What do 'diversity' and 'inclusion' really mean? Understanding these core concepts provide a foundation for further discussion and progress.
Diversity is the mosaic of backgrounds, perspectives, values, beliefs, and styles that people possess. All of these can be assets to the groups and organizations with which a person interacts.
In its broadest context, diversity includes everything that makes us unique individuals: race, ethnicity, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, parental status, educational background, socioeconomic status, intellectual perspective, organizational level, and more.
Inclusion is when the inherent worth and dignity of all people are recognized, and the processes to ensure equal opportunities, so that everyone can achieve their full potential in life regardless of their background. Efforts at inclusion include policies and actions that promote equal access to services and resources, as well as those that enable a person to participate in the decisions that affect their lives.
In other words, inclusion is involvement and empowerment.
There's much more to the conversation about fostering a diverse and inclusive community here at Ithaca College. Please explore the pages in this section to discover the definitions of other words and terms central to this topic, advice on how to prevent discriminatory speech and behavior in your daily life, how to speak and behave respectfully to persons with disabilities, and more.