tufts as anti-racist institution initiative was announced, in the excexutive summery document recommendations were made in five workstream areas, opportuntinties were highlighted and next steps were detailed.
Tufts demonstrated their commitment to diversity through the formation of three different but interconnected bodies, The President’s Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council, the Joint Council on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JCEDI) and the Tufts University Cabinet of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (TUCDEI).
At the students level, many initiatives are underway at Tufts; Bridging Differences, Community Voices, Tufts Table, the Bridge to Liberal Arts Success at Tufts (BLAST), the Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST), to name a few. There is firm commitment to financial aid—our goal is to build and strengthen the university’s legacy of diversity and inclusion. The identity based students centers were established in 2019 to allow more diversity in Tufts, they work collaboratively and independently to ensure that students remain authentic and engaged in DEIJ work on and off campus.
At the faculty level, Tufts have put a lot of effort into educating faculty in the DEIJ domain, e.g unpacking whiteness is a dialogue program intended for faculty and staff to examine their understanding of social construct. Tufts faculty are engaged in intercultural learning communities that fosters empathy, and cultural awareness. Faculty also participate in numerous events across Tufts and have access to a rich pool of resources and anti racist tools.
This resource website provides the tools necessary to guide the overall process of developing diversity, equity and inclusion plans in Tufts’ individual departments and schools. With support from the Chief Diversity Officers, we aspire to engage in strategic planning for diversity, equity, and inclusion across all of Tufts’ campuses and units.
The first step is to establish a common language, as it is important in sharing the understanding and concept of diversity and inclusion. As a starting point, here are the definitions we will be using in this guide.
Diversity: “Individual differences (e.g., personality, prior knowledge, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations).” Source: Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU)
Equity: Equity asks the following questions:
Source: Language of Appeasement, Inside Higher Ed
Inclusion: The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity—in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect—in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions. Source: Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU)
The Benefits of Diversity Planning
“We are at our best when we draw on the talents of all parts of our society, and our greatest accomplishments are achieved when diverse perspectives are brought to bear to overcome our greatest challenges.” President Barack Obama
The diversity of a university’s faculty, staff, and students influences its strength, productivity, and intellectual profile. Diversity of experience, age, physical ability, religion, race, ethnicity, gender, and many other attributes contribute to the richness of the environment for teaching and research. A vast and growing body of research provides evidence that a diverse student body, faculty, and staff benefits our joint missions of teaching and research by increasing creativity, innovation, and problem solving. That said, diversity does not come without its challenges, and it is essential to minimize the challenges and derive maximum benefits from intentional planning. Long-term efforts, engagement, and substantial attention are crucial for realizing the benefits that diversity has to offer and for ensuring that all members of the academic community are respected, listened to, and valued. Some benefits of diversity planning include:
Diversity and Inclusion Committee Formation
The first step in taking actions towards strategic planning for DE&I in your department is forming a diversity, equity and inclusion committee. A diversity, equity & inclusion committee is a group of employees/faculty working together to achieve the department DE&I goals, to oversee the planning process, and facilitate the changes/actions that need to be made. A successful committee is one that demonstrates commitment and works deliberately towards a common goal.
The DE&I committee members should be a mix of diverse individuals who are invested and engaged in the process. Members should have key roles within the department, whether its leadership or administrative, and should include both faculty and students. The recommended number of members of the committee is between 5-8, however the ideal number differs for each department depending on its size, vision, and needs.
Important considerations when forming a DE&I committee are:
Examples of DE&I committee mission statement and resources:
Development of Diversity Planning Process
Diversity planning is a process that outlines the direction of the departments. It defines the specific approach and methods that the department will employ to achieve its desired goal. Through this process the department’s goals are aligned to ensure that all units are serving the greater goals and vision universitywide.
Development of the Diversity Plan
Implementation of the Diversity Plan
This is an ongoing process, and the steps below complete each other and can be done at the same time