Diversity Statement


Diversity Statement

Westminster College is dedicated to social justice, equity, and respect as fundamental components of our mission and core values. Informed by our college-wide learning goals, Westminster acknowledges and engages with the values, experiences, worldviews, and intersectional identities and characteristics of all members of our campus community. Furthermore, we strive for inclusive excellence by consistently interweaving diversity and inclusion into our curricula and co-curricular activities, programs, policies, practices, and external engagement. It is our goal to cultivate a respectful, equitable, and healthy campus community.

As part of this statement, we define diversity as individual differences, life experiences, group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, nationality, and disability), historically underrepresented groups, and groups with cultural, political, religious/spiritual, or other affiliations (Adapted from the AAC&U).

The Diversity Statement is further supported through our Commitment to an Inclusive Westminster, the President’s Statement on Safe Haven and our equal opportunity, ADA, and Title IX policies.

Definitions

Disability

The term disability or (dis)ability may capture a range of identities and characteristics—mental and physical differences, neurodivergence, and other conditions that might affect one’s behavior, function, and learning.

Source: Center for an Accessible Society, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Equity

The creation of opportunities for historically underrepresented populations to have equal access to and participate in educational programs that address institutionalized achievement gaps in student success and completion.

Adapted from the AAC&U

Inclusion

The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity—in the curriculum, in the cocurriculum, 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.

Adapted from the AAC&U

Inclusive Excellence

As an alloy, inclusive excellence re-envisions both quality and diversity. It reflects a striving for excellence in higher education that has been made more inclusive by decades of work to infuse diversity into recruiting, admissions, and hiring; into the curriculum and co-curriculum; and into administrative structures and practices. Through the vision and practice of inclusive excellence, AAC&U calls for higher education to address diversity, inclusion, and equity as critical to the well-being of democratic culture. Making excellence inclusive is thus an active process through which colleges and universities achieve excellence in learning, teaching, student development, institutional functioning, and engagement in local and global communities.

Adapted from the AAC&U

Intersectionality

Recognizes that individuals have multiple interlocking identities defined in terms of sociocultural power and privilege, and that these identities shape people’s individual and collective experiences. Identity is understood as all identities held by the individual, as well as the systems of privilege and oppression within which their identities are located.

Informed by Shields, 2008

Social Justice

Recognizes that for centuries, US and global societies have been based on the systematic oppression of marginalized groups and that diversifying higher education is a way to begin addressing historical injustices and exclusion. Social Justice is a commitment to taking concrete steps to reverse the effects of centuries of systematic exclusion. In building a community of learners, social justice fosters critical thinking and a deeper sense of social responsibility toward and with others, society, the environment, and the broader world in which we live.

Informed by Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice, 2016; Nelson, Creagh, & Clarke, 2012