Through offering accessible university-centered learning and training from the University of Idaho, the Certificate in Diversity and Stratification strives to further understanding and intercultural competency among diverse group members and individuals. Supporting a broad understanding of diversity in thought, behavior and practice, the program endeavors to foster civility and inclusive social environments that strengthen both workplace practice and social harmony.
In this mission, the certificate program helps the University of Idaho meet its education and outreach goals and further its diversity initiatives. Through collaboration with groups and organizations outside the university, the program also contributes to the broader community and a variety of diversity objectives around the state.
In defining diversity, we draw from Marilyn Loden who conceptualizes diversity as ”those important human characteristics that impact individuals’ values, opportunities, and perceptions of self and others” (Marilyn Loden, Implementing Diversity. 1996 Boston: McGraw-Hill.) Because we define diversity in a broad manner, our definition covers, but is not limited to, familiar characteristics involving gender, race, and ethnicity. It expands to include religion, sexual orientation, age, class and able-bodiedness. It reaches more broadly to include local, national and global cultural variation as well as to a variety of other manners in which individuals and groups are distinct in meaningful ways.
We also recognize that the various social and cultural articulations of these differences involve systems of explicit and implicit stratification, inequalities, discrimination and oppression. Recognition, social organization, meanings, and understanding of diversity and stratification change over time and from place to place, culture to culture, as do their social and individual consequences.
While we believe that diversity knowledge, understanding and practice are beneficial to the self and the community at large, we share Dorie Tuggle’s sentiments regarding the importance of diversity in the organizational/business world:
“Diversity is not just about race and sex, and that’s probably one of the biggest areas of misunderstanding and inaccuracy that we face. Diversity is about understanding the differences and leveraging the similarities for any organization to become successful…I’ve always seen a correlation between success and an environment that has respect for the individual…If you don’t value diversity, you don’t value you being in business…And I have yet to meet someone in business who doesn’t want to stay in business.”
(Dorie Tuggle, manager of diversity and equal opportunity programs at Lockhead Martin Aeronautics Co., cited in DiversityInc.com, From the Pew to the Boardroom, Diversity’s About Inclusion, Dec. 2, 2002, by Ruth Zeilberger, accessed 12/2/02.)
The program will enhance the academic learning opportunities and the practical application of diversity knowledge and experience. While enhancing both academic learning and social practice in application, the program also helps bridge the gap between learning and application in the workplace and community. Bridging the gap involves, in part, curriculum and design. The program is designed as an avenue, accessible statewide, for students, educators, professionals, and community members to pursue diversity-related, university-centered learning and training through the UI.
The program will:
- Provide a university-centered academic exploration, through coursework, of diversity issues and their relationship to social stratification
- Through offering workshops as well as incorporating experiential designs into the coursework, develop some of the skills necessary for the practical application of academic learning in the workplace, social institutions, and the community environment
Toward building a bridge between academic learning and practical application, the program integrates the university community with the larger statewide community along diversity-related issues. We collaborate with other diversity and human rights organizations, our own advisory board, and a myriad of interested parties within the university and around the state. Together, we enhance the larger Idaho community concerning diversity and develop Idaho’s national reputation as a proactive and constructive state concerning diversity issues.
- Develop and effectively employ advanced learning technologies to provide innovative, statewide access to diversity education through the University of Idaho.
- Coordinate with the UI Diversity Education Advisory Board to generate input and incorporate diversity expertise from the professional world outside the university.
- Form and maintain the CDS University Diversity Education Committee (members of the UI on-campus community) to incorporate the expertise of the Board into the implementation and maintenance of the certificate program.
- Develop and offer high quality, in-depth academic study of diversity issues.
- Develop and offer relevant applied workshops.
- Increase the recognition and legitimation of the certificate program through the assistance of the Board and through promotion and maintenance of an innovative high quality academic program.
- Reach a variety of constituencies with the program ranging from students and staff at the university to working professionals in both the private and public sectors.
- Enhance the diversity-focused curriculum offered by the UI
- Further the diversity initiatives contained in the Strategic Plans of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, and the University of Idaho.
- Contribute to and assist diversity initiatives generated by private and public organizations throughout the state.
- Develop specific collaborations with particular diversity and human rights organizations and interested parties within the university and around the state.
- The demand is high among students, educators, professionals, and community members for diversity-centered learning and training
- No comparable academic diversity education programs exist at the University of Idaho or statewide. Diversity/human rights initiatives provide resources and enhance the quality of life for students, professionals and community members statewide
- Members of our advisory board have repeatedly stressed the need for accessible diversity education and the need for diversity initiatives in the state of Idaho for business and community betterment.