A diverse and welcoming community fosters a sense of belonging and respects the unique identity of every individual. It brings positive educational outcomes and improves workplace engagement and commitment. It also exposes us all to the discomfort that can result when we engage with values, beliefs, ideas and opinions that differ from our own. We believe these conversations are important opportunities to share perspectives, wrestle with difficult topics, forge common ground and facilitate appreciation for the rich experiences we each bring to campus every day.
Inclusion embraces all talents, identities and experiences, so we can each be the best versions ourselves as students, faculty and staff. Belonging creates a sense of commitment and investment; it is vital to student learning and quality of work life and is core to our values as a university.
We acknowledge the legacy of colonialism and oppression that has created layers of inequity and privilege. We are committed to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) to empower historically marginalized communities and confront and dismantle systemic oppression to build a more equitable university campus and, ultimately, a better world.
Embedding DEIB in all we do.
As we continue to strengthen commitment to DEIB on campus, we acknowledge that societal inequities permeate and show up all around us. Transformative change requires environments that empower the histories and experiences of the marginalized, challenge inequitable social assumptions and accompany our vision for inclusive excellence with strategies for creating a more just and equitable world.
Incorporating a culturally relevant education and experiences is critical. Social justice pedagogy must be infused across all facets of UMass Lowell. The academic potential of any university is dependent on the free and open exchange and exploration of ideas in the pursuit of knowledge. An environment that fosters healthy and constructive interaction and discourse among faculty, students and staff from diverse backgrounds maximizes the potential for learning, discovery and critical thinking.
To this end, we aim to advance a culture of “equity-mindedness,” a way of thinking that calls attention to patterns of inequity in student outcomes. Equity-mindedness demands a critical assessment of institutional and personal practices and a willingness to take institutional and personal responsibility for student success. It requires each of us to be race-conscious and aware of the social and historical context of exclusionary practices in higher education. Race is but one of many identities, and our work at UMass Lowell includes the full breath of student diversity today, encompassing but not limited to gender and gender expression, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, ability, veteran status, age, national origin and religion.
Our DEIB values statement calls on each of us “to advance a climate whereby equity, transparency, fairness, safety and inclusion are valued so that all of its members—faculty, staff and students—can fully engage and thrive.” Maintaining a healthy campus climate improves learning and developmental outcomes for students as well as personal and professional development for faculty and staff. A more inclusive and accessible campus allows us to better understand and address the economic, social, environmental and scientific challenges facing our communities through our teaching, research, scholarship and service.
Our Road to Success
Intensify systemic efforts that advance diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Measured by completion rate of division and departmental DEIB strategic plans that outline goals and improvements.
Advance diversity, equity and inclusion of students, faculty and staff from underrepresented communities by focusing on access, retention and success. Measured by comparative graduation rates of students and by demographics of faculty and staff workforce participation across ranks, positions and tenure.
Incorporate inclusive excellence in all academic pursuits including research, scholarship, teaching and public service. Measured by number of faculty with research and scholarship programs on DEIB-related topics, by percentage of courses by discipline that address DEIB-J topics and that incorporate inclusive pedagogy, and by the number of community-engaged initiatives that seek to address social justice issues.
Accelerate a culturally responsive campus climate and culture. Measured by changes in community sentiment reported on periodic campus climate surveys.