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"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart." - Helen Keller


Individual differences (e.g., personality, learning styles, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations).

Association of American Colleges & Universities, 2016

NOTE: Group and social differences are manifested in various forms among our administration, faculty, staff, and students including but not limited to: differences of gender, sex, race, ethnicity, religion, age, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, language, work classification, military service, socio-economic status, and ability.

Cultural Competence:

Cultural competence is having an awareness of one’s own cultural identity and views about difference, and the ability to learn and build on the varying cultural and community norms of students and their families. It is the ability to understand the within-group differences that make each student unique, while celebrating the between-group variations that make our country a tapestry. This understanding informs and expands teaching practices in the culturally competent educator’s classroom.

National Education Association, 2015


The creation of opportunities for historically underrepresented populations to have equal access to and participate in educational programs that are capable of closing the achievement gaps in student success and completion.

Association of American Colleges & Universities, 2016


The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity—in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect—in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions.

Association of American Colleges & Universities, 2016

Culturally Responsive Teaching

An educational reform that strives to increase the engagement and motivation of students of color who historically have been both unsuccessful academically and socially alienated from their public schools.

Vavrus, 2008, p. 49

Inclusive Excellence

The definition consists of four primary elements:

1. A focus on student intellectual and social development. Academically, it means offering the best possible course of study for the context in which the education is offered.

2. A purposeful development and utilization of organizational resources to enhance student learning. Organizationally, it means establishing an environment that challenges each student to achieve academically at high levels and each member of the campus to contribute to learning and knowledge development.

3. Attention to the cultural differences learners bring to the educational experience and that enhance the enterprise.

4. A welcoming community that engages all of its diversity in the service of student and organizational learning.

Williams, Berger, and McClendon, 2005

Social Justice

According to Marilyn Cochran-Smith, a leading scholar in education, a social justice framework is one that:

"Actively addresses the dynamics of oppression, privilege, and isms, and recognizes that society is the product of historically rooted, institutionally sanctioned stratification along socially constructed group lines that include race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and ability (among others). Working for social justice means guiding others and being guided in critical self-reflection about the socialization into the matrix of unequal relationships and its implications, analysis of the mechanisms of oppression, and the ability to challenge these hierarchies."

Basically, a social justice framework is a way of seeing and acting aimed at resisting unfairness and inequity while enhancing freedom and possibility for all. It pays primary attention to how people, policies, practices, curricula, and institutions may be used to liberate rather than oppress those least served by our decision making.

Sensoy, O. & DiAngelo, R., 2009


Unity is being together or at one with someone or something. It's the opposite of being divided.

1. - n. An undivided or unbroken completeness or totality with nothing wanting., 2017


Fairness is the quality of making judgments that are free from discrimination.

1.A. - n. Conformity with rules or standards, 1.B. - n. Ability to make judgments free from discrimination or dishonesty., 2017


When you value something, you consider it important and worthwhile.

1. - n. The quality (positive or negative) that renders something desirable or valuable., 2017

Sense of Belonging

Belonging is a sense of fitting in or feeling like you are an important member of a group.

1. n. Happiness felt in a secure relationship., 2017