Diversity aligns with NASPA's mission and behaviors
NASPA recognizes and appreciates diversity in relation to, and across the intersections of, race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, veteran status, age, socioeconomic status, and disability. Believing in inclusive environments, we emphasize the importance of understanding, approaching, and owning diversity and equity from a personal, interpersonal, institutional, and global level.
Through educational conferences, programs, publications, and employee and membership development, NASPA reinforces our core values of Diversity, Learning, Integrity, Service, Fellowship, Spirit of Inquiry, Collaboration, and Access.
The concept of diversity is not new. Every few years, another word is adopted that encompasses the ideas, values, and implications around difference and identity. Examples of this trend include non-interchangeable terminology such as pluralism, inclusion, multiculturalism, intercultural communication, cross-cultural competency, diversity, and social justice. While the vocabulary may change, the concepts behind the words remain the same. These concepts include being aware of personal bias, valuing human interaction across difference, engaging in complex thinking beyond or across categories, fostering inclusive climates, assessing equitable achievement, and challenging and dismantling systemic oppression. Given the importance of these notions, NASPA encourages campuses to employ the terminology that best fits their specific institution. Indeed, as we continue to commit to these ideas and behaviors, we must not focus on which words to utilize; rather, we must focus on the implication, application, and implementation of the concepts the words represent.
Exploring and learning about diversity, inclusion, and equity has become an increased focus in many sectors of our global community. Within the field of higher education, there are several central agreements regarding the importance of diversity:
- Institutional Mission: Diversity is aligned with the missions of many higher education institutions, which are charged with educating and preparing students to navigate as active citizens in an increasingly diverse society, ready to lead at the campus, local, national, and global levels.
- Institutional Approach: Successful campuswide diversity initiatives must be supported by top leadership, involve people at all levels on a sustained effort, and be tied to the institution's mission. A leaders' commitment to align personal awareness of identity, history, and systems with institutional approaches adds magnitude to the effort.
- Diverse perspectives: Different viewpoints and perspectives enrich learning and increase cognitive complexity. When colleges support the existence of many perspectives within the campus community, they are in a position to provide a microcosm for students to learn and communicate with people from different backgrounds.
- Student achievement: Higher education institutions must strive for equity in rates of graduation among all student groups; it is vital to address and to take an active role in the achievement of historically underrepresented students.
- Retention and campus climate: Because of the educational presence of these different perspectives and the opportunities to engage with difference, resources are devoted to recruiting a diverse student body. The field realizes, however, that it is equally important to devote resources to retaining these students through support programs and through initiatives to create an inclusive campus culture in learning and living environments. Student Affairs plays a critical role in such programs and initiatives.
- Leadership Development and Creation: Given Student Affairs' role in affecting campus climate, it is important (1) to nurture student affairs personnel professionals' who are supportive of underrepresented students, faculty, and staff and (2) to create and nurture a pipeline of the next generation of underrepresented populations such that student affairs leadership reflects students and the community.
Living the Commitment
Recognizing that committing to diversity is an ongoing process, NASPA will continue to demonstrate its commitment with the following behaviors:
- We recognize, accept, and value the different perspectives of our members and staff.
- Presenters at NASPA conferences, as well as contributors to NASPA publications, are from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives.
- NASPA hosts the biennial Multicultural Institute.
- NASPA's 24 Knowledge Communities provide and generate information on identity groups and interest topics in student affairs and form partnerships with pertinent organizations.
- NASPA fosters a pipeline of underrepresented talent in student affairs through the NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program (NUFP).
- Like NASPA's leadership, board, and staff, NASPA's membership has evolved to reflect the students served at member institutions.
To enhance our Commitment to Diversity, while continuing the above inclusive behaviors, NASPA is adopting the following practices:
- At educational programs, we are committed to, respectful of, and appreciative of, diversity in the backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives of presenters.
- NASPA will work with sponsors and partners that understand, reflect, and embrace NASPA's values.
- We are focusing on the composition of our membership to ensure that, to our fullest ability, we are planning for sustainability and pursuing our mission aligned with our beliefs about diversity and equity.
- NASPA provides diversity-related resources for its members.
- NASPA will schedule educational programs that do not conflict with established religious holidays.
- NASPA will not host conferences at hotels engaged in labor disputes.
- NASPA will be committed to the inquiry of members regarding educational programming and professional development interests and needs.
- NASPA is working to tailor its programming to reflect the interests and needs of all members