Writing a Personal Diversity Statement

Decorative: A speech bubble full of many, many tiny people


"Developing and Writing a Diversity Statement" (post; doc) outlines an interrogative approach for instructors to "address how they can contribute to a culture of inclusion and equity within the campus community," whether in response to a job ad, for their binders, etc. 

  • The post includes a variety of sample job ads that feature just such a requirement.
  • "[T]he purpose of this document is to demonstrate that the applicant has commitments and capacities to contribute to the institution’s projects of inclusion and equity via his or her work, including scholarship, teaching, service, mentoring, and advising."

A. Topics That Might Be Included in a Diversity Statement 

  • "Statement of values as they relate to your understanding and commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and/or justice in higher education."
  • "Examples of experiences that demonstrate your commitment to fostering the success of underrepresented students, staff, and peers, and supporting a diversity of perspectives in the classroom, lab, campus, or community."
  • "Future plans for continuing to advance inclusive excellence, diversity, or equity in your research, teaching, and service."

B. Guiding Questions

1. Reflecting on Your Own Frame of Reference

  • "What are your values regarding diversity, inclusion, and equity in your professional life? Why do you think diversity is valuable in higher education settings? How about in your discipline specifically?"
  • "What kinds of student, staff, or faculty diversity are you thinking of as you answer this question, and are there other ways in which diversity manifests in campus communities that might be valuable to consider?"
  • "What elements of your own identity inform your teaching, research, or scholarship in a tangible way?"

2. Research and Scholarship

  • "Does your research/scholarship directly address issues of diversity, inclusion, or equity? If so, how?"
  • "Does your research/scholarship address issues specific to marginalized groups? If so, describe the connection."
  • "Has your research/scholarship been shared with the community or public in a way that promotes access to scholarship?"
  • "Has your scholarship involved collaboration with diverse groups of colleagues or commentators?"

3. Mentoring and Advising

  • "Have you worked with any students in a mentorship or advisory capacity who are from marginalized groups? If so, how did you help them identify and overcome barriers to success? Think about your experience with research mentorship, teaching or tutoring, academic advising, and community mentorship."
  • "If you plan to train undergraduates and/or graduate students in your future role, what efforts will you make to recruit and retain students from marginalized and underrepresented groups?"

4. Teaching

  • "How do you plan to serve a student body that is diverse in a multitude of ways? Think not just race, ethnicity, and SES [socioeconomic status], but about age, religion, academic preparedness, disability, gender expression, or other differences."
  • "How does your approach to course design take into account considerations of diversity? You may wish to reflect on using a range of assessments, preventing bias in grading, diversifying course content, using inclusive language in the syllabus and classroom, or utilizing student feedback to improve classroom culture or tone. Try to generate at least one specific example of how your decision affects student’s learning in your course. (Note: One prominent example of inclusive syllabus language is diversity statements within syllabi.)"
  • "What do you do as a teacher that creates a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere? How do you ensure that students in your class feel a sense of belonging?"
  • "How does your approach to facilitating discussion (and/or structuring active learning activities) take into account considerations of positionality, power, and/or diversity? You may wish to reflect on using semi-structured discussion techniques, online access points for student participation, classroom seating arrangements, or other ways in which you create opportunities for student engagement. Try to generate at least one specific example of how your pedagogical choice facilitates student engagement in a particular course."
  • "Does your discipline lend itself to dialogue about diversity? If so, how do you incorporate this dialogue into your courses? Describe the impact of doing so on student learning and engagement."
  • "How do you ensure that your course readings and sources reflect diverse perspectives? Have you had any experience diversifying/decolonizing content for your courses, and if so, what has been the impact on student learning?"

5. Service

  • "Have you participated in any service activities (e.g. university committees, symposiums, workshops, volunteer work in the community) whose goals relate to diversity, inclusion, and equity? If so, describe your experience. What did you accomplish? What did you learn? What skills did you build in the process?"
  • "If you have engaged in diversity-related service, how will you incorporate your experience into the job for which you are applying? (Note: here is where – having done your research on the school to which you are applying – you might consider referencing an existing diversity-related initiative to which you could contribute or which you could expand.)"

Beck, S. L., (2018). Developing and writing a diversity statement. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. Retrieved 10 October 2019 from https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/developing-and-writing-a-diversity-statement

Printer Friendly, PDF & Email