Diversity and Inclusion Defined

Diversity Is The Mix and Inclusion Is Making The Mix Work. More formally, diversity is the composition of individuals in a group. Inclusion is the requisite programs and organizational strategies that welcome and embrace the strengths each person brings to the mix.


Why We Value Diversity and Inclusion At Wake Forest:

Wake Forest believes in providing a diverse learning community to develop the whole person – intellectually, morally, spiritually and physically. Our motto, Pro Humanitate, and our mission for academic excellence guide the university’s intellectual and co-curricular pursuits. It also reflects the university’s emphasis on the importance of values, ideals and community service. The heightened awareness and acceptance of difference through diversity and inclusion initiatives underscores the university’s commitment to make sure we shape informed leaders ready to serve humanity.

Diversity and inclusion creates engagement. When diversity and inclusion are practiced, faculty, staff and students demonstrate engagement by promoting the university, supporting the mission and committing to do their best.  Wake Forest maintains a diverse and inclusive environment to enable all participants to contribute their full potential in pursuit of University objectives and personal success.  This involves celebrating various cultures, religions, ethnicities and bounded social identities in our community; infusing inclusive excellence into our faculty initiatives; offering curricula that are reflective of a global society; and developing cultural competence education programs that equip our students, faculty and staff with skills and knowledge to become global citizens.

It is imperative to provide students an example of the world they will be called upon to lead. Our students must learn to respect others, appreciate and understand diversity and value differences as positive keys to the academic, socio-political and economic stability of this country and the world. The United States population comprises only five percent of the global population. To this end, affirming diversity, inclusion, and cultural competence is an important measure to ensure the Wake Forest community remains strong and relevant in a time when demographics and global society are shifting dramatically.  We want our students, faculty, and staff to possess the necessary attributes to influence individuals, groups, organizations, and systems that are unlike their own.


How we achieve diversity and inclusion at Wake Forest:

1. Leadership

Wake Forest has a leadership infrastructure comprised of faculty, administrators, and staff that informs institutional policies and organizational structures around diversity and inclusion.

Sustainability of any diversity and inclusion initiative occurs only when the most senior leaders, governance groups, advisory councils, academic administrators, and faculty are involved in the formulation and administration of the Diversity and Inclusion blueprint. We work collaboratively to create a campus culture that transforms the driving assumptions underlying our policies, the allocation of resources, and the synthesis of institutional practices to assure our increasingly diverse population receives equitable treatment.

2. Cultural Competence Education

We require cultural diversity courses as part of the curriculum to better equip students with the knowledge and critical thinking skills necessary to compete in a global society. A shrinking global market and increasing cross-cultural interdependence demand that college graduates are able to understand and perform in various multicultural contexts, and make meaning from a host of culture-influenced themes. Wake Forest has a diversity requirement as part of the undergraduate curriculum with two hundred fifty-two active courses in nearly every academic department. Aside from curricular issues, experiential learning, and increased study abroad opportunities help us achieve greater diversity education and cultural competence.

Inclusion involves an awareness of how culture influences behaviors. We’ve dedicated time and resources to develop cultural competence education programs that teach cultural competence to all university constituents. Building a culture of inclusion means not only fostering diversity in age, language, race and country of origin, education, sexual orientation, and physical abilities; it also means leveraging these perspectives effectively.  Our efforts to create a campus community that is culturally competent, and to build trust around our differences occurs through faculty and staff programming such as our signature GateKeepers Workshop Initiative that develops cross-cultural communication and conflict management skills, LGBTQ Safe Zone Training, Academic Leaders’ Professional Development Workshops, Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Workshops and the Institute for Dismantling Racism (IDR).

3. Support Services

We believe in equity, not just equality. We understand that in order to develop a fully engaged constituency; individuals must receive equitable treatment instead of equal treatment. Establishing equality means treating everyone the same. Equity necessitates transforming our campus community to meet the needs, interests and cultural norms of our students, faculty and staff. Wake Forest provides the resources and an environment to support and manage success across all groups, regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability and religion.

Our Programs are inclusive and differentiated.  Diversity and Inclusion embraces difference and drives advocacy for members of underrepresented and bounded social identity groups. We understand and advocate for the unique cultural backgrounds that not only enrich our campus community but differentiate our faculty and professional staff. Through programs such as the Wake~UP~Winston Association – an initiative aimed at linking faculty and staff of diverse cultures and ethnicities for mentorship and connection to colleagues in the greater Piedmont Triad community, we provide opportunities for members of underrepresented groups to find support in networks of individuals with similar experiences and interest.

Our students’ success rests largely on the talents of our faculty. Practicing inclusion during faculty recruitment affirms our commitment to provide a broad range of perspectives in the classroom. At Wake Forest, we seek out the very best teacher-scholars – faculty members who are top researchers at the peak of their disciplines. That said, our faculty are here to educate the whole person, which requires they reflect the diverse culture and experience needed to achieve that mission. Our Target-of-Opportunity Program (TOP) helps us to identify excellent faculty candidates whose talents and potential would significantly enhance our campus community. Through TOP, we attract diverse faculty whose scholarship is internationally recognized, demonstrate leadership, and have the enthusiasm to bring divergent groups and ideas together.