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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Five Pillars of DEI Strategic Plan

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Statement on Inclusion, Intersectionality, Diversity, Equity and Advancement

Rutgers School of Social Work embraces inclusion, intersectionality, diversity, equity, and advancement (IIDEA) as core principles for our curriculum, our community engagement, our research portfolios and our faculty, student, and staff community. The IIDEA Committee, in partnership with the Office of Academic Affairs and the Curriculum and Executive Committees, present a contextual/conceptual/theoretical framework that undergirds the School’s initiatives that further IIDEA.

Blurry person in the backgroud holding a flower in the foreground
Blurry person in the backgroud holding a flower in the foreground

Defining IIDEA

The IIDEA Definitions and Statement Subcommittee was charged with defining the terms used in the acronym IIDEA and other terms that are frequently used in social work. We realize that the meanings of these terms are fluid and the way we understand them changes over time. Identities or social locations are not ranked or listed in any particular order of importance.

Inclusion 
Inclusion refers to a characteristic of environments in which individuals and groups feel welcomed, respected, valued, and supported through the elimination of practices and behaviors that result in marginalization. An inclusive climate embraces difference and offers respect in words and actions, so that all people can fully participate in the University’s opportunities. 

Source: adapted from Rutgers’ Universitywide Diversity Strategic Plan

 

Intersectionality 
Intersectionality refers to the acknowledgement of the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, age, religion, language, ability status, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status as they apply to a given individual or group, and how systems of oppression overlap to create distinct experiences of stigma, discrimination, and marginalization for people with multiple identities. 

Source: adapted from Kimberlé Crenshaw’s On Intersectionality: Essential Writings

 

Diversity 
Diversity refers to the presence and respect for the variety of personal experiences, values, and worldviews that arise from differences of culture and circumstance. Such differences include but are not limited to race, ethnicity, gender identity, age, religion, language, ability status, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.

Source: adapted from Rutgers’ University-wide Diversity Strategic Plan

 

Equity 
Equity refers to the identification and elimination of barriers that prevent full participation of students, faculty, and staff in every stage of education and career development. Attention to equity involves ensuring access, opportunity, and advancement for all students, faculty, and staff in every stage of education and career development and redressing the exclusion of historically underrepresented and underserved groups in higher education. 

Source: adapted from Rutgers’ Universitywide Diversity Strategic Plan

 

Advancement 
Advancement refers to the act of ensuring a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race 

 

Anti-racist 
An anti-racist is “one who is supporting an antiracist policy through their actions or expressing an antiracist idea.” (Kendi, 2019, p.14) 

Citation: Kendi, I. X. (2019). How to Be an Antiracist. One world.  

 

Anti-racism 
Anti-racism is “a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” (Kendi, 2019, p.21) 

Citation: Kendi, I. X. (2019). How to Be an Antiracist. One world.  

 

Anti-racist Social Work 
Dominelli (2017), a British author, explains that “anti-racist social work is a form of practice that takes as its starting point racialised social relations that depict ‘black’ people as inferior. It aims to eradicate racist social relations and dynamics from the profession and society. In realising this, white people are encouraged to tackle racist practices at the personal and collective levels in organisations and institutions; learn about black perspectives; and build alliances with black people by agreeing common objectives to eradicate racism and create egalitarian partnerships. Black people have their own expectations and demands for these alliances and engage with white people to achieve mutually acceptable ways forward (Bishop, 2002). These also address other forms of oppression that intersect with racist social relations, e.g., sexism, classism. Focusing on racism alone is but a starting point for the anti-oppressive anti-racist journey” (p. 10). 

Citation: Dominelli, L. (2017). Anti-Racist Social Work. Macmillan International Higher Education. 

Two students speaking with eachother

IIDEA Values & Principles

Pronouns

Rutgers School of Social Work's IIDEA Committee recognizes the importance and use of personal pronouns. For more information on what personal pronouns are and why they matter, please view this resource from mypronouns.org.

Inclusive Style Guides

DC Fiscal Policy Institute Style Guide for Inclusive Language provides guidelines and resources for ways to employ inclusive language and integrate a racial equity lens in writing. The Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) Health Equity Style Guide aims to frame information from a health equity lens when communicating about health disparities and general public health implications.

The American Medical Association (AMA) shares an article on reporting race and ethnicity in medical and science journals.

Rutgers Beloved Community

Rutgers Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion defines a "beloved community"  as a commitment to work together to embody, reflect, and respect the complexities of all our parts. 

As part of this work, the University has launched the Picturing a Beloved Community Poster Series, which defines the University's core values and aspirations, outlining how we aim to interact with these values as ideals and action-oriented goals: 

  • Work towards INCLUSION and Respect DIFFERENCE
  • Provide OPPORTUNITY and ensure ACCESS
  • Value INNOVATION and promote LEADERSHIP
  • Foster GLOBAL REACH and honor HUMANITY

For more information on the University Beloved Community and to download artwork from the poster series, click here

Three girls laughing
Two students speaking with eachother
Three girls laughing

IIDEA Committee

The purpose of Rutgers School of Social Work's Committee for Inclusion, Intersectionality, Diversity, Equity and Advancement (IIDEA) is to advance the School's initiatives that further inclusion, intersectionality, diversity, equity, and advancement. 

Based on the School of Social Work's strategic plan, the IIDEA Committee was established in fall 2020. Dean Cathryn C. Potter charged the committee with the following: 

  1. In partnership with the Office of Academic Affairs, advance a conceptual/theoretical framework that undergirds the initiatives that further inclusion, intersectionality, diversity, equity, and advancement (IIDEA) for social justice for the school, and for agencies that partner with the school, in order to carry out the core mission of SSW. 

  1. In partnership with multiple SSW entities, including the curriculum faculty, and the staff council, to lead development and implementation oversight of a comprehensive, evolving, multi-year plan that advances IIDEA within the school, and agencies that partner with the school. 

  1. Identifying areas where inclusion, intersectionality, diversity, equity, and advancement need to be addressed and make recommendations to the Dean, administration, and faculty to address the identified areas. 

IIDEA Committee

IIDEA Reports

Learn about the IIDEA-related work happening at the School of Social Work by reviewing our recent annual report and progress report.

IIDEA News

Dr Jamey Lister Headshot

Jamey Lister, Associate Professor & Co-Director of the Northeast & Caribbean Rural Opioid Technical Assistance Center, discusses his research interests and how they are grounded in inclusion, intersectionality, diversity, equity and advancement (IIDEA) with MSW student and IIDEA research assistant Calvin Ryan.