The mission of the Center for Diversity & Inclusion (CDI) is to advance American University’s commitment to respecting & valuing diversity by serving as a resource and liaison for students, staff, and faculty on issues of equity through education, outreach, and advocacy. To achieve this mission, the center is dedicated to:
Enhancing LGBTQ, multicultural, first generation, and women’s experiences on campus;
Promoting student retention, graduation, and academic achievement;
Collaborating with campus partners, in particular those that work with international students, students with disabilities and students with active religious affiliations to create a safe, supportive & empowering community for all, regardless of identity.
We envision an American University where people of all identities & experiences are understood, appreciated, and fully included in the community and where equitable treatment and outcomes prevail.
The Center for Diversity & Inclusion was created as a part of AU’s 2008 Strategic Plan. Specifically, the Center works to achieve Transformational Goal #5, which states that "American University embraces diversity in its broadest sense, including diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, nationality, disability, socioeconomic standing, and intellectual viewpoint. The university views diversity as an essential component of the educational experience of our students and an important indicator of our success in adapting to the dramatic demographic shifts that will occur in the decades ahead." Read more about AU's Strategic Plan here.
How does the Center for Diversity & Inclusion define "diversity" and "inclusion?"
Currently, we use the definition that the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) created to describe diversity.
According to the AAC&U, diversity is defined as "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)."
The AAC&U defines inclusion as "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."
The Center for Diversity & Inclusion will initiate conversations and implement programming in the spirit of these definitions in order to promote a supportive environment where all students are celebrated and valued.