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About the Division for Diversity and Innovative Community Engagement

Mission

The mission of Saint Louis University's Division of Diversity and Innovative Community Engagement is to:

  • Establish a culture of inclusive excellence, equity, and human flourishing for all members of Saint Louis University and our connected communities through education, elimination, and transformation.
  • Educate and collaborate with campus and community partners to provide a comprehensive approach to diversity, equity, inclusion, and community engagement that is in alignment with our Jesuit mission.
  • Eliminate barriers that prevent full participation in community life and social change efforts.
  • Transform campus culture so that all members can thrive, develop their identities, live as their authentic selves, recognize their value and dignity, and celebrate the interdependence of our global community. 

Vision

The vision of the Division of Diversity and Innovative Community Engagement is to be named the flagship institution for Inclusive Excellence and position Saint Louis University as a national leader for equity, diversity, inclusion, and community engagement.  

The division will meet our goal through three targeted areas:

Social Action

The late Dr. Norm White said, “Social justice is not a concept to be defined, it is an action to be taken.” Social action encompasses the range of service, advocacy, voter engagement, activism, and community outreach that promote justice, equity, and human flourishing.

Multiple Cultural Fluency

The late Dr. Jonathan Smith coined the term multiple cultural fluencies to operationalize inclusive excellence. No single person is competent, proficient, or an expert in every cultural identity;  however, every individual has a different set of learned/acquired cultural fluencies that are often determined by their social identities and lived experiences. When the work of social change happens in inclusive teams that acknowledge varying sets of cultural fluencies, those teams have a greater capacity than any one individual to understand multiple needs from multiple perspectives and create the most inclusive environment possible. Inclusive excellence requires humanized equity, or the idea that those most impacted by an issue are at the forefront of solution building and a focus on process over skillset.

Structural and Cultural Transformation 

In “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together,” Heather McGee writes, “...laws are merely expressions of a society’s dominant beliefs. It’s the beliefs that must shift in order for outcomes to change. When policies change in advance of the underlying beliefs, we are often surprised to find the problem still with us.”

Structural and cultural change require a shift in belief systems and values. By using the multiple cultural influence model, eliminating barriers to participate in social change, dismantling oppressive structures, and engaging in social action, our University can begin doing the work of shifting values and creating a campus climate that is welcoming, progressing towards liberation for all stakeholders and connected communities, and fostering shared governance over the work of equity, inclusion, and diversity because social change is everyone’s responsibility, not the work of a single office or individual.