Blog

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are crucial for our success

January 14, 2021

Vicki Daugherty

Vicki Daugherty is Program Manager and Diversity Coordinator, SoIC

(Part one of two)

It is the vision for the School of Informatics and Computing to create an environment where all feel truly welcomed and encouraged to thrive. Yet, diversity paired with equity and inclusion are far from realized in most settings. All we need do is pay attention to the news, scroll through social media, or walk out our front doors to know this. Just recently a student of color let us know that they feel uncomfortable on campus. This is not acceptable, but sadly not uncommon. Where do we start to make our school a better place for all?

Let’s start out with some definitions.

  • Diversity is the way in which people are different and the same at both individual and group levels.
  • Equity refers to the fair and just treatment of all.
  • Inclusion is the effort to ensure everyone participates in all aspects of an organization.

Our school at the student, staff, and faculty level should reflect our community. And the industries our graduates aspire to work in are in dire need of a workforce that represents the diverse communities they serve. The bottom line—diverse teams develop better products and services.  This is evidenced by the support tech and tech enabled companies provide to conferences such as the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity and Computing and the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women and Computing, sending their recruiters to these events to recruit new talent to diversify their workforce.

We are doing our level best to encourage young people to discover their passion in technology through outreach and recruitment activities as well as our long-standing partnership with area high schools through the Informatics Diversity Enhanced Workforce (iDEW) program. We also strive to meet best practices in our hiring processes to recruit a diverse faculty and staff, even though students in some programs might never take a class from a woman or a person of color.

Diversifying our student body, staff, and faculty is a start, but it is with true equity and inclusion where we will thrive.