Why Write a Personal Statement of Diversity & Inclusion?
Diversity & Inclusion Statements (or) Statements of Diversity & Inclusion are common practice in the USA for graduate and post-graduate university applications… but drafting and presenting a personal DI statement as part of a job application, employment portfolio, or professional/academic interview is not so common. Why is this? Wouldn’t this be especially important for educators? Mission and vision statements, as well as diversity statements are globally recognised and represented in schools, universities, profit and non-profit organisations, governmental bodies, religious institutions, as an integral aspect of their governing ethos. Google any one of these, and you will find somewhere on their main pages a brief statement that expresses their ethos and stance. If educational institutions, community organisations, governmental bodies, and religious entities within a given society are drafting statements about who they are and what they represent, shouldn’t we consider personal DI statements for ourselves, as individuals who seek employment with them?
I drafted my first personal DI statement back in 2015 as part of my MSCTE capstone class. I will be the first person to raise my hand up and say that drafting a personal DI statement is no easy task. It requires you to not only be familiar with concepts of diversity, inclusion and equity in the workplace, but to critically reflect on, evaluate and assess your unconscious biases (yes… we all have them), and then take action in the form of a pledge or statement of awareness. My personal DI statement has changed over time and is what I consider a living document of my lifelong teaching, learning and professional development journey.
Quoted below, is my current personal statement of diversity and inclusion. I often provide it along with my Curriculum Vitae (Resume), Teaching Philosophy Statement, and any other credentials that are required for an employment or volunteer position that I apply for.
Shelli Ann Garland Personal Statement of Diversity & Inclusion
‘I believe in treating everyone with respect and fairly. I recognize people as individuals whose inherent dignity and worth is valued.
I understand that locally and globally our world is filled with a wide range of human differences including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values, national origin and political beliefs.
I endeavour to instil recognition and respect for our unique differences in others a with a sense of purpose and social responsibility that is stronger through a shared vision while celebrating multiple approaches and points of view.
I desire to promote a sense of belonging for others in others; appreciating and embracing the talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of living of people with an inclusive global worldview.
I strive to contribute to a culture where difference is valued and to build and nurture a culture where inclusiveness is a natural impulse, not a contrived approach.
I understand that to be truly engaged, a person must feel included and valued.
I endeavour to embrace, encourage and empower others with a deep sense of pride, passion, and belonging through engaged inclusive communities that desire to learn and grow together.’Dr Shelli Ann Garland (2019)
We all have a responsibility to cultivate a culture of inclusion in the workplace. I believe it starts with a critical analysis of our own biases, followed by a personal statement of stance, and finally a conscious effort to enact it in our lives personally and professionally.
Have you started writing your Personal Statement of Diversity and Inclusion yet?