Reinforce that Diversity and Equity Matter

Define Terms

Language is important because terms can have different meanings in different contexts. Less confusion occurs when everyone is referring to the same thing when developing policies and practices. The process of defining terms is complicated, so each campus should use institutional data to develop its own definition for diversity, which will then guide policies and practices at that campus. We have found that the following definitions are good starting points:

  • The Oxford English Dictionary defines diversity as "a range of different things." When referring to people, those "different things" include, but are not limited to, the following: race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, culture, religion, disabilities (visible and invisible), veteran status, sexual orientation.
  • Equity is not the same as Equality. Equality is treating everyone the same. Equity is giving everyone what they need to be successful. Everyone needs assistance of some kind, though how much and what kind will vary by individual. Providing the same supports to everyone ends up serving some students very well but others not at all. Striving for equity breaks down that one-size-fits-all approach to be responsive to individual needs and differences.

Demonstrate how Diversity and Equity Lead to Better Results

Looking at a subject from as many viewpoints as possible provides us with a more complete understanding of the important issues. There is a large body of research on diversity and group outcomes --- when there is a diverse group working on a problem, the outcomes are typically better (e.g. Page, 2008; Herring, 2009; Rock and Grant, 2016). Increasing diversity in the geosciences means welcoming, including, and valuing points of view that are different from the view that dominates the geosciences currently.

Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Materials for Faculty Workshops

Diversity in action: Broadening participation through strategies for inclusion: This workshop session is designed to deepen faculty members' knowledge of evidence-based strategies for inclusion.

No one, especially educators, wants to think that they have neglected a point of view, or that they are excluding anyone from a discussion. No one can escape implicit bias, and a host of other exclusionary biases that are part of how a person forms a world view. However, there are ways to address our own discomfort, and these are generally centered around simply realizing that everyone has blind spots and being open to learning how to do better. It is also important to learn and grow as more research informs the ways words and actions can marginalize or welcome disparate voices to the conversation.