Purpose: To achieve our Strategic Plan Goal 5: To celebrate diversity in all aspects of university life, creating inclusive environments, culturally competent citizens, and globally-oriented curricula and programs.
What: An action plan for achieving the vision of a diverse and inclusive university environment
Why: The University of Missouri-Kansas City values diversity as central to our mission as an urban research university. We serve a student body, and a community, that is diverse in age, gender and cultural background, creating opportunities for UMKC to better understand and serve changing and dynamic educational needs. UMKC's ability to respond to these changing needs has implications for enrollment, retention and graduation rates.
How: The road to achieving a diverse university learning and working environment is challenging. A major hurdle in improving our climate is the lack of recognition that unconscious biases can influence decision-making and interpersonal interactions. We must acknowledge that these unconscious biases exist, even in individuals who are otherwise committed to egalitarian values. Therefore, the Council promotes moving forward transparently, owning our past and who we are now as an institution.
Definition: The Council defines the concept of diversity in its broadest sense. Diversity is more than common considerations of race and gender. It also involves more specific elements, including learning styles, curricular methods, leadership styles and skill-sets required to address the needs of the next generation of leaders. It involves institutionalizing strategies for the campus to create and sustain an environment that is welcoming to all, and supports the success of each individual learner and employee. For UMKC's Diversity Strategic Plan, the working definition of diversity is:
Diversity includes all the ways in which individuals and groups differ in characteristics, experience and multiplicity of human expression. Race, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual orientation, disability, linguistic ability, learning style, and socio-economic or veteran status are but parts of the broad diversity that UMKC values and seeks to cultivate for the individual and collective transformation and excellence that can be generated. Diversity reaches across the institution to promote access, respect, inclusiveness, support and cultural awareness in all of UMKC's working, learning and living environments so that a welcoming community is evident throughout.
The University of Missouri-Kansas City has established five primary expected outcomes that will provide vision and direction to the campus activities and strategies in the future. One thing is clear: achieving our strategic goals necessitates a commitment on all levels and among everyone.
UMKC has outlined its effort to improve diversity by working across Five Dimensions for diversity. These dimensions define the breadth of impact that strategic diversity efforts could have in improving the campus in multiple ways.