Diversity and Inclusion Pillars: Past, Present, and Future

Diversity and Inclusion Pillars: Past, Present, and Future

Diversity and Inclusion Pillars

In this interview, Loreal E. Robertson explores her approach to serving as the Assistant Dean of Students for Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) within the Division of the Humanities. She delves into strategies for fostering understanding and integration of the D&I pillars, a framework she played a crucial role in shaping, emphasizing the collaborative nature of D&I efforts and the ongoing learning opportunities available to all members of our community.

How were the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Pillars created?

LR: I started as the inaugural Assistant Dean of Students for Diversity and Inclusion in autumn of 2021, so there was a lot of foundational work related to D&I that had to be done. Before I could develop a D&I framework, I had to think about who we, the Humanities Division, were at our core, identify areas in which the division could be the most impactful and how we contributed to the overall health of the university. From there, a D&I mission, vision and values statement were created along with five pillars. The idea is that our D&I programs, efforts and initiatives align to one of the identified pillars.

What has been the biggest challenge for you when thinking about Diversity and Inclusion?

LR: D&I work is a heavy load and is meant to be collaborative, but often it is not. There’s a misconception that D&I work falls solely on individuals who have direct responsibility, when, in fact, D&I shows up in areas of all our work; therefore, we have a shared responsibility for the progression of these efforts. I stay committed to instituting behaviors that 1. Help others see how their work aligns with diversity and inclusion; 2. Direct others toward a DE&I implementation plan; and 3. Share research that supports these efforts.

What advice would you give to colleagues wanting to engage in D&I efforts?

LR: Be genuine in your attempts to engage in this work and be a collaborative partner. I encourage you to attend a training, read a book, register for a webinar, participate in healthy discussions, and continue to expand your D&I toolbox. Please know that your colleagues with diversity and inclusion roles are also continuously learning and expanding their knowledge as well. We are truly in this together.

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Humanities Division D&I Pillars

Climate: Build a culture of full participation and high engagement for all members of our campus community

Humanistic Connections: Build community, collegiality, and engagement

Access & Advocacy: Eliminate barriers to involvement (safety, equity, policy, funding)

Educational & Professional Development: Provide education, resources, and training to develop critical skills

Infrastructure & Accountability: Create the conditions and resources needed for sustained efforts across campus with the assistance of everyone

April 18, 2024