Diversity: Inclusive Excellence

Uploaded by MissouriState on 11.03.2011

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\f0\fs24 \cf0 Diversity actually is a catalyst for educational excellence, that when students
are experiencing themselves with diverse others, it actually stimulates the cognitive process
- they learn better. They are stimulated to think, in more complex ways.
It's very important because that's what makes up our community in the environment in the
university. The definitions for diversity and inclusion are very misunderstood amongst
our students and amongst our faculty. We all gain by having a diverse environment . There's
all sorts of evidence that students gain tremendously from working with diverse groups of students
and hearing other viewpoints. It's just a major point to help people develop critical
thinking skills, because they have the opportunity to hear multiple voices, multiple perspectives
- we all end up winners by having an inclusive environment. Students who don't have disabilities
are exposed to those who do have disabilities, and that way they can learn from them, and
their diverse background and their experiences. Because a lot of times when we talk about
diversity, we don't really think about disability. Cultural competency - you've got to have first
a sense of, what does culture mean? And, again, through different programing we're getting
an idea of what it means as far as my ability development in getting a sense of other people's
cultures and what it means tot hem outside of what you see in media or just in stereotypes.
We have three pillars to the public affairs mission: community engagement ethical leadership
and cultural competence. So certainly diversity is related to cultural competence, although
I'd argue that it probably is related to all three. Cultural competence, I think that's
clearly the most obvious one, where having a diverse environment will help lead to individuals
who are more cultural competent. Ethical leadership - I don't think you can truly be an ethical
leadership unless you do understand diversity and inclusive excellence. And really understand
how they interact with different individuals. Community engagement as well, I mean one part
of community engagement is engaging in these discussions about these issues and kinda starting
the dialogue and moving towards some progress and change. We're thrilled with the response
from the community. And it's not just in one sector. I think it's been a very exciting
time to be in Springfield and at Missouri State in this capacity because community leaders
all across the community, from faith based organizations to business leaders to ordinary
citizens to civic and government leaders are all asking questions about, "how can we become
a more inclusive community?" We're receiving feedback that maybe some people feel less
welcome than others, and a lot of people are asking the question what do we do about that
and how can we work together. I think that there's already some collaboration going on
between Missouri State and the community and I think that springfield will be looking for
lots more in the future. I have seen a lot of more engagement and participation amongst
our administration and our students. And it's really neat to see how our students are so
eager to work with faculty. Not only heritage month events but also there are lectures and
films and other activities going on all around the calendar year. Getting involved is important
- also having conversations - sometimes difficult conversations can yield wonderful results.
No matter where we are in the process, everyone has a place and everyone has an opportunity
to get involved, whether it's sitting in on a committee or having group discussions. I
think it's important for our students to develop, that they are exposed more to diversity and
different cultures... It is something that we're very passionate here at Missouri State...
I really just hope that if students watch this and they believe in this, that they start
to take action in some for. Lets talk about these things that seem to be challenges or
seem to be in our way, with regards to inclusion or diversity. And lets see where we can go.