Charting a course for diversity and inclusion

Published: Nov. 10, 2015
Chancellor DiStefano
Diversity and Inclusion Summit Opening Remarks
Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015 | Glenn Miller Ballroom
 
Good morning. Welcome to the Diversity and Inclusion Summit. 
 
As we have seen at the University of Missouri, open and urgent dialogue about diversity and inclusion is not a luxury, it is essential. It is basic. It is the fulfillment of what any university means when it speaks of “community.” 
 
Neither should dialogue be limited to an annual summit, but should instead be part of our daily conversation. 
 
That conversation, at this moment in the life of our community, is about charting a course for diversity and inclusion that will transform our campus in fundamental ways. We know the need for that transformation is real – that we must make more progress in embracing diversity and in elevating inclusive excellence in all our work. 
 
That goal is set before us as we host this annual summit, now in its 21st year. 
 
At the University of Colorado Boulder, we want all our unique qualities, individual experiences and identities to be key strengths of our university.  
 
We want a campus where people are not singled out, or marginalized because of their differences, but where they are viewed as foundational to a vibrant community. 
 
We want this to be an everyday reality, part of our campus fabric. With everyone’s help and input as a campus community we are working to achieve that.
 
For the first time in our history we are engaging in a comprehensive strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusive excellence. 
 
This plan will help to make us the university we want be – an inclusive and diverse community whose values are apparent in all its work. This plan and its outcome will impact our retention, revenue and reputation. 
 
With this strategic plan, we are engaging in a campus-wide conversation to define our collective understanding of inclusive excellence. When we arrive at that understanding, it will move our campus ahead.
 
However, there are opportunities at this summit over the next two days to engage right now, and to make contributions that move our community forward. Everyone’s voice must be valued, and broad participation is vital for this effort to succeed.
 
This year at the summit the Chancellor’s Advisory Committees will be holding caucuses to hear from all campus members about diversity and inclusion. In addition, Vice Chancellor Bob Boswell will lead two sessions about the Diversity, Inclusion and Academic Excellence planning process. I urge you to participate in these discussions and make your voice heard. 
 
We also are expecting the report from our Campus Climate Survey to come out this month. The survey will provide the campus with an in-depth look at the experiences our students have – inside and outside the classroom. We want to make sure that all students feel welcome, accepted, free to express their views and to pursue their aspirations.
 
We are taking a holistic approach to campus climate. We want the campus’s social climate to serve as the grounding for doing our most important work. It is embedded in the New Student Welcome. The campus social climate is a very important factor in achieving our 80 percent graduation rate goal. Achieving a welcoming and inclusive campus climate is not just the job of one person, one office, one vice chancellor or one chancellor. It’s everyone’s job. 
 
So our work together continues. And with this in mind, I welcome you today. 
 
I would like to thank the CU-Boulder Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement; Vice Chancellor Bob Boswell; and Assistant Vice Chancellor Alphonse Keasley, for their work in coordinating this very important conversation we are having over the next two days.
 
Thank you to the Student Affairs Diversity Committee for their participation. 
 
I also would like to acknowledge the work of the Chancellor's five standing advisory committees.
 
• The Chancellor's Committee on Race and Ethnicity
• The Chancellor's Committee on Women
• The Chancellor's Campus Accessibility Committee
• The Standing Committee on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues
• And the Chancellor's Diversity Advisory Board
 
And I would like to thank our partners in the Diversity and Inclusion Summit, the city of Boulder and Boulder County.
 
One of our keynote speakers this morning, David Castaneda, will draw from his two tours of duty in the Marines. As we look forward to Veterans Day tomorrow, the spirit and sacrifice embodied by our veterans reminds us all that we need to serve one another. The life stories and experiences of our veteran students, faculty and staff also provide a great diversity to our campus. Thank you.