John F. Kennedy University Diversity Statement
"A Living Culture of Diversity"
Developed by the Diversity Task Force in collaboration with the University community. Approved by President's Leadership Team on June 16, 2009.
This document includes four sections:
- Origin of our diversity statement
- JFK University's definition of diversity
- Implementation plans
Our diversity statement originates with these excerpts from the JFK University mission statement:
"We are a vibrant and humane learning community that embraces all forms of diversity." "Our culture is welcoming, respectful, and ethical."
"We are committed to a culture that respects and values all forms of diversity and sparks creativity, collaboration, and leadership."
"We respect individual and cultural differences while forging bonds of common understanding essential to our global interdependence."
Definition of Diversity at John F. Kennedy University
John F. Kennedy University defines diversity across lines of both culture and ideas. Diversity is viewed as differences in multiple dimensions of culture, including the following: race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual/gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, physical ability, veteran status, linguistic ability, learning differences, age, immigration status, and national origin. John F. Kennedy University recognizes that diversity also includes differences in values, beliefs, ideologies, and political perspectives, all working toward the common goal of a "living culture of diversity." We understand diversity is not a static list of fixed identities but rather is reflective of the changing and interdependent nature of human experience.
Vision of a Living Culture of Diversity
In service to our mission of academic excellence, John F. Kennedy University strives to embody a Living Culture of Diversity. We recognize that a diverse school environment is one that supports the academic community in gaining the awareness, knowledge and skills to work effectively with all people. We understand that this goal is an ongoing process requiring an active commitment from all levels of our University. John F. Kennedy University is dedicated to developing a supportive, diversity-rich environment. Recognizing the impact of negative attitudes and systemic discrimination at all levels of individual and group interaction at our University, in our local communities, and in the wider social/global milieu, JFK University seeks to establish a Living Culture of Diversity, characterized by these five principles:
- An ongoing practice of openness and respect for people with experiences, beliefs, and traditions different from our own;
- An understanding that diverse cultural backgrounds, life experiences, challenges, and values of faculty, students, staff, and administrators creates a dynamic learning community vital for academic excellence;
- A recognition that, in alignment with our commitment to academic excellence, openness to difference exposes students and faculty to broader perspectives, fosters deeper critical analysis, and opens new vistas for scholarly inquiry;
- A commitment to eradicating intolerance, oppression, prejudice, discrimination, and harassment in all interactions within the JFK University community in order to impact, through our example, the local, national, and global communities we inhabit. We appreciate the value of self-reflection in reaching these goals;
- A commitment to supporting and providing accessibility of education and resources to equip the student body, faculty, and administration with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to "work together across our differences to forge the bonds of understanding essential for success in our interdependent global community."
Implementing a Living Culture of Diversity
A multi-step draft plan for implementing this policy has been completed by the Diversity Task Force. (See the Diversity Plan under "Resources" on the right sidebar.)
In drafting the implementation plan, the Diversity Task Force was informed by the collective input of the University community, 2008 Diversity Climate Survey results, work of previous Diversity Affairs Councils on JFK University campuses and a survey of best practices at other institutions. The plan includes consideration of the current campus climates, course curriculum, teaching proficiencies, representation in hiring and student recruitment, connecting with our community, student success, systems of administration, and sustainability.