How do we define diversity?

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Glossary of common terms

Definitions of Key Words
Term Definition
Campus climate "Campus climate is a measure — real or perceived — of the campus environment as it relates to interpersonal, academic, and professional interactions" (UC Regents, Campus Climate Report). "Climate refers to the experience of individuals and groups on a campus — and the quality and extent of the interaction between those various groups and individuals. Diversity and inclusion efforts are not complete unless they also address climate" (UC Regents, Campus Climate Report, quoting Hurtado, "Linking Diversity"). 

"In a healthy climate, individuals and groups generally feel welcomed, respected, and valued by the university. A healthy climate is grounded in respect for others, nurtured by dialogue between those of differing perspectives, and is evidenced by a pattern of civil interactions among community members. Not all aspects of a healthy climate necessarily feel positive — indeed, uncomfortable or challenging situations can lead to increased awareness, understanding, and appreciation. Tension, while not always positive, can be healthy when handled appropriately. Conversely, in an unhealthy environment, individuals or groups often feel isolated, marginalized, and even unsafe. The University of California strives to create and promote healthy climates across its campuses, where all community members, including students (graduate, undergraduate, and professional), staff, and faculty feel welcomed, supported, included and valued" (UC Regents, Campus Climate Report).1
Cultural competency Cultural competency is a set of academic and interpersonal skills that allow individuals to increase their understanding, sensitivity, appreciation, and responsiveness to cultural differences and the interactions resulting from them. The particulars of acquiring cultural competency vary among different groups, and they involve an ongoing relational process tending to inclusion and trust-building.1
Diversity Diversity is a valued principle that enhances cultures, ideas, social positions, and beliefs.  Our intention is to be proactive to ensure all voices are heard in an equitable manner.  In doing so, we maintain a history of welcoming individuals of various backgrounds. By recognizing the intersection of such dimensions as race, age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, (dis)ability, socioeconomic status, religious beliefs, educational background, political beliefs, military experiences, geographic location, language, and work experience, we strive for inclusive excellence.
Equal Employment Opportunity The goal of laws which make some types of discrimination in employment illegal. Equal employment opportunity will become a reality when each U.S. citizen has an equal chance to enjoy the benefits of employment. EEO is not guarantee of employment for anyone. Under EEO law, only job related factors can be used to determine if an individual is qualified for a particular job. Ideally, EEO laws and Affirmative Action programs combine to achieve equal employment opportunities.2
Ethnic group A group of people who share a common religion, color, or national origin. Irish-Americans, Mexican-Americans, German-Americans, Italian-Americans, Hindus, Muslims, and Jews are examples of ethnic groups. Some members of ethnic groups participate in the customs and practices of their groups, while others do not. Discrimination based on these customs and practices may be illegal under EEO law. See Minority.2
Inclusive Excellence
"...Re-envisions both quality and diversity.  It reflects a striving for excellence in higher education that has been made more inclusive by decades of work to infuse diversity into recruiting, admissions, and hiring; into the curriculum and co-curriculum; and into administrative structures and practices.”3
Minority The smaller part of a group. A group within a country or state that differs in race, religion or national original from the dominant group. According to EEOC guidelines, minorities used to mean four particular groups who share a race, color or national origin. These groups are:

a) American Indian or Alaskan Native. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North American, and who maintain their culture through a tribe or community.

b) Asian or Pacific Islander. A person having origins in any of the original people of the Far East, Southeast Asia, India, or the Pacific Islands. These areas include, for example, China, India, Korea, the Philippine Islands, and Samoa.

c) Black (except Hispanic). A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.

d) Hispanic. A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.

d) The many peoples with origins in Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East make up the dominant white population. Of course, many more minority groups can be identified in the American population. However, they are not classified separately as minorities under EEO law. It should be noted that women are not classified as a minorities. However, they have experienced the same kind of systematic exclusion from the economy as the various minorities. Thus, they are considered as having "minority status" as far as the law is concerned.2
Protected class The groups protected from employment discrimination by law. These groups include men and women on the basis of sex; any group which shares a common race, religion, color or national origin, people over 40; and people with physical or mental handicaps. Every U.S. citizen is a member of some protected class, and is entitled to the benefits of EEO law. However, the EEO laws were passed to correct a history of unfavorable treatment of women and minority members.2
Underrepresented Inadequately represented in the work force of a particular activity. This term is used to describe the extent to which women and minorities are represented in particular grade levels and job categories. The percentage of women and minorities in the labor market is used as a standard to determine under representation. For example, suppose there are 100 GS-12's at an agency; three of them(or 3%) are Black. However, the black labor market for GS-12 positions at that particular activity is 15%. In this case, blacks are under represented at the GS-12 level.2
Underserved Underserved populations are ones that are disadvantaged in relation to other groups because of structural/societal obstacles and disparities.1

1 From: University of California, Berkeley, Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Webpage:

2 From: Equal Employment Opportunity:

3 From:  Making Excellence Inclusive:  Toward a Model of Inclusive Excellence and Change in Postsecondary Institutions.  By D.A. Williams, J.B. Berger & S.A. McClendon, Association of American Colleges and Universities.  2005 : iii.