The launching of a coherent and comprehensive institutional diversity and equity initiative at Georgetown University is an ambitious undertaking that will be collaborative, involving all segments of our community. Changes in programs, policy and process, building on past diversity efforts, will be systematic and sustained. These efforts are designed to achieve a more caring and inclusive community of learners and colleagues: Georgetown must more fully embrace diversity as it pursues excellence.
It is clear that during the next two decades the American population will witness extraordinary changes in its racial and ethnic composition. Demographers forecast that by the middle of this century, there will no longer be a majority race in the United States — the groups we regard now as minorities (such as African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans) will join already increasing numbers of working women to create a vastly different workforce than that of the mid-20th century. As a major research institution, Georgetown is well-positioned to offer even greater educational access to students of diverse backgrounds, not only in the United States, but in other parts of the world, as evidenced by the opening of our Qatar campus. Georgetown’s leadership in sending students overseas to study abroad and its welcoming of international students to our American campuses already anticipate the growing interdependence of nations. This international openness must be sustained and accompanied by openness to the varied cultures that can be found within our national borders.
The Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity will lead Georgetown’s efforts to strengthen the University’s diversity efforts. It will also develop a framework for strategic planning with academic, administrative and other units of the University in consideration of the following priorities:
- Principled leadership and comprehensive change that supports a culture of diversity and inclusion;
- Recruitment and retention of diverse undergraduate, graduate and other students;
- Recruitment and retention of faculty and staff from diverse populations;
- Strengthening linkages between the campus and community;
- Substantive engagement with faculty, staff and students.
Georgetown University does not stand alone in grappling with issues of diversity, equity and excellence. Programs launched by other universities and by corporations and government agencies illustrate broad recognition of the importance of diversity in the U.S. economy and society. Although national and international events and the University’s own resource limitations may pose challenges to making the campuses more diverse, inclusive, and equitable, the University must remain firm in its commitment to creating a community in which all members can participate fully. To be true to its Jesuit heritage requires nothing less.
The Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity will take an active role in leading collaborative ventures with academic departments and student programming areas, to promote the intellectual examination of experiences, perspectives and contributions of various cultures and groups and to prepare students to live and work in a multicultural and interdependent world. Finally the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity will work with others on the three campuses, such as the Diversity Action Council, to create a University climate where tolerance and respect for all individuals are even more strongly encouraged than they are today.