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How to write a Diversity Statement with Samples? The Complete Guide | Best of Diversity & Inclusion, Sustainability 2020

What is a diversity statement in higher education?

There are two types of diversity statements that are regularly used, and they are very different in terms of who is writing it, and how it is being used.

The first type of diversity statement is in relation to different types of applications in the higher education context; while the second type of Diversity Statement is in relation to the type of “diversity position” an organization position herself in the context of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

In this article, we are focusing on the first type of diversity statement which is related to the higher education sector.

In the higher education sector, it has become more popular for higher education and academic institutions to put diversity and inclusion as a strategic organizational goal of the organization. Higher education are becoming more intentional and programmatic about their efforts to embrace principles of inclusion, equity, justice, and diversity throughout campus life. As they do so, they are more focused on finding faculty who have experiences and competencies that can contribute to these efforts. Consequently, universities and colleges frequently are requesting that job applicants address how they can contribute to a culture of inclusion and equity within the campus community in the form of a “diversity statement.”

When do you need a diversity statement?

Creating a diverse environment is not a top-down process, it is an environment that is co-created by the people who participate in it. In an academic environment, the people are the students, faculties, staff, senior administrators, and also the principal. In order to hire or add new members in the community, the institution typically prefers to hire or recruit new members who appreciate diversity and inclusion. A diversity statement is a form of an artifact that allows the new member to express their view on diversity.

The most common situation that you need to write a diversity statement includes:

Undergraduate and Graduate admissions Diversity Statement

Top tier schools have more student applicants than they need, so they get to be picky and select only the ones that fit their target student profile. Diversity and Inclusion views of the student have become an important factor to gauge the quality of students, such as in Law school.

Fellowship, Grants, and Awards Diversity Statement

When a graduate student wants to apply for a fellowship, it is common that a diversity statement is required as part of the application package. A fellowship provides financial support to graduate students to pursue graduate studies without associated teaching or research responsibilities (as they are in a teaching or research assistantship). Fellowships are generally merit-based internal or external awards to support a student in a full-time course of study.

Similarly, a diversity statement is often required for a grant application. Grants are need-based awards that do not need to be repaid as long as the student maintains eligibility. For certain funds, disbursement is dependent on enrollment status. Grants tend to be need-based and are available to students based on criteria such as family income. Federal and state government are the primary sources of grants, The Pell Grant is a well-known federal grant program. State-funded grants ordinarily go to students pursuing an education in that state.

Postdoctoral and Faculty Position Job Application Diversity Statement

Faculty job postings are increasingly asking for diversity statements, in addition to research and teaching statements. Diversity statements have become an integral part of the materials submitted as part of an application for employment. They are just as important as the resume, cover letter and writing sample. A diversity statement is a personal essay that is a depiction of your past experiences and explains how these experiences have contributed to your personal and professional growth. It allows the applicant the opportunity to explain to a search committee the distinct qualities and commitment s/he can bring to the table.

Promotion to Tenure position with a diversity statement

It has become more popular to list a diversity statement as a requirement for tenure promotion in higher education. A tenured post is an indefinite academic appointment that can be terminated only for cause or under extraordinary circumstances, such as financial exigency or program discontinuation. Tenure is a means of defending the principle of academic freedom, which holds that it is beneficial for the society in the long run if scholars are free to hold and examine a variety of views. A tenure assignment is an important process because it can seldom be reversed once assigned, knowing the point of view of a tenure candidate is becoming an important factor in tenure assignments.

How to write a good Diversity Statement?

You can write a diversity statement using a systematic approach.

  1. Research on the requirement
  2. Know your values
  3. Describe your experience
  4. Detail your future plan
  5. Draft, Revise, Revise, and Revise

Diversity Statement Research

First, you need to do research on what type of diversity statement that you need to write or the type of response that you should put your focuses on.

Here is a few examples of the requirements of different type of diversity statement focuses are.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland (public liberal arts college, faculty posting in Psychology):

Applicants should submit a statement explaining how their teaching at the College will contribute to a culture of inclusion and campus diversity.

Denison University (private liberal arts university in Ohio, faculty posting in Anthropology):

A description of how the applicant would contribute to the development of a diverse and inclusive learning community at Denison through her/his teaching, research, and/or service.

Angelo State (public university in Texas, faculty posting in Engineering):

The required Other Document should be no longer than 2 pages and should discuss how the candidate would help achieve Angelo State University’s goal to attract and graduate more women, Hispanic, and students from other underrepresented groups.

Georgia College and State University (public liberal arts college, faculty posting in Psychology)

Qualified candidates should submit a research statement, and a diversity statement (describing how you incorporate diversity into your teaching, research, and/or service). Teaching, research, and diversity statements should be limited to two single-spaced pages.

Franklin & Marshall College (private liberal arts college in Pennsylvania, Visiting Assistant Professor Position in Psychology)

Pursuant to the college’s vision for cultivating a diverse and inclusive community, the search committee will ask all applicants to address how their past and/or potential contributions might serve to advance F&M’s commitment to teaching and mentoring young people from a variety of personal experiences, values, and worldviews that arise from differences of culture and circumstance.

As you can see from the above, each institution is asking for similar but yet very different statements. It is very important you do research and look at other diversity vision, the mission of the organization to know the organization that you are applying to.

Define your views on Diversity and Inclusion

When you write your diversity statement, you are to write what you believe. You shouldn’t write something that you don’t believe and otherwise, you are making a false statement or making a false representation of yourself. There are some questions that can help you to start.

  1. What do equity, diversity, and inclusion mean to you?
  2. What elements of your own identity inform your teaching, research, or scholarship in a tangible way?
  3. Why do you think diversity and inclusion are important and the benefits of diversity?
  4. Why is diversity important to you or the classes you teach?
  5. in your new role of student, faculty, professor, how do you think you can help with diversity and inclusion
  6. What are your values regarding diversity, inclusion, and equity in your professional life?
  7. Why do you think diversity is valuable in higher education settings? How about in your discipline specifically?
  8. How do you work to ensure your classes are inclusive and welcoming to all students?
  9. Do you belong to any types of diversity?
  10. Do you do any service or work with diverse or underrepresented populations? If so, what?
  11. Does your research connect to diversity efforts or our understanding of diverse populations? If so, how?
  12. Are you personally diverse in any way that might be relevant to your work? For example, were you a first-generation student, or were you a woman in STEM who aims to expands opportunities for these populations?
  13. What would you like to do in future departments related to diversity and equity?

After you have a good idea of how you define diversity and what diversity means to you, you can start by writing them down.

Another way to learn more about diversity is to learn what are the trending news in diversity in the workplace. You can learn the latest development of diversity and inclusion in different sectors or in the corporate world.

Describe your Diversity experience

After you draft out your beliefs and your point of views, now is your time to describe your personal experience about diversity. You can write about initiatives or actions that you have taken to promote diversity and inclusion. If you are part of a diverse group, talk about your experience and how it has impacted you.

If you have participated in any social or professional groups that promote diversity and inclusion, write about why you have decided to join such a group and the impact it has on you, and on the community.

Describe your future plan around Diversity and Inclusion

Write, Review, and Revise your Diversity Statement

Draft, review, revise, having someone to proofread for you. I think you know what I mean.

Diversity Statement Writing Tips

Here are some tips on writing a diversity statement in academic or job application purposes.

Use Concrete Examples in Diversity Statements

Use actual, real examples in your life. Whether it is a mistake you realize you have made before, or you are a victim of discriminations. Tell your story with examples that the reader may be able to relate to.

Tell your own Story

Be sure you are telling your story, not generically as a group or just things you think the readers want to hear. Speak as yourself and tell your own story why you believe diversity and inclusion are important in your expected role, and how it can impact the institution or future team if diversity. If you don’t have tons of experience, then say it that you look forward to the opportunities to learn more. You don’t need to know everything, but it is an opportunity to be open-minded.

Don’t limit to your future role, think about Outreach

When you talk about your future plan to promote diversity, think about outreach, rather than reactive plans only. An example could be (if time permits), you want to join and participate in future diversity and inclusion initiatives in the new workplace. Or, how on your own, promote awareness of diversity.

Do Not Contradict yourself

Well, yes and do not contradict yourself. It is important to be admitted or get a new job, but be sure that you are telling the truth and it is really what you believe in, or what you have experienced personally.

Have a strong commitment with your diversity statement

How long should a diversity statement be?

First, check if there is a requirement of length to the diversity statement. Some applications require more serious thoughts and answers, and they need 2–3 pages to know you.

In general, I would recommend anything between 100–150 words would be enough to share your belief, experience, and future plan about diversity. It is an important topic, but a lot can be said within 150 words or 3 paragraphs.

how to write a diversity statement if you are white?

A white person can experience diversity or even discrimination as well. Diversity doesn’t limit to a racial diversity only, it could be gender, age, and disability. You can think of the perspectives that you have experienced diversity discrimination or any other experience that you have witnessed diversity discrimination.

It is more important to show your awareness of the needs and impact of having a diverse environment and your beliefs or values on how to improve the situation.

In addition, a white person can be a champion or a leader in diversity and inclusion as well. In many cases, there are advantages in doing so.

Adapting your Diversity Statement to Job Application

It is not yet a popular ask for diversity statements in a job application, however, it is never a bad thing to summarize and put it on your application or resume to reflect who you are. Companies value team working and they embrace diversity in culture, work habits, age, skills, and gender. Knowing that you are ready and have experience with a diverse working environment is going to be a plus for your job application. Why not right?

Originally published at https://diversity.social.




Equity, Diversity, Inclusion in the wordplace and social

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Brian Ka Chan

Brian Ka Chan

Technology Strategist, AI Researcher, Human Rights Advocate, High-Impact Philanthropist

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