Diversity is our university core value: “Diversity helps define who we are. We welcome and respect everyone traveling on a journey for knowledge. Differences make us stronger.” The University is not just an institution but also a community, defined by the diversity of its members, dependent on how well that community respects and supports the rich differences of students, staff, faculty, and the broader community around it. Northwestern’s commitment to its strategic plan—to strengthen the student experience, to attain academic excellence, to meet the demands of a global economy, to achieve athletic prominence, and to enrich the local and regional community—requires the University to cultivate diversity, be inclusive, and embrace equity. Northwestern cannot meet these goals and achieve its mission unless it guarantees equitable access, opportunity, and advancement for all students, faculty, and staff at every stage of education and career.
Northwestern’s commitment to this effort is reflected in its establishment of the position of Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity. Dr. Michael T. Snowden’s appointment was approved by the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System effective May 1, 2021.
The overarching goal of the Office of Inclusion and Diversity is to foster a sense of institutional belonging where everyone can thrive and become their very best. To that end, the Office will establish and promote cultural competence by promulgating diversity, equity, and inclusion across campus and in all activities to close the gap in recruitment and retention. To quantitatively measure its progress, Northwestern will establish Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity as its sixth Strategic Focus Area (SFA) in its new Strategic Plan 2023-2028 – A New Day.
The following objectives will drive this process:
- Increasing diversity and equity among the student body, faculty, staff, and administration.
- Integrating diversity and inclusion throughout the academic curriculum and support programs.
- Ensuring diversity and inclusion are reflected in policies, procedures, budgeting, staffing, facility management, and other areas of university operation.
- Developing a more inclusive campus environment that fosters success and meaningful participation for all students, faculty, and staff.