Tomorrow marks the opening of the 22nd annual Diversity and Inclusion Summit. This year's summit comes shortly after the campus was named one of the recipients of INSIGHT into Diversity magazine's annual Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Awards.
Achieving a diverse and inclusive community is a key component of the strategic imperatives in our updated Flagship 2030 Strategic Plan that I spoke of three weeks ago at my annual State of the Campus address.
We know that campus social climate is foundational to student success. Everyone—students, faculty, staff and visitors—should feel engaged, valued and supported in our community. We want everyone to thrive and reach their full potential at CU Boulder.
Our students recognized this 12 years ago when they came up with the Colorado Creed, which says: In everything we do, we will act with honor, integrity and accountability, respecting the rights of others and contributing to the greater good of the community. We see those words in high-profile places around campus.
We need to recognize the importance each of us has in shaping the culture of the campus by the way we interact with one another. Often it is the simple things we do to engage and inspire each other daily that makes the difference in shaping a culture.
Dialogue about achieving a diverse and inclusive community cannot be limited to an annual summit but instead it must be part of our daily conversation.
We released the results of our campus social climate survey last January, which showed we have work to do. We responded as a campus with a series of open forums and a spring diversity summit. Campus climate was the focus of my annual spring town hall last April.
Also, for the first time in our history, we are engaging in a strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusive excellence. This plan and its outcome will impact our retention, revenue and reputation.
The need for transformation is real. We must make more progress in embracing diversity and inclusive excellence in all our work.
We want all our unique qualities, individual experiences and identities to be strengths of our university.
We want a campus where people are not marginalized because of their differences, but rather they are 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 this reality.
Achieving a welcoming and inclusive campus community is not the job of one office, one vice chancellor or one chancellor. It’s not the sole prerogative of our student leaders. It’s everyone’s moral imperative.
Our work together continues Tuesday and Wednesday at the Diversity and Inclusion Summit. It needs to be work that we do every day to achieve our goals as a campus and as a community.
Philip P. DiStefano,
Also see: "Ten reasons to attend the 2016 Diversity and Inclusion Summit"