Defining Diversity at College of the Environment
The College of the Environment Diversity Committee believes that the concepts “diversity” and “inclusion” are inextricably joined, and that adopting definitions for each is an essential step in setting the framework for the college's strategic plan. During the 2015. One that was particularly compelling was from the American Association of Medical Colleges (2016), an institution that represents a field similar to the College of the Environment’s in that it combines scientific and social values. We adopted and adapted their definitions as follows:
Diversity as a core value embodies inclusiveness, mutual respect, and multiple perspectives. It serves as a catalyst for change resulting in environmental equity and a reduction/elimination in environmental degradation and disparities. In this context, we are mindful of all aspects of human experiences such as: socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, language, nationality, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation and expression, spiritual practice, geography, mental and physical disability and age.
Inclusion is a core element for successfully achieving diversity. Inclusion is achieved by nurturing the climate and culture of the College through professional development, education, policy, and practice. The objective is to create a climate that fosters belonging, respect, and value for all, and encourages engagement and connection throughout the institution.
More broadly, the Committee also adheres to a definition of a multicultural organization as “an organization that not only supports social justice within the organization; it advocates these values in interactions within the local, regional, national and global communities […].” [Source: Jackson, Bailey W. (2006). “Theory and practice of multicultural organization development.” In Brenda B. Jones and Michael Brazzel (Eds.), The NTL Handbook of Organization Development and Change: Principles, Practices, and Perspectives, San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.]