About the Office for Diversity and Inclusion

Mission Statement
The mission of the Office for Diversity and Inclusion at Gallaudet University is to promote an academically enriching and supportive climate that allows all the diverse members of its community to thrive and succeed. The Office for Diversity and Inclusion will achieve its mission by collaborating with units on campus to intentionally design a comprehensive, university-wide approach to diversity; facilitate equity, access, social justice and inclusion; and, empower students, faculty, and staff to build a diverse and inclusive campus community. Through the cultivation of diversity, the Office for Diversity and Inclusion will lead efforts to institutionalize diversity as a fundamental transformative force that fosters professional growth and academic excellence.

Vision Statement
The Office for Diversity and Inclusion envisions Gallaudet as a university that recognizes that the pursuit of excellence is intertwined with a commitment to diversity in all aspects of university life. Embracing diversity will transform the community into a more diverse and inclusive learning environment and workplace that values, respects, and cares for all its members. The Office for Diversity and Inclusion will lead the university in realizing its potential to become a more welcoming, diverse, and inclusive University by empowering the community with a shared vision, understanding and acceptance of responsibility for diversity and inclusion.

Value Statements
In facilitating the transformation of the Gallaudet University community into an institution that embraces and benefits from its rich diversity the Office for Diversity and Inclusion is committed to:

  • Pursuing academic excellence for all students.
  • Institutionalizing diversity in all aspects of university life.
  • Fostering an inclusive environment.
  • Creating a climate that respects individual differences.
  • Advocating for equity.
  • Promoting bilingualism.
  • Facilitating multiculturalism.
  • Seeking success through collaboration.
  • Providing opportunities for community engagement.
  • Achieving integrity in our work.
  • Engaging in transparent processes and actions.
  • Demonstrating accountability through assessment.

The Office for Diversity and Inclusion will:

  1. Build institutional capacity for diversity through access, success, climate, intergroup relations, education, scholarship, language and communication.
  2. Develop, implement and coordinate a comprehensive strategic diversity plan to advance the Gallaudet Strategic Plan.
  3. Promote a climate that is welcoming and conducive to the success of all students, faculty, and staff.
  4. Advance the understanding of diversity as a critical component of academic excellence.
  5. Infuse diversity into the systems, structures, practices, and policies of the University to ensure equity and inclusion for all members of the community.
  6. Create an institutional culture in which the community engages in and grows stronger from difficult dialogues.
  7. Foster commitment to diversity and inclusion as a shared community responsibility through collaboration and partnerships.
  8. Provide structure and guidance in implementing professional development for a multicultural and bilingual university.
  9. Facilitate research to advance the University’s commitment to gaining knowledge of diverse communities in a local, national, and global context.
  10. Monitor and assess Gallaudet’s diversity efforts for effectiveness, modify existing initiatives, identify new and better research-based “best practices,” and publish reports for dissemination.

Theoretical Framework
Using this theoretical framework, modified from the work of Daryl Smith (2009) is intended to transform university thinking of diversity from a laundry list of identities to a model of diversity an institutional engine moving the University toward academic excellence.


Focus Areas

  1. Language and Communication Gallaudet University is a bilingual university that embraces a wide spectrum of language and communication styles. This focus area will assist in clarifying the expectations of living, learning, working, and communicating in a bilingual community. Initiatives in this area are intended to foster an inclusive, bilingual environment respectful of all.
  2. Climate and Intergroup Relations Recent climate surveys suggest the need for creating an environment of support by improving the perception of the University’s climate and intergroup relations. The focus of this area will be to examine the impact of climate on educational outcomes, community, and the University mission.
  3. Education and Scholarship Issues related to teaching and research will be central to the work in this area. What should the University’s pedagogy, curriculum, faculty expertise, and research include? Is the University in pursuit of new scholarship and new scholarly initiatives? Emphasis will be on academic growth and personal development that occurs inside and outside of the classroom.
  4. Access and Success While demographics have changed the face of the University, mere access to educational opportunities at a university is not enough to ensure student success. This focus area will examine issues of equity related to student access and educational outcomes. Access and success includes “identifying talent, enabling student achievement, and studying which students are thriving and why.” (Smith, 2009)
  5. Institutional Viability and Vitality How well different populations thrive and succeed at Gallaudet is an indicator of the institution’s health. This focus area will examine the University’s statements, its human capital, its institutional processes, and its perceptions of institutional commitment to determine if Gallaudet has built the capacity for diversity. If not, then institutional gaps will be identified and remedies recommended for ensuring institutional viability and vitality through the University’s capacity for diversity.
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