An effective diversity statement provides you with a powerful opportunity to clearly articulate your definitions of diversity, equity and inclusion as well as demonstrate how your teaching, research and disciplinary/university service embody these principles. The most compelling statements also reveal not only where they’ve come from but where they hope to go in future.
Here are some helpful hints for creating an excellent diversity statement: 1. Show more than tell.
1. Be specific.
DEI statements offer faculty an opportunity to communicate a more complete picture of their values regarding diversity and inclusion than is captured in other materials, like teaching or research statements. You might describe how your racial identity drives you to mentor students from marginalized communities within your field or how your disability has informed your approach to researching underserved communities.
Be specific and inclusive when discussing past experiences. For instance, if you identify as Black, discuss how your lived experience as someone of color or being disabled has enabled you to understand the challenges and barriers marginalized groups encounter within academia. Such information can be especially engaging to prospective students and colleagues since it provides them with insight into your frame of reference when thinking about life around them.
Your DEI statement is your chance to demonstrate your dedication and enthusiasm towards diversity, equity, and inclusion within the workplace. Be direct and clear while using positive language – concrete examples of your efforts should help make an impactful statement about yourself!
Reading other people’s DEI statements will give you an idea of what is appropriate when creating your own. Checking the statements of peers within your department or other universities might give an indication of what to aim for when creating your statement, while looking at company statements such as Google or Nike could give an idea of their values around diversity and inclusion.
2. Be compelling.
Establishing a powerful diversity statement can set you apart as a candidate, as well as demonstrate your values. According to a Deloitte study, employees want their leaders to commit to an inclusive workplace environment and follow through on those promises.
A strong diversity statement should focus on your unique experiences and demonstrate how your past and future work connect with DEI. If you have demonstrated commitment to DEI in teaching, research, or service contexts this is an opportunity for you to showcase these efforts.
Keep in mind, however, that your thoughts, perspectives and practices on these issues may change over time; being open about this in your statement can serve as a roadmap for this development and help ensure inclusive academic communities for students and colleagues.
If your past experience in working towards DEI has been limited, now is an excellent opportunity to share how you plan to change that. This could include finding ways to expand or diversify existing programs or capitalizing on relationships with faculty and students to launch new ones.
Include specific and measurable goals in your diversity statement. A diversity statement should serve as a roadmap for the work you wish to undertake, with clear metrics for tracking progress over time and keeping yourself accountable. You’ll then be able to measure success, hold yourself accountable, and adjust as necessary – an effective way of showing commitment to inclusive academic communities! To get started writing your diversity statement, look at examples or other statements online; they could give a good place to begin.
3. Be measurable.
Diversity statements can be an effective tool in building trust with both employees and the wider community, but for this to work they must be actionable and genuine. The best statements are concise, clear and linked directly with your mission and values – for instance Adobe’s simple motto of ‘Adobe for All’ perfectly encompasses their DEI value system while Workday also uses this formula in their DEI commitment statement.
An effective set of metrics will enable you to assess the efficacy and impact of your DEI strategy, identify risks and opportunities, and calculate return on investment. Common demographic measures (e.g., percentage of underrepresented groups in your workforce and leadership), employee retention measures (such as turnover rates or recruitment statistics) or promotions statistics may all serve this purpose.
Tracking metrics over time to assess true progress or stagnation is essential to real progress and inclusion initiatives. If hiring more diverse candidates but seeing no increase in employee retention may be due to unconscious biases that persist within your organization. In such instances, diversity equity and inclusion initiatives would serve as an effective solution.
Additionally, you’ll need to devise and execute a strategic plan for moving forward with DEI. A DEI statement forms part of this plan, so its preparation should be thorough. Involve stakeholders when reviewing drafts of your statement to ensure its content accurately conveys ideas for progressing along each pillar of inclusion; using multiple drafts also shows tangible proof of your efforts’ success.
4. Be timely.
An effective Diversity, Equity and Inclusion statement requires being up-to-date and current; particularly for academic positions. It must address pressing issues facing both academia and society while outlining your specific goals and accomplishments in regards to diversity, equity and inclusion work.
One way to demonstrate this is through examples. Depict how your values manifest themselves through research, teaching, and community service activities. Showcase how compassion for those experiencing injustice manifests itself in your work, as well as how these beliefs motivate your commitment to making this world better.
Your examples must encompass more than just racial and ethnic diversity in the workplace. Workplace diversity encompasses other aspects such as sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, physical abilities, political viewpoints and other elements that shape someone’s experiences and life choices.
Finally, an effective diversity and inclusion statement must acknowledge privilege. Privilege refers to any advantage someone receives due to belonging to certain groups – race, socio-economic status and education are examples – so be sure to mention any privileges you’ve experienced both personally and professionally and how these have altered your approach to inclusive excellence work.
Effective DEI statements include plans for continuing your efforts into the future. This is especially crucial if applying to institutions with specific DEI targets and initiatives; for instance Google lists Employee Resource Groups like Africans@Google, Greyglers, Trans at Google and Disability Alliance while Nike lists its diversity goals with current representation figures.
5. Be inclusive.
Your diversity statement serves as a window into your work ethic and worldview, giving others an insight into your values. It gives them the chance to see that you value inclusiveness in your new position and organization; but beware from being too tokenistic in your approach or goals – people will quickly spot whether or not you are truly committed to making positive changes that matter.
When writing your diversity statement, prioritize clarity and authenticity. Don’t attempt to cover every topic related to inclusion; rather focus on what most relates to your professional experience and the goals of the institution to which you’re applying. Also don’t feel obliged to answer every box with something directly applicable to yourself–if there are areas in which you have limited firsthand knowledge but would like to pursue in future roles, that is fine too!
If you haven’t had an opportunity to research with marginalized communities yet but feel strongly that it would benefit your work in the future, that’s a fantastic opportunity to raise. It shows a genuine passion for building inclusive academic communities for your students and colleagues while showing a willingness to address any unique challenges that individuals from diverse backgrounds might present.
Writing an effective diversity statement requires time and practice, but is an invaluable opportunity to demonstrate your company’s dedication to inclusivity – well worth your efforts! For further resources or inspiration we recommend checking out Tidal Equality – an organization dedicated to supporting businesses develop inclusive policies and implement them.