Diversity is the interrelated dimensions of human identities, such as race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, sovereign tribal nations, country of origin, citizenship, language, ability, physical and mental disability, religious, political, veteran status, employment status, and heritage. Underrepresented can be defined as a person whose identities do not have majority representation across the university community and who have less political and social power structures that support their experience. Underrepresented and marginalized groups are people of color, low income, women, transgender/gender non-conforming, lesbian, gay, bisexual, Native American, international, non-native English speakers, people with disabilities, people with exceptionalities, people of non-Christian faiths, veterans, unemployed, housing insecure, food insecure, and first-generation students.
Inclusion is the active, intentional and ongoing engagement with diversity in people, curricular and co-curricular practices, and communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical). Inclusion is a process of proactively ensuring underrepresented people are acknowledged, validated, and involved in planning, procedures, policies, programs, and activities. It aims to increase one’s knowledge, consciousness, empathy, and critical thinking of the ways identity intersects and interacts within and across systems and institutions, and targets ways to change inequity and exclusion.
Equity is the creation and implementation of opportunities, policies, and procedures that support underrepresented populations to have the same access to outcomes as majority students, faculty, and staff in the university community. This includes providing access to and participation in educational programs that are capable of closing the achievement gaps in student recruitment, success, and completion. It also entails ensuring equitable hiring, retention, and compensation for faculty and staff of underrepresented backgrounds. It ensures equitable participation in institutional programs, leadership, and community. This includes allocating resources to sustain institutional practices, policies, procedures and protocols.
Access ensures the opportunity for all individuals to participate fully in programs, activities, and services regardless of the presence of tangible and intangible resources, or a person’s status, identity, or ability. It also incorporates intersectionality as a fundamental construct that contributes to a person’s access to resources. Accessibility also refers to the design of products, devices, services or built environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both direct access (i.e. unassisted) and indirect access, meaning compatibility with a person's assistive technology (e.g., computer screen readers).
Equity Mindedness is the demonstrated awareness of and willingness to address equity issues among institutional leaders, staff, faculty, and students (Center for Urban Education, University of Southern California). It is the belief that diversity is not a simple “add on” to existing practice, but rather, must become an “add in” to guide our everyday habits; as a result, it becomes embedded within the very fabric of our institution. Through continuous reflection of our beliefs, policies, and practices as well as ongoing educational programs that foster healthy interaction and understanding, SDSU and its members will remain inspired to eradicate existing biases and barriers in order to achieve equity.