Statement of Philosophy on Diversity and Inclusive Excellence

 

Diversity excellence is both a concept and a meeting place. The conceptual process is driven by the evolution of acceptance. Once an abstract idea within society, inclusion now has its rightful place in education, the workplace, relationships, social settings, and the like. The meeting place process is developed through discourse and dialogue, which in turn is established by the promise of providing excellence in learning, career development for students, and a teaching philosophy that not only strengthens the institution, but also staff relations, the organizational climate and cultural advocacy.

 

My cultural heritage is bolstered by the foundation of belonging and the diaspora of Africanism. Leaders such as poet and author Maya Angelou, abolitionist Frederick Douglass and corporate leader and philanthropist Melanie Hobson – has progressively motivated me to seek opportunities to develop talent, establish relationships rooted in interpersonal communication, and to create an “implementation-driven” mindset.

 

A personal motto I wholeheartedly follow derives from Maya Angelou. In the 1990s she was quoted, “You alone are enough.” When I read these words I instantly felt empowered as a Black woman, spirited by teaching and cultural intelligence. Her words rang true in my ears so eloquently and have been deeply rooted in my philosophy on diversity and inclusive excellence. Seeing the evolution from “concept” to “meeting place” is the premise behind this form of excellence. The nucleus of inclusion stems from strengthening academics, equity-driven practices and the intersectionality of race, dis(ability), gender and sexual identity, spirituality and religious ideology, and service to our country.

 

Collectively and individually, diversity and inclusive excellence is the power of equitable belonging. Knowing each human being does not start at the same meeting place enables institutions and the like to build spaces for growth, development, inclusion and change. Catalysts for this type of philosophy are equipped with four capabilities: 1) can easily learn from others, 2) can explore identities without comprising their own, 3) empowered to mitigate any form of prejudice or discrimination, and 4) can establish relationships with intention, tact and hunger for community.