Academic | Diversity Statements

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What is a Diversity Statement?

The purpose of the diversity statement is to demonstrate that you have some awareness of the obstacles that underrepresented and economically disadvantaged groups have confronted in their fight to access higher education. Furthermore, the diversity statement gives you, as the candidate, the chance to share with the search committee how you will use your awareness in concrete and thoughtful ways in your research, teaching, and service.

What will the Diversity Statement address?

In your statement, you will want to include:

  • A past experience or event that helped shape or enhance your understanding of diversity and inclusion. Remember, this is just a small part of your statement.
  • The specific ways in which you have incorporated elements of diversity in your teaching, research, and service.
  • Plans for how you will incorporate them into your future work at the specific university to which you are applying.

To help get you started with this, you may want to consider including several of the following questions. These do not need to all be addressed, but can and should be combined in whatever way best works for your professional experience:

  • How will you deal with a diverse range of students in the classroom?
  • How will you incorporate diverse voices into your teaching materials and methods?
  • How will your personal background and experiences influence your approach to your discipline, your research program, and your students?
  • How will you support students, staff, and faculty in a variety of initiatives to improve equity of access to university resources?
  • How will you incorporate diversity into your research topics?
  • How will you prepare students for careers in a multicultural society?

Tailoring your Diversity Statement

Research the university to which you are applying; try to understand why you are writing this statement, and why it is of importance to the search committee. Your statement should be tailored based on the history, geography, and mission of the institution to which you are applying.

  • Research the geography of the surrounding community and the demographic makeup of the student body. This is typically outlined in U.S. News and World Report.
    • Does the institution cater towards a particular population? Are there a lot of international students, or does the school seem to be populated primarily by local residents?
      • Is there is a well-known program or project catering to a certain population of students that you would like to assist or collaborate with? If so, you should mention that in your statement.
  • Research the university and department’s mission. What steps are they taking to provide diversity and inclusivity for underrepresented students?
  • Think about ways you can help the university achieve their goals, and what you will bring to them in terms of diversity and inclusive excellence.

Bottom Line

Be genuine when you are writing your diversity statement. You do not need to fake your experience to make an impression. Discuss why you think you are prepared to work with students at that institution, and what you will do to encourage diversity and inclusive excellence as a faculty member.

Additional Resources

Demystifying the Diversity Statement
Top tips for writing an effective diversity statement
Check out this forum on the Chronicle discussing the “dos” and “don'ts” of writing a diversity statement