Presidential Statement on Diversity — March 2015
Honoring diversity is one of NDNU’s Core Values and part of The Hallmarks of a Notre Dame de Namur Learning Community. It is a central part of the legacy that we have received from the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. We all value the welcoming message and deep respect for all people that the Sisters have fostered at NDNU.
Over the years NDNU has worked to strengthen its understanding of how to foster inclusive excellence on the campus.
- We have had a written policy Diversity Statement for almost two decades.
- We include a Diversity Council representative on all hiring committees to ensure fair and inclusive processes and consideration of candidates.
- The Core Curriculum for undergraduates has long required Cultural Diversity coursework.
- Our faculty has named Inclusive Excellence as a criterion for evaluation during the tenure and promotion processes.
- Our Diversity Council periodically evaluates the climate of the campus and makes recommendations for improvement.
The rationale for our commitment to diversity is important to understand. We believe diversity fundamentally enriches the educational experience. Part of what the college experience should do for our students is to expose them to people, cultures and perspectives beyond those in which they were raised or have thus far experienced. Diverse experiences allow us to learn from those whose backgrounds and beliefs are different from our own. Such experiences allow students to develop important critical thinking skills and the ability to evaluate and sharpen their own values. These understandings are essential to productive participation in a democratic society and a globally connected world and workforce. Diversity is thus a critical component of liberal arts learning.
Exposure to diverse peoples allows us to challenge our own stereotypes and misconceptions. If well supported, it can foster sensitivity to others and the ability to communicate with people from a wide range of backgrounds. It can help prepare our students to serve as good citizens in an increasingly diverse and complex society.
Events in Syria and Ferguson, Missouri and on the NDNU campus remind us that we live in a world in which prejudice and intolerance are still ever too present barriers to the full participation of all people in our community, in our society, and in our world. NDNU strives to be a place where such barriers are addressed in a direct, reflective, caring manner that is concerned with each person as a whole person.
As a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI), we offer all our students the promise of a supportive and challenging educational environment. As president, I pledge my commitment to ensure that we work to fulfill this promise.