Illinois Tech’s commitment to inclusion and to diversity is encapsulated in its official Statement on Community, Inclusion, and Diversity, which reads as follows:
Illinois Institute of Technology is a community that values and respects its members. We appreciate that our faculty, staff, students, alumni/ae, and trustees come from many backgrounds and many parts of the world. We embrace the contributions that differences offer. We are committed to providing a working and learning environment in which all students and all members of the faculty and staff are able to realize their full potential.
In addition to this overarching statement, in November 2015, President Cramb reaffirmed the universities commitment to inclusion and diversity with the following statement.
At this university we strive to have a diverse culture of unity, inclusivity, equity and respect. My expectation is that everyone in our community should treat one another with respect and dignity regardless of gender, race, background, country of origin, religious affiliation, immigration status, orientation or any other such descriptor. We, as a community, must be clear that it is intolerable to allow anyone to be bullied or demeaned or shamed because of their ideas, decisions, background, characteristics or particular circumstance.
In an effort to expand upon the commitment to diversity contained in its Statement on Community, Inclusion and Diversity, Illinois Tech’s Community, Inclusion and Diversity Committee has adopted a document entitled Building Community and Fostering Diversity. This document establishes a set of ten principles aimed at building and maintaining a civil, respectful and inclusive Illinois Tech community.
Building Community and Fostering Diversity
Building community—one that includes students, faculty, staff, visitors, partners, and tenants—and embracing diversity requires action at the institutional as well as the personal level. From an institutional perspective, it means committing to hiring practices that result in faculty and staff who better reflect the composition of our student body. It means partnering with our neighbors and taking a leadership role in community engagement. And it means holding each member of the Illinois Tech community accountable for doing his and her part to move this agenda forward.
At the personal level, it means recognizing that some of the things we do on a daily basis also can strengthen our community and make others feel welcome, included, and valued. The following is not meant to be a comprehensive list of suggestions but rather starting points to build community and foster diversity and respect—one person and one day at a time.
- Ask rather than assume.
- And names are a good place to start. For example, "Do you prefer Timothy or Tim?" Then remember the preference; use the name in conversations and email; and, if necessary, apologize for mispronouncing or forgetting it.
- Or the thank you, I'm sorry, and it's good to see you. Being polite goes a long way to making someone feel welcomed and included. Sometimes all it takes is saying hello.
- Assume people have a good reason for saying what they are saying - and doing what they are doing. Think the best before you assume the worst.
- Communication is complicated. But it gets easier when we move from hearing what is being said to listening to the person who is saying it.
- But if you decide to go electronic, at least think before you hit that send button.
- Some of it is worth carrying with us. Some of it should be checked. And sometimes we may not even realize we're taking it with us. So try not to leave your bags unattended - and be aware when it may be weighing on your perceptions, actions, and responses.
- Don’t be content to look the other way when something unacceptable is happening.
- Sometimes people are just unknowing rather than insensitive. And most of them will thank you for gently pointing this out. But don’t call it a teaching moment.
- Keep in mind: What I hear may not be what you said. What you conclude may not be what I meant. So, asking for clarification is better than assuming.
- Add a new colleague to your committee. Seek out someone with a different point of view. Get to know someone in another office. Ask someone about his or her country. It all starts with you.
It's time to move forward, stand up, and be counted. Let's build community, embrace diversity, and foster respect at Illinois Tech—one person and one day at a time.
Building Better Communication
To give further context to and to facilitate thought and discussion regarding the principles contained in Building Community and Fostering Diversity, Illinois Tech’s Community, Inclusion and Diversity Committee has created a document entitled Building Better Communication. This document provides additional information and examples for each of the 10 principles. View the Building Better Communication document here.
Equal Opportunity Statements
Another demonstration of Illinois Tech's commitment to diversity is reflected in its Equal Opportunity Statements for students, faculty and staff, which can be found at the following links:
- Students (Student Handbook)
- Faculty (Faculty Handbook, Article V, Section B)
- Staff (Human Resources Policies and Procedures, Policy A.1)
Illinois Tech, in general, and the Community, Inclusion, and Diversity Committee, in particular, support and/or sponsor various events, activities and programs throughout the year intended to highlight the value and importance of diversity as well as civility, respect tolerance and understanding. All members of the Illinois Tech community are encouraged to attend and to support these functions.