CREATING AN INCLUSIVE COLLEGE COMMUNITY
Augsburg College values the diversity of persons, perspectives, and convictions. Critical thinking, rigorous analysis, and open discussion across a full range of ideas lie at the heart of the College’s mission as an institution of higher learning. Essential to the College in living out its mission of educating students to be “informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders” is that the foundation be one of diversity, inclusion, equity, and intercultural competency.
It is also important to share a common language as we work through the creation of an inclusive community and our work to integrate diversity, equity, and excellence. This work affects our teaching, student development and success, institutional functioning, and our ability to effectively engage with one another, our college community, as well as in local and global communities.
Diversity: Is about the mix of people and their individual differences (e.g., learning styles, personality, and life experience) and group/social differences (e.g., gender, race/ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, country of origin, political, religious, or other affiliations).
Inclusion: Is how we make the mix work. This requires active, intentional, and continual engagement with diversity in the curriculum, the classroom, co-curricular activities and in our communities (including social, cultural, geographical, and intellectual), and anywhere people might connect. Our goal is to increase awareness, content knowledge, emphatic understanding of the ways individuals interact with each other, with systems, and with institutions.
Equity: The quality of being fair and impartial; equity of treatment. Higher education is a great place to create opportunities, as well as to provide equal access in and out of the classroom aimed at the goal of reducing achievement gaps in student success and graduation.
Equity-Mindedness: Is a demonstrated awareness and willingness to address equity issues within the organizations by the faculty, staff, and administration.
Intercultural Competency: Is the overall capability of an individual or organization to manage key challenging features of intercultural communication: namely, cultural differences and unfamiliarity, intergroup dynamics, and the tensions and conflicts that can accompany this process. It is a two-way interactive process that requires both the ability to stress the common aspects of human life and the will to solve conflicts that emerge from the differences among people of different backgrounds.
[The above statement and definitions are from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).]
The College uses the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Guided Development as our guiding framework in this work and requires all new faculty and staff to take the IDI Assessment Survey at the beginning of their employment. The IDI Guided Development Framework is used because it allows people to come to the work of diversity and inclusion wherever they are and move at their own pace. It is built on Milton Bennett’s Development Model of Intercultural Sensitivity and is seen as the premier metric in the field of intercultural competency. A broad overview of the IDI is provided along with a private individual assessment. As various opportunities are offered during the year, employees may participate in events that interest and challenge them.